Fiancées Act of 1946

The Law: Federal legislation permitting American servicemen to bring their foreignborn fiancés into the United States

Date: Enacted on June 29, 1946

Also known as: G.I. Fiancées Act

Significance: An extension of another piece of post-World War II legislation, the War Brides Act of 1945, the Fiancées Act granted the fiancés of American servicemen a special exemption from previously established immigration quotas that allowed them to enter the United States.

Following the War Brides Act of 1945, which allowed foreign spouses and children of American servicemen to enter the United States without regard to previously established immigration quotas, the U.S. Congress passed the Fiancées Act on June 29, 1946, extending immigration exemption to foreignwomenengaged to marry American soldiers.

In 1946, nearly 45,000 foreign-born women entered the United States under the provisions of this act. However, foreign-born fiancés who did not marry the American men who sponsored them after arriving in America were subject to deportation. Most women who immigrated in this manner were of European origin, from nations such as Great Britain, France, and Italy. However, many women of Asian origin also entered the United States under the provisions of this act, including large numbers of Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino women who would have been otherwise unable to immigrate due to strict quotas on Asian immigration. The act was scheduled to expire on July 1, 1947, but was extended to December 31, 1948, after which those with pending applications were allowed five months to enter the United States.

Aaron D. Horton

Further Reading

  • Bankston, Carl L., and Danielle Antoinette Hidalgo, eds. Immigration in U.S. History. 2 vols. Pasadena, Calif.: Salem Press, 2006. 
  • Hutchinson, E. P. Legislative History of American Immigration Policy, 1789-1965. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1981. 
  • Lowe, Lisa. Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1994. 

See also: Green cards; Intermarriage; Mail-order brides; Marriage; “Marriages of convenience”; Picture brides; Quota systems; War brides; War Brides Act of 1945; Women immigrants; World War II.

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