The old saying “True love knows no bounds” isn’t exactly true. It knows international boundaries, and those aren’t always easy to cross.

If you’re a Pennsylvanian engaged to a foreign citizen, it will take effort to bring your loved one to the United States. Where do you start?

You begin by filing the Form I-129F, which is called the Petition for Alien Fiancé(e). That document leads toward obtaining a K-1 nonimmigrant visa for your loved one.

K-1 visa are granted when the couple intends to marry within 90 days of the immigrant entering the country. Once you marry, your new spouse may apply for a green card to establish permanent resident status. Other eligibility requirements for your fiancé(e) to qualify for a K-1 visa:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen
  • Both parties must be eligible to get married, meaning any prior marriage must have ended by death, divorce or annulment
  • Both parties must have seen each other at least once in the two years before filing Form I-129F. This can be waived only if doing so would result in hardship to you or violate customs of the home culture of the fiancé(e).

Several U.S. agencies are involved in the process of granting the visa application. They will conduct background and security checks of the couple, checking for criminal history and other information. Then, an interview will follow at a U.S. Embassy or consulate in the home country of your fiancé(e).

Once the K-1 visa is granted, it doesn’t guarantee entry into the country. That final decision is left to a Customs and Border Protection officer at the port of entry.

It’s a complex process, and the only way you can be united with the person you plan to marry. Any missteps could cost time in the process. An attorney skilled in immigration law can answer your questions.