Chuck is a former Vietnam-era air navigator with degrees in History and Economics. Areas of interest include aviation and military history.
Navigating the Immigration Bureaucracy
So, in your travels abroad, your recent foreign posting by your employer or military, while studying abroad or while surfing the Internet, you have found the love of your life in a foreign country and are now ready to get married.
Having married a woman from abroad and having completed most of the requirements for obtaining permanent U.S. resident status and eventually U.S. citizenship for her and her two children, here are some of my experiences in dealing with the bureaucracy. I present this not as legal advice (when in doubt get a lawyer) but rather in hopes of helping others wade their way through this bureaucratic maze.*
Also U.S. immigration laws and regulations may vary depending upon the nation where your foreign fiancée currently resides.
That being said, let me add that the best thing that ever happened to me was meeting my Russian wife on the Internet and marrying her.
* NOTE this Hub was first published in 2006 and much of the information is my personal experience navigating the rules at that time. The law and regulations frequently change and I don't have time to keep up with all the changes. The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration website (https://www.uscis.gov) is a great source for information but it is also updated frequently. However, when in doubt you should contact an immigration lawyer.
Despite The Many Obstacles - It Was Worth It When She Landed In America And I Married Her
What I want to convey here are some of the obstacles that you will have to navigate in bringing your intended fiancée to the U.S.
If you think it is difficult introducing your fiancée to your family just wait until you introduce her to your Uncle Sam (the old guy with the beard in the red, white and blue suit that hasn't been changed since at least the first edition of World War II recruiting posters).
The first thing to remember is that she must be your fiancée and not your wife when she first sets foot in this country. If you marry abroad, your spouse has to apply for admission to the U.S. under an entirely different set of rules which may be more restrictive for her and for her children than if she comes here under a K-1 Fiancée visa.
Current rules provide for your fiancée to be given a 45 day K-1 visa and her unmarried children under age 21, a 45 day K-2 visa. The two of you must then marry in the U.S. within the 45 days or she and her children will be deported. If you marry her abroad there is a chance that she and/or her children will never be allowed into the U.S. except on temporary tourist visas.
The First Step
The first step in the process is finding someone with whom you fall in love and want to marry. If this is done via the Internet, which is how I met my wife, you first have to make contact and start a relationship. Unless you live near our northern or southern border and find someone a short distance away on the other side of the border, the relationship is going to be by Internet, telephone and snail mail. However, the rules say that, before you can bring a woman into the U.S. on a K-1 visa, you must provide documentation that you have visited her in person outside the U.S. Photos, airline receipts, hotel receipts, etc. can serve as proof - the more the better.
Unless you can afford to be flying off to visit foreign women every few weeks, it is best to develop the relationship as far as you can before going for the visit. In addition to email (and Internet access may be expensive for your fiancée depending upon where she lives), overseas telephone rates for calls from the U.S. to most of the world are very reasonable (a one hour call to Russia cost me less than dinner for two at McDonald's) making this a great way to build the relationship. However, the reverse is not true as calls from abroad to the U.S. are often not only absolutely more expensive but, compared to incomes in many countries, are prohibitive for the local population. Snail mail and packages are slow but are also a good way to build the relationship.
Become Familiar With The U. S. Citizenship And Immigration Service Website And Office
As soon as you start thinking that you might want to marry this person it is a good idea to go to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service website to get an idea of what is involved in the process should the two of you decide to marry.
The first thing you will see on the site are numerous public relations pieces touting the work of the USCIS - just ignore these and navigate to the pages with information that you need if you decide to marry. Work through the site to find and begin bookmarking the the pages pertaining to the K-1 and K-2 visas, as well as rules and regulations, down loadable forms etc. A K-1 visa is what you will need to obtain for your fiancée to come to the U.S. to marry you. The K-2 visa is needed to bring her children (when I brought my then fiancée and her children over they had to be unmarried and under age 21 - the age may have been lowered since then).
Like most websites USCIS site's organization and information is updated and changed regularly since immigration laws and especially regulations change frequently. You might want to look for and use one of the apps or browser tools that can help you in saving and organizing links on the site. Even if you plan to use a lawyer, I suggest that you study this site very carefully as well as search and bookmark other sites on the Internet - don't necessarily believe what these these other sites say, but they can be a good sources for questions to ask your lawyer or immigration officer.
If you have a lawyer be sure to constantly ask "Why?" "Why?" "Why?" until you understand exactly what is going on and what you have to do. The same is true when dealing with immigration personnel, keep asking "Why?" until you understand the process. You will also find that employees at the USCIS are not only frequently ignorant of the laws they are supposed to enforce but also, when I complained once to an immigration lawyer on my local Congressman's staff I was told that the law is too complicated to expect USCIS employees to always give accurate information. However, if you do follow advice from an immigration employee or private immigration lawyer and it is wrong, that is your tough luck.
Use Caution And Know What You Are Getting Into
My wife and I met on an Internet dating site and for the first seven or eight months our relationship consisted of daily emails and weekly phone calls. I was a divorced single father with 2 teenage sons when I decided I wanted to marry again. I joined a couple of Internet dating sites and soon found that I was receiving requests from other parts of the world especially from the Soviet Union and its former East European satellites.
While in college I had taken a college sponsored 10 day study tour of the then Soviet Union and a decade later had joined a friend on a college alumni sponsored boat cruise up the Danube River from its mouth in Ukraine to Germany with most of the countries we passed through and visited being the former Soviet Union ruled East European satellites. So in addition to gaining familiarity with the customs and life in Russia and Soviet Eastern Europe I also saw the low living standards and alcoholism (alcohol being about the only product the old USSR was good at producing at the time).
I was also aware that some people were, and still are falling victim to money scams on the Internet including dating sites.
As a result I waded into international Internet dating with caution and have warned others to proceed with caution (a few who chose to ignore the advice did end up being scammed)
Before I visited my wife I checked the Internet and found two ATM machines in Ryazan, the city in which she lived, both of which claimed to accept both Visa and Master Card ATM/Debit cards.
I took ATM/Debit cards from my bank and credit union accounts (one was Visa and one Master Card) to Russia with me.
When I tried the Master Card, the ATM in Ryazan, the city where finance lived, it not only kept my card but shut the ATM itself down completely.
I was able to get it back but if I had sent it to my fiancée and she had used it alone she could have been charged with credit card theft (her finance in the U.S. sent her his card - likely story!).
Don't send cash as it will most likely end up in some postal worker's or customs officer's pocket.
Finally, be careful with checks - in Russia the bank takes the check, mails it back to the U.S. bank with a letter asking for proof that it is good (which the bank probably won't do unless the check is certified).
Even if the bank does send the check back with the proper assurances you are probably looking at months before your fiancée receives the cash from a Russian bank.
Because airlines are required to take any passengers back to their country of origin if they are not accepted in the U.S., the airlines require that you purchase a round trip, rather than one way tickets.
There is also the cost of transportation to the airport as only a few cities in each country have airports that handle foreign flights.
My wife and her children were able to move with the three suitcases they checked on the plane. But, some women may have more and this will require shipping.
Finally, there is the financial impact of the increased family size.
The day my fiancée and her two children arrived I woke up in the morning responsible for a household of three - my two sons and myself
When I went to bed that night I had a family of six. That impacts your budget noticeably!
You will need to take a few days off from work to help your fiancée and her children settled in.
With both sets of children in their teens, I did not have any problems with them adjusting to the family.
Not that they bonded immediately with my children. They didn't. I did not force them and they did not clash. All four were mature and acted as such.
I also made no attempt to have my sons accept my wife as a stepmother and did not step into her children's lives as step-father as far as laying down rules, etc.
Of course, I loved my two new children and provided for the emotional and material needs of all four children equally - I just gave her children space while they got to know me and adjusted to the family.
The situation probably would have been different if our children were younger. However, with two still at home twenty year olds and two teenagers between us,,I basically supervised my children and my wife hers.
While there were no big differences, the rules were not always the same at first.
For instance, in Russia it is customary to remove ones shoes upon entering a home, including your own. My wife laid out slippers for herself and her two children by the door and I placed mine there as well.
The four of us wear slippers in the house while my two sons don't.
In Russia the custom is for the wife to manage inside the home and, as soon as she was settled, I began stepping back and letting her take control inside the house.
In addition to adjusting within the house, there is also the outside world to introduce them to and deal with during the first few days after arrival.
One of the first things we did was spend a day traveling around town taking care of more paperwork.
We went to the local high school and enrolled her son after producing the necessary proof that I lived and paid taxes in the district.
There was also the matter of immunizations, which he had had in Russia but the Russian immunization record (written in Russian) was not accepted by the school. The shots were obtained and he was enrolled.
I also took them to get Social Security cards. My fiancée was given one because she had the K-1 visa, but the children had to wait. As a result, when I went to file my income taxes a few months later, I had to get Tax ID numbers for them before I could claim them on my taxes.
The next year my step-children had Social Security numbers and, when I filed with these, I promptly received a letter from the IRS questioning the change. It took a trip to the local IRS office and the filing of more paperwork to clear that up.
I also had to go and file affidavits with the bank to change the number on their accounts from Tax ID to Social Security (and my daughter had to accompany me because, being over 18, she was an adult and I was not allowed to invade her privacy - the bank's rule, not hers).
Even though she was issued a Social Security card immediately, my wife could not work and on her Social Security card the office had clearly typed Not allowed to work without USCIS permission.
My wife was also able to obtain a learner's permit for driving but that expired with her visa and, before getting a new learners permit, we had to wait for her work permit from the USCIS which did not come until six months later.
<<< TEXT CONTINUES AFTER PHOTO >>>
Bringing Your Fiancee to the U.S.
When you return is when the paperwork starts in earnest. Go to the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Service) site, download the form to apply for the K-1 visa.
As I recall the form itself is fairly easy to complete although you will need information from your prospective spouse - maiden name if she had been married, date and place of birth, previous marriage, divorce, etc. names and ages of children, if any.
You will also have to provide similar information about yourself as well as copies of birth, marriage, divorce and other records including a photocopy of your passport and every page (including blank pages) in it.
A financial statement and copies of bank and investment records as well a letter verifying employment to support the statement will also be required.
Finally, you will have to sign an affidavit promising to support your wife and any children she brings and promise not to apply for any public aid for them for at least ten years.
Get used to this affidavit as the USCIS collects these affidavits the way some people collect stamps and you will end up submitting these affidavits many times. As to whether they ever bother to read or enforce the affidavit, I have no idea.
Depending upon the volume of applications, it can take up to a few months for your application to be approved (not really approved but, rather, having the USCIS tell you that they do not object to allowing you to proceed to the next step - bureaucrats hate to commit to anything).
At this point you have to shift over to the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in your finance's home country to begin the visa process.
This will require the presentation of copies of records and an application from you to be sent to the State Department as well as your fiancée completing an application and submission of copies of more records as well as obtaining a report from her local police department showing no criminal past.
A medical exam by a U.S. Embassy approved local doctor is also required. She and her children will have to visit the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Counselor Office for an interview.
Expect to spend a couple of hundred dollars on fees here in the U.S. as well be prepared to send money to your fiancée for fees she will incur at her end.
The easiest way to send money is via Western Union but the fees are high.
I was able to add my fiancée to my credit union account and obtain an ATM card for her (by that time we were going to be married and I trusted her) however, this is no longer an option as the U.S. Patriot Act, whose rules took effect a few weeks after i did this, requires people to come to the bank and sign in person before opening or being added to an account at a U.S. financial institution.
Obtaining an extra ATM card on your account and sending it to her is not recommended.
Preparing to Come to the United States
In our case there were no exit requirements imposed by her government.
She had full custody of her children and current Russian passports (in Russia, like many countries, everyone is required to have a passport that is used for both internal identification as well as foreign travel).
However, depending upon the country, there may be applications and fees to pay in before your fiancee is able to leave their country and immigrate to the United States.
After completing the filing of the application for a visa you wait until your fiancée gets a phone call or letter instructing her to come and pick up her visa.
Up to this point, except for your trip to visit your fiancée, your costs have been fairly low. As I pointed out before, phone calls and mail are relatively inexpensive and there is not a much you can do other than talk and write to each other.
Fees for the application process run $200 or less, so, unless you have an attorney doing the work, there are very few expenses. But now things change.
At this point you are in a period where you and your fiancée know she will be coming soon but don't know when.
She may have a lease to cancel and may have to quit her job.
My wife was a school teacher and received notice of her final processing just before school started - her employer gave her the choice of quiting before school started or teaching the full year.
She quit, but that meant that I now had to provide support as, without her teaching job she had no way to support her and her two children while they waited for the visa to come to the United States.
Once she is given the visa you have to purchase plane tickets for her and her children.
Helpful Tools and Sources of Information
Phone Cards - email is great but, so long as you and your fiancée speak the same language, the telephone is useful second tool for communication. For Americans, overseas phone calls are inexpensive.
If your long distance carrier does not offer any deals for overseas calling, then I recomment that you go online and buy a phone card.
These can be as low as one cent per minute but read the terms carefully as some round up to the nearest minute or more, have a call charge plus the per minute charge, deduct a fee every week or so, etc. But there are some that are good for 6 months or so and only charge for minutes used. Just do a Google search for Phone Cards and you will find hundreds of services.
In most non-western countries wages are low and overseas phone calls very expensive (even by American standards and our incomes are much higher). Therefore, you should not expect your fiancée to call you. Instead you should always call her as calling you could place a real financial burden on her.
If you and your fiancée do not speak the same language there are services that provide translators when you call. These are obviously more expensive but you will have to find a way to communicate in person some time. Google foreign fiancée telephone translation to find such services.
Sending Money Abroad - It is generally not a good idea to send money to a person you have just met on a foreign dating site.
There are many scams where foreign women claim to be looking for a husband in the U.S. or other western countries but are really involved in scams to get money. If the woman asks for money for some emergency (such as a sick relative) shortly after you make contact, she is probably part of a scam.
However, at some point you will have to decide whether or not to trust her. I first sent money when I was preparing to visit my then fiancée. She emailed me and said that she had found a 3 day, 2 night package bus tour to St. Petersburg that included hotel, bus tickets, museum tickets and meals for the equivalent of U.S. $90 each.
It was a great deal from my perspective but was the equivalent of two months pay for her, so I sent her the $180 to buy the tickets. When it came time for her to get ready to come to the U.S. I sent her money for her and her children to travel to Moscow for the interview at the U.S. Embassy, for the required medical exam and some other expenses related to obtaining her visa.
For Russia, the only way I could send money was via Western Union - they are fast, efficient and have offices in practically every city. For other countries PayPal may be a cheaper alternative but check first as, in many counties (Russia being one of them), PayPal can be used to make payments but not to receive money.
Don't send cash as it will more than likely end up in the pocket of some postal worker or customs officer (it is also illegal in some countries to send cash in the mail).
Checks may not be a good option because of difficulty in cashing - one friend of my wife's received a check from her fiancé in Australia. The bank took the check, wrote a letter to the Australian bank asking if it was good and mailed it with the check.
When the Australian bank returned the check verifying that the funds were on deposit, the Russian bank processed it and, when the funds cleared called the women to come and get her money. Three months after first presenting the check, the woman got her money less a substantial service charge for the special handling.
Packages and Snail Mail Letters - during our courtship I used the U.S. Postal Service to send an occasional letter with photographs (I sent a lot of digital photographs as well but while she could view them she had no way to print them) as well as some small gifts.
In addition to the U.S. Postal Service, UPS, FedEx and other services will deliver packages quickly and for reasonable prices.
Many foreign dating sites also offer services that deliver things like flowers, candy, etc. to your fiancée. With the growth of eCommerce and the Internet more and more companies, like Amazon.com, are expanding operations abroad and can be used to purchase and deliver gifts.
As to the wedding, it can be difficult to plan since the visa is not issued until the paper work is processed and that time can vary considerably. Once the paperwork is processed and approved, a visa is issued and is good for entry into the U.S. for a period of about 6 months. The 45 day rule for staying here starts as soon as an immigration officer at the U.S. port of entry stamps her visa and says "Welcome to the U.S."
Realistically, you have to plan on planning and having the wedding once the 45 day period starts. Also, I don't think she can leave and re-enter the U.S. on the K-1 visa.
If your fiancée is from a first world country (an economically developed nation like Canada, Western Europe, Australia, etc.) she can come here and visit you as a tourist prior to receiving the K-1 visa. Any family members who can afford the trip can also come for the wedding.
However, if your fiancée is not from a first world country but from a third world country (which includes most of the world) it will be nearly impossible for her to visit as a tourist legally and, if she comes here illegally and is caught, she will probably never be allowed to return under any circumstances.
If such a woman's family wishes to come to the U.S. for the wedding they will have to get tourist visas which can take a while and, in most cases, only male members, married couples and their children will be issued visas. Unmarried adult women will more than likely be denied a visa (Uncle Sam assumes that their real purpose in coming is to find a husband and stay so they are barred).
One possible way around this is to use the fact that marriage is both a civil and a religious affair. In most Western nations a couple has a civil ceremony before a magistrate and then a religious ceremony in a church.
The general exception is the tradition in Great Britain and her former colonies (including the U.S.) where clergymen are allowed to function as both an officer of the state (despite the First Amendment's separation of church and state) and as a representative of the church, thereby combining the civil and religious ceremonies into one.
I think this is still a loophole whereby you could have the civil ceremony in the U.S. followed by a religious ceremony in your wife's country once she obtains temporary residence status and is free to travel abroad. But check this out before attempting it.
A problem arose with our marriage. Not having any family here, we just took our children and went to the local justice of the peace and, again after filling out papers, were married within 5 minutes.
But the question arose as to how I should tell the government about this. In one of my many trips to the local USCIS office before my fiancée came here I was told that she would receive a packet of instructions upon arrival at the airport.
However, all they did was stamp her passport and wave her in. We received nothing in the mail and, with the clock ticking, I became concerned. After a number of phone calls I was finally directed to a new area of the USCIS website where I found the necessary forms and instructions.
By now the 45 day deadline was about three weeks away and as I read through the instructions for completing the forms I discovered that I not only had to submit a separate packet (the completed government forms plus copies of all relevant documents) for my wife and each of her children (except for the name at the top of the application form, the packets were identical and consisted of about twenty pages of paper each - mostly copies of documents), but also had to include a $500 check with each packet.
After completing the forms, attaching all the required copies and making copies for my records, I took the packets to the USCIS office on the south side of town during my lunch hour and they promptly rejected the packets for the two children pointing out that I needed a separate, notarized affidavit promising to support all three of them and keep them off welfare for ten years.
That was three identical original affidavits each applying to all three of them. This required a trip to my credit union on the north side of town. I returned and all three packets were accepted.
As of this writing, and we still haven't completed the full permanent residence process, let alone the citizenship process. However, the USCIS now has a total of ten original affidavits from me promising/swearing not to let my wife and her two children go on welfare.
At this point I was able to start tracking the progress of the application on the Internet although most of the time all I learned was that the applications were pending.
Finally, in late March (my wife had arrived in mid-September and the application for residency had been filed 45 days later) I finally got through on the telephone to the USCIS (there are no published numbers for the local office and all calls are by 800 number to Missouri for this step of the process and different 800 numbers for other parts of the process) to see what was holding things up.
The answer was that they were backlogged. However, upon further questioning I learned that if the processing took more than 90 days, you could file a separate application, and pay an additional $170 fee, for a work permit.
I submitted this and my wife received a work authorization card on a Tuesday in mid-May. We checked the help wanted ads and I took her around placing job applications when I got home from work. She was hired immediately and started work the following Monday.
My stepdaughter and stepson received their green cards shortly after my wife. Both can now work and drive a car and my daughter is close to graduating from college.
We are currently enjoying the two year lull between their receiving their temporary residence and waiting to start the process for permanent residence. Come spring we will have to plunge back into the bureaucratic swamp and begin working our way through the last two stages of the process.
My Wife's Long Trip to Her New Home With Me
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: Can my fiance from Russia be able to bring her nine-year-old and three-year-old children with her if she is granted a K-1 visa before we are married and at the wedding?
Answer: Your finance will have to check with Russian authorities about whether she can take children to the U.S. with her. At a minimum, she will probably have to have sole custody of the children. If she is allowed to bring her children with her to the U.S., I believe she will still need to apply U.S. authorities for K-2 visas for each of them.
© 2006 Chuck Nugent
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on November 15, 2018:
Stephen Owen scot - I'm glad you enjoyed the Hub and hope it was of help to you. As to advice, the purpose of the Hub was to both share my experience with the Fiancée Visa process and provide a general guide to the process. The Hub was written in 2006 so some of the processes and regulations may be different from what I experienced. The U.S. Customs and Immigration Website is a great tool but you should visit or call the USCIS field office in your area when you have questions about your specific situation (the USCIS is similar to the IRS in that the law is so complex that the policy is that if staff give you incorrect information the result is your problem and not the agency's which is why I always recommend that people seek the advice of a good immigration attorney whenever you are unsure as to how to proceed with the next step. Even though the woman you are dating has a tourist visa you should still follow the Fiancée visa process as that is the path for permanent residence (green card) and citizenship (I met a couple recently who did not use the Fiancée process and ended up having to spend part of the year abroad and part in the U.S. as a result). Also wait to get married until after she receives the Fiancée visa. When I went through the process, marrying abroad was a different and more complicated immigration process than marrying in the U.S. with the Fiancée Visa. Finally, I recommend that you start process immediately as immigration in general is a hot political topic at the moment and when Congress decides to change and update the immigration laws some classes of immigration statuses, including the Fiancée Visa class and you may find that this option is ends up being radically changed or even eliminated as an immigration path.
Stephen Owen scot on November 15, 2018:
Yes sir I want to thank you for your information I find it very helpful I have started dating a lady from Mexico she has tourist visa now but we know we love each other very much can you give me any advice on helping me to bring her to be with me thank you again and for your consideration
A3 on September 29, 2018:
I've found the love of my life and i couldn't ne happier with eachother my mother and father approves of him but i can't afford to go to him and he cant afford to come to me what do i do? Chuck Nugent help?
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on June 24, 2018:
Keith Ashley - Thank you for visiting my HubPage.
While some of the forms and processes described in my Hub have changed since I published it, I believe that the K-1 Visa program is still in effect.
I am not an attorney and also don't know your particular situation so can only give you some general suggestions. I suggest that you look up the K-1 Visa on the U.S. Customs & Immigration Services website (uscis.gov) and check out the K-1 visa requirements. I believe that the website still has 800 telephone numbers where you can call with questions as well as, if there is one in your area, visit one of their field offices to speak with one of their staff.
I will warn you that, like the IRS, the policy of the USCIS is that the law is too complicated for the staff to fully understand so if they inadvertantly give you incorrect information any action taken by you based upon their information is your problem and not theirs. So if you are unsure as to how to proceed you should seek the services of a good immigration lawyer.
Good luck and I hope your efforts result in a happy marriage.
Keith Ashley on June 04, 2018:
how hard is it to bring somebody from Ghana to United States if you want to marry them
Dennis Minidis on April 19, 2018:
I do not usually post but felt compelled to do so after reading your article, I have been corresponding with a wonderful Ukrainian woman for 2 months. I will be visiting her and her family at the end of June. I will formally propose to her then, she and I have been researching this process but none have answered our questions more thoroughly than your article. Thank you so very much for sharing so much valuable information with us!! Wish us luck ))
Caroline on December 18, 2017:
Hi I've met my boyfriend, who is deployed to Afghanistan and is in the U.S. military. I'm in Ireland and he's asked me to marry him. He told me he has to put my name on army documents as he wants to move to Ireland upon his retirement next year but also keep a house in the U.S. He told me I might hear from the D.O.D. What should I expect?
Paula Cavalcante on December 17, 2017:
Hello, i am Brazilian And since last year i am in a relationship with a American soldier. He is coming to spend Christmas And New year here. He already asked my Hand in marriage And wants Marry with me in Usa. Since he is a soldier And i am Brazilian Will be hard?
Leonel Zelaya on November 18, 2017:
Hello, I read on the USCIS K-1 application process that you must be able to prove that you know your fiancee at least two years. was that a question you had to prove as well? Thank you!
Nnini on November 13, 2017:
This was very helpful. I am just terrified, wondering if I will adapt living in the US, 8 000 miles from my family and friends. One of those difficult decisions to make, I guess it's also the fear of the unknown
Kira on October 29, 2017:
This article was very helpful for me and even comforted me because my fiance and I are planning for him to come to Trinidad to the USA. I wish you the best on you and your wife's future!
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on August 25, 2017:
Ron - Is your girlfriend coming to the U.S. on a fiancée visa or some other type of U.S. visa?
The last time I checked, you have to initiate the fiancée visa process and the process includes you having to provide a financial statement proving you have the means to support her, sign an affidavit promising not to have her go on public assistance for ten years (i.e., you, not the welfare system, will provide for her) and purchase a round trip ticket for her. The visa also requires that you marry her within 45 days of her arrival or she is sent back using the return portion of the ticket.
Tourist and other types of visas have other requirements and having $1,500 in cash for expenses is probably one of these.
However, this sounds like a scam to me. If this is a serious relationship you should go and visit her rather than her seeking cash from you to finance her trip to the U.S. By going to visit her you will have a chance to meet and get to know her and have a chance to decide if this is a relationship you want to invest in. If this is a scam she will probably cease contact with you immediately and look for someone else for her scam. However, if this is a serious relationship she will probably welcome the chance to have you visit her in Russia.
Good luck and, in this stage of a long distance relationship like this use your brain rather than your heart when making financial decisions.
Ron on August 25, 2017:
My girlfriend wants to come to US. She explains that getting her VISA has the requirement she have about $1,500 in hand for food, houseing, whatever needs she may have. What are the facts for a Russian girl to be approved? She says the biggest approval and requirements come from our federal government. Help!
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on August 10, 2017:
Guvnacheetah - sorry for your plight. Unfortunately I don't have any suggestions for finding the money other than using your savings or some type of bank loan if you qualify. I wish you luck.
Guvnacheetah on August 10, 2017:
Great article, Sir! My intended is in Ukraine. I have been to Kiev once four years ago. My first Ukrainian love had a nervous breakdown after four years of long distance love after both her parents passed in close succession and then the war broke out in 2014. When she came out of it, she wrote me to find someone else because she lost interest in sex. That was difficult, but due to the power of the inet and dating sites, I struck-up communication with another lovely lady and soul. My main obstacle to a quick importation is MONEY and my thought is fundraising for my travel and those expenses you describe. Do you have any ideas on where I can seek funding for this loving mission, please? Would crowdfunding work? Special programs? I am sixty-three years young, by the way. Thank you.
Catherine on May 08, 2017:
I am french and fell in love 3 years ago on Internet with a wonderful American man. I already spent 1 year in the states with him coming back to France within the limit of my esta (90 days) and also stayed several more times for 2 or 3 weeks. We want to marry, and as i am actually in the States with him we are looking for the best way to do it, making sure that I will be authorized to come again without any problem. Would you please be kind enough to provide us your best advices. Many thanks in advance. Best Regards.
Lowell on April 13, 2017:
My Russian girlfriend is coming, so you're saying I shouldn't just marry her here first? Lowell@speakeasy.net
michael tyler on February 02, 2017:
that was quite instructing reading material. i also have met a sweet lady of 40 years old never been married hasn't ever had any children. she is from Cebu in the Philippines. we met threw a dating site called Tagged many months ago. like all country's they have there on crazy rule's to go by. i honestly think if your a mature person over the age of 21 and have no prior Criminal history then you should be the one to make the decision were it is you want to live or be married to. i think some of uncle Sam is in co hoots with other country's to screw people out of the time and mostly hard errand money.
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on January 07, 2017:
Ryan - Thank you for visiting my Hub and for your comment.
As to your question about support groups for those who meet and marry someone from abroad, I am not aware of such groups but wouldn't be surprised to find that some exist either in person at the local level or virtual.
My advice with regard to disappointment and scammers is first to go into the relationship with open eyes and a clear idea as to what type of values, desires, goals, etc you are looking for in a spouse. This, of course, is also good advice for someone seeking a spouse locally, but it can be of help in avoiding scams in your search abroad.
Second, do your research. There are plenty of articles and websites on the Internet describing scams and how to avoid them as well as some articles and websites (some by foreign brides who have found husbands on the Internet and are now living happily in their new country and giving advice to men who are seeking brides abroad) giving general insight as to what women legitimately seeking a foreign husband are looking for.
As to avoiding being scammed keep in mind the old adage “when something appears to be too good to be true it probably is”. The first piece of advice everyone offers is to avoid responding to requests for money regardless of the sad or other stories you may be given.
As the relationship develops you can find some small, inexpensive, ways to test her either by responding to a reasonable request for money or doing something like offering to send her money to call you – calling Russia or Ukraine from the U.S. is cheap but calling from these countries is both considerably more expensive per minute and relatively very expensive compared to incomes in those nations. Don’t mail cash or checks as cash will probably be stolen by postal or customs workers and foreign personal or even bank checks are almost impossible to cash. Western Union, while expensive, is probably the best way to send money to these nations.
Communicate and develop a relationship. While my case was pretty much a “love at first sight” experience for both of us, we communicated almost daily by email as well as sending a couple of letters and small packages to each other and calling (I called her for reasons state above but gave her my telephone number as a gesture of good faith) and talking for an hour or more almost every Saturday night. I would be very suspicious if, following some email correspondence, a woman refuses to share her phone number or address.
Finally, fly over and visit her before making marriage plans. In my case, U.S. customs and immigration both required me to visit (and prove it with copies of plane tickets and photos of us in Russia) her before letting me apply for the Fiancée Visa. Further, at that time, regulations made it very difficult for single women from nations like Russia to visit the United States. These regulations seem to have been changed and women from these nations can now visit the U.S. However, I feel that meeting and visiting her in her environment is a good way to see if the relationship is real or a scam.
One fellow I know lost over $1,000 on a scam involving paying for an airline ticket for his supposed fiancée to visit him in the U.S. After failing to do much what I described above in terms of verification, he wired money to this woman to enable her buy a ticket to fly to the U.S. to meet him. He could have obtained a better deal by buying a plane ticket for her himself but was told that “regulations” forbid that. He was also asked to send some additional money for special “taxes” needed for the ticket. The final straw was a request that he send another fairly large sum to pay for additional fees at the airport as a result of her forgetting to bring a certain travel document with her. At that point he finally realized the whole thing was a scam and walked away.
With the low cost air fares available today it would also be a good idea to bring her over for a visit and chance to meet your family and friends. However, given the costs of plane tickets relative incomes in Russia and Ukraine you will probably be in a better position financially to purchase her ticket. This, of course would be in addition to the cost of moving her, and children if she has them, to the U.S. later to marry you.
Meeting and marrying my wife was the best thing that has happened to me. In addition to a wonderful wife, I also got two more great children (in addition to the 2 I already had from a previous marriage) as well as some wonderful in-laws in Russia.
So, best wishes and I hope things work out as well for you as they have for me.
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on January 05, 2017:
Claudio - Thanks for visiting my Hub and for your comment.
As to your questions, I am not a lawyer so my answers will be based upon my experience 16 years ago so you will have to consult with an immigration lawyer or Customs and Immigration officer for your questions. However, I can share from my experience to give you ideas for questions to ask when seeking professional assistance in your desire to bring your fiancee to the United States.
If your financee is planning to come over and marry you in the U.S. then you would want look into a fiancee visa. If she is just coming to visit and meet your family a tourist visa should be ok.
As to your age difference I am not aware of any age restrictions for adults marrying in the United States. However, the Ukraine may have laws or regulations restricting young adult women from going abroad to marry older men.
Finally, as to marrying in the Ukraine check with the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (it is a part of the Homeland Security Dept and there are offices in many cities throughout the U.S.) as when my wife and I married there were more complex rules and a much longer process for bringing a foreign spouse to live in the U.S. than bringing a fiancee and marrying in the U.S. One way around this if you are planning to get married in a church would be to bring your Fiancee to the U.S. on a Fiancee Visa and get married by a judge at your local courthouse. Then go to Ukraine and get married in a church wedding. Marriage is both a civil and religious process. In the United States most clergy are licensed by their respective state government to perform marriages on behalf of their state so when marrying in a church the clergy performing the marriage marries the couple on behalf of both the church and the state. In most other nations couples go before a government official for the civil marriage and then go to a church for the religious part of the marriage. A civil marriage in the U.S. followed by a church marriage in the Ukraine would satisfy both the civil legal requirements for the U.S. and your fiancee's family's desire for the marriage to be in the Ukraine.
Aaron Anyane Kyamasi on December 25, 2016:
Hi, I really like your article. I am a Ghanaian and I got hooked up wife a U. S citizen. We haven't met in person before. I asked her to come over but because of her three kids, she cannot make it. I will like to know if she can file for me to go to her on the fiancee Visa? If yes, how authentic will it be?
Ryan on December 17, 2016:
Do you know of any support groups and or groups for those who have married and or are in the process of getting married to a foreigner in the states(virtually or in real life)?
It looks as you got married almost ten years ago and as someone who is interested in marrying a foreign bride(Russian/Ukrainian) I would love to talk virtually or in person with others who have had success. Per some articles I've read there is a lot more scamming going on nowadays vs. ten or more years ago.
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on November 29, 2016:
Ivan - you can travel on a tourist to visit your fiancee in the U.S. As far as applying for the visa I believe that your fiancee would have to apply for the K-1 visa as she is the U.S. citizen wanting to bring you to the U.S. to marry. I suggest that you or your fiancee check with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service on the current rules regarding K-1 visas. When my fiancee/now wife and I did this in 2002 I was required to first visit her in Russia (at that time tourist visas for citizens of Russia and other Third World nations were rarely granted - so she couldn't come to the U.S. to visit me - these rules have now been liberalized) and then apply for a K-1 Visa and bring her over here. I believe the rules have changed somewhat which is why I suggest that you make some inquiries first and then make your travel and marriage plans based on the current rules. Good luck and I wish you and your fiancee happiness.
claudio on November 25, 2016:
Hello, I met my fiance online and I recently come back from the Ukraine from visiting her. Prior to my trip, we chatted for about 3 months and during my visit there we fall in love. I would like to know if a tourist visa is better or fiance visa a better option. She wants to come and meet my family and see the USA, but we want to get marry in the Ukraine because of her family. I was told that age could be and issue and I bring this up because I am 44 and she is 28. thanks
Ivan on November 07, 2016:
I am British citizen and my fiancee is US citizen.
Please can you tell me can I go there to visit her on tourist visa and than we can apply for fiancee visa there and then or I have to go back and go through the process.
I know that I can go there with tourist visa for 6 months. At that time we can collect many pictures.
Or would be better to apply first for K-1 visa and then travel to the US
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on August 24, 2016:
Etete - From your comment I assume that your fiance is an American citizen/legal resident and that you are in the process of applying for a K-2 visa. I am also assuming that the 90 days is either the period in which you have to use the visa to come to the U.S. or the period after arrival in which you have to get married and submit a request for a change of status. When my then fiancee received her K-2 visa we had a time period of about 90 days or so to arrange her travel and move to the U.S. before the Visa expired. Once she arrived we had 45 days in which to get married and then file a change of status request (with the evidence of marriage) to change her status from K-2 visa status to temporary residence status.
Since these rules frequently change, I suggest that you contact the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where you are residing or the nearest U.S Immigration center if you are in the U.S. to get specific answers to your questions.
Etete on August 02, 2016:
Good day, I have been to the united States twice in two years , I wish to get married soon, how true is it that I have to wait for 90 days before I can get married or submit my application for change of status ?
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on October 14, 2015:
I suggest that you first check to see if the third world nation where you have your money has any restrictions (currency controls) on transferring money out of the country. You might also want to check with an accountant and/or lawyer in he U.S. regarding how U.S. tax law will affect your tax status when you bring your money to this country,
Tse ring on July 02, 2015:
I want to ask if there is a way to bring all my earning to us from third world country . since now I'm planning to live with my wife in us after I receive my immigrant visa. And whom to consult is the best.
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on March 21, 2015:
John Cline - I'm glad you enjoyed this Hub.
I don't know what your financial situation is and, since I completed the process over a decade ago (I published the Hub in 2006) I am not sure what the current financial requirements are. When I applied I had a regular full time job and decent income however, I did have a lot of bills due to having spent a number of years previously working part time and free lance jobs while raising my two young sons and changing careers following the collapse of the Savings & Loan industry where I had previously been employed. I submitted an honest financial statement with the affidavits of financial support for my wife and 2 step children to be. These were accepted (and probably not read, at least to closely, by the bureaucrats who received them). If I hadn't felt that I could support all six of us I wouldn't have gone looking for a foreign bride. However, we both knew from the start that we would have to tighten our belts and work hard which is what we did and none of us, including our 4 children, ever expressed regret over my wife's and my decision to marry.
If you can't afford to go ahead with bringing your fiancée here and marrying her then you should not go ahead with your plans. However, if both of you feel you can afford the marriage and are willing to make necessary sacrifices I say go ahead and submit the affidavits and supporting financial documents and don't worry about what some bureaucrat might think. If you want some ideas for frugal living, many Hubbers have published lots of great advice on how to make financial ends meet and enjoy life on a tight budget.
Good luck and I hope things work out well for you and your fiancée.
John Cline from Loudon, Tennessee on March 04, 2015:
If I don't make enough money to be a sponsor because I have 3 dependents and she has two small children is their any way around it that would be seven. And can I just sign something saying we won't get government assistance? She's in South Africa, I'm in the us. Enjoyed your article so much. Thanks John
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on October 29, 2014:
Michal Kolman - is your partner coming to the U.S. on a K-1 Fiancée Visa or some other type of Visa? You say that you are not planning to get married for another year, so how do you know that your partner will be working in another city (or, if your partner will not be working why would you be living apart from your partner?)
If you are going to be bringing your partner to the U.S. on a K-1 visa the assumption is that you are going to marry right away as the visa is only good for a limited time (when my wife came over her visa was only good for 45 days and we had to marry within that time or she and her children would have been sent back to Russia).
If your partner is coming over on a K-1 Visa I suggest that you consult with a good immigration attorney to make sure that the address and working situation your are describing is legal.
Michal on October 10, 2014:
Thanks for a great article. I plan on doing the marriage thing next year. But I was wondering - although having one official address in San Francisco, is it legally possible that practically, both me and my partner work in different cities (e.g. Seattle and Los Angeles)?
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on August 21, 2014:
Elma – It sounds like you really like this fellow and that you are approaching the relationship realistically and with a degree of caution. This could be a great thing for both of you but my advice is to continue with caution.
Since he is still on parole there may be some restrictions on his ability to obtain a fiancée visa for you. Also, does he have a steady job and able to support you? Again before getting the visa he will have to provide evidence that he has a job and can support you. Understand that it may take a few weeks or more before you can get a green card and, even then, the California economy is not that good and suffering from high unemployment so finding a job yourself may take a while.
Also, is your chatting via the Internet or have you spoken with each other on the telephone? Phone cards are very inexpensive now days making international calling very affordable. Has he told you about his friends and family and what life would be like with him in California? Do you know what is crime was and if he has had other trouble with the law?
Before my wife came to the U.S. and we married, we had communicated daily via email, had long telephone conversations practically every Saturday evening and had exchanged a few letters via regular mail. I had also, as was required in those days, traveled to Russia and had spent two weeks visiting her there so we knew each other quite well before she came to the U.S. and married me. We were, and still are, very much in love, but each of us still proceeded with a degree of caution as moved ahead with our relationship and plans.
Meeting and marrying my wife was the best thing that ever happened to me and I hope things work out as well for you and you man in California.
Rahman linkon on August 09, 2014:
It was kinis that you did replay and thank you for taking time.
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on August 09, 2014:
Rahman Linkon - Sorry for the delay but pressures from my regular jo have kept me from checking HubPages the past few days.
My wife and I never considered the marrying abroad route but I do recall in my research running across a couple of articles about problems some non U.S. citizens encountered when they married an American abroad and then tried to move to the U.S. with their American spouse. Again, I did not research this angle and there have been changes to the process in the years since I brought my fiancée to the U.S. and married her.
For starters I suggest you go to the uscis.gov page and type "bringing foreign spouse to U.S." - this will give you some information and links to the forms needed. Since you have to file the paperwork with a local U.S. Consulate or Embassy, it might be worth a trip to the nearest consulate or embassy where you might be able to meet with some one and get information on your specific situation.
As to substituting your income for your finance's lack of sufficient income that would be a question to ask one of the employee's in the visa section of the consulate.
Good luck and I hope things work out for you.
Rahman linkon on July 27, 2014:
That was really quick response.
We would talk to the solicitor but we are just fingering out in asvance.
Would it help if we get married in Italy and can I show my income instead?
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on July 27, 2014:
Rahman Linkon - When your girlfriend applies for a fiancée visa to bring you to the United States she is agreeing to sponsor and support you. If she doesn't have an income sufficient to support herself and you I doubt that a visa will be issued.
When I brought my fiancée and her two children over I not only had to provide financial statements but also had to sign separate affidavits for each of them. In the affidavit I not only swore,. under oath, that my financial statement was true and accurate but also agreed to support them and not apply for any public assistance for them for at least 10 years.
As far as alternatives to your girlfriend having a job and sufficient income (and it doesn't have to be a "huge" income) I don't know of any. My suggestion is that you consult an immigration lawyer for information and advice regarding possible alternative options.
Rahman linkon on July 27, 2014:
I'm a Bangladeshi citizen living in Italy .My girlfriend is an American student and we decided to live together over there.Now she's unable to sponsor a fiancé visa Because she's a student and doesn't earn enough.We don't want to apply in quota system as well.
Is there any other way to avoid showing that huge income?
Elma Cabreros on July 25, 2014:
Hi there, I don't know if you're still active till now, but i'm Elma from Philippines, i am in a relationship with a parolee man from California for 6 months now. I know it's too early for us to come up to any decision or plans for our relationship. But to tell you honestly, we're really open to each other, and since the day we started chatting we are really talking about our future. He's not totally free yet, since he still needs to spend like 3 years doing some things that he needs to do while he's still on parole. He really wants me to be there with him, the soonest and not just wait for that 3 more years till he'll be completely free. Just want to ask or seek any advice. Your immediate response will be highly appreciated. Thanks!
Wi// on July 12, 2014:
im talking with a wonderful girl from thailand...i have met her brother here...im thinking of doing this,nervous but figured its worth a shot!...I appreciate your words of wisdom on the situation at hand!!!!but the quick and easy way does not seem to exist on relationship status ...the U.S. just makes it to hard for great people to get together!
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on May 06, 2014:
mclarenfam316 - When I brought my fiancée over ten years ago, marrying abroad and filing for an immigrant visa was very complex and time consuming. I assume there have been changes since then but, based upon what you wrote, it appears that the marrying abroad and getting an immigrant visa is still slower and more complex than applying for the K-1.
As to marrying abroad unofficially and then filing for a K-1 visa, I would consult with an immigration attorney before doing this. Again, when I was preparing to bring my fiancée to the U.S. K-1 visas were for fiancees only, not spouses.
Depending upon your fiancee's country and religion you might be able to have a church wedding in her country and then bring her over on a K-1 visa and have a civil marriage in the U.S. PROVIDED her country requires that couples go before a civil magistrate or other public official in order to be legally married and then have a second ceremony by a clergyman in a church. In the U.S. clergy are licensed by their respective state of residence which allows them to legally perform marriages in that state. In this way, getting married by a clergyman in a church satisfies both the legal and religious requirements with a single marriage ceremony. Again, I would consult with a good immigration attorney before dong this.
My best to you and your fiancée.
libbey61283 on May 01, 2014:
Thank you Chuck for the very detailed explanation about the whole process. Congrats on you Love Life.
mclarenfan316 on May 01, 2014:
Thanks a lot. This is very detailed and really helps
I have been doing a lot of research and I am debating between marrying my fiancée in her country and filing for an immigrant visa vs filing a K1 visa. It looks like the K1 visa is the fastest option? do you suggest I go with a K1 option? also I plan to marry her there( unofficially) and then file for K1 visa. So we will officially not be married. Is this the right way to go about it?
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on February 25, 2014:
Anthony - try having your fiancée check with the local authorities in Russia to see if there is some way around this such as using the phone number of a friend or neighbor.
Also, on my first trip (where I did stay with my then fiancée but she had a telephone in her apartment) and our recent trip to visit her parents (we stayed in a hotel on that trip) she had to send me a letter of invitation the first time and on our recent trip her parents had to send us a letter of invitation which, in each case, was submitted with the visa application (the U.S. is apparently requiring the same thing for visits by family/friends and we have to provide such a letter for my brother-in-law when he comes to the U.S. to visit us).
Finally, when I first visited my then fiancée a decade ago I was able to apply for the visa by mail (the nearest consulate is in another state) but for our trip a couple of years ago I was required to apply in person so I used the services of a passport/visa company and they took care of the paperwork and the fee was reasonable. There are a number of companies that provide this type of service. I used a national outfit called Travel Visa Pro because they had an office in San Francisco where the Russian Consulate closest to where I live is located.
I hope this is of help and have a good trip.
Anthony on February 22, 2014:
I am going to Russia and trying to get my visa. The visa requires a phone number for my fiancé because I will be staying with her. She does not have a phone so what do I do?
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on February 18, 2014:
ruth - It doesn't seem to me that it would be a problem but I suggest that you check with the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service or an immigration lawyer as the rules change frequently. Also, while marrying a U.S. citizen may not affect your current visa status it might affect your immigration status if you are planning to become a U.S. citizen. If you are planning to apply for U.S. citizenship it would be a good idea to check to see if changing you visa status from your current visa to a fiancée visa would be a better tactic than your current visa status. I don't know the answer to this so I suggest that you check with the authorities or an attorney before you marry.
Anthony on February 10, 2014:
Thank you very much for the information about Western Union.
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on February 08, 2014:
Deny - My wife and I use the Western Union money service to send her parents in Russia some money at Christmas and on their birthdays. There is a fee which, compared to other alternatives, is somewhat expensive but it is legal, safe and convenient as I am able to use my computer to make the transfer from our bank account to my account with the Western Union service.
When my wife and I visit Russia I use my bank ATM card for cash needs and one of my credit cards, which doesn't have additional charges for foreign transactions, for the rest of my spending. I have considered sending my in-laws a prepaid debit/ATM card which we could reload from where we live. This would be less expensive but I couldn't get them to believe such transactions were possible let alone teach them how to perform such a transaction using a machine.
Anthony on February 03, 2014:
Do you know of a safe way of sending money to Russia?
ruth on February 03, 2014:
good day! i just wanna ask you something, i been to the US many times like almost every month because of worki have 10 yrs visa, i live in Canada as permanent residence, and enganged almost a year with my US citizen fiancé, and planning to get married this april in the US is there any problem getting married in the US with my status?
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on January 24, 2014:
Neil - When I first went to visit my then fiancée in Russia I was able to contact a Russian Consulate (which was in another state) for the visa application papers which then filled out and submitted with my passport and the fee which I think was about $50.
However, when my wife and I decided to visit her parents a couple of years ago the rules had changed and visa applicants were no longer allowed to mail the application but had to submit them in person. The fee had also increased to around $100.
However, there are passport and visa services that will do the legwork for you for a fee. I did a couple of Google searches and ended up using an outfit called Travel Visa Pro which was headquartered in the same city as the Russian Consulate closest to me. They, like similar companies, handle visa and passport applications for travelers. Before using them I did a little research to verify that they were legitimate as well as checked customer comments about them - except for a couple of complaints (things like people discovering they needed a visa a day or two before their flight complaining about the company not being able to get a visa for them in time).
They do charge a fee for the service but, as I recall, I paid somewhere around $150 which included the fee or the service, the charge for the visa (which had increased) and the delivery cost to send my passport and the visa back to me (it was either registered mail or FedEx, I forget which but it was more secure than simple first class mail).
Of course, if you live in a city where a Russian Consulate located, you can do this yourself and save the visa company's fee but you will probably have to make at least a couple of trips delivering the application and picking up the visa and expect to spend a while each time waiting in line.
Finally, if things work out and you end up marrying this woman, she will have to retain and keep her Russian passport current as Russia does not recognize the renunciation of Russian citizenship when a person does this abroad during the naturalization process for citizenship in their new country (Russian citizenship can be renounced but it must be done in Russia and it takes a few weeks or more visiting various offices and completing paperwork).. As a result, when we visit Russia my wife, is now an American citizen, cannot obtain a visa but must carry and show her Russian passport to get into Russia. So, when we travel there I have my American passport and Russian visa which she carries both her Russian and American passports and has to show her Russian passport when we enter and leave Russia.
Neil on January 23, 2014:
First I would like to thank you for the article, it was very helpful. This is the first time going through this process. I'm US citizen and I have been talking to someone from Asino, Russia and we have discuss our first meeting this summer. That said, I have never been to Russia and need to apply for visa. Can you give me some advice and pointers on getting a visa to enter Russia? I would appreciate it and thank you in advance.
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on January 21, 2014:
Mehdi - I suggest that you have your boyfriend contact U.S. Customs and Immigration Service office to inquire about starting the application process. He might also want to seek and retain the services of a lawyer who specializes in immigration law. I am not a lawyer and cannot comment on individual situations but a lawyer who is knowledgeable about you and your boyfriend's specific situation should be able to answer the questions you are asking as well as facilitating the process of obtaining a visa and emigrating to the U.S.
Mehdi on January 20, 2014:
Hi, I am from Morocco, and i wanna get married to my boyfriend, he is from USA, and i wanna know if i can get a visa and went there where he lives and get married with him, within the period i can stay legally in USA, then do i have to come back to Morocco or i can stay there in USA and live with him for the rest of our life. hope to hear from u, and thank u
matt on December 24, 2013:
Thank you very helpful ans hives me a place ro start.
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on December 04, 2013:
Rohi - Thank you for your comments. I am glad to hear that this Hub was of help to you in your situation. My wife and I have been married for ten years now and are very happy. Bringing her over here and marrying her was worth every bit of the effort that went into the immigration and naturalization process.
Rohi on December 03, 2013:
Your story and information is really helpful for me because I am in love with a guy from another country through the internet and we have been together since 2007. Due to certain complications,I wasn't sure if things would even work out with the visa. But thanks to you, I now have insight to how the future situation might be and how to approach it. I appreciate your post and how you wanted to help others with similar situations. Thank you Chuck! :) God bless you and your family. Hope all is well!
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on November 17, 2013:
Jill - I am not a lawyer and am not in a position to answer questions regarding individual situations. This Hub was intended to be a general guide for those seeking to bring a foreign fiancée to the U.S. to marry and was based om my personal experience and rules as they existed at the time I published the Hub in 2006. I included links to U.S. Customs and Immigration website for those seeking further information on the rules and processes
I suggest that you either check with the U.S. Embassy or nearest U.S. Consulate in Australia regarding your question or have your boyfriend check with a case officer at the nearest U.S. Customs and Immigration office in the U.S. or with an immigration lawyer. The rules in this area frequently change and I am not sure as to what they are now. At the time I wrote this Hub different visas were required depending upon whether a person was bringing a foreign fiancée to the U.S. to marry or bringing a foreign spouse to the U.S. to live. The process and rules were also different and I think were more stringent in the case of couples who married abroad.
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on October 08, 2013:
cherry - Based upon my experience, your finance will have to apply for a K-2 visa for your child. There also may be some approvals that you will need to get from the boy's father and the Philippine authorities before the visa would be approved and issued.
You probably consult with a lawyer in the Philippines as to the legal process for moving the child abroad and your finance should consult with an immigration lawyer in the U.S. about the K-2 visa requirements. While your U.S. finance will not be required to formally adopt your child, he will be financially responsible for the child if your son accompanies you to the U.S.
cherry on October 07, 2013:
My fiancée visa is in the processing now. I am a Filipino. My concern is about my child going with me. She is 7 years old now. I am not married but my child bringing the family name of his father. Is there any papers or documents that I need to prepare to make it legal of bringing my kid with me?
hongyan on May 20, 2013:
It's a great job you are doing.
francis5k on April 01, 2012:
very nice article it's helpful! good job!
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on March 28, 2012:
caseythomsen - check with your local USCIS office as the laws and regulations in this area are constantly changing. Eight years ago when I brought my fiancée over and married her in the U.S. the K-1 visa seemed to be easier and the preferred way. But I think things have changed and I don't think the K-3 Visa route is as rare and difficult now as it was then.
caseythomsen on March 28, 2012:
Hi Is it better to marry your fiancé in her country and then bring her back to the states using the K-3 visa or do the K-1 visa? casey
Jessicapotter24 from Los Angeles, California on March 13, 2012:
It was like watching a full- length movie! This narration would be definitely helpful to all those who are trying to get into the US through the fiancé visa. Very thoughtful of you to share this across!
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on March 09, 2012:
Katehtt - In the Hub above I explained that the fiancée visa is only good for a short period after arrival in the U.S. (as I recall, once issued the fiancée visa had to be used withing 6 months and upon arrival in the U.S. I think we had 45 days to marry and file the application for a change of status to allow her and her children to stay beyond the 45 day limit on the visa).
I found the necessary forms on the USCIS website (here is the link for the USCIS homepage http://www.uscis.gov) - I don't recall the name of the form or where it was on the USCIS site. The fee at the time I filed this form was $500 for my fiancée and $500 each for her children. I believe that this fee has increased since then.
If you can't find the form on the USCIS web page, visit the local office of the USCIS and they should be able to either give you the form or tell you where to find it. You can also hire an immigration attorney to steer you through the paperwork and the process.
As to working you have to wait until after the change of status is approved and a green card issued.
onlooker on March 05, 2012:
Wow, what a story, useful and informative. Surely you must have so much courage and determination. Reading this hub reminds me of those novels where you fall in love with a foreigner and go through all the trials and tribulations. I am so glad you guys made it. Cheers!!
katektt on March 04, 2012:
I am applying for my Fiancé visa in the next few weeks , I need to be in colorado by august for my son to start work .
I have seen my fiancé in the past few weeks and have my tickets and boarding passes etc . once in the USA what do we ghave to do next and what forms do i file when married and when can i work , i am at my whitts end with this 6 weeks of research and still no further forward .
when called the embassey ans usic my phone bill was $23 and no help .
i just want a step by step idiots guide for what forms i need to file and how much my medical and interview will cost .
lyn on February 22, 2012:
hi everyone, My fiancée and i have been together for awhile now and he lives in the US. I would want to ask if getting a fiancé visa requires that the US CITIZEN must be financially stable before he can bring his fiancé over to the US? Your answers will greatly help me. Thank you in advance..
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on February 18, 2012:
Thank you for the update. While I have made some minor updates to this Hub in the past few years, the Hub itself was written 5 years ago and things change regularly in the area of immigration rules.
Also, my focus in the Hub which was my experience with the K-1 visa for my then fiancée and the K-2 Visa for her two wonderful children who are also near and dear to me. I did not pay too close attention to the K-3 Visa requirements.
Also, because of America's past special relationship with the Philippine Islands which are a former American territory, there may be some different rules regarding the immigration of spouses from there.
Thanks again for visiting and for sharing your information.
Daniel on February 18, 2012:
You had a lot of good information in your article, but I fear that much of it is now outdated. I recently married a filipina and am in the process of her K3 Visa. I went over there and married her in the Phiippines and under new streamlined processes, to get married over there and then apply for her spousal visa is no different than applying for a fiancé visa. In fact our visa application only cost $420.00 and all of those forms and affidavits that you spoke of, were filed along with our first application. I will have to pay for her medical exam, but the process has been cut down to about 5-7 months total., and although I don't know if you could, now we can go online daily if we desire and see just where our application is in the process. Plus with the new K3, or CR2 spousal visas, they receive their work permit the minute they arrive in the country. Hope this helps any others that are starting the process. Foreign fiances and wives can also go onto facebook and find a group called Pretty Ladies, it is a closed group but they can get invited, and they are all women engaged to or married to foreigners, Mostly Americans. Have them check it out.
amethysmoore on February 17, 2012:
the main requirement for fiancé(e) visa is u have to get married within the 90 days requirement..
Brian on February 07, 2012:
Hey thanks for the info my friend. My girlfriend is Russian, I hold dual citizenship in both Sweden and USA... we are trying to decide where we belong, oh how I dread all the papers! It was heartwarming to hear your story go so smooth, I hope you all have a beautiful life!
rosebert on February 03, 2012:
Hi, I am a us citizen and I want to bring my fiancée who's curently living in spain to the us. We have not met within the two years that is needed for the visa, but we grow up together in Africa. I was adopted and was brought to the us in the year 2000 and ever since I have not gone back to my country. I got married and have two children but now I am divorced. My fiancée has been my best friend since childhood, after my divorce in 2009, I really wanted to go and visit him but I was hate with economic hardship single mom with two young children to support alone without child support. Now I want him to join us here in the us and I am praying that the us will give him the visa. If anybody has a suggestion please help me.
Thank You to all of You.
Tom on January 25, 2012:
I owe the government medical debt because I have no insurance when I was admitted to the hospital. Now I met someone in a foreigner country and would like to get marry. Will my medical debt to the government prevent me from bringing her to the united states?
andre on January 11, 2012:
Dear just a question My girlfriend is american I am from Brasil what if we get married in Brasil? How long I need wating for go to usa ?
or if she live while in Brasil exemplo 1 year ? how is the procedure for go to us ?
My relatives live in Japan japanese/brasilian so what we can do ?
kitt on December 30, 2011:
i really need to learn to proofread.. im sorry.. i guess im more upset than i thought.. and when that happends.. i seem to get some sort of computer dyslexia lol.. so please excuse all the spelling errors.. im really not as much of an idiot as it might seem lol thanks!
Kitt on December 30, 2011:
wow interesting read for sure! thanks!
Im planning on marrying the man of my dr eams.. im in the USA and he's in Australia.. he makes good money there working in the oil refinery business.. the more we look into all this the more aggitated we get.. trying to do the RIGHT thing.. seems to be more of a headache than doing what everyone else seems to do here (people that come to this country illegally and mooch off the system, but live here for years and years with no intentions of leaving) I myself am not working.. i lost my job in the post office due to downsizing and have been milking my unemployment being as though i cant seem to find a job that pays me what im use to (i was a corrections officer before that which i loved but lost that job unjustly because once again i did the right thing.. others did NOT) so right now and for the past year.. i didn't mooch off any welfare.. i took my unemployment since ive earned it my whole life working as a single mom.. but because im not working i cant afford to sponsor my boyfriend/fiancé.. and its hard to find sponsors that arent relatives.. they want one hell of alot of personal info.. and alot of people right now arent meeting the requirements of the 125% over poverty level with the amount of people on unemployment.. so he's over there in australia saving and selling his stuff off and working as much overtime as possible... starting to stress on him.. because out wen the family we planned on having.. too much of an expense.. were older.. age 40 for both of us... i had thought about moving there.. but once i got there.. i realized they are so far behind the times than we are over here in the usa that i didn't realize how much i was giving up to go there.. none the less having my mother giving me guilt and daughter not wanting to come there EVER to visit.. soi said i wasn't moving there and he agreed to move to the USA.. hes originally from England, so he's done it beofre.. at the age of about 20 something.. got married had a child.. now divorced 18 years later..his child off to college and m ine in her last year of highschool.. It s ure is BEautiful out there in Australia land.. but not for me to live..visit yes.. live no.. were not sure how were gonna get through all this with the sponsorship, or if theres a way around that.. being as though he;'s planning on bringing enough money here to have a place to stay for about 3 months adn buy a car etc.. but 6 months??? uggg! a work visa taking THAT long? isn't there a way to speed that up?? hes basically My support right now.. he send me money and puts it in my account directly from his.. we use s kype to talk and email and snail mail.. he's come here for a week.. and ive been there for 7 weeks.. tons of pictures, people that seen us together as a couple.. but usually it's the man that lives in the USA trying to get a wife here.. what if it's the other way around and the support comes from the man??? is there any way to get around this? we thought about him coming on a tourist visa when he planned on coming to watch my daughters cheerleading competition and getting married then him going home and us filling out the paper work for a spouse visa.. but that seems too complicated and even more risky.. im tired of the dictation of when i have to get marreid and how long i gotta wait and waiting for things to happen.. ive never ben marreid.. i dont want this dictated to me.. i want to plan a weddking.. have friends and family there to see it.. i dont know.. im just really disgusted by it all.. any suggestions would be greatly appreciated at this point.. i love him so much and i just want to live the fairy tale of happily ever after! please help
adriana09 on December 28, 2011:
Dear Chuck..I have a very important question....im 21 and 6 years ago i feel in love wid my fiancé from Honduras...He has been living in the United states illegaly for about 7 years and we now have a 2 year old son together...I really wish that he could get citizenship here wid me in the us...Im constanly am living in fear because i love him wid all my heart & he is a wonderful man and father to my son that we had together in 2009..im just worried that one day he will get caught by the immigration & have to get deported back...And i wouldn't want my son to be wid out hes father..it would brake my heart..So i really do need help and some advice...Im wanting to get married to him but do it in the right way..Should i go to hes country and get married up their first and then come back down here or can we just get married down here in the us since hes already here...without a visa??? please help...than u..Adriana..
Lisa on December 24, 2011:
Chuck, your article was very informative. I had a question. I met my fiance while studying for medicine in India. I am a US citizen and he is from India. I am 25 years old and we have been with each other for about 3 years. Currently I am not employed and preparing for my boards, thus being supported by my parents. We are planning to apply for the fiancé visa. Everything seems fine until we need to show evidence of financial support. Since I am being supported by my parents, would we be able to get the visa with financial support for him being from my parents? Or will that be a problem? Please help!!
Crazy in love on December 04, 2011:
If an American girl moved in with a Thai boy back in 1974 and lived as man and wife in Thailand for that whole year and part of 1975, then the American had to go back to the US and they could not find each other for almost THIRTY SEVEN YEARS ...but now have found each other again thanks to the internet, and the Thai man wants to come to the US to marry his lost love, and she wants it too more than anything....must they spend the money for an air ticket to meet that "we have to had seen each other within the past 2 years" law? Because believe me, No 2 people have ever loved each other more deeply and have for all those 3 and a half decades. They never fell out of love.NEVER. Neither of them. They were 19 and 20 when first living as man and wife in Thailand. They are age 57 and 58 now. STILL as in love as before. Maybe even more now. But the added expense of having to fly one or the other to the other country just so a law saying the must have seen each other in the past 2 years...THAT would be a financial hardship on the Thai, and as for the American paying that ticket, it would just be taking money away from getting the marital home fixed and ready for his arrival.
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on December 03, 2011:
gabby - A fiancé visa is probably your best option. However,given your age (19) you may want to pause and consider the fact that this involves getting married which is intended as a lifelong commitment.
If you do decide to go ahead with this, I suggest you check out the links in the Hub for the U.S. Customs and Immigrations Service to view the paperwork involved with a fiancée visa. You should also visit the nearest USCIS office to review your case with an immigration officer to make sure that you have the necessary financial resources (job, savings, etc.)to undertake a commitment of this nature.
You should also make sure that your boyfriend is ready to undertake a commitment of this nature.
It would also help if he can speak English and has skills needed to get a job (remember we are in a recession and jobs are difficult to find for anyone and with teenage unemployment running close to 50% or more in many parts of the United States. One of the conditions of bringing a person to the United States on a fiancée visa is that you, the sponsor, both take responsibility for supporting that person and be able to show proof that you have the means to undertake that responsibility.
gabby on December 01, 2011:
Hi Chuck..I have 19 years old..Im from Romania,My boyfriend is in Romania..WE are together for three years..I have Citizenship..I am In High School,And I wanna bring him here soon I can..What I need to do ? I`m so confused..I need Help
Bob on November 29, 2011:
As for a fiancé visa, I should have gotten one of those for my wife. Instead, we got married first in China.
After we got married, I found out a fiancé visa takes less time than a wife's visa.
As for the Affidavit of Support, the way it was told to me, I was responsible for my wife for 5 years (now its 10 years) or until she became a US citizen. Even if we got divorced, she got drunk, had a car accident and hurt someone, I'd still be responsible.Or if we got divorced and she ended up on foodstamps and welfare, I'd still be responsible.
Jelena on November 28, 2011:
Hey, does anyone here knows for how long u must be married to us citizen to gain citizenship and if u must live in the States all the time?
Rose on November 24, 2011:
HI Steve, I just want to inform you that you must meet your fiancé within a 2 year period in order for your application be appoved.If you have never visited or met in person, you WILL NOT be approved. Me and my fiancé met within the 2 yr period and I am now currently in the US, waiting to marry. My suggestion to you is to contact the USCIS or go online, and they will inform you step by step. And please be aware of scammers, because she can not be approved without meeting or your filing a petition in the USA.
Osa´s on November 14, 2011:
I read your post careful and i understand if one follow the good advice and get the right info. getting the fiancè visa is more easy.. And please i need your advice, my American Girlfriend will be coming to brasil in three weeks time for us to get married and she is currently unemployed, please i need your advice if it´s possible after the marriage in my country i will be able to use the K-1 fiancè visa?
this is my private E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
i need your advice on it..
Steve on November 02, 2011:
Hi Chuck. Very important. I met the woman I want to marry a few months ago. All we have done is correspond via email. She is 29, from Russia and her parents are helping her to get here. She has everything approved and will be here in 2 weeks. We wish to marry asap. Am I going to have problems since I have never visited her. I also need to ask what type of visa she got (i assume)
I wish I had read your posts much sooner. Any advice will be appreciated and I know you cant give legal advice. Thanks so much.
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on November 02, 2011:
Ayoola Aderemi - I am not a lawyer and cannot provide advice on individual cases. I suggest that you have your fiancée in the U.S. contact an immigration lawyer for advice on this matter.
Ayoola Aderemi on November 01, 2011:
my fiancée visa was approved and i went to the embassy in Nigeria for a visa interview, despite i went with everything i was needed to back my case up, mails, telephone bills, affidavit of support form my fiancée,medical results, police certificate,pictures, my fiancée boarding pass, photocopy of her American passport to support.
When the consular officer read in my mails that saw my cousin's name in the conversation with my fiancée, he asked who is Moyo and i told him my cousin who lives in Dallas, he helped us to get mails my fiancée used to send to me because in the previous times, she do post me mails but due to poor Nigeria postal services they missed in transit till now.
the consular now said he cant grant me the K1 visa as say the relationship is base on immigration purpose which is not.
My fiancée already called the uscis office but the told her, they have to get response from the embassy before they know what next.
Please i want you to advise me and my fiancée on what to do next before the approval will expires.
I will be glad to hear from you, my personal email is email@example.com
Shawn on October 20, 2011:
Extremely helpful, thanks!!!
marinell on October 19, 2011:
i will entered in usa soon and then we have plan to married i thinkin is we have civil and the ceremony is on ohio mmmm u think our license is valid and im able to stay in usa for many years then confused thing is we have plan to marry here in phil like ceremony only w/o marriage license....... mmmmm i confused some things the reason we dont need to get marriage license is we have have already marriage license in usa coz we marry there so u think its good and reasonable this situation
myca on October 05, 2011:
i've been reading articles and blogs about this topic but yours is the only one which did not make me fall asleep..as i was typing this i am talking (ym) to my american fiancé as we always do for not less than 8hours a day almost a year now.chuck im really depressed we love each other so much and he should be here on december to get wed and to see me and my family personally for the first time but he really got sick and been living a nightmare.so now we're planning for me to be there instead through k1 visa.but when i knew that both of us must have met in person at least once within two years prior to filing the visa petition,im lost and i really dont know what to do.is there a way that he could get me a k1 visa without us personally seeing each other and all we have are conversation and voice calls history in our ym accounts,,please do reply to this,i would greatly appreciate it..thank you so much
and oh chuck have you heard of a hardship waiver..i read from somewhere that my fiancé could get this one if the two of us haven't met personally but im not really sure what this waiver covers..please help..thank you again
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on September 24, 2011:
girlie - I suggest that your boyfriend check with an immigration attorney about this as this is a legal question and I am not a lawyer.
girlie on September 24, 2011:
hello,.can i ask if im working as a prostitute and my boyfriend apply a fiancée visa for me,did you think i cant pass the visa because im working prostitute before?
thank you so much,i really need your advice.
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on September 20, 2011:
gorda1509 - as I have said before in responses such as this, I am not a lawyer and therefore cannot give advice on specific cases. My suggestion is that you contact the U.S. State Department in Washington about a visa or have your boyfriend contact the U.S. Embassy or a U.S. Consulate in Guatemala about obtaining a visa to visit the U.S.
gorda1509 on September 20, 2011:
hi. have a question. My boyfriend currently lives in guatemala. i would like to know if there is any way i can get him a visa to come visit me here. But my concern is that I am only an U.S resident. i have traveled to see him already. we been a couple for just about 13 months. can you please email me a response at firstname.lastname@example.org
fred on September 19, 2011:
I have met a girl in russia and I'd like to get married to her here and take her to the states. How is her legal process going to go? Will she be able to enter the states with a visa and then file for citizenship? Do i have to get married in the states? would it work out if i got married in russia?
Chuck Nugent (author) from Tucson, Arizona on September 03, 2011:
Lian - in answer to your question, the process when my fiancée came over (and I believe it is still this way today but you should should check with USCIS to make sure) was that the K-1 visa was good for 45 days. Before the 45 days were up we had to get married, complete additional paperwork and submit it with the required fee (as I recall the fee I paid at that time was $500 for my wife and $500 each for her two children who had accompanied her on K-2 visas - I suspect these fees are higher today).
The paperwork you complete and file after marrying and within the 45 days of your fiancee's arrival is the application for temporary residence for your fiancée and any accompanying children.
If everything is in order temporary "Green Cards" will be issued and you will be able to remain and work in the United States for I believe two years. At the end of the two years you can file for permanent residence.
After a three year wait, a spouse can apply for citizenship, while children of the spouse have to wait for five years before applying for citizenship. In my case, my wife and both of the children have completed the entire process and all are now U.S. citizens.