Fiancé Visa (K-1)
A fiancé visa, technically known as a K-1 visa, enables someone who is engaged to a U.S. citizen to enter the U.S. to get married. After the wedding, the new spouse is eligible to apply for a green card.
If you are engaged and reviewing your options, an experienced attorney at American Dream™ Law Office can help you determine whether a K-1 visa is right for your circumstances, and assist with the application process to ensure that requirements are fulfilled properly to avoid delays or denials.
Eligibility for a K-1 Visa
The first step in the process is to determine if you qualify to receive a K-1 fiancé visa. These visas are available to same-sex couples, even if the laws of the foreign fiance’s home country do not recognize same-sex marriage.
Eligibility requirements include:
- One spouse must be a U.S. citizen who meets certain income requirements
- Both partners must be unencumbered by prior marriages (and have proof of divorce, etc.)
- The couple must have evidence to prove the legitimacy of their relationship
- Both partners must sign a statement displaying an intent to marry no later than 90 days after the foreign fiancé enters the U.S.
- The couple must prove that they have been together in person at least once within the past two years. (Exceptions may be made for extreme hardship or where meetings violate cultural norms)
Because of the difficulties posed by COVID restrictions in recent years, USCIS may be more likely to waive the requirement for an in-person meeting. An immigration lawyer could help a couple prepare documentation to show that their relationship is genuine and that they meet all qualifications for a K-1 visa.
The Application Process for a fiancé Visa
The process begins with the U.S. citizen partner filing a petition Form I-129F with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The form must be accompanied by evidence showing that the couple meets the requirements. Missing information could cause delays, and any information that appears to involve potential fraud could cause an application to be denied with a negative impact on future immigration efforts. For that reason, many couples choose to work with an experienced immigration attorney throughout the process to avoid mistakes.
After USCIS approves the petition, the case is transferred to the U.S. State Department which will schedule an interview in the foreign fiancé’s home country. At that point, the fiance will fill out the formal visa application and submit additional documentation and prepare for the interview. The interview typically takes place at the U.S. embassy or consulate in the foreign fiance’s home country about six weeks later.
Is a K-1 Visa the Best Process for a Foreign fiancé?
A K-1 visa is only good for 90 days and it is only available to fiance’s of U.S. citizens rather than green card holders. It makes sense for couples in certain situations. For others, it might be better to marry abroad and apply for a permanent spousal visa through the consular process. The choice depends in large measure on the couple’s current living situation and plans for the near future.
Get Help with a Fiancé Visa
Whether you need help determining the most effective path to immigration for you and your fiancé, or you’ve already started the visa application process and need assistance, the dedicated legal advocates at American Dream™ Law Office are ready to assist. We understand all steps in the process and will not rest until we’ve done everything we can to help you reach your goals. Contact us today for a confidential consultation to learn more about the ways we can assist you.
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