What is a K-1 Fiancé Visa?
The K-1 fiancé(e) visa permits a foreign national to travel to the U.S. and marry his or her U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival. As fiancé(e) visas cannot be extended, if the wedding does not occur by the deadline, your fiancé(e) would have to leave the country to avoid being in violation of U.S. immigration law. The K-1 nonimmigrant visa is also known as the fiancé(e) visa. At Bolour / Carl Immigration Group, our fiancé visa lawyers can help you understand your eligibility and guide you through each stage of obtaining a K-1 visa.
What are the requirements for a K-1 visa?
You may be eligible to bring your fiancé(e) to the U.S. on a K-1 fiancé(e) visa if you meet the following requirements.
- You are a United States citizen;
- You and your fiancé(e) intend to marry one another within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s admission to the U.S. on a K-1 nonimmigrant visa;
- Your marriage must be valid, meaning both you and your fiancé(e) have a genuine intent to establish a life together and the marriage is not for the sole purpose of obtaining an immigration benefit;
- You and your fiancé(e) are both legally free to marry, in the U.S. and any previous marriages have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment; and
- You and your fiancé(e) met each other in person at least once within the 2-year period before you file your petition. You may request a waiver of this in-person meeting requirement if you can show that meeting in person would:
- Violate strict and long-established customs of your fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice; or
- Result in extreme hardship to you, the U.S. citizen petitioner.
If your fiancé(e) marries you within 90 days of being admitted to the United States as a K-1 nonimmigrant, he or she may apply for lawful permanent resident status in the U.S. If your fiancé(e) has children under age 21 who are unmarried, they may also be eligible to come to the U.S. on a K-2 nonimmigrant visa. If you are already married, plan to marry outside the U.S., or your fiancé(e) is already residing legally in the U.S., your spouse or fiancé(e) is not eligible for a fiancé(e) visa. As long as you marry within 90 days (and the children remain unmarried), they may also apply for green cards along with your new spouse. If you have any questions about your or your fiancé’s eligibility for a K-1 visa, contact our fiancé visa lawyers today.
The first step to obtaining a K-1 nonimmigrant visa for your fiancé(e) is to file Form I-129F, Petition For Alien Fiancé(e) with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The filing fee for Form I-129F is $535.
At each stage in the immigration process, background and security checks in various databases may be conducted on both you and your fiancé(e). The checks are conducted using fingerprints, names, or other biographic or biometric information.
In addition to conducting security and background checks on you and your fiancé(e), USCIS will review your form and accompanying documents to determine if you have satisfactorily established a fiancé relationship. After USCIS approves the petition, and it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). NVC will mail you a letter when it sends your fiancé(e)’s case to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where your fiancé(e) lives. Once you receive this letter, your fiancé(e) must complete Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, and bring the confirmation page to the visa interview. The visa service fee for the K-1 Fiancé(e) category is $265.00.
The length of time varies from case to case according to its circumstances. Some cases are delayed because applicants do not follow instructions carefully or supply incomplete information. Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a Consular Officer.
K-1 nonimmigrant status automatically expires after 90 days and cannot be extended. Generally, your fiancé(e) must leave the U.S. at the end of the 90 day time period if you do not marry. Our highly experienced immigration attorneys will help you through each step of the K-1 visa process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to common questions asked by K-1 fiancé(e) visa candidates.
Can a K-1 fiancé visa holder work?
Yes. Once you have entered the U.S., you can immediately apply for work authorization by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. This work authorization is only valid for 90 days, however. You can also apply for work authorization at the same time that you apply for your marriage-based green card.
What if a K-1 fiancé visa holder has children?
If the foreign national fiancé has children who are under age 21 and unmarried, they can be included in the application and brought to the U.S. with a K-2 visa either with or after their parent. After the wedding, the children may apply for green cards along with their parent.
Can a Form I-129F be filed from outside the U.S.?
No, it must be filed by the U.S. citizen fiancé from inside the U.S.
How can the status of a Form I-129 application be checked?
You can check the status of your application using the 13-character case number that USCIS assigned to you upon receipt of your application.
What if the application is denied?
If USCIS denies your K-1 visa petition, you are permitted to file a timely appeal. It is advisable that you contact an experienced immigration attorney prior to filing your appeal to review your options.
Speak with a K-1 Fiancé Visa Lawyer at Bolour/Carl Immigration Group
If you are interested in applying for a K-1 visa or are planning to marry a foreign citizen who will need a K-1 visa, please do not hesitate to contact our Los Angeles-based fiancé visa lawyers!