K1 Visa: Immigrant Visa for Fiancees of US Citizens

People traveling from one country to another usually come into the point of meeting up partners of opposing nationalities, getting into a relationship after, and ended up deciding to live as one. Basically, the marriage would be between the different people from different countries, whether the man is the US citizen or the woman otherwise, and vice versa. However, before they get married, couples should be prepared for everything especially in getting permission for the foreign nationality’s way to the United States for the wedding ceremony. Visa is the permission needed the most for the two being engaged.

US Fiance Visa, also known as the fiance visa, would let the ceremony happen. With this travel permission, the couples would have their way to the US. This article would be talking about the U.S fiance visa, what it is, its requirements, the fiance visa process, and other relevant K1 visa process details.

What is a K1 visa?

As mentioned above, the K-1 visa would allow the foreign citizen who is getting married to a citizen from the United States to go there. The engaged couple is only allowed to have the ceremony within a specified period of time while in the place. The foreign citizen who’s going to marry a citizen from the US should be provided with this visa, because in the absence of this K-1 fiance visa, the fiance would surely encounter difficulties during the process, starting from adjusting the status to become a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) of the U.S. which means that the foreign citizen has an immigrant visa and can stay in the U.S permanently.

The K-1 visa holder will get this visa in order that they can marry the U.S citizen which is within 90 days of arriving in the United States. The ceremony and the legal marriage certificate should be done and handed as proof to the Department of Homeland Security prior to the permanent move of the foreign citizen in the U.S to join their spouse.

What are the K1 Visa Requirements?

Before having the K-1 visa and have the way to the U.S to marry the U.S citizen, there are some fiance visa requirements that you must be fulfilled first. The following required for the process are in security to avoid relationships and marriages that are unofficial just to obtain Green Cards.

So if you want to marry your fiance in the U.S, you must fulfill these eligibility criteria:

  • You must have to show evidence or proofs of your relationship before engagement
  • You plan on having your wedding ceremony while you are in the U.S on a K-1 visa
  • The marriage will be done with regards to the U.S laws where the marriage will be performed.

You and the U.S citizen must have met already personally for at least once in the past two years (Exceptions to this requirement will be granted if you can prove that the U.S citizen faced extreme sacrifices to come and visit the foreign citizen fiance. Great difficulties by doing such can be proved on culture or custom conditions, and other factors)

Without fulfilling the above conditions, you could be notified that you are not qualified or eligible for the visa. Various reasons are provided why this could happen, it might be:

  • Involvement in historical criminality  (ex. drug trafficking)
  • You have submitted illegal documents or papers
  • You have exceeded your stay in the U.S on a previous visa or you’ve broken other rules of having a visa

However, the K-1 visa applicant is not the only one to fulfill the mentioned requirements, there are also for the U.S citizen who intends to marry the foreign citizen, the following are:

  • You should be a citizen from the United States
  • You intend to marry the foreign citizen for the expected stay of 90 days of them entering the U.S
  • Previous marriage of the both of you has already terminated legally

How to Apply for the K1 Visa?

The application for the visa has steps that both the U.S citizen and the fiance must follow. The U.S citizen should be the one to initiate the visa application. The U.S citizen must obtain permission from the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to bring and sponsor their foreign citizen fiance to the U.S. The foreign citizen fiance should apply for the actual K-1 visa if the USCIS approves the permission.

Step 1: File Petition for Alien Fiance

The U.S citizen will first need permission from USCIS for the foreign citizen fiancé to visit in the U.S. This permission will be handed by filing Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance to USCIS. It must be filed from within the U.S, not from abroad.

The officials are going to review the proofs of their legal relationship, either fulfilling the criteria for eligibility or both of them allow and intend to get married. Given that the two fulfilled all the given requirements, then USCIS will approve the petition and send it to the National Visa Center (NVC).

Afterward, the NVC will then inform the couples of the approval and will then forward the documents to the U.S Embassy or Consulate, where the foreign citizen will have the application for the K-1 visa. The approved petition is identified with its NVC case number. However, without obtaining the approval of the Form I-129F, the foreign citizen is not allowed to apply for the said visa.

Step 2: Apply for the K1 visa

The application of the K-1 visa must be performed right after when the Form I-129F is approved. The foreign citizen should complete it in a U.S Embassy or Consulate in their country of residence.

Complete Form DS-16

Online Non-immigrant Visa Application or Form DS-16 is used for U.S non-immigrant visas and in this case for the K-1 visa too. Personal information, as well as, reasons why you are planning to go to the U.S will be inquired in this form. Upon submitting it, you will then get a confirmation page and code.

Schedule Visa Interview

You must schedule your interview first as soon as possible for you might wait for too long because in some cases, the Embassy or Consulate where you do your application is having a high load of work. When you schedule your interview, you will get an interview schedule letter.

Complete Medical Examinations

You must have a licensed physician who will conduct the necessary medical examination, regardless of your age for as long as you are traveling to the US or planning especially to have an application for a US immigrant visa. The doctor must provide a statement of your health issues. It is necessary also to get the U.S required vaccination so as to complete that requirement for the foreign citizen will have to file a residency after getting married.

Compile Your Document File

Your interview at the U.S Embassy will require you to have the following documents:

  • Valid passport exceeding 6 months after your intended stay in the U.S
  • Two photographs as recommended by the Photo Requirements
  • Form DS-160 confirmation page and code
  • Interview schedule letter
  • Approved Form I-129F
  • Criminal background papers or documents
  • Divorce or death certificates in case of past marriage
  • Proofs of the relationship with the U.S citizen
  • Documents of medical examination (and optional for vaccination documents)
  • Proof of fee payments

Attend Visa Interview

You have to show your documents as well as your answers to any questions that the interview officials will have during your interview. You will also be interrogated about your relationship with the U.S citizen. Other background details will be asked.

What Are the K1 Visa Fees?

In obtaining the K-1 visa, there are K-1 visa fees or fiance visa costs certainly. Amounts are not the same annually and by the country as well because of the various relationships that the US has with the other countries. The main categories of fees are as follows:

  • Petition fee for the Form I-129F
  • Form DS-160 submission fee
  • Medical examination fees
  • Other costs with regards to filing documentation and translation

How Long is the Visa K1 Processing Time?

The Visa K-1 Processing Time can vary from weeks to months. Mostly, it will take a few months, so you have to plan ahead of time for any delays if you are planning to have the wedding in the U.S. You and your fiance in the U.S will be notified if it is already processed.

You can start making travel plans only after getting your visa. For instance, if your visa is denied, you might end up not using any tickets purchased up to that point.

How Long is the K1 Visa Valid?

Initially, the K-1 Visa is given for 4 months but can be extended for up to 6 months. Even if a K-1 visa might be valid for this certain length of time, the couple is expected to be married within 90 days of the entry of the foreign citizen in the U.S.

Can I Work With a Valid K1 Visa?

While staying in the U.S with a K-1 visa, your U.S citizen fiancé must prove that they can support you. However, you can plan to work ahead since you’ll be married and live permanently.

You have to apply first for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by filing Form I-765 to USCIS. You are then allowed to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) if granted and even work for the period of your K-1 Visa validity.

Can my Children Accompany me to the U.S With a K1 Visa?

Foreign citizens children under 21 years old can go with them to the US for the marriage. The children of the K-1 visa holder can travel to the U.S with a valid K-2 visa.

The U.S citizen must be mentioned in the Form I-129F while filing petitions to USCIS. After the petition approval, every child must apply for the K-2 visa individually. The opportunity to also obtain permanent residence after the marriage will be given to the children which is performed by filing for status adjustments.

What Are the Next Steps After Marriage?

The process of adjusting status permanently starts right after the foreign citizen obtains a K-1 visa and the couple gets married in the U.S within 90 days, which means that the foreign citizen will become a Legal Permanent Resident of the U.S by having a spouse visa.

The process is started by filing Form I-485. The foreign citizen will have conditional status with the CR-1 visa within the first two years starting from the day of marriage and can obtain unconditional status with the IR-1 visa right away.

What if the Couple Does Not Marry After 90 Days?

If the K-1 visa holder had the entrance to the U.S and the marriage is not performed within 90 days, there will be no extension for the K-1 visa. The K-1 visa holder is expected to leave the U.S and go back to their respective country. Deportation and legal consequences will be faced by the K-1 Visa holder if not leaving the US within the valid period of time.