You are lucky if you find the right person to get married to, and getting married to them in your dream place is a blessing. The United States allows US citizens to sponsor their fiancé(e) (who are not US citizens) to come to the US on a K1 Fiance visa and solemnize their marriage in the US.
This is a wonderful opportunity not only for those couples who want to choose the US as their destination for marriage but also for the non-US fiancé(e) to come to the US on this nonimmigrant visa and later apply for a marriage-based green card from inside the US rather than applying for it from outside the US.
This article will explore everything related to the K1 visa: timeline, fees, and requirements. Make sure to read it through if you are in the process of applying or thinking of applying for it in the near future.
What is a K1 fiancé(e) visa?
The United States citizen can use a K1 visa to sponsor their fiancé(e) to come to the US for the purpose of marriage, and later the fiancé(e) can become a lawful permanent resident and eventually a US citizen by going through a marriage-based green card. This visa is also known as a fiancé(e) visa.
The US citizen and foreign fiancé(e) have 90 days to solemnize their marriage from the day the foreign fiancé(e) enters the US border. If they fail to get married within this 90-day period, the K1 visa beneficiary will have to leave the US after the completion of 90 days.
Furthermore, if, in an unfortunate situation, the engagement broke within 90 days period, the visa will lose its validity. The USCIS will check your intentions to get married within 90 days by requiring written testimony from you to prevent the abuse of the visa.
What are the key requirements for a K1 visa?
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The K1 visa requires certain conditions to be fulfilled in order to get the USCIS authorities to approve the visa and allow the foreign fiancé(e) entry into the US on a K1 visa. The set of conditions is as follows:
#Only US citizens can apply for a K-1 visa.
Not everyone in the US can sponsor the K1 visa. This visa only allows US citizens to sponsor the foreign fiancé(e) to come and get married. Therefore, if you are a US permanent resident, unfortunately, you cannot take advantage of K 1 visa.
Don’t feel bad about this; you can go and get married outside the US and then sponsor your spouse for a marriage-based green card. Contact Herman Legal Group if you want to take experts’ opinions on your case.
#Both the partners must be legally able to marry.
Both the US citizen and the foreign fiance should be legally able to marry. For example, if any of the partners are previously married and they have not taken a divorce, they cannot remarry as per US laws without legally ending their previous marriage.
So, in any such cases, you can prove it by documents such as divorce papers, or death certificate of a previous spouse, or any other legal documents proving termination of previous marriages.
#Partners of the same sex are allowed to have this visa.
The K 1 visa can also be availed by people doing same-sex marriage. As long as the one partner is a US citizen and both partners are legally able to marry, the US citizen can sponsor the other partner for K 1 fiance visa.
#Met at least once in the last 2 years
The USCIS officials will be interested in knowing that the couple has at least met once in the last two years of applying for the K1 visa. However, in cases of extreme hardship as a result of religious, cultural, or social norms, this requirement may be exempted, and the couple need not show one personal meeting in the last two years from the date of application.
They are exempted from this condition and can still apply for the visa; however, instead, they have to provide evidence of extreme hardship that stopped the partners from meeting.
#Evidence to show the true relationship
To protect this visa from being misused, it is important to show that the couple is in an actual and bonafide relationship, and they are not abusing the visa to bring a foreign national to the United Nations.
For this, you can show a number of pieces of evidence such as emails, chats, itineraries, photos, written testimonials from friends and family, or any other evidence that can prove the true relationship between you and your partner.
#Written testimonial related to intention to get married
A written confirmation is required from both the partners in which they will confirm their intention to get married within 90 days of entry into the US. You can prove your bonafide intention by supplying documents such as wedding plans, invitations, or any other arrangements you have made so far to successfully organize your wedding.
#Evidence that income requirements are met
The USCIS also sees that if the alien fiancé fulfills income requirements to live in the US. For this, the fiancé has to show that they have financial means to support themselves, equal to 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
But, in cases the foreign citizen’s fiancé fails to prove such a requirement, the US citizen can sign an affidavit (Form I 134 Affidavit of Support) that they will financially sponsor their fiancé in the US.
Primarily, these are the basic key requirements for a K-1 visa. Each application is processed differently, and the USCIS may require other documents to be satisfied on approval of your visa. Consult with Herman Legal Group to get a pre-check on your fulfillment of all the requirements of this visa.
We provide trustable and reliable immigration services, and our attorneys have vast experience in filing a number of successful K-1 visa applications.
What is the process of filing a K-1 visa?
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The K1 visa is not that complicated to apply for. In our guide, you will find a step-by-step process of how you can apply for a K 1 visa:
Step: 1 Filing Form I 129F
The US citizen needs to file Form I 129F (Petition for alien fiancé) on behalf of the alien fiancé (beneficiary). Along with Form I-129F, the US citizen has to provide certain documents such as:
- Evidence of their US citizenship (You can prove it with a government-issued or approved identity such as a Passport).
- Passport-style photographs.
The sponsoring US citizen also needs to submit other documents along with the above two, which are as follows:
- Passport of the fiancé who will become K 1 beneficiary.
- Evidence of true relationship (You can provide/submit photos with your partner, written testimonials from friends and family, itineraries, or other pieces of evidence to show the true nature of your relationship)
- Evidence that you and your alien fiancé have had a personal meeting at least once in the last 2 years of the filing of the application. You can show evidence such as hotel bookings, photos, correspondences, emails, or any other strong evidence. If in case you and your foreign citizen fiancé have not met even once in the last two years of the application, evidence that such meeting is not possible because of cases of extreme hardship as a result of religious, cultural, or social norms.
- Written testimonials from both the partners about the intention to get married in the next 90 days of the entry of the foreign fiancé into the US.
- Passport size photo of the foreign fiancé.
Once you have gathered all the essential documents, file Form I 129F at the correct address. Usually, you are notified about the receipt of the form by the USCIS within 30 days of filing. You should try to present a strong case with sufficient pieces of evidence; however, in case the USCIS requires more supporting documents, they may issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) to ask you for more evidence.
Once the USCIS is satisfied that your case is bonafide, they will approve Form I 129F and send you an approval notice.
Step – 2 Applying for a K-1 visa (Completing Form DS-160 – online nonimmigrant visa application) and attending a visa interview
After the USCIS has approved Form I 129F, it will transfer the case file to the US Department of State National Visa Center (NVC). The foreign fiance will be notified by a notice about their interview at a US embassy or a consulate nearby by the department. Such notice will include the date, time, and venue of the K-1 interview and all the required documents that the foreign fiance has to bring along with them to the interview.
The foreign fiance has to file for a K-1 visa by completing Form DS-160, which is online, and paying the fees. The confirmation of the completion of Form DS-160 will be required at the interview. For the interview, you must carry all the necessary documents along with the confirmation page of completion of the DS-160 form. The required documents are:
- 2 passport size photographs
- Your passport
- Birth Certificate
- Police clearance certificate from all the countries where you have resided for more than 6 months since the age of 16 years.
- Sealed medical exam form (which you can get through a physician abroad authorized by the State Department)
- Affidavit of Support – Form I 134 (if required)
- Tax return of US fiance (if required)
- All documents submitted at the time of Filing Form I 129F, including documents showing proof of your relationship.
Once you have all the documents ready, make sure to prepare yourself for the interview. Your interview will take place at the nearest US embassy or consulate. After your interview, you will get the decision on your case on either the same day or the following day. If your visa is approved, you will be notified and will get a K-1 visa to visit the US and get married to your partner.
What are the different fees involved in the k-1 visa?
The K-1 visa involves different fees that you or your foreign fiancé will have to pay. Some of the fees are mandatory, while other depends on the case on case basis. Briefly, there are two fees involved in the whole process
- Filing Fees
- Fees involved in gathering required documents or evidence.
Here is the brief of the filing fees for your visa.
- Form I 129F – Petition for Alien fiancé – Fees $535
- Form DS – 160 – Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application $265
Other fees involved in gathering documents
- The fee for a medical exam – It depends on the country you are living in and can range between
- Translation charges (if any) – Varies
- Other expenses – Travel costs, photography costs, etc. Varies
What are the normal wait times for K-1 Visa?
The processing time varies on the basis of the cases. However, in our overall experience, we have noted the following observations:
- The USCIS takes up to 30 days to send you receipt notice for your I-129F application.
- The USCIS can take up to 6-9 months to process your I-129F application. It could be longer if they have requested a Request for Evidence (RFE) for your application. You just have to wait for a response from the USCIS.
- Once you get a response from the USCIS about approval of your I-129F petition, your foreign fiance can initiate the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application process.
- The processing time takes like 4-6 weeks to get your visa interview.
- The interview result will be given to you on the same day or the following day.
Overall you can expect a time period of about 8-12 months for your K-1 visa. However, various other factors like workload on USCIS also impact the timeline for your K-1 visa.
How can Herman Legal Group help you?
You are certainly not alone in your visa process. Heman Legal Group is there for you to assist. A little professional guidance can help you save money and time. Seek out counsel from the Herman Legal Group, a US immigration law firm with over 25 years of experience in representing individuals, families, and companies in all aspects of immigration law, in all 50 states and around the world.
Our immigration attorney can assist you with your K-1 visa application and the process. Make sure to make a quick consultation appointment with our team. To schedule a personal consultation with one of our immigration lawyer, you can call us at , or by booking online. Consultations can be conducted by zoom, skype, whatsapp, facetime, or in-office.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
#How can my foreign fiancé obtain United States citizenship?
The process to obtain US citizenship is long and will require your foreign fiancé to firstly apply for permanent residency in the United States. When your foreign fiancé is granted a K-1 visa, he can come to the United States and marry you within 90 days of entry.
Once the marriage is completed, your foreign spouse can apply for permanent residence by filing Form I 485, Application to register permanent residence or to adjust status, and can mail the form to the below address:
US Citizenship and Immigration Services
PO Box 805887
Chicago, IL 60680-4120
When the USCIS approves the green card petition of your foreign spouse, he becomes US permanent residence and can stay in the US. After being a permanent resident for at least three years, the foreign spouse can apply for naturalization by filing Form N 400, Application for naturalization.
#If my foreign fiancé has a child, can the child accompany my fiance to the US?
Yes, USCIS allows foreign fiancé to bring their child to the US as long as they are under 25 years of age and are not married. A K-2 visa is available for them. Make sure to include all the names of the child(ren) in the I 129F petition that the foreign fiancé intends to bring with them for the wedding.
#Can my foreign fiancé work legally in the United States on their K-1 visa?
Yes, your fiance can legally work in the US on a K-1 visa. They have to file Form I 765, Application for Employment Authorisation. They can file the form with the USCIS lockbox based on their place of residence. Any such work authorization would be valid for 90 days only. However, your fiance, after getting married, can apply for work authorization along with a marriage-based green card and continue working in the US.
#Can I invite my fiance on a K-1 visa just to get engaged?
The K-1 fiance visa is a temporary visa that is specific for inviting foreign persons to get married to US citizens. This visa will not be granted to you if you do not have any intentions to get married.
You simply cannot bring someone into the US on K -1 visa just to spend time with them and get to know them. They must apply for a visitor visa in that case.
#Can my foreign fiancé extend their K-1 visa if we do not marry in 90 day period?
The straightforward answer to this question is NO. The K-1 visa is granted for only a certain period of 90 days, and it cannot be extended in any case. So if you and your fiance do not get married within 90 days period, unfortunately, they have to leave the US after the expiry of 90 days.
If your fiance fails to do that, they are violating the US immigration laws, and it can negatively impact their future immigration benefits to the US.
Contact your immigration lawyer in Chicago, Illinois should you have any questions and read more information about immigration in Chicago now.