If a U.S. citizen’s spouse or fiancée wishes to take up indefinite residence in the United States, he or she will require an immigrant visa. If a spouse or fiancée wishes to just make a short trip to the U.S. and then return back to their residence overseas, he/she should apply for a non-immigrant visa.
If a U.S. citizen would like to sponsor his/her wife for immigration to the U.S., the first step is to file an I-130 petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Please see the instructions to the I-130 petition for further details on how/where to file. Please note that the petition cannot be filed until the marriage ceremony has taken place and all prior marriages have been terminated.
If the fiancée of a U.S. citizen intends traveling to the United States to marry and take up indefinite residence after marriage, he or she will require a fiancée visa, also called a K-1 visa. A fiancée cannot enter the United States on a visitor visa or visa free under the Visa Waiver Program to take up indefinite residence.
Note: If you will do not intend taking up indefinite residence in the United States but will continue to live and work abroad after the marriage ceremony you should apply for a B-2 visa, or if eligible, travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.