Information on K-1 Fiancé(e) Visas

family based visa

What is a K-1 Visa?

The fiancé(e) K-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) of a United States (U.S.) citizen. The K-1 visa permits the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) to travel to the United States and marry his or her U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival. The foreign-citizen will then apply for adjustment of status to a permanent resident (LPR) with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Because a fiancé(e) visa permits the holder to immigrate to the U.S. and marry a U.S. citizen shortly after arrival in the United States, the fiancé(e) must meet some of the requirements of an immigrant visa. Eligible children of K-1 visa applicants receive K-2 visas.

Is a K-1 Visa Right for Me?

There are several options for obtaining a visa for a fiancé(e) or a spouse. Which option is right for you depends upon your circumstances and how quickly you want to obtain admission to the US and work authorization. A K-1 Visa is not always the right options.

We have worked on marriage and fiancé(e) cases for fifteen years. While past performance does not necessarily denote future success we have yet to have any marriage or fiancé(e) visa we have submitted denied. Key to this success has been advising clients as to which of several options are right for them. These options include:

  • Entering the US on a different visa type, marrying and obtaining adjustment of status
  • Marrying abroad and applying directly for permanent residency
  • Marrying abroad and obtaining a K-3, marriage, visa
  • Obtaining a K-1 visa, marrying in the US and filing for permanent residency

Did you Know?

  • You must get married within 90 days of entering theUnited States on a K1 fiance visa.-- Absent real hardship, you must have met with your fiancee in the past two years.
  • You should consider applying for work authorization.
  • You must meet minimum financial requirements.-- You need to allow time for a police check in eachjurisdiction you have lived in.
  • There are issues of foreign law that may impact yourability to apply for a K-1 fiance visa.
  • Once married you have to apply for a conditional "green card".

Common Mistake

The most common mistake with a K-1 visa is failing to properly evidence the validity of your relationship. An experienced immigration lawyer will be able to give you some guidance in this area.

Requirements for a K-1 Visa:

There are a number of requirements in order to apply for a K1 visa for your fiancé(e):

  1. You must be a U.S. citizen;
  2. You must have met your fiancée within the past 2 years;
  3. You and your fiancée must be legally free to marry (i.e. single or divorced);
  4. You and your fiancée must have a serious intention to marry within 90 days of your fiancée’s arrival in the U.S.; and
  5. You must meet minimum financial requirements.

How do I Apply for a K-1 Fiance Visa?

The K-1 application procedure is essentially a two-step process:

  • FIRST: The U.S. citizen sponsor, must file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), with the USCIS office that serves the area where you live. See Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) for information on where to file the petition. Further information is available on the USCIS website under Fiancé(e) Visas. Note: Form I-129F cannot be filed at a U.S. Embassy, Consulate, or USCIS office abroad.; and
  • SECOND: Once your case is approved by USCIS, your case will be sent to the U.S. consulate in your fiancée’s native country. Your fiance(e) will then be asked to fill out paperwork, produce police clearance from everywhere they have lived, take a medical exam and to got for an interview in the U.S. consulate.
  • NOTE: obtaining police clearance from different places your fiance(e) has lived may take some time, so starting this process in a timely fashion is important.

How Long Will it Take?

Unfortunately there are no rules for fiancee visas or marriage visas. The processing speed depends on the case load both at USCIS and at your local embassy.

As a general guide, you should anticipate between 4 and 10 months.