What are the K Visas?
Did you know that the U.S. government offers a visa specifically for families and married couples? The K visas are a great way to bring your loved ones over to the U.S. to live with you and it's relatively easy to obtain. In this post, we'll tell you everything you need to know about the K visas including who qualifies and how to apply.
First, K visas are divided into four groups: K-1 visa, K-2 visa, K-3 visa, and K-4 visa. The K-1 visa is for fiancés. The K-2 visa is for children or stepchildren of K-1 nonimmigrants (spouses). K-3 visa is for fiancés whose spouse is presently overseas but is still a US citizen. K-4 visa is for children or stepchildren of K-3 nonimmigrants (spouses).
Overview: K-1 Visa
The K-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the foreign fiancé(e) of a United States (U.S.) citizen. The K-1 visa permits the foreign fiancé(e) to travel to the United States and marry his or her U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival. The foreign fiancé(e) may be petitioned while in the United States, but it must be done before expiry on Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e). Once approved, the K-1 classification applies only to people who have already met in person within two years before filing K-1 petition Form I-129F. Otherwise, if they have not yet met, they may apply for fiancé(e) classification K-1 only after the fiancé(e) has entered the United States.
The fiancé(e) K-1 nonimmigrant visa permits the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) to travel to the U.S. and marry his or her U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival. The foreign fiancé(e) will then apply for adjustment of status to a permanent resident (LPR) with DHS, USCIS. Because a fiancé(e) visa permits the holder to immigrate to the U.S. and marry a U.S. citizen shortly after arrival in
the United States, it is important that fiancé(e) visa applicants answer all questions and accurately complete all sections of USCIS Form I-129F, Petition for Alien fiancé(e), and include any required supporting documents.
When a fiancé(e) desires to enter the U.S., the fiancé(e) should present both his or her passport and approved fiancé(e) petition (Forms I-129F) to an immigration officer at the port of entry. The fiancé(e) is admitted into the U.S. on a 90-day K-1 visa which is usually stamped in the fiancé(e)'s passport. Upon admission to the United States, you are expected to marry within 90 days.
K-1 visa applicants should pay particular attention to the requirements for entering into a valid marriage with their fiancé(e). Several requirements must be met before USCIS will approve the petition and issue the fiancé(e) K-1 visa.
If these conditions are not met, your fiancé(e) may not be able to obtain a fiancé(e) visa or enter the U.S. on one, and you may have to start the fiancée petition process over again:
- Petitioner and fiancé(e) must be legally free to marry;
- Petitioner must file Form I-129F within 2 years of his or her fiancée becoming eligible for fiancé(e) visa;
- The fiancée and fiancé(e) must have met in person within the past two years (exceptions may apply);
- You and your fiancé(e) both must be unmarried;
- You and your fiancé(e) must have sex outside of the U.S.;
- Both you and your fiancé(e), if age 16 or over, must sign a statement on Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, agreeing to financially support each other while you live together in the U.S.
All fiancé(e)s should be aware that immigration officers at the port of entry have very broad discretion to refuse admission to anyone trying to enter on a fiancée visa who they believe should not be allowed into the United States under INA section 212(a)(3).
Overview: K-2 Visa
The K-2 Visa allows children of the fiancé(e) visa holder to travel to the U.S. before their parent's marriage. It is a nonimmigrant and derivative visa, meaning that it does not grant the children an immigration status nor can they obtain one based on this visa alone. A child will need to adjust their status after their parent has married their fiancée, but children who are 17 years old or younger can remain in the United States with parental consent for up to 30 days after arrival. If children are 18 or older or have turned 21 during the application process, they must apply for adjustment of status within 1 year of being issued a K-2 Visa.
Prior to Arrival: K-2 children of green card holders (LPRs) and fiancés
The children must apply for the K-2 Visa at a U.S. consulate in their home country. They will need to provide proof that they are unmarried children under 21 of a fiancé(e), such as birth certificates or adoption papers, but if the children were born before their parent was granted LPR status, they will also need something like an affidavit showing that the children would not get citizenship from another country. Also included with this application is a medical examination form completed by a doctor within 6 months before applying for the visa. An official letter from their current school stating what grades they are in and transcripts from their school.
If the children are accompanying their parent, they will also need a copy of the parent's passport, visa, and I-94 admission record. If the children are not accompanying their parents, they will need a letter from both parents authorizing them to travel to the US alone and copies of both parents' passports and visas.
After Arrival: Adjustment of Status
If the children are accompanying their parents, they will need to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. They should also file Form G-325A, Biographic Information. If they are not accompanying their parents, they will need to file Form I-485 and Form G-325A, but they will also need to file Form I-566, Interagency Record of Request -- Acknowledgement.
This is the process by which children who hold a K-2 Visa can become lawful permanent residents of the United States. The children must be unmarried and under 21 years old at the time of filing Form I-485 and they must have physically resided in the U.S. continuously since arriving on their K-2 Visa. They will also need to provide evidence that they either have been admitted to an accredited school or have been accepted as a student and they must have a medical examination completed by an USCIS approved doctor. If all of these requirements are met, the children will be granted lawful permanent residency.