The K1 nonimmigrant visa allows a foreign fiancé to enter the United States and get married within the next 90 days with the U.S. citizen who sponsors their petition. If the couple plans to live in the United States after getting married, the foreign spouse will have to apply for adjustment of status to get a permanent residence.

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.

Three fundamental legal requirements that are crucial to have the eligibility to apply for a fiancé visa:

1. Marriage intentions

The couple has to make concrete and, as much as possible, detailed plans about how the wedding is going to look, where it is going to happen, etc. 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 with fiancé within the past two years before the date when the visa petition is requested

Before petitioning for the fiancé visa, the couple should make sure to meet at least one time within two previous years. Due to digital transformation, it is possible to maintain a long-distance relationship or fall in love based on Internet communication.

The obstacle to meet in person can also be tradition and customs, or the medical condition that prevails to make live meetings. 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.

If the couple can provide a document that proves these difficulties, USCIS would recognize them as acceptable.

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 a copy of a divorce certificate or another document.

According to U.S. law, if the marriage ended outside of the United States, it is possible to recognize the proving document if that document is recognized in a foreign country and if the foreign spouse or his ex-partner had residence the divorce happened.

Age requirement depends on the concrete state’s law where the wedding will happen, but it usually is 18 years for both partners. It is possible to overcome younger age with parents or legal guardian consent.

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.

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