If you are an American who is engaged or married to a Vietnamese native, there are both general and country specific procedures that must be followed to bring your fiancee or spouse to the U.S. Although the immigration system is complicated and filled with potential stumbling blocks, you can still be successful if you are patient and diligent.
Bringing your fiancee to the United States for marriage
If you would like to be married in the United States, you can petition for a fiancee visa. This is a temporary visa that requires that your fiancee return to their home country after marriage to await the processing of a permanent spouse visa.
Because immigration from Vietnam has a higher incidence of marriage fraud than some other countries, it is important to provide a detailed timeline of your relationship with your Vietnamese fiancee. This timeline should include how and when you met, important dates in your relationship, and as many pictures as you can provide, especially of the wedding party that is a Vietnamese tradition.
You can never have too much evidence of proof of the validity of your relationship. If you can go to Vietnam on the day of your fiancee's interview, it will be a strong statement to bolster the validity of your relationship. However, your attendance is not required.
Marrying your fiancee in Vietnam
If you choose to marry in Vietnam, you must bring proof that any former marriages have been dissolved. Divorce decrees and personal identification documents must be translated into Vietnamese through approved translation services.
You will also be expected to visit a government mental health facility to prove that you are mentally competent and not involved in marriage fraud or human trafficking. The procedure is not complicated, and will usually only require answering a few personal questions through a translator.
After your marriage, your spouse must remain in Vietnam when you return to the US to file a spouse visa. You must take some documents back with you to file with your petition, including:
- A copy of your marriage certificate in the original Vietnamese, and a certified translation in English.
- A copy of your spouse's birth certificate
- Any additional proof of validity of your marriage that you can provide, including wedding pictures
You may need to wait one year or more before your spouse is granted an interview at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi or the U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City. As with the fiancee visa interview, your presence will go a long way in proving the validity of your marriage. In addition, if your petition is approved, your spouse will receive their visa within a few days of the interview and they can travel to the U.S. with you on your return trip.
Because of marriage fraud, many genuine couples face intense scrutiny and initial denial of their immigration petitions. Consulting with an immigration attorney may be necessary if a petition is denied or an appeal required.