K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa
The K-1 visa is a hybrid visa that enables a U.S. Citizen to bring their foreign fiancé(e) to the U.S. with the intention of getting married and pursuing permanent residency.
In order to obtain a fiancé(e) visa a U.S. Citizen may file a petition with United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and must demonstrate:
- The parties must have met in person within the past two years (in some cases this requirement can be waived);
- They must have a good faith intention to marry; and
- They must be legally able and willing to get married within 90 days of the alien’s arrival in the U.S.
After the petition has been approved, the fiancé(e) has 4 months from the time the petition was approved to obtain the K-1 Visa at the U.S. Consulate in the foreign country.
What if I didn’t meet my fiancé(e) within the past two years?
The requirement of a personal meeting within the past two years can be waived in some cases. If seeking a waiver, the applicant must show that complying with the requirement would result in extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen, or that complying would violate traditional customs in the alien’s home country. If the waiver is denied, the couple must personally meet and establish the requirement of personal meeting before refiling the K-1 petition.
What about the children of the K-1 beneficiary?
The beneficiary’s minor children should be included on the application, since they will be given derivative status and allowed to enter the U.S. with their parent.
What happens at the consulate when applying for the K-1 visa?
The K-1 applicant must pass a medical exam and not be subject to any grounds of inadmissibility. The K-1 applicant must also provide:
- A valid passport;
- Birth certificate;
- Police certificates from each place the alien has lived since age sixteen;
- Medical exam;
- Evidence that they will not become a public charge; and
- Evidence of termination of previous marriages, if not submitted with the petition application.
After the consulate receives these documents, they will conduct a background investigation and then schedule an interview. If the interview is successful, the beneficiary will be issued a visa. The beneficiary is given a copy of their petition and additional entry paperwork in a sealed envelope to present at the port of entry. The fiancé(e) will be admitted for 90 days. After admission, K-1 visa holders are not allowed to seek an extension of status, or to change to any other nonimmigrant classification. During the 90-day period of admission, the beneficiary must marry the U.S. citizen petitioner. After the marriage, the U.S. citizen spouse may file an application for adjustment of status for the beneficiary spouse.
If the marriage does not occur, the beneficiary must leave the U.S. within their 90-day period of authorized admission. If they fail to leave within this time, they become subject to deportation.