The Legal Implications of International Relationships (Fiance(e) visa)

I write this post whilst watching The Holiday on Netflix, a film about two young women who switch houses for a few weeks due to their impending relationship failures, and who then fall in love with men in the other’s’ lives. I’ve watched the film quite a few times as I find it easy watching and easy to follow. However, this time, it got me thinking about the legal implications involved with couples who fall in love or out of love with the added barriers of another jurisdiction.

So, you’re probably thinking what legal implications are there when couples from different countries fall in love.


Well, firstly, there’s the visa issue, couples looking to relocate for their partner may have to apply for a visa to countries such as America, Australia and lots of other foreign countries.

If you are engaged and want to bring your fiance(e) to the US, there is a K-1 visa you can apply for- this allows you to bring your fiance(e) to the US for 90 days and within those days you must marry or it could result in deportation of your fiance(e) and could affect their future eligibility for U.S immigration benefits.

In the US, if you want to bring your foreign fiance(e) to the US in order to get married, you will need to file a Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance(e). This is the first step to obtaining a K-1 nonimmigrant visa for your fiance(e). The K-1 nonimmingrant visa is also known as a fiance(e) visa. Note that you must marry within 90 days, the status automatically expires after 90 days and canot be extended.

In Australia, if you intend to marry your non-Australian prospective spouse, you can bring them to the country on a Subclass 300 Prospective Marriage Visa, which allows your partner to come to Australia and marry and then apply for a Partner visa. Note again, this has a limitation of 9 months from the date of grant of visa and takes a substantial time to process and costs quite a bit.

In the UK, people who are planning to marry a British citizen or permanent resident in the UK may apply for fiance(e) visa. Again this has a time limitation of 6 months in which they are able to come to the UK and marry. Note that with this visa, they are not allowed to work.

Clearly, it is not as simple as falling in love and marrying if you’re from other countries, there are barriers to overcome both economically and culturally as well as legally. It is always necessary to check the laws on immigration before entering a country as the penalties may be considerable.


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