The K-1 fiancé visa is available to fiancés of U.S. citizens who are living outside of the United States and intend to get married within 90 days of arriving in the United States.

The K-1 fiancé visa requirements include:

  • Both you and your fiancé must be single and eligible to be married under U.S. law. (Same-sex couples are eligible for the K-1 fiancé visa, even if the fiance’s home country does not recognize same-sex marriage)
  • If you or your fiancé have been married previously, you must provide divorce or death certificate from the previous spouse.
  • The sponsoring partner must be a U.S. citizen. (U.S. green card holders are not eligible to apply for fiancé visas.)
  • You and your fiancé must prove that your relationship is authentic—through photos, correspondence, and written statements from people who know you as a couple.
  • You must have met in person at least once in the past two years. (Waivers available for religious practices or extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen partner)
  • The U.S. citizen partner must meet certain income requirements, earning at least 100% of the federal poverty guidelines when applying for the fiancé visa, and earning 125% of these guidelines when the foreign partner applies for his or her green card.

Required Documents of the Sponsor for K-1 Petition:

  • Form I-129F
    (If your fiance has unmarried children who are under 21, they are eligible to accompany your fiance, but only if they are listed on this form.)
  • Evidence of Your U.S. Citizenship
  • Color Photos of You and Your Fiance
  • Prior Marriage Documents
    (A copy of any divorce decrees, death certificates, or annulment decrees if either you or your fiance have been previously married.

Required Documents For K-1 Visa Application:

Your fiance should provide the following documents to the United States Consulate in his/her home country when applying for the K-1 Visa:

  • A valid passport with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the United States.
  • Birth certificate
  • If applicable, divorce or death certificate of any previous spouse for both the applicant and the petitioner
  • Police certificate from all places lived since age 16
  • Medical examination
  • Evidence of financial support – Form I-134, Affidavit of Support may be requested. (Completed by U.S. sponsor)
  • Two Non-immigrant Visa Applications, Form DS-156 (A Form DS-156, prepared in duplicate.)
  • One Non-immigrant Fiance Visa Application, Form DS-156K
  • Two nonimmigrant visa photos
  • Evidence of a fiance relationship – i.e. photos of engagement.
  • Payment of fees

The consular officer may ask for additional information according to the circumstances of the case. Documents in foreign languages should be translated.

The Process of Obtaining a K-1 Fiancé Visa:

  • The U.S. citizen partner completes the appropriate government form (a “I-129F petition”), and mails it to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), along with the filing fee. You cannot file this petition at an embassy, consulate or U.S. immigration office abroad.
  • Once the petition is approved, the National Visa Center (NVC), which is run by the U.S. State Department, assigns a case number and forwards the petition to the U.S. embassy or consulate closest to where the foreign fiancé lives (where your fiance will apply for the K-1 visa).
  • The foreign fiancé completes a visa application (Form DS-160), submits it online (or according to the local consulate’s instructions), and pays the visa fee.
  • The foreign fiancé goes to an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate, and presents any requested documents during the interview.
  • Once approved, the foreign fiancé gets a visa stamp in his or her passport and uses it to enter the United States within six months.

This part of the process generally takes approximately 7 months.

Once the foreign fiancé has entered the United States, these are the following steps:

  • Your fiance can apply for a social security number card.
  • The couple gets married within 90 days and files a green card application (Form I-485, technically called an “Adjustment of Status” application), including the filing fee and the biometrics fee for fingerprinting.
  • You must fill out the Affidavit of Support, Form I-864, with the USCIS for your spouse’s application to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR).
  • If the foreign partner intends to seek employment or travel outside of the United States while the green card application is being processed, he or she must file for a work permit (“employment authorization document”) and a travel permit (“advance parole”).
  • Remove conditions on spouse’s residency – the permanent residence through marriage is conditional, meaning that the new spouse’s green card expires after 2 years. You must file I-751 to remove the conditional status after the 2 years.

What if the petition is denied?

If your petition for a fiance visa is denied, the denial letter will tell you how to appeal. Generally, you may appeal within 30 days after the petition was denied. Your appeal must be filed on USCIS Form I-290B. The appeal must be filed with the office that made the original decision.

You can also choose to re-apply and take special care to address the issues which caused to original denial. In this case, it is critical to consult an attorney before appealing or filing a new petition.

Call our office for a consultation about your fiance case today.

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