A K-1 Visa, also known as a Fiancé(e) visa, allows a U.S. citizen’s partner to enter the country as long as the couple marries within 90 days of the fiancé(e)’s arrival. The newly married spouse can then apply for a permanent residency (the green card) based on marriage.
The K-1 visa process begins with filing the form I-129F petition, also known as the Fiancé(e) Visa Petition, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The approved Form I-129F will then be sent to the National Visa Center before being delivered to the U.S. embassy. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will determine whether or not to admit the foreign fiancé(e) at a Port of Entry. Following entry, the U.S. citizen and the foreign fiancé(e) should marry and file an adjustment status application with the USCIS.
We will walk you through answering the most frequently asked K-1 visa questions.
FAQs on K-1 Visa
1# What is K-1 Visa?
The K-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa issued to a foreign fiancé (e) of a U.S citizen. It allows the alien fiancé(e) to visit the U.S. and marry a U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival.
The relationship between the U.S. national sponsor and fiancé(e) must be valid and not be to obtain immigration benefits. This means both parties must have a genuine desire to live together, and no fraudulent intention or otherwise should be discovered by U.S. immigration.
2# Do K-1 visas expire?
K-1 Visa has a 6-month expiration date. The visa is valid for six months after it is issued.
3# Can a K-1 visa be extended?
A K-1 visa cannot be extended after it has expired.
To extend their stay, the foreign spouse should apply to become a permanent resident of the United States.
The next step is to apply for a change of status from K-1 to the permanent residence following the completion of the marriage within 90 days of entry into the United States.
4# Can I bring my children with me to the United States on a K-1 visa?
The foreign fiancé (e) can bring their children to the U.S. The children must be under 21 and unmarried to enter the United States on a K-2 nonimmigrant visa. When filing the petition for a fiancé (e) visa, the children’s names the children must be included on Form I-129F.
5# Can my children adjust their Status on K-2 Visa?
Nonimmigrants with K-2 status can also apply for a Green Card to adjust their status by submitting Form I-485 to USCIS. The children must remain unmarried to be eligible for a Green card. Nonimmigrant children in the K-2 category should simultaneously apply for a Green Card as or after the fiancé (e).
6# Upon approval of the K-1 visa, is my fiancé(e) required to leave the home country immediately?
The alien fiancé(e) is not required to leave their home country immediately after receiving the fiancé visa. Still, they must enter the United States within six months of the visa’s validity.
Once the visa is approved, the alien fiancé(e) should begin travel preparations, especially since there is no set processing time.
7# What if we marry after I file a K-1 Petition but before I immigrate?
One of the requirements for applying for K-1 status is that both the U.S. citizen and the fiancé(e) be legally free to marry each other, i.e., they must not be matched to anyone, even each other, at the time of application. The marriage is supposed to take place after the fiance arrives in the United States.
If the beneficiary and petitioner marry after filing the I-129F petition, the beneficiary loses eligibility for the K-1 fiancé(e) visa. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will routinely reject the K-1 petition.
To continue the immigration process, the petitioner can then file a spousal petition with USCIS on behalf of the beneficiary for a spousal visa.
8# How long does it take to process a K-1 visa?
Please keep in mind that the K-1 visa has no set processing time
The USCIS approves the petition for a K-1 visa in about 9 to 12 months; the National Visa Center forwards the approved petition to the U.S. embassy in about six weeks, and the K-1 visa interview until the visa is granted by a consular officer in about three months.
9# What happens after I get my fiancé(e) visa?
The citizen’s fiancé(e) enters the country through a U.S. immigration port after getting the visa.
The U.S. national and fiancé(e) must marry within 90 days of the fiancé(e)’s arrival in the United States after the visa is granted.
After marriage, the spouse of a U.S. citizen is eligible to apply for permanent residency in the U.S. Form I-1485, Application to Register Permanent Resident or Adjust Status, is used to apply for permanent residence.
Failure to marry will result in the K-1 (and K-2) visa expiring after 90 days and cannot be extended. After 90 days, the U.S. citizen fiancé(e) and their children must leave the United States.
10# Can I work with my K-1 fiancé (e) visa?
After being admitted to the United States on a K-1 nonimmigrant visa, the fiancé(e) can apply for evidence of work authorization immediately by submitting Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. In this case, the work authorization is only valid for 90 days after entering the United States.
In addition to applying for a Green Card, the U.S citizen fiancé(e) may apply for work authorization while applying for a Green Card. In this case, the fiancé(e) may file Form I-765 in addition to Form I-485. The work authorization, however, is only valid for one year and can only be extended in one-year increments.
FAQs on Form I-129F Petition
1# How long will the I-129F Petition be valid?
Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), is valid for four months from the date the USCIS approves it. This differs from the validity period of the K-1 nonimmigrant visa, which is valid for up to 6 months after it is granted.
The Fiancé(e) visa application must be completed and approved at the U.S. Embassy or by the consular officer within four months. That is, the validity period begins on the date of approval.
A request for an extension can be made if the visa process is not completed within four months of the date U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approves the petition. A consular officer may extend its validity.
2# Can I request an I-129F extension?
An extension can be obtained by requesting that the U.S. Embassy “revalidate” the form I-129F.
With proof that the visa process is ongoing, the U.S. Embassy may decide to extend the form’s validity for another four months.
The request can be made via email or by scheduling an interview.
After confirming the extended validity period, the visa application process should be swiftly continued.
FAQs on form I-134
1# Should applicants for K visas use Form I-864 or Form I-134?
Form I-134 is a declaration of financial support form commonly used in nonimmigrant visa cases to show that the visa applicant will not become a public charge and can obtain financial support from the sponsor in the United States.
Both are affidavits of support, but K-1 visa applicants must use Form I-1864. They should use Form I-134 because a fiancé(e) visa is a nonimmigrant visa.
When its time to adjust their status to permanent residency in the United States after marriage, they must submit Form I-864 to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
FAQs on Medical Examination
1# Does a K-1 visa need a medical exam?
The foreign fiancé(e) must have a medical exam performed by an authorized physician before the K-1 visa interview, regardless of age; details will be provided by the embassy where the medical exam will take place.
After getting the visa interview appointment letter, the U.S. citizen fiancé (e) should get on the medical examination as soon as possible.
Sections 212(a) and 221(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act require medical eligibility for K-1 Visa. Immigrant visas may be delayed or denied if required information is not provided.
It is critical to remember that the exam must be given by a doctor approved by the embassy, i.e., the Panel Physician, as exams given by other doctors will not be accepted.
2# Is it necessary for children to take the Medical Exam?
Everyone applying for a K-1 nonimmigrant visa must have a medical exam regardless of age.
However, according to the U.S. Department of State, children under the age of 15 who apply for the K-2 visa usually do not need to have chest x-rays or blood work done.
FAQs on Form DS-160
1# What is Form DS-160?
Everyone who intends to travel to the United States temporarily must fill out Form DS-160.
The DS-160 is an online application for nonimmigrant visas with a temporary stay in the United States. Due to the temporary nature of the K-1 visa, the foreign citizen fiancé (e) must complete Form DS-160 for the Visa application.
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