How to Apply for a US Visa for a Girlfriend or Boyfriend?

unmarried partner visa usa

Applying for a U.S. Visa for your girlfriend or boyfriend will depend, more than anything else, on their nationality. It will also depend on whether you want your partner to visit the United States or if you want them to move to the U.S. with you.
Love is a powerful force that makes people do incredible things. Truth is, when most of us fall in love we don’t care where the person is from or the implications someone’s nationality could have on the relationship. However, we must adjust to immigration norms and apply for the appropriate documentation.

If you want your boyfriend or girlfriend to visit the United States you can either apply online for the ESTA for the United States, or apply for a visa B2 at your nearest American embassy.

If you want your boyfriend or girlfriend to live in the U.S. you will have to follow a different process. Read further to learn about how to obtain a US tourist visa for your girlfriend or boyfriend and what to do if you live or want to live in the United States.

The difference between visiting the US and living in the US with your partner

Though globalization appears to have made the world smaller, legal requirements to travel or move are strict as ever. This brings into question how do you get your boyfriend or girlfriend a visa to the U.S.? If your partner is from one of the 38 countries in the Visa Waiver Program you can easily apply online for the travel electronic authorization, ESTA, using your partner’s passport, an email address and a debit or credit card.

When applying for the ESTA, make sure you use your partner’s correct name, fill out the ESTA with an alias maiden name if it applies to your situation. An approved ESTA is valid for 2 consecutive years and grants multiple entries.

Some people wonder if there’s a domestic partner visa to the U.S. that will allow their boyfriend or girlfriend to visit the country. Obtaining a visa for your partner to visit the United States is less complicated than the paperwork required for your partner to live with you in the U.S.. Depending on your partner’s nationality you can apply for a B2 visa at an embassy or consulate, or if he or she is from an eligible country, apply for the ESTA. The B2 visa is a US tourist visa for your girlfriend or boyfriend.

However, when two people from different countries come together and choose to live in the United States, it is necessary to deal with immigration statuses. Especially is you are a U.S. citizen dating a foreigner.

In short, you cannot sponsor a boyfriend or girlfriend. At the moment there isn’t a unmarried partner visa available. Your partner should be your legal spouse or your fiancé. As a general rule you will have to complete a I-130 Form (Petition for Alien Relative). This document establishes the relationship between you and your partner. This process is necessary if you want your domestic partner to stay legally in the United States.

Immigrant Visa for a Spouse or Fiancé(e) of a U.S. Citizen

There are different scenarios and options to be considered. For instance, the reason you want to bring your unmarried partner to the U.S. is simply to enjoy a holiday together and get to know the family. On the other hand, you might want to settle down or even get married. Maybe you want to bring your foreign partner to give birth in the USA. Whatever your reason, knowing the available options before travel is crucial.

We’re going to break down the options available for those who need a visa to the U.S. for their partner.

As a U.S. citizen married to a foreign spouse there are two ways to bring them to the United States to live.

  • Immigrant visa for a Spouse of a U.S. Citizen (IR1 or CR1) This is an immigrant Petition for Alien Relative. You are required to complete the Form I-30.
  • Nonimmigrant visa for spouse (K-3) the visa should be issued in the country where the marriage took place. When the visa is granted and the spouse travels to the United States, two more steps are required: Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130 and Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), Form I-129F

If you are not married yet, there’s the possibility to bring your fiance(é) to the United States to marry and live here. In this case you must apply with a nonimmigrant visa for a fiancé(e) visa (K-1) and an I-129F fiance(é) petition is compulsory. An option for a few people is to obtain a Las Vegas marriage license as it is legal and quick too.

How long does it take to bring a fiancé(e) to the United States?

It is hard to predict an exact time frame but generally the average time to get the fiancé visa is about six months. Once in the U.S., another three to six months to process the Green Card.

How long does it take to bring my spouse to the United States?

If you are a U.S. citizen and your spouse is an immigrant living overseas you must complete the Form I-130 visa petition or known as Petition for Alien Relative. The process can take between one to six months. Afterwards, you must file for an immigrant visa and another six months or more can pass.

There are other scenarios besides the one listed above, but on average, the process to sponsor your fiancé or spouse to the U.S. can take between six months to a year. The waiting time is on a case by case basis, and it will depend on several factors outside your control.

How long does it take to bring my girlfriend or boyfriend to the United States?

The department of Homeland Security does not offer an option for those who want to sponsor their girlfriend or boyfriend. As we mentioned previously there isn’t a unmarried partner visa for the USA. You would have to apply for the fiance visa instead.

Otherwise your boyfriend or girlfriend should find out a different route to enter the United States as an immigrant. The length of the process will vary according to each situation.

If your plan is to come to the United States for a short period of time your partner should apply for a US tourist visa. However, if he or she is from one of the 38 countries in the Visa Waiver Program, they should simply enroll with the ESTA. The US tourist visa, B2, can be obtained at an embassy or consulate.

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