Congratulations! You have finally decided to start a new life together in the United States. However, your loved one is in a foreign country and requires a visa to enter and secure permanent residence in the US.
The K-1 Non-immigrant Visa, or more commonly known as Fiancé Visa, must be applied by a foreign national who wants to marry a United States citizen and live with him or her in the United States. When your fiancé enters the U.S. using this visa, you must get married within 90 days from the entry date, otherwise, he or she will be forced to leave the country. This type of visa can only be issued once; therefore, if the fiancé will leave the U.S. before the marriage, he or she will not be allowed to re-enter under the same visa category. After marrying his or her fiancé, the U.S. citizen (not green card holder) spouse has to file the I-129F petition to the Office of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the fiancé. The issuance of a visa will be done by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad once this petition is approved.
Although it is categorized under non-immigrant visas, the K1 Visa allows an alien to be eventually granted permanent residency as soon as the matrimony has taken place. After the marriage, the fiancé may accomplish a Form I-485 to apply for adjustment of status and become a legal permanent resident (LPR). For marriages that have lasted beyond 2 years from the time this application was processed, a lawful permanent resident status that is valid for 10 years will be granted to the applicant.
Before applying for the K-1 Visa, there are certain qualifications to be taken into consideration. There are requirements that you need to prepare for the application. The petitioner is required to submit original documents of U.S. citizenship like a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, and certificate of naturalization or citizenship. Likewise, the foreign national must also present the same supporting documents (must be translated in the English Language) such as passport, birth certificate, and divorce documents (if applicable). Both parties will have to fill out the Biographic Data Sheets or Form G-325A together with the two most recent color photos.
Generally, the US citizen and the foreign national fiancé should have already met in person for at least two years before filing the visa. The couple has to present legitimate documentation of the engagement such as proof of communication (via email or social media), photos, evidence of travel, and even records of joint accounts.
Both individuals must be unmarried. If there is any previous marriage, it has to be concluded by death, annulment, or divorce. It should be supported by legal documents upon application. Both parties should sign an intent to marry document proving that they mutually agree to get married within ninety days. Also, U.S. citizens may bring their fiancé’s sons and daughters in the country as long as they are unmarried and below 21 years old.
The USCIS Office will also check the capacity of the petitioner to support the fiancé financially. As the primary sponsor, you should sign the Affidavit of Support or Form I-134. You have to submit your financial documents together with a certificate of employment, income tax records, and bank statements or payslips for the last six months. In case the income of the U.S. Citizen does not meet the requirements, he or she needs a Joint Sponsor. This supporting sponsor has to provide the same financial documents required from the petitioner.
While the K-1 Visa is the best way for you and your fiancé to start a new life together in the United States, immigration laws are complex and can be confusing. Working with an immigration lawyer can unburden you of the unnecessary stress an immigration process can bring.
For inquiries and assistance in processing your fiancé visa application, do not hesitate to consult with our trusted immigration lawyers at Luis F. Hess, PLLC Law Firm. Call us at (281) 626-5359 on how we can help you go through this process.