The K-1 visa is a fantastic opportunity for a foreign citizen fiancé of a US citizen to come to the United States and solemnize their marriage in US territory. We all know how good the US can be as a destination for marriage, and not getting a visa for the US can make many people sad.
That is why Herman Legal Group continuously makes efforts to aware its audience of the different visa opportunities they have to come to the United States. This article will explore when you are eligible to apply for a K-1 visa.
How should I check if I qualify as a potential K-1 visa applicant?
If you are a foreign citizen who wants to apply for a K-1 visa, you should tick all the requirements mentioned below before applying for a K-1 visa which are:
- Your fiancé, who is sponsoring your I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)) petition, should be a US citizen. If they are a green card holder, they cannot sponsor your I-129F petition.
- You and your US fiance intend to get married within 90 days of your entry into the United States on a K-1 visa. This is a critical requirement to qualify as a potential K-1 applicant because the main idea behind having K visas is to have a visa route to allow foreign fiancés of US citizens to come and arrange their marriages in the US. You and your fiance may have to give testimonials/statements that you both intend to get married within 90 days of your entry into the US.
- You and your US fiance should be legally free to marry. This means if any of you has been previously married, such marriages should be terminated through a divorce or court decree/order or any other official document that validates such termination of previous marriages. If you conceal the fact of your previous marriages to get the visa, it may lead to crime and US immigration law violation which can ban you from getting any other US immigration benefits.
- You have the evidence that you and your foreign fiancé have met at least once in the last 2 years of the date of filing your petition. This is to check if your relationship is bonafide and you are not abusing the visa to enter the United States. However, this condition may not be mandated for all, and you can ask for a waiver from this requirement if you can prove the following:
- Any such meeting between you and your US fiancé would have violated strict and long-established customs or social practices.
- Or it would have resulted in extreme hardship on your US sponsor.
- You should be living outside the United States.
- Your past record should be good. That means you should not have committed any crime in the past that would prevent your visa approval or your entry to the United States. You should be able to present documents such as police certificates, birth certificates, passports etc.
Who can sponsor a K-1 fiancé visa?
The K visa applicants cannot apply for the visa without a US citizen sponsor who is ready to sponsor their visa. Only US citizens can sponsor the visa, and persons who are US permanent residents are not allowed to sponsor a K visa. At the time of filing the Form I 129F petition (which is filled by the US sponsor), the USCIS requires you to submit:
- Evidence of your US citizenship, such as a US birth certificate or passport or your naturalization certificate.
- Evidence that you are legally able to marry.
- Evidence that you can meet 100% of Federal Poverty Guidelines income level for the size of your house.
You may require further evidence to prove your relationship, and you are ready to sponsor your foreign fiance for a k visa.
What should I do once I qualify to apply for a K-1 visa?
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The K-1 visa process starts with US sponsor making an I 129F application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on your behalf. You can divide the whole process from making an I 129f application to arriving in the United States into 3 steps which are:
Filing the I 129F petition to USCIS-
- Prove that both the partners are legally free to marry. For e.g., divorce documents if been previously married.
- Proof of intention to get married within 90 days of entry of foreign fiancé to the US. A signed affidavit from both the partners and evidence of arrangements of marriage will suffice the requirement.
- Evidence that both partners have once met in the last 2 years from the date of filing the petition. If not, you can waive this requirement in the following situations:
- Any meeting between the couple would have violated strict and long-established customs or social practices.
- Or it would have resulted in extreme hardship on your US sponsor.
- Proof of sponsor’s US citizenship.
Once you have filed the petition along with the relevant documents, the USCIS officers will review your petition and the documents submitted. You may be issued a Request for Evidence (RFE) if USCIS requires further documents or additional information to approve your petition. Once the USCIS officer is satisfied with the petition, they will approve it and send it and send the approved Form I-129F to the US Department of State (DoS) National Visa Center (NVC).
Attending Visa Interview
The NVC will further forward the approved I-129F form to the nearest US embassy or consulate where your fiance lives. Your foreign fiance will have to file Form DS 160, which is an online nonimmigrant visa application. This is actually filing for a K visa by your foreign fiance. The US embassy or consulate will notify your foreign fiancé about the date, time, and venue of the K visa interview.
Before the interview, your foreign fiancé should tick the checklist of required documents at the time of the interview. Make sure to consult Herman Legal Group in case of any lack of clarity or to know in detail about the process.
On the day of the interview, the consular officer will verify your identity and ask questions to verify your relationship and your intention to visit the United States. If the consular officer finds that your relationship is bonafide, they will issue a K-1 visa that will be valid for up to six months for a single entry.
Entering the United States from the port of entry
Now that you have a K-1 visa, the last step is to enter the United States while your K-1 visa is valid. Your foreign fiance has to seek admission at the US port of entry, where the CBP officer will make an inspection and decide whether to allow them to enter the US or not. Once your foreign fiance enters the US, you and your foreign fiance will have 90 days to get married.
How can Herman Legal Group help you?
You are not alone in your visa process. Take help from the expert immigration attorneys from Herman Legal Group, who will help you with every kind of visa problem, whether related to immigrant visa, nonimmigrant visa, visa waiver program etc.
We are an award-winning immigration law firm founded in 1995 and experienced in all areas of immigration: family, employment, investor, deportation defense, and citizenship. Schedule a consult with one of the experienced immigration lawyers at Herman Legal Group by calling 1-216-696-6170 or by booking online. Consultations can be conducted by zoom, skype, whatsapp, facetime, or in-office.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can my child apply for a K-1 visa?
The K-1 visa is specifically for the foreign fiance of a US citizen. However, if your foreign fiance has a child under the age of 21 years and is unmarried, and they want to bring them to the marriage, they can apply for a K-2 visa and come to the United States.
For this, the US sponsor should include the names of all the chile(ren) whom they wish to bring to the US with the K-1 visa beneficiary. The children need to be unmarried and under 21 years old at the time of entry to the US, and they cannot enter the US before the K visa beneficiary.
What if I have filed a divorce, but it has not been granted by the court yet? Can I apply for K -1 visa?
If you are previously married and are in the process of ending the marriage, you cannot apply for a K-1 visa until your marriage has officially ended. You will have to submit divorce documents or other official documents to prove the end of your marriage to stand a chance of getting your k-1 visa approved by the USCIS.