K-1 Visa for Fiancé(e)'s of US Citizens
The K-1 visa, also known as the US Fiancé(e) visa, allows a United States citizen to sponsor his/her fiancé(e) to come to the US in order to get married. This option applies to a relationship in which one partner is residing outside of the United States and the couple is engaged to be married. If you are already married and want to sponsor your spouse to the US, or your fiancé is already residing in the US, you will not be eligible to apply for the K-1 visa. Instead, you may consider spousal sponsorship to help your spouse/partner obtain US permanent residence.
How to Bring Your Fiance to the US
If you are a U.S. citizen who wants to bring your foreign fiancé(e) to the United States in order to get married, you will need to file a Form I-129F, Petition For Alien Fiancé(e). This is the first step to obtaining a K-1 nonimmigrant visa for your fiancé(e).
Once you have been approved for a K-1 Visa you will have to be married within 90 days or else the foreign fiance will be ordered to leave the US.
K-1 Visa Process and Requirements
The first step to obtaining a K-1 visa is to complete the form I-129, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e). This form asks USCIS to recognize the relationship. Sometimes USCIS will request additional information, but once they establish your eligibility they will send the form over to the Department of State National Visa Center. From here, the fiancé(e) will apply for a K-1 visa at the visa office where they live and have an interview. Once this is approved and the visa is issued, the foreign fiancé(e) may come to the United States as a nonimmigrant.
Certain requirements must be met in order for the fiancé(e) to be issued a visa. First, the couple must intend to marry within 90 days of the foreign fiancé(e)’s arrival in the US. If this does not happen, the K-1 visa holder will be forced to leave. The marriage must also be valid. This means it must be very clear the marriage is not for the sole intent of the foreign national receiving immigration benefits. The couple must also be legally free to marry, meaning not bound in any way to past marriages. Additionally, it is required that the engaged couple had met at least once in the two years prior to marriage and visa issuance, barring any extenuating circumstances.
If the foreign fiancé(e) has an unmarried child under age 21, they may accompany their parent to the United States on a K-2 nonimmigrant visa.
Working on a K-1 Fiance Visa
If the foreign fiancé(e) plans to work upon arrival in the US, they may immediately file form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, which authorizes them to work for 90 days after entry. Once the couple is married, the foreign fiancé(e) may apply for work authorization at the same time they apply for permanent resident status.
K-1 Nonimmigrant Visa to Lawful Permanent Residence
If the couple meets all requirements, and marries within 90 days, the fiancé(e) may apply for permanent residence (Green Card) in the United States. To do so they will file Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
What To Do After the K-1 Fiance Visa
Marriage Green Card after K-1 Visa
After entering the United States on the K-1 Visa and marrying a US Citizen the foreign fiance(e) can apply for a lawful permanent resident status in the United States. There are several requirements to qualify for an adjustment of status after marrying within the US:
- You properly file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;
- You are physically present in the United States at the time you file your Form I-485;
- You were inspected and admitted to the United States on a K-1 nonimmigrant visa;
- Within 90 days of being admitted into the United States as a K-1 nonimmigrant, you entered into a bona fide marriage with the U.S. citizen who filed Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) for you;
- You are eligible to receive an immigrant visa;
- Note: You are eligible to receive an immigrant visa if you enter a bona fide marriage with your U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days after being admitted as a K-1 nonimmigrant;
- An immigrant visa is immediately available to you at the time you file your Form I-485 and when USCIS makes a final decision on your application;
- Note: An immigrant visa is always available to you if you marry your U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days of being admitted as a K-1 nonimmigrant. Once you marry, you are treated as an immediate relative;
- None of the applicable bars to adjustment of status apply to you;
- You are admissible to the United States for lawful permanent residence or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or another form of relief; and
- You merit the favorable exercise of USCIS’s discretion.
Required Documents for a Green Card Adjustment of Status After K-1 Visa
If you married in the US under the K-1 Visa then you will want to adjust your status as soon as possible to stay in the US. In order to qualify for the US Marriage Green Card there are several documents required:
- Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;
- Copy of the Form I-797, Approval Notice for the Form I-129F filed on your behalf;
- Copy of your marriage certificate;
- Two passport-style photographs;
- Copy of your government-issued identity document with photograph;
- Copy of your birth certificate;
- Copy of your passport page with nonimmigrant visa;
- Copy of your passport page with your admission or parole stamp (issued by a U.S. immigration officer);
- Copy of Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record or copy of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) admission or parole stamp on the travel document (if applicable)
- Note: If CBP provided you with an electronic Form I-94 upon you arrival/admission to the United States, you may print out a paper version of the Form I-94 from CBP website at www.cbp.gov/I94;
- Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA or Form I-864EZ, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act;
- Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record (you may submit this form together with Form I-485 or later, such as when we request it or in person at your interview, if any);
- Note: If you received a medical examination before being admitted to the United States, you may not need to have another examination but you must still show proof that you complied with the vaccination requirements. See the Form I-693 Instructions for more information.
- Certified police and court records of criminal charges, arrests, or convictions (if applicable);
- Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (if applicable);
- Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal (if applicable); an
- Documentation of past or present J-1 or J-2 nonimmigrant status (if applicable), including proof of compliance with or a waiver of the 2-year foreign residence requirement under INA 212(e) (for more information, see Form I-612, Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement).
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