The 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.
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 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.
Getting started is easy. All you need to do is fill out our free eligibility online assessment form here and then one of our immigration professionals will get back to you with your results within one business day.