K1 visa (also known as the Fiancé(e) Visa)
If you are a United States citizen and you are engaged to a foreign national, you can petition your fiancé(e) to come to the U.S. to marry. Your fiancé(e) will enter the United States with a K1 visa stamp on the passport. The K1 visa is commonly known as a fiancé(e) Visa.
A fiancé(e) visa allows foreign nationals to enter the U.S. in order to marry their U.S. citizen fiancé(e). The fiancé(e) visa is a non-immigrant visa that lasts for a period of 90 days. This means that upon entry, the fiancé(e) and the U.S. citizen have 90 days to get married. After the marriage, the foreign national can apply for Adjustment of Status and get a green card.
In order to apply for a fiancé visa, the couple must: (a) have the intention to marry within the 90-day visa period, and (b) the couple must have met each other in person at least one time within the past two years before submitting the petition. Immigration law says that the burden is on the petitioner to prove these legal requirements. The petition must include enough evidence to satisfy the legal requirements.
The Fiancé(e) Visa Process
The fiancé visa process begins in the United States with USCIS (the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). The U.S. citizen submits a petition for a fiancé visa by petition using Form I-129F to USCIS and paying the applicable government fees. USCIS wants to see that you are truly in love with your fiancé(e) and that you intend to marry within the 90 days that he or she will be in the United States.
If you comply with the requirements the petition is approved, USCIS will send you an approval notice. However, the process is not over. The case is then sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) at the US Department of State for processing.
This step of the fiancé visa application is commonly known as “Consular Process”. During this step, the U.S. government wants to ensure that your fiancé(e) will not become a “public charge.” A “Public charge” is someone who is considered a financial burden to the United States. At this stage, you must submit information about your income and convince the U.S. government that you can support your fiancé(e) financially. This is because your fiancé(e) is not authorized to work in the U.S. during the 90-day K1 visa period.
Once you meet the income requirements, the NVC will send your case to the United States Consulate or Embassy in your fiancé(e)’s country of origin. Your fiancé(e) will then get a date for an in-person interview with a Consular Officer. He or she must bring a variety of different documents for verification. If everything is done correctly, your fiancé(e) gets a K1 visa stamp on his or her passport that authorizes their entry into the U.S. as your fiancé(e).
The entire process takes approximately 9-12 months. Your fiancé(e)’s K1 Visa is valid for one single entry during a 6-month period. Mistakes can be costly and can lead to disappointment.
Your fiancé(e) in the United States with a K1 Visa
The 90-day clock begins once your fiancé(e) enters the U.S. This means that you and your fiancé(e) have 90 days to get married. If you and your fiancé(e) do not marry within 90 days, the K1 visa expires and your fiancé(e) must leave the United States.
Once you get married, your spouse can apply for Adjustment of Status and get a green card. This requires the foreign national to prove that he/she is not a public charge, does not have prohibited illnesses, or a disqualifying criminal conviction.
As part of the Adjustment Status application, your spouse will get work authorization, a social security card, and travel authorization. Your spouse can then legally work and even obtain a driver’s license. This occurs several months before the final decision on the Adjustment of Status application. If done correctly, your spouse should get his or her green card approximately 9 months after submitting the Adjustment of Status application.
Dependents of the K1 Visa Holder
Unmarried children under the age of 21 can be beneficiaries of your fiancé(e)’s K1 Visa. The unmarried child(ren) can enter the United States with a K2 visa. In order to qualify, the child(ren) must be included in the petition for the fiancé(e) at the time of filing.
Once the child(ren) is in the United States and the U.S. citizen marries the child(ren)’s parent, the child(ren) can get apply for adjustment of status and get a green card. The child(ren) must file a separate adjustment of status application in order to obtain a green card. The child(ren) will also receive a work permit, a social security card, and a travel document (Advance Parole). The Advance Parole document allows the child(ren) to travel abroad while the green card application is pending. The marriage must occur before the child(ren) turns 21 years old for the child(ren) to qualify for a green card.
How We Help
Our office has handled numerous K1 visa applications and knows how to get your case approved. Our immigration attorneys will give you complete and accurate advice regarding the fiancé(e) visa process. Our skilled and experienced immigration attorneys develop a strategy specific to your case so you can apply for a fiancé visa with confidence.
Let’s talk about your case. Contact us today to speak to a lawyer.