What you need to know
The K1 Visa allows entry for your fiancée into the United States for a period of 90 days, during which time either the two are married, or the Fiancee is required to depart the United States, before the visa expires! Unlike marrying abroad, this allows the couple to live together in the United States, and the Fiancee to experience what day to day life will really be like before the marriage.
How the K1 Visa Process Works
To bring a future spouse to the USA, a U.S. citizen must first file a K-1 Visa petition in the United States with the Department of Homeland Security. Once the petition is approved, the petition is then forwarded to the United States Consulate in the country where the foreign fiancee resides. The U.S. Consulate will then contact the foreign fiancee and set up an interview date shortly thereafter.
Am I Eligible to apply for a Fiancee Visa?
If you are a U.S. citizen who wants to bring your foreign national fiancee (male or female) to marry in the U.S., you may petition (apply) for a fiancee visa (K-1) for your fiancee. Both of you must be free to marry. This means that both of you are unmarried, or that any previous marriages have ended through divorce, annulment or death. You must also have met with your fiancee in person within the last two years before filing for the fiancee visa. This requirement can be waived only if meeting your fiancee in person would violate long-established customs or would create extreme hardship for you.
The child of a fiancee may receive a derivative K-2 visa from his/her parent’s fiancee petition. You, the American citizen petitioner, must make sure that you name the child in the I-129F petition. After the marriage of the child’s parent and the American citizen, the child will need a separate form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status. The child may travel with (accompany) the K-1 parent/fiancee or travel later (follow-to-join) within one year from the date of issuance of the K-1 visa to his/her parent. A separate petition is not required if the children accompany or follow the alien fiancee within one year from the date of issuance of the K-1 visa. If it is long than one year from the date of visa issuance, a separate immigrant visa petition is required. Remember that in immigration law a child must be unmarried. The stepparent/stepchild relationship must be created before the child reaches the age of 18.
Important information about getting a K1 fiancee visa
In order to qualify for a Fiancee Visa, you must meet the following main requirements:
* You are a U.S. Citizen
* You have met your fiancee in person within the previous two years
* You and your fiancee are both legally free to marry
* You and your fiancee both have a serious intention to marry within 90 days of your fiancee’s arrival in America.
What Documents Do You Need to Show That You Are a U.S. Citizen?
A. If you were born in the United States, give USCIS a copy, front and back, of your birth certificate.
B. If you were naturalized, give USCIS a copy, front and back, of your original Certificate of Naturalization.
C. If you were born outside the United States and you area U.S. citizen through your parents, give USCIS:
1. Your original Certificate of Citizenship, or
2. Your Form FS-240 (Report of Birth Abroad of a United States Citizen).
D. In place of any of the above, you may give USCIS a copy of your valid, unexpired U.S. passport issued with a validity period of at least five years. You must submit copies of all pages in the passport.
What Documents Do You Need to Prove That You Can Legally Marry?
A. Provide copies of evidence that you and your fiancée have personally met within the last two years; or if you have never met within the last two years, provide a detailed explanation and evidence of the extreme hardship or customary, cultural or social practices that have prohibited your meeting; and
B. Provide original statements from you and your fiancée whom you plan to marry within 90 days of his or her admission, and copies of any evidence you wish to submit to establish your mutual intent; and
C. If either of you is of an age that requires special consent or permission for you to marry in the jurisdiction where your marriage will occur, give proof of that consent or permission; and
D. If either you or your fiancée were married before, give copies of documents showing that each prior marriage was legally terminated.
Legally After Arriving in the USA
Once the foreign fiancee arrives in the USA, he/she must marry the U.S. Citizen within 90 days or they will be required to return to their country of origin. Once you are married you are required to file for an Adjustment of Status for your wife to legally remain in the United States.
After filing for the adjustment of status, your fiancee will be allowed to work usually within 90 days.
Permanent residency can take between 1-2 years. If for some reason the relationship fails before permanent residency is granted, there will be no other options for adjustment of status and the K1 spouse in most cases will be required to leave the USA.
K1 fiancee visa holders are in valid status for only 90 days after U.S. entry, and may not extend their status.
The K1 Fiancee Visa application process is complex
The slightest mistake can cause you long delays, and possibly even result in your fiancee denied a K1 Visa. If you are caught misrepresenting on the application, it can result in them never getting a visa, which can also affect visa application to other countries! There are also new statutes as part of the Homeland Security Act, that pertain to K 1 Visas, that you need to be aware of , especially if you were introduced online, or if you have brought in a fiancee in the past. It is important that all the paperwork and supporting documents are carefully completed and compiled. Any mistakes on your part may result in your K1 visa application being denied, and being kicked out of the process, and starting all over again.