USCIS has an option for the fiancé(e) of the US citizen for 90 days to arrange their marriage in the US. This article will provide insight on a K-1 visa and how you can apply for a K-1 visa for your partner.
What is a K-1 visa?
K-1 visa is also known as a fiancé(e) visa. This visa allows a US citizen’s fiancé(e) to get a 90-days stay permit in the US and get married to a US citizen. Because this visa is issued so that the US citizen and their fiancé(e) can come into a marital relationship, not solemnizing a marriage within 90 days can end the fiancé(e) privilege to stay in the US, and they have to leave the US.
After the US citizen and their fiancé(e) get married, the fiancé(e) can apply for a green card to stay in the US by filing Form I-485.
What are the eligibility requirements for a K-1 visa petition?
Like any other US visa, a K-1 visa has certain eligibility criteria to apply. You must check to fulfill all such requirements before applying for a K-1 visa.
The basic requirements to apply for a K-1 visa are:
• Before applying for a K-1 visa at a US embassy or consulate, the fiancé(e) should be sponsored by a US citizen by filing Form I-129F. Only a US citizen can be a sponsoring partner. Green card holders cannot sponsor a K-1 visa.
• US citizen and their fiancé(e) should have a clear intention to marry within 90 days. They can prove their intention by showing destination booking, wedding invites, and expenses they already incurred in the pre-arrangement of marriage.
• Both the partners must possess the legal capacity to marriage. For example, A fiancé(e) already married cannot marry again with a US citizen before getting a divorce from the previous wedlock.
• US citizens and their fiancé(e) have to prove that they have met personally in the two years before the petition’s filing date. This requirement can be waived if they show that meeting in person with your fiancé(e) is against their long-established custom or foreign culture/social practice. Or if a US citizen can prove that meeting in person could lead to extreme hardship upon them.
What is the process for applying for a K-1 visa?
Let’s see how you can apply for a K-1 visa.
Step 1: Filing form I-129F by the sponsor/US national
This form is filed by the US national who sponsors the K-1 visa of the beneficiary. This is the first step for applying for a K-1 visa. The petitioner of this form establishes their relationship with the fiancé(e) with this form. The petitioner needs to prove that he is a US citizen while filing this form.
After approving Form I-129F, the USCIS will send the approved form to the Department of State National Visa Centre (NVC).
Step 2: Visa Interview
The next stage after I-129F approval is to apply for a K-1 visa and give an interview. The NVC forwards the approved Form I-129F to the US Embassy or consulate, where the fiancé(e) will apply for a K-1 visa. The US embassy or consulate notifies the fiancé(e) about the interview.
The sponsored fiancé(e) has to complete an online Form DS-160 which is a requirement. They should carry confirmation of successful filing of Form DS-160 to the interview along with other documents.
The presiding interview officer determines whether the sponsored fiancé(e) qualifies for a K-1 visa or not. So make sure that you carry all the required documents and evidence at the interview and go well prepared for the interview questions.
Step 3: Entering the US
After getting the K-1 visa, you will have to come to the US for marriage. A custom and border protection(CBP) officer will inspect you at the port of entry and determine whether to allow you to enter or not.
The day the US fiancé(e) arrives in the US, the count of 90-days starts. The US citizen and his fiancé(e) have 90 to get married in the US. If they do not marry in 90 days, the K-1 visa holder has no legal reason to stay in the US. They cannot apply for an extension of K-1 visa status and have to leave the US after the expiry period. However, if they marry in 90 days, the K-1 visa holder can apply for a green card by filing Form I-485 to adjust their status.
What are the documents required for a K-1 visa interview?
While appearing before an interview, it is advisable to double-check the documents you are taking along with you to avoid any trouble. You will be required to bring the following list of forms and documents to a K-1 visa interview:
• Confirmation receipt of the Form DS-160 – which you have completed online
• A valid passport – with at least a validity date six months beyond your intended period of stay in the US.
• Divorce or death certificate of your spouse – To prove that you are free to marry
• Police clearances – One from the country you currently reside in and one from each country where you have lived for at least six months.
• Medical Examination report
• Evidence of Financial support – You may be required to submit Form I-134
• Proof of your relationship with the US citizen
• Two passport-style photographs
• Birth Certificate
• Payment receipts
Generally, these documents are needed for a k-1 visa interview, but the presiding officer may require you to provide additional documents depending upon your specific case. So take a piece of advice from a lawyer before appearing for an interview.
What is the process for getting a green card after getting married in the US on a K-1 visa?
After a US citizen and their fiancé(e) get married, their spouse can apply for a green card by filing form I-485 to adjust their status.
Generally, both US citizens and spouses have to interview to prove that their marriage is real and arranged in good faith.
The USCIS will approve the form I-485 on satisfying that the marriage is genuine and bonafide and grant the US citizen’s spouse a conditional permanent residence (if the duration of marriage at the time of approval of Form I-485 is less than two years) and issue a green card which will be valid for two years.
The US citizen’s spouse has to get their conditions removed by filing Form I-751 in the 90 days before their green card expires. Once USCIS approves Form I-751, it will issue a Legal permanent residence(LPR) to the spouse.
Can children of sponsored fiancé(e) come to the US?
USCIS allowed children of sponsored fiancé(e) of under 21 years and unmarried to come to the US by applying for a K-2 visa. A K-2 is specific to the child(ren) of an unsponsored fiancé(e) to travel to the US along with them. The US citizen should ensure to enter the child’s name (ren) on the I-129F petition.
However, the child(ren) cannot travel to the US before the sponsored fiancé(e). They may travel along with a sponsored fiancé(e) or after them. The child(ren) can apply for permanent residence after the successful marriage of a US citizen, and sponsored fiancé(e) takes place in 90 days. However, they should remain unmarried at the time they apply.
Can sponsored fiancé(e) work in the US on a K-1 visa?
The sponsored fiancé(e) can work in the US on a K-1 visa by applying for permission to work by filing Form I-765 to the USCIS. The initial work authorization is given for a period of 90-days only. If the sponsored fiancé(e) marries in the 90 days, they can apply for a green card by filing form I-485 to adjust their status and can also file form I-765 along with that to extend their work authorization in the US.
K-1 visa secures the wish of the US citizen or their fiancé(e) to marry in the US and provides an option for sponsored fiancé(e) to remain in the US with their spouse after marriage. This article covered the process of applying for a K-1 visa and answered specific questions recently asked. If you have any queries relating to a K-1 visa, our lawyers will help you clear the query.