A K-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that can be issued to the fiancé or fiancée of a U.S. citizen for the purpose of entering the U.S. to get married. After the marriage, it is possible for the foreign spouse to apply for lawful residence through a process known as the adjustment of status. Find out more about the process of obtaining a fiancé visa.
Am I Eligible for a Fiancé Visa?
In order to be eligible for a K-1 visa, the couple must have met in person within the past two years. If the couple has not seen each other face to face in the past two years, they must arrange a visit before filing for a K-1 visa. Certain exemptions can be made for reasons of religious tradition or if arranging a visit would pose extreme hardship for the U.S. citizen.
Filing the K-1 Visa Petition
The U. S. citizen will act as the petitioner and will file the visa petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This will be done by mail, and you will submit USCIS Form 1-29 F “Petition for an Alien Fiancé” and Form G-325A “Biographic Information.”
Along with these forms, you will be asked to submit:
- Proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport.
- Evidence of your relationship and intended marriage.
- A personal statement from both parties regarding your relationship.
- Proof that you have met within the past two years.
- Evidence of commission of any violent or domestic crimes.
- A color, passport style photo that is no older than 30 days before the date of filing.
These documents, along with a nonrefundable processing fee, will be submitted to the USCIS for processing. If the application is complete, you will receive Form I-797 Notice of Action. You will receive a second Notice of Action once your application has been approved, and your petition will be sent to the National Visa Center for further processing. From there, the petition will be forwarded to the U.S. embassy or consulate that has jurisdiction over the fiancé’s residence.
The Visa Interview
Once the petition has been sent to the U.S. embassy or consulate in your fiancé’s place of residence, they will need to appear for a scheduled interview. They will be informed or what documentation is needed specifically, but typically, a foreign fiancé will need to provide some of the following documents:
- Birth certificate
- Proof of divorce or the death of any prior spouses for either party
- Police certificate from all the places lived since they were 16 (if applicable)
- Medical examination and proof of vaccinations
- Form I-134 Affidavit of Support
- Two prepared copies of Form DS-156 “Non-Immigrant Visa Application”
- State Department Form DS-230 Part I “Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration”
- Two passport-style photos
- Evidence of fiancé relationship
- Passport valid for travel to the U.S., with an expiration 6 months beyond the K-1 Visa’s expiration.
- Visa fees
The application and evidence will be considered by a consular officer, who will then approve or deny the visa. If the visa is denied, there is no appeals process. You may correct the underlying issue and reapply, however.
Entry into the United States
Once your visa has been granted and received, the immigrating fiancé will be required to present their visa at a U.S. border point of entry. If a Customs and Border Protection officer finds evidence that you were not eligible for the visa or are otherwise inadmissible, they may be denied entry. If they are not denied entry, they will be permitted to enter the U.S.
Marriage and Adjustment of Status
Once your fiancé is in the U.S., it is in your best interest to marry quickly. A K-1 fiancé visa is only valid for 90 days, and you will need time to receive the official marriage certificate before the visa expired. The marriage certificate will be needed to apply for an adjustment of status and become a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. Within the 90-day lifespan of the fiancé visa, you will need to apply for a change of status, which will allow you to apply for lawful permanent residence without leaving the U.S.
Need Help with Your Visa Application?
Our team of San Jose immigration attorneys is prepared to answer your questions and help you through the entire visa application process and beyond. At the Verma Law Group, we can help you navigate the complex application process, help you document your relationship, and we can even help you apply for a change of status once you’re married. Don’t hesitate to get help bringing your loved one home.