Guide to K1 Fiancé Visas
Nothing stands in the way of true love, but if your soulmate is a citizen of another country, you may still have a few legal roadblocks to manage before you can spend your lives together in the United States. If you and your significant other find yourself separated by citizenship and international boundaries, it helps to have a great fiancé visa attorney on your side to navigate the K1 fiancé visa process.
Fortunately, immigration law provides the path for you and your loved one to be together. That path involves obtaining a fiancé visa, or a K1 visa. Fiancé visas are temporary, nonimmigrant visas issued to the fiancé of a U.S. citizen so that he or she may enter the U.S. for the purpose of getting married.
Here’s what you need to know about obtaining a K1 fiancé visa:
What is a K1 Fiancé Visa?
A K1 visa is issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to the foreign-citizen fiancé of a U.S. citizen. The visa allows a foreign citizen to enter the United States with the intention of getting married. This temporary visa is valid for 90 days. There is no extension available for the K1 visa, so the holder of the visa has just 90 days to marry their U.S. citizen sponsor, or leave the country. After marriage, the foreign-born spouse can apply for permanent residence (i.e. a green card) through the adjustment of status process.
Who is Eligible?
If you’re a U.S. citizen planning to marry a foreigner who is living abroad, there are certain requirements that must be met. Before applying for a K1 visa, be sure that you and your fiancé meet all the necessary criteria:
- You and your fiancé must have met in person at least once within the last two years prior to the date of filing. Certain exceptions can be made in cases of religious or cultural tradition, or extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen.
- You and your fiancé must be free to marry legally in the U.S., meaning that if either party has been in a previous marriage, it must be legally terminated before moving forward.
- You must be able to sponsor your fiancé financially.
- You and your fiancé must plan on marrying within 90 days of your partner entering the U.S.
Be sure to speak with your immigration attorney or visit the U.S. State Department website to learn about any additional restrictions that may apply, depending on your partner’s country of origin.
How to Get a K1 Fiancé Visa
When you are ready to apply for a K1 fiancé visa, be sure to carefully complete each part of the process. Your immigration lawyer will help you every step of the way, including making sure you have all the necessary documentation, to make sure it all goes smoothly:
- Step One: Filing the Petition – The U.S. citizen must file a petition by mail with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), using USCIS Form I-129F. Along with this form, the petitioner must also submit proof of their U.S. citizenship.
- Step Two: Applying for a Visa – If and when the petition is approved, USCIS will send the U.S. citizen notice of approval and forward the petition to an appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate in the foreign-born fiancé’s country. The fiancé will then be expected to attend an in-person interview to apply for a K1 visa. The fiancé will also be required to provide documentation including birth certificate, medical examination report, police certificates, proof of financial support from their U.S. citizen partner, and a passport valid for travel to the U.S.
- Step Three: Enter the U.S. – If the foreign-born fiancé is approved for a K1 fiancé visa to the United States, he or she will then be able to legally enter the U.S. The fiancé must present the K1 visa at the border in order to enter.
Adjustment of Status
Once inside the United States, you and your fiancé will have 90 days to get married before applying for K1 adjustment of status if you both wish to remain in the U.S. after marriage. Adjustment of status, if successful, will grant the foreign-born spouse a green card that will allow he or she to legally remain in the United States.
Processing times for K1 visas and K1 adjustment of status vary, so it’s best to get started as soon as possible. At present, fiancé visa applications are averaging 5.5 months to 15.5 months.
Contact Julie Beth Jouben for Assistance with K1 Fiancé Visas
When you need the best immigration lawyer to help with your K1 fiancé visa, the immigration law firm of Julie Beth Jouben, P.A. is here to help. To learn more, contact us today at our office to schedule a no-cost legal consultation and let’s work together to get you and your fiancé started on the road to a happy life together in the U.S.!