The K-1 visa allows a foreign fiancé admission to the U.S., provided they marry within 90 days after official classification. While the K-1 is classified as a non immigrant visa, it is an inroad to permanent residency in the U.S.
A foreign fiancé visa holder can apply to be a legal permanent resident and acquire a marriage green card after marrying their U.S. citizen spouse. This makes it the standard option for a U.S. citizen looking to bring their foreign spouse to the U.S.
But while the K-1 comes highly recommended, it also has its drawbacks.
Here is all you need to know about the K-1 visa, including the benefits and disadvantages.
What is the K-1 Visa Process?
Prior to applying for the K-1 visa, you must have personally met your fiancé within the previous two years. Before you petition for them to come to the US, the in-person encounter must have taken place. The U.S. citizen petitioner must submit Form I-129F, Petition for Fiancé(e), to USCIS after fulfilling this precondition.
Additionally, the U.S. citizen partner must show USCIS documentation proving their citizenship. A birth certificate or passport will do as proof. Also required is evidence of the relationship and the petitioner’s intention to wed. These are referred to as supporting documents and are essentially required to prove that a genuine relationship exists.
Processing the I-129F typically takes five to seven months. USCIS will let the petitioning spouse know that they have received the I-129F two to three weeks after you submit it. At that time, they may also say whether they require any additional documents.
If USCIS accepts your I-129F form, the National Visa Center of the Department of State will receive it as the next step. The I-129F will then be forwarded by the NVC to the fiancé’s country of residence, where they can follow the necessary procedures to apply for the K-1 visa and submit their Form DS-160 along with the required consular processing fees.
Your petition will be adjudged on merit and about two weeks.
What are K-1 visa Benefits?
#You Can File For an Adjustment of Status for your Foreign Fiancé’s
Assuming you comply with all K-1 visa requirements and all goes smoothly, the citizen partner can file Form I-485, Petition for Adjustment of Status, on their spouses’ behalf.
The citizen petitioner can also request a work permit and travel documents during the green card process. The ability to become a lawful permanent resident is what makes the K-1 visa popular.
#The Three Month Grace Period Before Marriage
Another great advantage of the K-1 visa is getting to know your fiancee better before taking your vows. The 90-day grace period allowed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services could be what you need to make a sobber decision about who you will spend the rest of your life with.
If you seek to speed up the process, it will be better to get married and apply for a marriage visa instead.
#K-1 Visas are Available for Everyone
Are you wondering whether the K-1 applies to same-sex relationships? Yes, this is the short answer for this.
According to the USCIS, you can apply for K-1 visa classification if you’ve fulfilled all other requirements in the visa process. The U.S. citizen and their fiancé e will then enter the U.S. and execute a same sex marriage within the statutory 90 days.
#Faster Processing Time
Want your fiance with you as soon as possible? K-1 visas typically take a shorter processing time than other consulate processing cases. Immigration services can process your K-1 visa three months earlier than other immigration classification options.
A k-1 visa takes about seven months, while a spousal visa takes 10 to 13 months.
#You Can Get Married in the U.S.
The K-1 visa is an excellent option for you if you want to exchange vows in the U.S. You can invite your family and friends to the U.S. for the ceremony.
Other benefits of the K-1 visa include:
- The K-1 visa application criteria simplify the green card process for you and your fiancé e since there is a significant overlap in the processes
- With the quick transition from a foreign fiancé to a permanent resident using the fiancé e visa, you can legally look for employment in the U.S.
What are K-1 Visa Cons?
#Most K-1 Visa Applications are Denied
A common drawback of the K-1 is that most petitions are denied. It used to be a clear-cut way of attaining citizenship until many instances of fraud came up. Nowadays, immigration services approve only 66% of the applications.
Some common grounds for K-1 denial include:
- Failure to meet income requirements by the U.S. citizen
- When either of you has a past conviction for crimes
- When either of you has violated immigration law before
- The U.S. citizen must not have petitioned for K-1 twice before the current application
- Failure to provide supporting evidence of the relationship
- Failure to abide by the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act
- When your foreign fiancé has a disease that could endanger U.S. citizens
Find out more about K-1 income requirements here.
What Happens When You Fail to Marry Within the Statutory 90 Days in K-1 Classification?
Should you fail to comply with the 90-day marriage requirement, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services won’t allow the alien fiancé or any other dependents to apply for adjustment status. They will be required to return to their home country.
If the nonimmigrant visa holder fails to return to their home country and stays in the U.S. for more than six months after the K-1 visa expiry, they may be banned from entering the U.S. This ban can last up to ten years.
But if you get married outside the statutory 90-day requirement, you must file Form I-130.
What Happens When You Marry a Different U.S. Citizen Under K-1?
In some cases, your foreign fiance could marry a different U.S. citizen after entering the U.S. under the K-1 classification. They may still get a green card, but they have to leave the U.S. first. The new citizen petitioner will then file Form I-130 on their behalf.
Upon its success, the application and visa process will be in the fiancé’s home country.
However, if the foreign fiance overstayed for over six months, they could be banned from the K-1 application.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
#What Should I Expect in the K-1 Visa Interview?
The K-1 visa interview is crucial to the chances of your K-1 petition succeeding. Only the foreign fiance participates in the visa interview. Show up on time and give accurate information to increase the chances of merit.
#What Happens After K-1 Interview Process?
If USCIS deems you bona fides and certifies your eligibility for K-1 classification, they will notify you and send your approved petition to the DOS National Visa Center. However, this doesn’t guarantee K-1 visa status.
#What is the First Step in a K-1 Petition Application?
First, you’ll file Form I-129F so that you can bring your foreign fiance (K-1) and their children (K-2) to the U.S.
How The Herman Legal Group Can Help
We understand why you need your fiance in the United States. While there are many K-1 visa pros, you should also consider the cons and other options for bringing your partner to the U.S.
We can analyze your case, identify the available options, and help you decide the safest, most cost-effective, and quickest route to success. Contact the Herman Legal Group, a U.S. immigration law firm with over 26 years of experience representing individuals, families, and companies in all aspects of immigration law, in all 50 states and around the world.
Schedule a consult with one of the experienced immigration lawyers at Herman Legal Group by calling 1-800-808-4013 or 1-216-696-6170 or booking online. Consultations can be conducted by zoom, skype, WhatsApp, facetime, or in-office.
The Herman Legal Group respects your valuable time and resources. We will not conduct a one-hour consultation unless they believe they can provide critical information and hopefully a path to immigration success.