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Rebecca I. Pathak
Guide to K-1 Fiancée Visas
Are you a U.S. citizen with a foreign-citizen fiancée who you wish to marry and start a life with in the U.S.? Your fiancée may be granted the K-1 nonimmigrant visa. K-1 visas, or fiancée visas as they are also referred to, allow foreign-citizen fiancées to travel to the United States and marry her/his U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival.
Once married, your fiancée can apply for permanent residency status to become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). Permanent residency is granted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
As the U.S. citizen, you will become your fiancée’s sponsor. In order to petition for your fiancée’s visa, you will need proof of the following:
- Your U.S. citizenship
- Your intent to marry within 90 days of your fiancée traveling to the U.S.
- You and your fiancée are legally able to enter into a new marriage. Any previous marriages have been terminated legally by divorce, death or annulment
Note: You both must remain legally free to marry one another after your petition and your marriage must be possible in accordance with the laws of the U.S. state in which you wish to be married.
- You met each other at least once in person within 2 years of filing your petition. Exceptions to this rule require a waiver and there are two exceptions that may apply:
- Strict and long-established customs of your or your fiancée’s culture or social practice prevent a meeting you and your fiancée
- You show proof that you would endure extreme hardship if you met with your fiancée abroad
You will need to file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancée with the USCiS office that serves the area in which you live. The form must be filed from the U.S. It cannot be filed at a U.S. Embassy, Consulate or USCIS office abroad. If your petition is approved, it will be forwarded by USCIS to the National Visa Center. You will receive a case number from NVC, and NVC will send your petition to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your fiancée’s country.
What Will You Need to Successfully Complete the K-1 Visa Process?
Obtaining a K-1 fiancée visa takes time, patience and a great deal of preparation. Ensuring that you have all of the required documentation and have completed all necessary requirements is crucial for successful obtainment in the swiftest time possible. Inability to present what’s required the first time around can largely delay the process.
Here’s what you and your fiancée will need to have on hand and ready to show during the visa interview with your Consular Officer:
- Your fiancée will need to present a completed Form DS-160
- Your fiancée must furnish a valid passport that allows for travel to the U.S. and that is valid at least six months beyond your 90-day period to get married
- If either of you have had previous spouses, you must present divorce or death certificates of a previous spouse
- Your fiancée will need to present police certificates from his/her present country of residence as well as police certificates from all countries where he/she lived for six months or more since the age of 16
- Your fiancée will need to furnish proof of a completed medical examination
- You and your fiancée must provide proof that either you can support your fiancée financially or your fiancée can financially support himself/herself. This is to proof that your fiancée will not become a financial obligation of the U.S.
- Two 2-by-2 photos
- Additional materials – such as photos of the two of you – may be requested by your Consular Officer during your visa interview. You must be prepared to show that your relationship with your fiancée is genuine
Preparing Your Fiancée’s Children to Enter the United States
If your fiancée has children who are under 21 and are unmarried and who will become part of your U.S. family, your fiancée’s children must apply for K-2 visas. Each child must apply separately for a K-2 visa.
Supporting documentation for children during the visa interview must include:
- Completed DS-160 form for each child
- For children over 16 years of age, police certificates from each child’s present country of residence as well as police certificates from all countries where each child lived for six months or more since the age of 16
- Each child must have a valid passport that allows for travel to the U.S. and that is valid at least six months beyond your 90-day period to get married
- Each child must have completed a medical examination, with documented proof of the exam
Make sure to include the names of your fiancée’s children on Form i-129 petition.
K-1 Eligibility for Same-Sex Couples
As a result of a combination of current immigration law and the recent U.S. Supreme Court overturning of Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – which had deemed marriage solely as a union between one man and one woman – same-sex couples can now petition for K-1 fiancée visas.
Where to Begin?
As you go through this emotional and demanding process, it can make a world of difference to have specialized help. At Pathak Law Firm, we’re here to provide caring, knowledgeable assistance from start to finish of your K-1 fiancée visa petition.
Call us at 818-238-9444 today to schedule a consultation!