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K-1 Visa / Fiancé(e) Visa

What is a K-1 Visa / Fiancé(e) Visa?
It is a nonimmigrant visa for the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen. The K-1 visa allows the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) to travel to the United States for the purpose of getting married to the U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days of admission.
Will the fiancé(e) be able to apply for a Green Card (permanent residence) after marriage?
Yes, after marriage to the U.S. citizen petitioner, the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) will be able to apply for adjustment of status to a permanent resident.
What are the minimum requirements for getting a K-1 visa?
The couple would need to establish that:

  • the petitioner is a U.S. citizen;
  • they met in person within two years of filing the petition (sometimes, this requirement may be waived);
  • both parties are legally free to marry;
  • the fiancé(e) is admissible or eligible for a waiver;
  • both have an intent to get married to each other; and
  • the petitioner can meet minimum income requirements for a K-1 visa.

How much time do we have to get married after my fiancé(e) enters the United States?
The couple must get married within 90 days after the fiancé(e)’s entry into the U.S.
What is the process to receive a K-1 visa?
The process of getting a fiancé(e) visa consists of three steps:

  • Step one: The U.S. citizen files Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (you cannot file this petition at a consulate, embassy or U.S. immigration office abroad.) This Petition is filed with all required forms and supporting documentation. USCIS takes somewhere from 3 weeks to 7 months to issue a decision on I-129F petition.
  • Step two: After USCIS approves the petition, they send it to the National Visa Center, which will then transfer the petition to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) lives. It usually takes approximately 4-6 weeks from the time USCIS approves the I-129F petition until the fiancé(e) receives a letter from the US Consulate or Embassy that they are ready to process the fiancé(e) visa case.
  • Step three: When the embassy or consulate informs the fiancé(e) that they received the petition, the fiancé(e) can  then pay the visa application fee, apply for a K-1 visa, schedule an interview, go to the consulate or embassy for the interview, and get his or her K-1 visa.

What documentation is required from a fiancé(e) at the consulate?
At a minimum, the fiancé(e) applying for a K-1 visa will be required to bring the following items to the visa interview at the consulate or embassy:

  • Confirmation page for the submitted online Visa Application;
  • A passport valid for travel to the U.S., with a validity date at least six months beyond his or her intended period of stay in the United States (unless an exemption applies);
  • Results of the medical examination (which is done at a specific location, as  indicated on the website of the applicable consulate or embassy);
  • Police certificates from the fiancé(e)’s country of residence and all countries where the fiancé(e) has lived for six months or more since age 16;
  • Evidence of financial support. The fiancé(e) must present documentation that he or she is able to financially support himself or herself or that U.S. citizen petitioner is able to provide support.

What is the period of validity of the I-129F Petition?
The I-129F Petition is valid for 4 months from the date of approval by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. A consular officer has the authority to extend the validity of the petition if it expires before the  K-1 visa is issued.
Can the fiancé(e)’s children come to the United States?
Yes, eligible children of a K-1 visa applicant will receive K-2 visas and will be able to come to the United States either at the same time as the K-1 visa holder or after.
Is a separate petition required for the fiancé(e)’s child?
No, the U.S. citizen petitioner does not need to file a separate petition for the fiancé(e)’s child if the child will accompany or follow the fiancé(e) within one year from the date of issuance of the K-1 visa. (Note, however, that the child must be named in the I-129F petition.)

All eligible children may apply for K-2 visas based on the approval of the I-129F Petition filed on behalf of the foreign-citizen fiancé(e). Separate visa applications must be submitted for each K-2 applicant either at the time when the K-1 visa application is submitted or within a certain period after the K-1 visa is issued. Each K visa applicant must pay the visa application fee.

Can a K-1 visa holder leave the United States and come back on the same visa?
This visa allows a fiancé(e) to enter the U.S. only one time. If the K-1 visa holder leaves the U.S., he or she will not be able to reenter on the same visa. If you have an emergency, or you left the United States and want to come back for the purpose of marrying the same U.S. citizen who petitioned for your K-1 visa, please contact an attorney to see what can be done in your situation.
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