K-1 Visa for Fiancés of United States Citizens
The K-1 Visa allows a fiancé of a United States citizen to enter into the U.S. so the fiancé and citizen may marry. This applies when the fiancé wishes to enter the United States in order to marry. For U.S. citizens who marry outside the U.S. or if the fiancé already legally lives in the U.S., then a K-1 Visa is unnecessary. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), to be eligible for a K-1 Visa the following conditions must be met:
- The petitioner must be a U.S. citizen.
- The petitioner intends to marry within 90 days of the fiancé entering the United States.
- Both the petitioner and fiancé are free to marry and any previous marriages must have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment.
- The petitioner and fiancé met each other, in person, at least once within (two) 2 years of filing the petition. There are two exceptions that require a waiver: (i) If the requirement to meet would violate strict and long-established customs of either the petitioner's or fiancé's foreign culture or social practice. (ii) If the petitioner proves that the requirement to meet would result in extreme hardship.
The U.S. citizen (the "petitioner") begins the application process by filing Form I-129F with the USCIS. If the USCIS approves the petition, it will be submitted to the National Visa Center (NVC), which will then forward the petition to the fiancé's U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Once the NVC notifies the petitioner, the petitioner should notify the fiancé so that he/she may file a Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, and gather the appropriate documents, such as a valid passport and any death or divorce certificates for former spouse(s).Underage Children and Time Limitations
If the fiancé has children under the age of 21, the children may be eligible for a K-2 nonimmigrant visa so that they may accompany the fiancé to the United States.
If the K-1 Visa is approved, the fiancé has within 90 days of approval to enter the U.S. and marry the petitioner. After marriage, he or she may apply for permanent residency and for a Green Card. If the petitioner and fiancé do not marry within the 90-day time period, the K-1 Visa expires and may not be extended. The petitioner will have to begin the process again; therefore, it is important that both parties to the marriage plan accordingly.Contact a K-1 Visa Immigration Lawyer for Help
Immigration visa lawyer Samuel C. Berger represents individuals, families, and businesses in the New York and New Jersey areas. The Law offices of Samuel C. Berger PC helps families and businesses on how to petition to bring immigrant relatives and employees to the U.S., and we help immigrants who have already made their home here obtain visas and green cards. To schedule a confidential consultation to see how we can assist you, please contact us today online or at (201)587-1500 for a free evaluation of your situation.