Fiancé Visa (K-1)
The K-1 fiancé(e) visa is a nonimmigrant visa designed for the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) of a United States citizen. This visa allows the foreign fiancé(e) to travel to the U.S. and marry their U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival. Here is an overview of the process and requirements for obtaining a K-1 visa:
- U.S. Citizenship: The sponsor must be a U.S. citizen.
- Marriage Plans: The couple must intend to marry within 90 days of the fiancé(e)'s arrival in the U.S.
- Legal Freedom to Marry: Both parties must be legally free to marry (i.e., single, divorced, or widowed).
- Meeting Requirement: The couple must have met in person at least once within the two years before filing for the visa. Exceptions can be made if meeting in person violates strict cultural customs or if it would cause extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen sponsor.
- Form I-129F: The U.S. citizen sponsor must file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Evidence Submission: Submit evidence of the relationship, including proof of meeting in person within the required period.
- USCIS approves request: Once USCIS reviews and approves the I-129F request, the application will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing.
- NVC forwards to U.S. Embassy or consulate: Once assigned to a U.S. Embassy in the fiancé(e)'s country, the application is reviewed again and processed for an Interview.
- Biometrics and Background Check: The foreign fiancé(e) may need a biometrics appointment for background checks.
- Interview: After approval of the I-129F, the fiancé(e) will be invited for a visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.
- The filing fee for Form I-129F is $535 as of 2023.
- Additional costs may include a biometrics fee and charges for obtaining necessary documents and medical examinations.
Post-Arrival in the U.S.
Once the foreign fiancé(e) arrives in the United States on a K-1 visa, there are specific steps and requirements that must be followed to ensure compliance with U.S. immigration laws. Let's break down these steps in detail:
Marriage Within 90 Days
- Requirement: The primary condition of the K-1 visa is that the couple must legally marry within 90 days of the fiancé(e)'s entry into the U.S.
- Legal Marriage: The marriage must be recognized as legally valid in the state where it occurs. This means obtaining a marriage license and following the state's marriage laws.
- Proof of Marriage: After the wedding, the couple should obtain a certified copy of the marriage certificate, which serves as proof of marriage for the adjustment of status process.
Adjustment of Status (AoS) - Applying for a Green Card
After the marriage, the next significant step is for the foreign spouse to apply for an Adjustment of Status (AoS) to become a lawful permanent resident.
- Filing for AoS:
- The foreign spouse files Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- This application should ideally be filed soon after the marriage, especially before the expiration of the K-1 visa's 90-day period.
- Required Documentation:
- The application typically requires various documents, including the marriage certificate, birth certificates, passport-style photos, and evidence of the U.S. citizen spouse’s ability to financially support the foreign spouse (usually through Form I-864, Affidavit of Support).
- The foreign spouse must also undergo a medical examination by a USCIS-approved doctor if they have yet to do so within the last year.
- Biometrics Appointment:
- After submitting the AoS application, the foreign spouse will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment, where fingerprints, a photograph, and a signature will be collected for background and security checks.
- The couple may be required to attend an interview with a USCIS officer. This interview is to verify the authenticity of the marriage and review the AoS application.
- The couple should bring documentation to the interview, including financial records, photographs, and other proof that their marriage is genuine.
- Approval and Green Card Issuance:
- If the AoS application is approved, the foreign spouse will be granted lawful permanent resident status and receive a Green Card.
- The initial Green Card is conditional and valid for two years. The couple must apply to remove the conditions on the Green Card within 90 days before the second anniversary of the Green Card issuance.
If the Fiancé(e) Has Children
Unmarried children under 21 of the fiancé(e) can be included on the K-1 visa application and may receive a K-2 visa.
Contact Us Wogwu Law
If you are considering applying for a K-1 fiancé(e) visa and need experienced guidance, Wogwu Law in San Antonio is here to assist you. Our experienced team is dedicated to helping couples go through the complexities of immigration law with patience and precision. Don't let the intricacies of the visa process overwhelm you. Contact Wogwu Law today at 919-964-5472 or online for a comprehensive consultation, and take the first step towards bringing your fiancé(e) closer to you.
Do You Need Legal Representation?
We help fellow immigrants get legal status so they can live without fear: do it right the first time by using an experienced immigration attorney. Our team represents immigration clients who live in all fifty states and abroad.
OR Fill the Form