The K-1 visa, commonly known as the fiancé visa, allows the engaged partner of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States, get married within 90 days of arrival and soon after apply for an Adjustment of Status.
To qualify for this process, it is required that:
- The sponsoring partner must be a U.S. citizen as U.S. green card holders (permanent residents) are not eligible to sponsor a fiancé for a K1 visa.
- Both partners must be currently unmarried. Any prior divorce decrees, annulments, or death certificates must be provided to show that any previous marriages have been terminated.
- K-1 visas are available to same-sex partners, regardless of whether the laws in the sponsored fiancé’s home country allow for sex-same marriage.
- The legitimacy of the relationship must be proved with evidence such as letters or emails between the partners, photographs, flight itineraries and/or hotel reservations of trips taken together as a couple, written statements from friends and colleagues who are aware of the engagement, etc.
- The couple must be able to prove that they have met in person at least one time within the two years prior to filing the visa form (except for cases of extreme hardship, or where in-person meetings would violate cultural, religious, or social norms). Evidence may include flight itineraries, hotel itineraries, dated photos, etc.
- Each partner must provide a signed statement indicating an intent to marry within 90 days of the sponsored fiancé’s arrival in the United States. If concrete wedding plans have been made, it’s also a good idea to submit evidence such as wedding dress selection, wedding invitations, receipts of deposits on a venue, etc.
- The U.S. citizen fiancé must meet certain income requirements. Specifically, the adjusted gross income on their most recent tax return must be equal at least 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. If they are unable to meet this requirement alone, a joint financial sponsor must file a supplemental “affidavit of support.”
- The first step for an eligible couple is for the U.S. citizen fiancé to file Form I-129F with USCIS
- Once the Form I-129F is approved, USCIS will send an approval notice. At this point, USCIS transfers the case to the U.S. Department of State. The U.S. embassy in their home country, will coordinate a visa interview usually about 4–6 weeks after the embassy’s initial notice. The interviewing officer will typically make a decision on the case either the same day of the interview or shortly afterward. If they need additional evidence, they will request that it be submitted directly to the U.S. consulate.
- Once the K-1 visa is approved, the sponsored fiancé is given a total of six months from the date of approval of the initial I-129F form to travel to the United States.
- Upon arrival, the couple must get married within 90 days, or the sponsored fiancé will lose their K-1 status. If the couple decides not to get married, the sponsored partner will not be eligible to remain in the United States or change status and is required to leave the country right away.
- The final step is to apply for a marriage-based green card soon after the wedding.
For further information on this process or to apply for a K-1 visa, please contact our main office at 954-306-6921.