I'm an Italian citizen, in a 4 years long relationship with a US citizen. We would like to get married by the end of this year, and ideally I would initially move to the USA and find a job there. We know that there are multiple options (getting a fiancé visa, getting married in Italy and applying for a spouse visa...) but we are somewhat lost on which one works best and what we should do in order to make this as painless and fast as possible.

Avoiding huge fees with immigration lawyers would be nice but we are getting in touch with a few of them as well.

Ideal requirements

  • costs limited to the minimum necessary
  • relative speed in the process: being able to set a date for a religious wedding (-> at the same time or after the civil one) in the USA at the end of summer / in the fall
  • limiting the chance of being refused a visa
  • dealing with as little bureaucracy as possible

What is the best way and what are the steps required for it to work? Personal experiences highly welcome!

Bonus question

Would it be possible for us to have a religious wedding in the USA while I am in the United States only on the Visa Waiver program, while waiting for the results of a visa application?

closed as too broad by Mark Mayo Jul 27 '17 at 0:16

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  • Does any of this question respond? – Giorgio Feb 27 '17 at 17:23
  • It adds one more option but at least one we can ask a lawyer about, otherwise good to have some idea of timeframes. Getting married in Italy and then waiting 1 year to get a spouse visa sounds terrible really, it's odd that the fiancé visa would be faster than that when the latter has no guarantee since the marriage has not happened yet! – Michele C Feb 27 '17 at 17:49
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    Probably b/c it's cleaner, from the view of Immigration. Consider what some do: get the fiance visa, enter, marry in a civil ceremony right away with just several witnesses along), and then take months to plan the big 'wedding', church, party, and all. – Giorgio Feb 27 '17 at 19:26
  • Note that in the US it's not necessary to have separate religious and civil weddings. In every jurisdiction I'm aware of, clergy are authorized to conclude marriages. You take your license from the relevant municipal office to your wedding, the priest (or whoever) signs it, and then you take it back to the municipal office. – phoog Mar 1 '17 at 0:49
  • We were aware of that, but - as far as we can tell - I need some form of visa to marry her in the USA. In addition to that the fiancé visa is only good for 90 days max and by the end of that time we would need to get married. It takes longer than that to plan a wedding with people invited from multiple countries, so what we were thinking was civil wedding whenever we need and the religious one as the formal one where we invite people. But I suppose we could have a joint civil and religious wedding with family and very few friends, and a formal reception later on. – Michele C Mar 1 '17 at 13:52