The K-1 fiance visa is a unique immigration strategy that allows a foreign national to enter the United States for the purpose of marrying a U.S. citizen. It is very important that the marriage takes place within ninety (90) days from the date of the foreign national's entry into the U.S. Once the couple marries, the foreign national can apply for permanent residency with US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). There are numerous forms and documents required for the fiance visa and permanent residency process.
Eligibility Criteria for a K-1 visa
The couple must prove that they:
* previously met in person within two years of the date of filing the petition (although there are limited exceptions);
* have a bona fide intention to marry; and,
* are legally able and actually willing to enter into a valid marriage within ninety (90) days after the foreign national arrives in the United States.
In addition to the documents required, there are numerous limitations of the K-1 fiance process of which to be aware. For example, Congress enacted the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA) in 2005 which created two significant limitations. One is that a U.S. citizen is prohibited from submitting two or more fiancé petitions at any time (although there is a limited waiver available). The second limitation refers to a US citizen’s background. A petitioner must disclose any conviction for one of any specified crimes, which include domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and neglect, dating violence, elder abuse, stalking, or attempted kidnapping.
Process for Applying for the K-1 Visa
The U.S. citizen is the "petitioner", meaning he or she is petitioning for his or her fiance to come to the U.S. The K-1 process requires the petitioner to file a petition for the visa with the appropriate USCIS office. If USCIS approves the petition, the US Department of Homeland Security will notify the relevant U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad of the approval. The relevant U.S. Consulate or Embassy will eventually schedule a K-1 fiance interview at which the foreign national must appear in person.
Eligibility of Dependents
Minor children of the foreign national fiance may receive dependent K-2 visas.
Learn more about the requirements of the K-1 fiance petition and whether it is the best option for you and your loved one by scheduling a consult with one of our immigration attorneys at Wilson Law Group.