The fiancé visa is a way for an US citizen to sponsor his or her fiancé to come and reside with them in the US. The fiancé visa is also commonly known as a “K-1”.
Who is eligible for a K-1 visa?
Any foreign-citizen fiancé of a US citizen may be eligible to apply for a K-1 visa. A K-1 visa will allow the foreign-citizen fiancé to travel the United States in order to marry his or her US citizen sponsor within 90 days following the arrival to the US. Please note that form I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) will need to be filed out at the time of application for the nonimmigrant K-1 visa. You will need to demonstrate that your relationship is valid and that it was not done with the purpose of eluding US immigration laws.
What qualifications must be met in order to apply for the K-1?
In order to be able to sponsor your foreign national fiancé, you will have to meet the following criteria:
- Be a U.S. citizen;
- You and your fiancé must intend to marry one another within 90 days of their arrival to the United States on the K-1 nonimmigrant visa;
- You and your fiancé must both be legally free to marry (this means you both are legally able to marry in the United States and any previous marriages have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment);
- You and your fiancé have met each other in person at least once within the 2-year period before you filed your petition. You may request a waiver of this in-person meeting requirement if you can show that meeting in person would either have violated strict and long-established customs of your fiancé’s foreign culture or social practice; or would have resulted in extreme hardship to you, the US citizen petitioner.
Following the marriage, the foreign national should immediately apply for “an adjustment of status” to have their nonimmigrant status be changed to permanent resident status in the US, also known as a Green Card holder.
How long is a K-1 visa valid for?
The K-1 visa is typically granted for a period of four (4) months. However, despite the validity period of 120 days, you must get married within 90 days of your fiancé’s arrival to the US.
What if my foreign national fiancé has children? What visa do they need?
In a case where the fiancé has children whom they would like to bring with them to the United States, the K-1 visa has a provision by which dependents of the K-1 applicant could enter the US as nonimmigrants by requesting a K-2 visa. If the dependent children are under the age of 21, an application will normally be submitted at the same time as the K-1 application.
What visa options are there if you are already married to a foreign national?
If you are already married, plan to get married outside of the US or if your fiancé is already residing legally in the US with you, they are not eligible for a fiancé K-1 visa. However, they can apply for a K-3 visa, which is available for spouses of a US Citizen. Please note that a K-4 visa is also available, instead of the K-2 visa for the dependants of a US citizens’ spouse.
The K-3/K-4 visa aims to keep families unified while awaiting the decision regarding approval of the immigrant visa petition. The foreign national spouse and any dependents are able to enter and remain in the US on a nonimmigrant K-3/K-4 temporarily.
To find out more about how to apply for the K-1 and related visas, contact one of our KLM attorneys specializing in fiancé visas to the United States today at 1-888-603-3003.