You want the K-1 nonimmigrant visa for your fiance, but have no idea what the requirements are.
The Herman Legal Group will make it easier for you! We have over 25 years of experience with immigration law. Let’s take you step-by-step through the K-1 nonimmigrant visa below:
What is the K-1 Fiance Visa?
The K1 nonimmigrant visa allows a foreign fiancé to do the following:
- Enter the United States, and;
- Get married within the next 90 days with their partner, the U.S citizen and sponsor.
If the couple plans to live in the United States after getting married, the foreign spouse should apply for adjustment of status to get a permanent residence.
If you or your spouse wants to be a permanent resident, a marriage green card is the option you want to take. You can read more about the marriage green card here.
Required Documents for a K-1 Visa (US Sponsor)
There are two sets of required documents you want to prepare: one for the US sponsor, and one for the foreign fiancé.
#1 Birth Certificate
Your birth certificate must be issued by a civil authority, such as civil registrar or vital statistics office. It will show your identification, age, and birth place.
#2 US Passport
The passport must not be expired. It must be issued for a ten-year period for those over 18, and over a five-year period for those under 18.
#3 Consular Officer Statement
This original statement from the consular officer will verify that you are a US citizen.
#4 Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship
Your certificate must be issued by the USCIS. In the case that you were born abroad, you will need a U.S. Department of State Form FS -240 (“Report of Birth Abroad of a United States Citizen”).
Required Documents for a K-1 Visa (Foreign Fiancé or Partner)
#1 Birth Certificate
Again, the birth certificate must be issued by a government agency.
The foreign passport must not be expired and must be issued within a period of ten years for immigration services.
#3 Police Certificates
If this is requested by the embassy, feel free to include it in your visa petition.
#4 Military Certificates, If Applicable
Military service must have certificates as well.
#5 Medical Examination Documents
Prove that you are of good health and fit to travel with a medical exam.
#6 Passport-Style Photos
Bring two (2) colored passport-style photos to your initial fiancé visa petition.
Remember original documents are not required for immigrant visa applicants. Make sure to bring multiple photocopied versions of your documents.
You may bring the original documents, but do not submit them.
Required Documents for The Couple
If there are individual requirements for the citizen sponsor and the alien fiancé, there are requirements needed from both:
#1 Evidence of Terminated Previous Marriages
For a couple to be legally free to marry, previous marriages must be legally terminated. You can submit any of the following to prove termination:
- Copy of a divorce certificate,
- Copy of annulment order, or;
- Copy of death certificates in the case of a deceased spouse
#2 Evidence of Relationship
Photos, receipts, letters, and any other records of communication proving that the citizen sponsor and the alien fiancé are in a relationship.
#3 Form I-34 for the Income Requirements
There are income requirements to financially support a foreign partner.
First, you must exceed 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The U.S citizen must be able to prove that they have the ability for the visa applicant’s financial support.
Salaries, interest income, and benefits all count as earnings for a U.S citizen. There are distinctions, however, whether they can be counted as stable earnings or not.
#4 Required Fees
A $535 I-129F filing fee is needed. There may also be an embassy fee that both of you must pay. You have to pay $325 to the U.S. State Department, and once married, it’s $1,225 for I-485 Form.
Once you fill out blank immigration forms, you can apply for future adjustment of status. It may be around $2500.
We advise getting guidance about immigration services with an immigration attorney, especially here at Herman Legal Group. We can assure that our counsel would be worth it.
Legal Requirements for a K-1 Visa
There are three fundamental legal requirements that are crucial to have the eligibility to apply for a fiancé visa:
1. Intention of Marriage
It’s best if you and your spouse have made concrete and detailed wedding plans, including how the wedding is going to look and where it is going to happen.
Planning the wedding is used as proof of their bona fide intentions and a need to apply for the fiancé visa.
It can be hard to make plans when the intended spouses do not know when the fiancé visa is going to be approved, so it is better to arrange flexible wedding plans with different services.
In contrast to the CR1 spousal visa, a fiancé visa does not allow the petitioner to be a green card holder, but only a U.S. citizen.
U.S. citizenship can come from the fact that a spouse citizen was born in the United States or its territories, acquired it in a process called naturalization, or has acquired or derived it based on a family member.
2. Meeting in Person
Before petitioning for the fiancé visa, the couple should make sure to meet at least one time within two previous years.
During these visits, prepare for the K-1 fiancé visa and visa application by doing the following:
- Take photos with your fiancé. Include their family, friends, and other loved ones. Make sure the photos come with date and time stamps.
- Keep receipts of dates and vacation stays. This will show that you and your U.S citizen fiancé have spent time together.
- Keep communication records. Letters, text messages, and phone calls will come in handy by the time you’re at your K-Visa interview.
- Ask for written statements. K-Visa applicants will need all the evidence they can get. If you can get statements from the family and friends of the fiancé about your relationship, you have more of a chance to get approved.
There are some obstacles lately. Tradition and customs can get in the way, or medical conditions that make travel an extreme hardship.
Also, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of state borders are closed, and therefore, it is not safe or possible to travel from one state to another.
Provide documents that prove these difficulties. Have a medical exam if medical issues are stopping you from meeting your foreign citizen fiancé.
3. Legal Ability to Get Married
This requirement is put before the intended spouses who have already been married, do not meet the age criteria, or are blood relatives.
The spouse citizen or the foreign spouse who was already married once has to provide evidence that the previous marriage has legally ended by submitting any of the following:
- Copy of a divorce certificate
- Copy of annulment order
- Copy of a death certificate in the case of a deceased spouse
According to U.S. law, if the marriage ended outside of the United States, it is possible to recognize the proving document if:
1.) That document is recognized in a foreign country, and;
2.) If the foreign spouse or his ex-partner had residence the divorce happened.
Age requirements, meanwhile, vary from the state to any government agency. However, most states require that you have to be 18 years of age before you can legally marry.
Rules about getting married to a blood relative are not the same in different states within the United States, and some of them are stricter than the others.
In the process of petitioning for a fiancé visa and bringing the foreign spouse to the United States, both partners can be subjected to different background checks.
Only when all the requirements get fulfilled will the U.S. citizen successfully apply the Form I-129F with USCIS.
Frequently Asked Questions: The K-1 Visa
Is the K-1 Visa Permanent?
The K1 visa is just temporary. By all means, it is not obligatory to stay within the United States permanently after getting married, so if there is no intention to stay, the foreign fiancé can enter the United States based on a tourist visa instead.
How Does The K-1 Visa Differ From the Marriage Visa and Green Card?
The K-1 visa is temporary and is a nonimmigrant visa.
The marriage or spousal visa, however, is for those who want to be lawful permanent residents alongside their U.S citizen spouses.
However, the CR-1 visa stands for “conditional resident” as they are for couples married for less than two years.
One married for more than two years, you can apply for another visa and start on the consular processing to become a green card holder.
With a K-1 nonimmigrant visa, the visa applicant can enter the United States with the citizen fiancé and remain there for 90 days.
After marriage, you can then apply to become a permanent resident.
Are There Income Requirements for the K-1 Visa?
Yes, there are income requirements for the visa application.
You need the recent year’s tax return to prove you can financially support your partner. If you can’t meet the income requirements, some countries allow joint sponsorship to meet minimum earnings.
Your fiancé (e) can work after they arrive in the U.S, but you have to get them an Employment Authorization Document first.
How To Apply for a K-1 Visa
#1 File the Form (I-129F)
File the form with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Follow the written instructions.
Include the required documents we listed above, as well as the evidence of the relationship.
For K-visas, you have to pay a filing fee. Just be ready to pay the fees. You will also need the Form I-94 from the Department of Homeland Security for departure-arrival.
#2 Notice of Action for the K-1 Fiancé Visa
After you file everything needed to the consular officers, the notice of action will come.
Wait for a few months – around three to four – and you’ll get an approval notice that can allow both the U.S citizen sponsor and foreign partner to move forward.
#3 Background and Security Check
The National Visa Center will receive your application to become a U.S citizen fiancé. Then, a background check will be done on your fiancé (e).
After some screening, a security check for the K-1 fiancé visa will be done within two weeks.
#4 Interview and Visa Approval
Then, an invitation to an interview and medical exam will be done. Your fiancé(e) will need to attend the interview with the needed documents we have listed above.
After you’ve finished the medical exam and interview, you can wait for the approval. A K-1 visa stamp will be given. Then, you have the opportunity to get married within ninety days.
Once the visa expires, the U.S citizen fiancé can apply to become for legal, lawful permanent resident status.
You’ll have to adjust your status and then apply to the Citizenship and Immigration Services for a green card.
There are other ways you and your fiancé (e) can get into the U.S, such as a tourist visa. However, once the tourist visa expires, you’ll have to apply for a marriage visa still.
How The Herman Legal Group Can Help
Do you want to register permanent residence as the foreign fiance? Maybe you’re the U.S citizen spouse that acts as the citizen sponsor.
You may be worried about your prior marriages, or the possibility of visa fraud.
You might want to know about immigration benefits, how to go about meeting with a consular officer, or what the visa waiver program is.
As a law firm, let us bring you peace of mind and the right guidance to getting your application, visa interview, and visa approval.
Be a legal permanent resident with us! We’re available for clients nationwide and around the world.
Book a consultation with us today. Contact us here and start on your journey to United States citizenship – either for you or your partner.
We hope we made the visa application process easier for you! Get started on your online nonimmigrant visa application today.