A U.S. citizen who plans to marry a person who is a citizen of foreign country may wish to bring their fiancé / fiancée to the United States prior to the marriage ceremony. In such circumstances, the U.S. citizen who is engaged to be married can petition the immigration authorities for a K-1 Fiancé / Fiancéé Visa.
Requirements fora K-1 Visa and Affidavit of SupportIt is necessary to comply with the following in order to qualify for a K-1 visa:
- The couple is required to have met personally within the two years prior to the petition being filed with USCIS;
- Both individuals must be free to marry and intend to get married within 90 days after the arrival of the foreign fiancé/ fiancée in the United States.
- The U.S. citizen petitioning for a K-1 visa (the sponsor) must meet the minimum income requirement and sign an affidavit of support (Form I-134) or have a qualified joint sponsor who is a U.S. citizen sign an affidavit of support.
- In order to be able to qualify as a sponsor, the petitioner must prove that they have an income that is at least 125% of the current Federal poverty guideline. (See Form I-864P, Poverty Guidelines, which is updated annually.) In some cases, liquid assets may be used to qualify. A credible offer of employment does not qualify and exempt the petitioner from filing Form I-134.
K-1 Fiancé / Fiancée Visa ProcedureThe partner who is the United States citizen (the “petitioner”) files a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). After the petition is approved and background checks have been successfully conducted by the National Visa Center in the United States, the U.S. Consulate in the country where the foreign fiancé / fiancée resides is notified. The foreign fiancé / fiancée submits a visa application to the U.S. Consulate for a K-1 visa.
After the U.S. Consulate receives the application, it will require the applicant to submit a proper medical examination and schedule an interview. After a successful interview, the U.S. Consulate will place a K-1 visa stamp in the applicant’s passport, which permits the foreign national to travel to the United States. Arrival in the United States is required within 6 months of the date that the visa was issued.
90 Days for Fiancé and Fiancée to Get MarriedThe K-1 visa is valid for 90 days after entry. During this time, the marriage is expected to occur. If the foreign fiancé / fiancée has children under the age of 21 from a previous marriage, they will be issued a K-2 visa. In the event that the marriage does not take place during the designated 90 day time period, the foreign fiancé / fiancée must leave the United States before the expiration of the K-1 visa. It is not possible to extend the time period for stay nor to change the K-1 visa status to another type of visa.
If the foreign fiancé / fiancée enters the U.S. using a different visa, such as a B-2 tourist visa, there may be accusations of visa fraud. This can have serious consequences should the foreign spouse later pursue a Green Card to become a permanent resident in the United States. In order to avoid such problems, the foreign national must obtain either a K-1 fiancé / fiancée visa or a K-3 spouse visa or an immigrant visa. Accurate and reliable information and legal advice concerning the K-1 visa process can be obtained through a legal consultation with an immigration lawyer.
- Immigration Law:
- Fiance Visa (K1, K3)
Fiance Visa Fiance & Fiancee Visa (K-1): Requirements & Procedure
By Michael M. Wechsler |
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