What is a K-1 visa?
The K-1 visa, also known as the “Fiancé(e) Visa,” is a nonimmigrant visa category that allows a foreign national fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States for the purpose of getting married. The K-1 visa is specifically designed to enable the foreign fiancé(e) to travel to the U.S., where the couple can legally marry within 90 days of the foreign fiancé(e)’s arrival. After the marriage takes place, the foreign fiancé(e) can apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).
Key points about the K-1 visa:
- Purpose: The K-1 visa is intended for foreign nationals who are engaged to U.S. citizens and plan to get married in the U.S.
- Petition: The U.S. citizen petitioner initiates the process by filing a Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once the petition is approved, it is forwarded to the U.S. consulate or embassy in the foreign fiancé(e)’s home country.
- The petitioner must be a U.S. citizen.
- The couple must have met in person within the two years before filing the petition, unless meeting in person would violate cultural or social norms or result in extreme hardship.
- Both parties must be legally free to marry.
- Both parties must have a genuine intention to marry within 90 days of the foreign fiancé(e)’s arrival in the U.S.
- After the I-129F petition is approved, the foreign fiancé(e) applies for the K-1 visa at the U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country.
- The applicant attends a visa interview, during which they provide documentation and answer questions about their relationship and plans.
- If approved, the foreign fiancé(e) receives a K-1 visa and can travel to the U.S.
Entry and Marriage:
- Once in the U.S., the foreign fiancé(e) and U.S. citizen petitioner must marry within 90 days.
- After the marriage takes place, the foreign spouse can apply for adjustment of status (Form I-485) to become a lawful permanent resident.
- Work Authorization: K-1 visa holders can apply for work authorization (Form I-765) upon entering the U.S. This allows them to work while waiting for their adjustment of status application to be processed.
- Conditional Permanent Residence: If the marriage takes place less than two years before the K-1 visa holder’s adjustment of status application, they will receive conditional permanent residence. They must apply to remove the conditions during the 90-day period before the second anniversary of their status as a conditional resident.
It’s important to note that the K-1 visa process involves several steps and requirements, and the specific procedures and policies can change over time. As such, it’s recommended to refer to the official USCIS website or consult an immigration attorney for the most up-to-date information and guidance if you are considering applying for a K-1 visa.
How to bring your fiance to the U.S.?
Bringing your fiancé(e) to the United States involves a specific immigration process, typically using the K-1 fiancé(e) visa. Here’s a general guide on how to bring your fiancé(e) to the U.S.:
Step 1: Determine Eligibility: Ensure that both you (the U.S. citizen petitioner) and your fiancé(e) meet the eligibility criteria for the K-1 fiancé(e) visa, including being legally free to marry and having a genuine intention to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s arrival in the U.S.
Step 2: File Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e): File the Form I-129F petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This initiates the process and demonstrates your intent to marry your fiancé(e). Include all required documentation and fees. Once approved, USCIS will send the approved petition to the appropriate U.S. consulate or embassy.
Step 3: Apply for the K-1 Visa: Your fiancé(e) will need to apply for the K-1 visa at the U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country. This involves submitting the required forms, documents, and fees. The process may also include a medical examination and a visa interview.
Step 4: Attend the Visa Interview: Your fiancé(e) will attend a visa interview at the U.S. consulate or embassy. During the interview, they will answer questions about their relationship, intentions, and other relevant matters. Be prepared to provide evidence of your relationship and your plans to marry.
Step 5: Receive the K-1 Visa: If the visa is approved, your fiancé(e) will receive a K-1 visa stamp in their passport, allowing them to travel to the U.S.
Step 6: Enter the U.S.: Your fiancé(e) can enter the U.S. using the K-1 visa. Upon entry, they will receive an I-94 Arrival/Departure Record. This record typically has a 90-day validity period.
Step 7: Marry within 90 Days: Once your fiancé(e) arrives in the U.S., you must marry within 90 days. Failing to do so could result in your fiancé(e) needing to leave the U.S.
Step 8: Apply for Adjustment of Status (Green Card): After the marriage, your spouse can apply for adjustment of status (green card) to become a lawful permanent resident. This involves filing Form I-485 and providing additional documentation to USCIS. The green card process can take several months to complete.
Step 9: Attend Biometrics Appointment: As part of the green card process, your spouse will likely need to attend a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints, photographs, and other biographical information.
Step 10: Attend Green Card Interview: USCIS may schedule an interview to assess the validity of your marriage and eligibility for a green card. Both spouses will need to attend this interview.
It’s important to note that the K-1 visa process involves several steps, each with its own requirements and documentation. The specific procedures and policies can change, so it’s recommended to consult the official USCIS website or obtain a free consultation from an immigration attorney to ensure you have the most accurate and up-to-date information: https://bwea.com/book-a-consultation/