In Love With A Foreigner: Your Legal Options


Every stint abroad has some degree of romance, but what do you do if you’ve found your one true love and they simply can’t come back to America with you?

Believe it or not, the United States is difficult to get into. Like really difficult.

Like, some people wait for a long, long time before they get the green light to enter, and if you’re in love with someone that’s stuck in this situation, it’s often a long, lonely road.

Even if you bite the bullet and decide to get married, you’ll still have to “prove” your love to the government with interviews, photos and documents that show things like shared bank accounts, leases, utilities and health care. They will question you about what your room looks like, how you met, what you were doing the night you met, etc. And then they’ll conduct background checks on the both of you, which could take anywhere from 180 days to years to complete.

If you’re approved (and up to 1/3 are not), you are entitled to a green card for two years which could be revoked by immigration at any time.


All in all, marriage isn’t a quick fix. Plus, it’s expensive. It could take years for your application to be approved, which amounts to thousands of dollars in lawyer bills.

So What’s a Gal to do to be with the One She Loves? 

There are other options, of course. You could enter your partner in the Green Card Lottery and hope for the best, or try to get a temporary visa. If you’re looking into these options, the site’s here about the whole process.

If your partner has any interest in going to school, you could try to get he or she a student visa.

Or, you could consider going back and forth from your country to theirs.

Thinking about journeying down the process of marrying the one you love, regardless of the paperwork? 

Awesome. You should! After all, we’re nothing if not champions for love. Though it might be a difficult process, being able to travel freely with your partner is all the reward you could ask for. Check out the State Department’s website for paperwork and more about starting the process.


About Author

Kelly Lewis is the founder of Go! Girl Guides, the Women's Travel Fest and Damesly. She's an optimist, an adventurer, an author and works to help women travel the world.

1 Comment

  1. Tiffany Defarbud on

    I met and married someone whom I met while I was studying in France in 2004. I brought him to the states after 4 years and we were married at the Seattle King County Courthouse in a fiancé visa. We’ve been together now for 10 years!

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