Fiancée Visa & K1 Visas
What is a K1 Visa?
This visa allows a US Citizen to sponsor their fiancée (foreign national) to enter the United States for the purpose of getting married. The US Citizen and their fiancée have 90 days to marry once they enter the country. If they do not marry within the 90 days, the fiancée (foreign national) has to return back to their home country or is subject to removal from the United States.
Who is eligible to file such a petition? What are the requirements?
- The petitioner must be a US citizen.
- The foreign national and US citizen must have the ability to get married. That is, any and all marriages prior to this must no longer be valid. (the marriages could have ended via divorce, death of a spouse or annulment)
- The foreign national and US Citizen must have a current intent to marry and must be willing to marry within 90 days after the entry of the foreign national.
- The US citizen is employed and his/her income meets the levels set forth by the U.S. poverty guidelines.
- If the Us Citizen has been convicted of certain crimes, then he/she would need to provide police/court records, and a final disposition of the matter.
- The US citizen should have filed their tax returns for at least the last 3 years with the IRS.
- The foreign national should not have been convicted of any crime and should not have a record of removal or deportation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
- The US citizen should not have a K1 visa approved within 2 years prior to the filing of the current petition.
- The US citizen should not have two or more K1 petitions filed at any time.
- The US citizen and foreign national have met in person in the last 2 years.
What is the process?
There are several steps to the process:
- The Initial: File the petition.
The U.S. citizen petitioner applicant should file I-129F. After USCIS reviews/approves the petition, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC provides a case number and will send your petition to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate where your beneficiary (fiancée) resides.
- The Next Step: Apply for a visa
The NVC will mail a notification when it forwards the case to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. At this point your foreign national (fiancée) will need to apply for the K1 visa and prepare for an interview. At the interview, foreign national fiancée will need to provide a host of documents outlined in the letter provided by the National Visa Center. It is also a good idea to review the document requirements of that particular consulate that reviews K1 visas. There also will be a medical examination (by an authorized panel physician) that must be completed by the fiancée prior to any visa being issued. This medical examination cannot be completed by just ANY physician. It is important to review the request for documentation and completion of the medical exam very thoroughly.
- The Final Step:
Once you are issued a K-1 visa, the Consular Officer will provide the foreign national fiancée with a passport containing the K-1 visa and a sealed packet containing certain documents prepared by Embassy or Consulate. It is crucial not to open the sealed envelope. This envelope will only be opened at the port of entry in the U.S. by an immigration official. The issued visa is valid for 6 months from the date of issuance.
What about my children? Can they enter with me?
As a K1 visa applicant, one may apply for K-2 visas for children. However, separate applications must be filed for each applicant. Further, if these K2 visas are approved, the children applicants (K2 visa holders) may enter with the parent (K-1 visa holder) or after the parent has entered the US.
How long does the process take? How long will it take to get the visa approved?
The process times vary based on the case and consular/embassy processing times.
My petition has expired. What now?
The I-129F petition is valid for four months from the date it was approved. A consular offices does have the discretion to extend the duration of the petition if it expired prior to when the visa processing was completed.
Are there any waivers available?
There may be a waiver available if the foreign national has been convicted of a crime. It is important to consult an attorney to discuss the case specific facts. Please feel free to contact my office for a consultation.
There also may be a waiver available for those petitioners who are not able to demonstrate that they met their foreign national fiancée within the last 2 years of the application. One waiver (exception) is based upon being able to demonstrate that extreme hardship would be experienced by the K-1 petitioner. The second waiver (exception) is based on if this requirement “would violate strict and long-established customs of the beneficiary’s foreign culture.”
It is important to consult an attorney to discuss you case specific facts. Please feel free to contact my office for a consultation.