K1 Visas for Fiances and Fiancees
What Is a K-1 Visa?
The fiancé(e) K-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) of a United States (U.S.) citizen. The K-1 visa allows the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) to travel to the U.S. and marry his or her U.S. citizen petitioning sponsor within 90 days of arrival.
The foreign-citizen will then apply for adjustment of status to a permanent resident (LPR) with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Because a fiancé(e) visa permits the applicant to immigrate to the U.S. and marry a U.S. citizen shortly after arrival in the United States, the fiancé(e) must meet some but not all of the requirements of an immigrant visa. Eligible children of K-1 visa applicants receive K-2 visas.
Basic Requirements (for U.S. Petitioning Sponsor)
- You are a U.S. citizen.
- You have met your fiancé(e) in person within the previous two years.
- You and your fiancé(e) are both legally free to marry.
- You and your fiancée both have a sincere intent to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s arrival in the U.S.
- You can meet the minimum income requirement for a K1 visa.
What is the Process?
- The K1 visa petition is filed at one of the five U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Centers that process all of the K visa petitions in the U.S. If there are any missing documents or incorrect paperwork, you will receive a Request for Evidence (“RFE”). Each RFE will delay the approval of your K1 visa petition, and ultimately the approval and issuance of your K1 fiancée visa, by 6-12 months. Thus, it is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney prior to filing your petition.
- When the USCIS has approved the K1 visa petition, it is forwarded to the National Visa Center (“NVC”) where background checks are completed on both the U.S Citizen Petitioner and the foreign fiancée. The NVC will then forward the petition to the Consulate that will conduct the visa interview.
- Once the approved petition and background checks have been received by the U.S. Consulate having jurisdiction over the city in which the fiancée is legally residing, the Consulate will instruct the fiancée to obtain a medical exam at a clinic specified by the Consulate and to report for the visa interview on a specified date. If the fiancée passes the medical exam and the interview is successful, the K1 fiancée visa will normally be issued within the following one to two weeks.
What About the Green Card After My Fiancé(e) Enters the U.S.?
After your fiancé(e) enters the U.S. on a K-1 fiancé(e) visa and marries you within 90 days of arrival, he or she will be allowed to remain legally in the U.S. and will need to file for a Green Card. The Green Card process is referred to as Adjustment of Status. If my office handled your K-1 fiancé(e) visa process, we will give you a significant discount on our normal fees for the Green Card application.
Final Consideration Regarding the Challenge of Obtaining a K-1 Visa
Recent efforts by various US Embassies to more closely scrutinize K-1 Visa applications has resulted in some unexpected delays and or rejection of certain requested visas, while additional evidence is requested. This heightened scrutiny or vetting is coming from countries where suspicion of fraud is high and/or where the couple appears to be ignoring established cultural norms for marriages and weddings. In such cases, the petitioner and beneficiary may need to present additional evidence to obtain a successful result. In these cases, be prepared to provide the following additional evidence to obtain your K1 Fiancé Visa approval:
- Access to all social media accounts
- Proof of continuous communications between the couple while apart
- Additional photographs showing that the couple have spent meaningful time together
- Evidence that a marriage license has been applied for in the US
- Evidence of a marriage date
- Evidence that accommodations have been reserved for a wedding ceremony and reception
- List of guests with contact information
- Affidavits or sworn statements from parents stating that they are aware of the wedding plans of their child and approve of the marriage
If this information is available at the time of the application, it is advisable to submit the evidence along with all your other forms and documents.
An Austin immigration lawyer – Abogados de Inmigracion en Austin TX – can help you determine if a K-1 Visa may benefit you or your family. Learn more by contacting Michael G. Murray, P.A today!