July 3

Getting Married to a U.S. Citizen: K-1 Visa

Falling in love with someone from another country can be an exciting adventure, but navigating the complex process of bringing your foreign fiancé(e) to the United States can be daunting. It is where the K-1 visa comes in.

The K-1 visa, also known as the fiancé(e) visa, is a nonimmigrant visa that allows U.S. citizens to bring their foreign fiancé(e) to the United States to get married. If you are considering applying for a K-1 visa, it is essential to understand the eligibility requirements and the steps involved in the application process. 

To be eligible for a K-1 visa, you must meet the following requirements:

You must be a U.S. citizen: 

Only U.S. citizens can apply for a K-1 visa for their foreign fiancé(e).

You must marry one another within 90 days of your fiancé(e) arrival and have a genuine intention to marry: 

The K-1 visa is for couples who plan to get married within 90 days of the foreign fiancé(e) entering the United States. You must demonstrate that you genuinely intend to marry and that your relationship is not a sham for immigration purposes. Failure to marry one another within 90 days will require your fiancé(e) to leave the United States, and if not, this will result in deportation due to a violation of U.S. immigration law. And if you marry after 90 days, you can file a petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130).

You must be legally free to marry: 

You and your fiancé(e) must be unmarried, legally able to marry one another in the United States, and legally terminate (divorce, death, or annulment) any previous marriages. If your fiancé(e) has a child (in her past marriage) under twenty-one and unmarried, that child could be eligible to come to the United States through K-2 Visa.

You must have met your fiancé(e) in person at least once within the past two years: 

Before you file your petition, you and your fiancé(e) must meet in person. It is to establish that you have a bona fide relationship with your fiancé(e) and are not simply trying to circumvent immigration laws. However, if meeting in person would violate customs in the culture or social practice of your fiancé(e) or cause hardship, you can request a waiver of this requirement.

Meeting these eligibility requirements is the first step in the K-1 visa application process. Now, if you pass the requirements, you can apply it. Here are the steps involved in applying for a K-1 visa:

File a Petition for Foreign Fiancé(e) (Form I-129F): 

The first step in the K-1 visa process is for the U.S. citizen to file a Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) using the form I-129F. This form establishes the relationship between the petitioner and the fiancé(e) and provides information about both individuals. If you wish to bring your children under 21 and unmarried to the United States, you must include their names.

Wait for USCIS approval: 

USCIS will review it and determine whether the couple meets the eligibility requirements for the K-1 visa right after filing the petition. They may request more evidence if they need more documentation. USCIS will approve the form if you establish eligibility. DOS National Visa Center will receive the approved Form I-129F. If denied, they will notify you of the reason for the denial. 

Complete the visa application process: 

After receiving the approved petition, the foreign fiancé(e) must complete the visa application process at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. It typically involves submitting additional forms, supporting documents, and attending the scheduled interview. Whether your fiancé(e) qualifies will depend on the DOS consular officer. If granted, a visa valid for six months for a single entry. If not, they will return Form I-129F to USCIS and allow it to remain expired but still be able to file a new one.

Receive the K-1 visa:

If the visa is approved, the foreign fiancé(e) will receive the K-1 visa, which allows them to enter the United States for 90 days. However, in the inspection at the Port of Entry – whether to admit your fiancé(e) or not will depend on the CBP officer.

Get married within 90 days: 

Once the foreign fiancé(e) enters the United States on a K-1 visa, they must get married to the U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days. After the marriage, the foreign spouse can apply for a Green Card and become a permanent United States resident.

If you’ve fallen in love with someone from another country and are considering getting married, applying for a K-1 visa can be a great way to bring your fiancé(e) to the United States and start your life together. While the process can be complex and involve a lot of paperwork, an experienced immigration attorney can help guide you and assure you to complete everything correctly.  With careful planning and preparation, you can successfully apply for a K-1 visa and start your journey as a married couple in the United States. So don’t hesitate to take action and explore your options for applying for a K-1 visa today. Again, it’s a good idea to consult with an immigration attorney for guidance and assistance throughout the K-1 visa process. Talk to us now!

About the author: Jon Velie has practiced Immigration law since 1993. He is CEO of OnlineVisas

Jon is an Amazon number one best-selling author of H-1B Visa: Application & Approval, is regularly covered by major media and has won a number of international awards. Jon was also pivotal in the Cherokee Freedmen Supreme Court case.

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