If you are a U.S. citizen and wish to marry someone who is not a citizen and not in the United States, you can obtain a fiancé visa for him or her. The K-1 fiancé nonimmigrant visa allows the applicant to enter the United States, marry an American citizen and live here permanently. Applicants can even bring their unmarried children under the age of 21 by filing for K-2 nonimmigrant visa status.
First, the U.S. citizen will have to file a fiancé visa petition with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the alien fiancé. Then the USCIS will have to approve the visa petition and transfer the case to the National Visa Center (NVC). After that, the case will be considered and transferred to the consulate of the fiancé’s home country. The alien fiancé and his or her children will have to go through the consulate interview process. If there are any doubts about the legitimacy of the intended marriage, both parties may have to take a fraud interview, but that is not always necessary.
Next, the fiancé will be allowed to enter the United States. The fiancé is considered a nonimmigrant until the wedding takes place. If the marriage does not take place within 90 days, the fiancé will have to leave the country. There is no extension available, so it is important that the marriage takes place shortly after the foreign fiancé enters the country. That being said, our office has been successful in helping some immigrants adjust who married outside of the 90 days. If unsuccessful, the spouse will need to file Form I-130 and Form I-485.
After the marriage, the new spouse can apply for an adjustment of status and be able to work and live permanently here in the United States. If the spouse does not wish to become a permanent resident, he or she will have to leave the country within the original 90-day time period.
There are many advantages to the K-1 program. In addition to getting married and living in the United States, applicants can also qualify for a social security number and apply for a work permit. The application process does not, however, come without complication. In fact, there was a reality TV show based on some of the complications inherent with the Fiance visa: http://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/90-day-fiance. Applicants who fail to get married quickly or who leave the country may have to wait years to reenter. It is important to seek the counsel of an experienced Los Angeles immigration attorney who can guide you throughout the legal process to ensure that everything goes smoothly.