K-1 Fiance Visa - U.S. Immigration

The K-1 fiancé(e) visa allows a foreign fiancé(e) to enter the United States in order to marry their U.S. fiancé(e) that sponsored them for the visa within 90 days of arrival. After the alien has married the U.S. citizen, the U.S. sponsor's spouse may change status to become a legal permanent resident (LPR) through the USCIS. Contact us today and learn how we can assist you through the immigration process.

 

K-1 Fiance Visa Requirements

To be eligible for the K-1 fiance visa:

  • The U.S. and sponsor and their fiancé(e) must both be legally able to marry according to the laws in the state in which the marriage is to take place
  • The U.S. citizen and their fiancé(e) must have met within the past 2 years of filing the petition for the K-1 fiance(e) visa. Exceptions to this rule exist if there is evidence of extreme hardship preventing you from marrying within the 2 year period

K-1 Fiance Visa Requirements

  • The U.S. citizen must file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) at the USCIS office with jurisdiction over your region
  • Form I-129F must be filed in the United States and cannot be filed at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate
  • Once the I-129F is approved, and processed by the National Visa Center, it is sent to the U.S. embassy or consulate in which the fiancé(e) will apply for the K-1 visa
  • The U.S. embassy or Consulate will provide you with instructions on where you can obtain the necessary medical examination in order to enter the U.S.
  • Children of K-1 visa holders are allowed to file applications for K-2 visas. An application fee will apply for each K-2 visa issued

K-1 Fiance Visa Required Documentation

The K-1 applicant along with all K-2 applicants must provide the following documentation during their visa interview:

  • 2 completed Form DS-156s (Nonimmigrant Visa Applications) for the visas
  • One Form DS-156K, Nonimmigrant Fiance(e) Visa Application
  • One completed Part One of DS-230 (Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration)
  • A passport valid for at least 6 months after the validity period of the visa
  • Any divorce or death certificates of previous any previous marriages
  • Proof of medical examination
  • Evidence that you have financial support and available funds for your stay in the United States. The USCIS may ask for a completed I-134 Affidavit of Support to ensure that the K-1 visa holder will be supported by a U.S. citizen while in the U.S.
  • A 2x2 colored photograph
  • The fiancé(e) must also provide evidence that they are in a bona fide(genuine and true) relationship with the U.S. citizen. Evidence may include emails, letters, photos, etc.
  • The fiancé(e) should also provide the appropriate civil documents such as complete birth certificates, divorce certificates, etc. All documents provided should be translated.

K-1 Medical Examination Requirements

All K-1 and K-2 visa applicants must undergo medical examination under a authorized panel physician specified by the by the U.S. embassy or Consulate in which the they have applied. Although K-1 and K-2 visa applicants are not required to get the appropriate vaccinations required by those applying for immigrant visas, they are encouraged to get the appropriate vaccination since it will eventually be required when they change their status to Legal Permanent Resident (LPR).

Fiance Visa Adjust Status to Legal Permanent Resident

Qualified employees entering the United States to establish a new office will be allowed a maximum initial stay of one year. Where the U.S. office has been operating for over one year, transferred employees may enter for an initial maximum period of stay of three (3) years. For all L-1A employees, requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to an additional two years, until the employee has reached the maximum limit of seven years.

Fiance(e) Visa Government Fees

  • The I-129F application fee is $350 USD
  • DS-156 processing fee
  • K-1 visa I-485 application fee of $985 USD along with an associated $85 USD biometric fee where applicable for a total of $1070 USD

K-1 Fiance(e) Visa FAQ

WHat are the eligibility requirements for the K-1 Fiance Visa?

A fiancé or fiancée of a U.S. citizen is eligible for the K-1 visa if:

  • You plan on getting married to the U.S. citizen within 90 days of entering
  • If you are legally allowed to marry the U.S. citizen under the law of your country

What are the benefits of the K-1 Fiance Visa?

The K-1 Fiancée visa is a dual intent visa that allows the fiancée or fiancé of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States to marry the petitioner. After the fiancé or fiancée marries the U.S. citizen, the fiancé or fiancée may adjust their status by applying for permanent residency (a Green Card). Although the K-1 fiance visa is classified as a nonimmigrant visa, the fiancé or fiancée will usually apply for permanent residency and be issued a green card to stay in the United States with the petitioner.

Can I change my status while on a K-1 Visa?

No, you may not change your nonimmigrant status while you have a K-1 fiancee or fiancé visa.

How long am I allowed to stay in the United States under the K-1 Visa?

You may stay in the United States for 6 months with the K-1 Fiance visa. After you enter the United States, you have a 90 day period in which to get married. If you do not get married within the 90 day period, you must leave the country. No extensions are given for the K-1 Fiance visa. After getting married to the U.S. citizen, you may apply for permanent residency and obtain a Green Card. The K-1 Fiance visa is a dual intent visa, and it is generally understood that the fiancé or fiancée will remain in the United States and obtain a green card.

What is the processing time for the K-1 visa?

The processing time for the K-1 Fiance visa is around 3 to 5 months, depending on the details of the individual case. It may also take an additional 2-3 months for the consulate to process the K-1 Fiance visa.

How do I apply for the K-1 Visa?

In order to apply for the K-1 Fiance visa, the U.S. citizen must submit a petition to the USCIS. In addition, the U.S. citizen must attach a letter of intent in marrying the foreign fiancée or fiancé. You must also attach proof that the U.S. citizen and foreign fiancé or fiancée have met in person within the previous two years of filing the petition. This general requirement may be waived on occasion due to extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen and or cultural issues that prevented the meeting of the two parties. You must also attach proof that you are both able to legally get married, and that you have no pending divorce cases. In the event that you have previously been married, you must provide the USCIS with the divorce decree. In the event that your former spouse has died, you must attach a death certificate. In addition, you must attach a copy of the birth certificate of the fiancé or fiancée.

How long after obtaining a green card can I apply for citizenship?

After residing in the United States for three years after obtaining a green card, you may apply to become a naturalized citizen of the United States.

After Obtaining the K-1 visa, does it matter where I get married?

Yes. In obtaining the K-1 Fiance visa, you have expressed your intent in getting married to the U.S. citizen within the United States, therefore, you must get married in the United States. If you with to marry outside of the United States, then you must obtain an immigrant visa in order to legally enter the United States thereafter.

Can I apply for the K-1 Fiance visa with my fiance while we are both in the United States

No. The K-1 fiance visa is required for the fiancé or fiancée to legally enter the United States. In order to obtain a K-1 fiance visa for your fiancé or fiancée, you must apply at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy outside of the United States.

What are the income/financial requirements of the K-1 visa?

In order to be eligible to apply for the K-1 Fiance visa for your fiancé or fiancée, you must show that you have an income of at least 125% of the poverty line in the United States. In your K-1 Fiance visa application, you must include an Affidavit of Support to show that you have such an income. Please see the chart provided below for information regarding the 2011 poverty guidelines.

Note: to find out if you qualify, multiply the poverty line by 1.25 and then compare this to your gross annual income. If your gross annual income exceeds 125% of the poverty guideline, then you qualify and may submit the Affidavit of Support. 


2011 HHS Poverty Guidelines

Persons
in Family

48 Contiguous
States and D.C.

Alaska

Hawaii

1

$10,890

$13,600

$12,540

2

 14,710

 18,380

 16,930

3

 18,530

 23,160

 21,320

4

 22,350

 27,940

 25,710

5

 26,170

 32,720

 30,100

6

 29,990

 37,500

 34,490

7

 33,810

 42,280

 38,880

8

 37,630

 47,060

 43,270

For each additional
person, add

   3,820

   4,780

   4,390

SOURCE: Federal Register, Vol. 76, No. 13, January 20, 2011, pp. 3637-3638

What happens if I cannot meet the financial/income requirements of the K-1 visa?

In the event that you cannot meet the financial/income requirements of the K-1 visa, your fiancé or fiancée may apply for an immigrant visa or apply for the green card lottery program.

Can my fiance work in the United States before we get married?

Your fiancé or fiancée may obtain Employment Authorization by filing Form I-765 at the USCIS Service Center. You may do this after your fiancé or fiancée has come to the United States. Trying to obtain Employment Authorization, however, may not be a good idea since the average time it takes the USCIS to process Employment Authorization applications is around 90 to 120 days, wherein the K-1 fiance visa is only valid for 90 days.

Do I need the K-1 Fiance visa if we only intend to marry in the U.S., and then return to another country?

No. If you only with to marry in the United States and not remain there, you may apply for a visitor visa (B-2 visa).

Written by:Mark Carmel