As a U.S. citizen, if your spouse or future spouse is a foreign citizen, there are a few options for legally bringing him or her to join you in the United States with a temporary immigrant visa. It is important to speak with an experienced immigration attorney to know what option would best for you and your family. Some options require you to petition the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of your spouse or fiancé(e) with either a K1 or a K3 visa application. Whether the marriage takes place abroad or within the U.S. will determine which application is appropriate for your situation.
Navigating the process of obtaining a conditional permanent resident status, also known as a Conditional Green Card, can be complicated if you do not have the guidance of an experienced immigration attorney. Call (866) 935-3257 to schedule a consultation with our attorneys at The Immigration Law Office of Los Angeles, P.C. Mrs. Lee has assisted thousands of couples through the immigration process and will provide the excellent service you deserve.
What is the K1 Visa?
The K1 visa allows a foreign citizen fiancé(e) to marry a U.S. citizen within at least 90 days after arriving in the U.S. After the marriage, the immigrant spouse may apply for a green card through marriage.
Requirements for a K1 visa:
- The U.S. citizen sponsoring the foreign citizen must file a Form I-129F with the USCIS on behalf of his or her fiancé(e),
- The U.S. citizen and foreign citizen must be legally allowed to marry according to the U.S. state where the marriage will occur,
- The U.S. citizen and the foreign citizen must have met in person within the past two years.
Filing for a K1 visa also requires various documents, as well as a medical examination, vaccinations, and fees. There are several exceptions and waivers that may be available for couples applying for a K1 visa, and consulting with a licensed immigration attorney is recommended to ensure that you and your fiancée have the best chances possible for success.
After getting married thanks to the K-1 visa, your foreign spouse can apply for a Green Card through Marriage. We can also help you with this process.
What is the K3 Visa?
When a U.S. citizen marries a foreign citizen while in another country, the foreign spouse may enter the U.S. as a non-immigrant until the K3 application has been approved. This visa is intended to reunite spouses and families, allowing a foreign citizen quicker access to conditional or permanent U.S. residency, depending on the length of the marriage. Upon arrival in the U.S., the foreign citizen can apply to adjust the status of his or her visa to a permanent resident.
Applying for a K3 visa requires the following:
- The couple must qualify as spouses in the country where the marriage took place,
- The foreign citizen must apply for a K3 visa in the country where the marriage occurred,
- The U.S. citizen spouse must sponsor the foreign spouse by filing a Form I-130.
What are the Steps for Obtaining a Fiancé Visa?
The process for bringing a fiance to the United States involves several agencies from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State: (1) United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), (2) the National Visa Center (NVC), (3) the U.S. Department of State/U.S. embassy/consulate (DOS), and (4) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The steps you need to follow are:
- Step 1: File fiance visa petition with USCIS
- Step 2: Once the petition is approved USCIS sends it to the NVC for further processing and submission of additional required documentation. Once processing is completed the NVC forwards the approved visa petition to the U.S. Embassy or consulate where your fiance will apply for issuance of the fiance visa.
- Step 3: The U.S. Embassy or consulate schedules the visa interview for your foreign fiance. At the interview the DOS consular will determine whether your fiance qualifies for the fiance visa. If approved the consular officer will issue the visa.
- Step 4: Your fiance enters the U.S. with their visa. The CBP officer at the port of entry might ask your fiance a few questions: such as where they intend to live in the U.S., some questions relating to the U.S. citizen fiance and the intention to marry within 90 days. The CBP officer will also take your fiance’s fingerprints and sealed documents previously received with the visa issued by the DOS. After the CBP officer finalizes their review, a stamp will be placed in the passport allowing your fiance to stay in the U.S. for 90 days.
Additional Requirements for Filing a K1 Fiancé Visa Petition
You and your fiance must:
- Be legally free to marry
- Intend to marry within 90 days of your fiance’s admission to the United States, and
- Have met each other in person within the two years immediately before you filed the fiance visa petition.
Contact a K1 Visa Attorney Today
To help your spouse obtain a U.S. visa, do not hesitate to contact marriage visa lawyer Linda Lee to ensure that your paperwork is accurate and the filing process goes smoothly. Mrs. Lee and her team at The Immigration Law Office of Los Angeles, P.C. are experienced at helping spouses obtain U.S. residency. Call us at (213) 375-4084 to discuss your circumstances and begin working on your case today.
K1 Visa FAQ
Are there any exceptions to the ‘having met each other in person’ requirement?
Yes, there are some exceptions. You must prove that either:
– The requirement to meet your fiance in person would violate strict and long-established customs of your fiance’s foreign culture or social practice, and that any and all aspects of the traditional arrangements have been or will be met in accordance with the custom or practice; or
– The requirement to meet your fiance in person would result in extreme hardship to you.
What documentation can I submit to show that my fiance and I intend to marry within 90 days of their admission to the U.S.?
Some examples of helpful documentation:
– Affidavit or letter from clergy/judge who will marry you
– Receipts for deposits made toward wedding facilities, clothing, food, flowers, photographs, etc.
– Sample invitations
– Receipts for engagement ring
– Receipts for engagement party
– Emails or other correspondence with vendors making wedding arrangements
How long does it take for the K1 visa petition to be processed?
The processing times vary, at present it is taking approximately 5.5 to 7.5 months to receive a decision regarding your K1 visa.
What happens after USCIS approves the fiance visa petition?
After the fiance visa petition is approved, it is sent to the National Visa Center, you will need to send additional documentation to the NVC.
Once all required documentation has been received and accepted the NVC completes processing of the visa petition and then forwards it to the U.S. embassy or consulate nearest your fiance’s foreign place of residence.
The embassy or consulate will then set up an interview to determine if the fiance visa should be issued.
How long is the fiance visa petition approval valid for?
The fiance visa petition is valid for four months from the date of approval by USCIS. A consular officer can extend the validity of the petition if it expires before visa processing is completed.
What documentation does the NVC require?
Civil documents such as birth certificates, divorce documents for any previous marriages, police certificates confirming the foreign fiance does not have a disqualifying criminal record.
You must also submit form as the sponsor to show you have sufficient income or financial resources to assure that the foreign national you are sponsoring will not become a public charge while in the United States.
Evidence of income and resources should consist of copies of any of the documents listed below that apply to your situation:
– Statement from an officer of the bank or other financial institutions with deposits, identifying the following details regarding the account:
– Date account opened; Total amount deposited for the past year; and Present balance.
– Statement(s) from your employer on company letterhead showing: date and nature of employment; salary paid; and whether the position is temporary or permanent.
– If self-employed: copy of most recent income tax return filed.
Can same-sex partners apply for a fiance Visa?
Yes, as long as the rest of the immigration requirements are met, a same-sex engagement may allow your fiance to enter the US for the purpose of getting married.
Does my fiance need to complete a medical exam to be admitted to the U.S.?
Yes, every fiance visa applicant must undergo a medical examination which must be performed by an authorized DOS physician. Fiance visa applicants will be provided instructions regarding medical examinations from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where they will apply for the visa, including information on authorized physicians.
Can I accompany my fiance to their visa interview?
Maybe, some embassies/consulates allow it. Please note, procedures vary from consulate to consulate and can change. It is important to review the consulate’s website.
How long is the fiance visa valid for?
If the consular officer grants the visa, it is valid for up to 6 months for a single entry.
Can my fiance apply for a work permit after they are admitted to the U.S. with their visa?
After being admitted to the U.S. your fiance may immediately apply for permission for work authorization (work permit) by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. In this case, your fiance’s work authorization is valid for only 90 days after his or her entry into the U.S.
After getting married, will my spouse get a Green Card?
After getting married, your spouse can get a Green Card by adjusting his/her status. You can find more about this step at: Marriage Green Card
What can I do if my K-1 visa application is denied?
It’s advisable to consult with an experienced immigration attorney at our law office who can assess your case, help you understand the denial reasons, and determine the best course of action. Our attorney can provide valuable guidance and assistance throughout the process.