A fiancée visa is given to a foreign national who is engaged to be married to a U.S. citizen. If your fiancé(e) resides outside the U.S. and you plan on getting married in the U.S., your fiancé(e) has to apply for a fiancé(e) or K-1 nonimmigrant visa. It allows your fiancé(e) to enter the country, stay for 90 days, and get married.
The following eligibility requirements need to be met to obtain a K-1 visa for your fiancé(e):
- You are a U.S. citizen.
- You and your fiancé(e) intend to marry one another within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s admission to the United States.
- You and your fiancé(e) are both legally free to marry (this means you both are legally able to marry in the United States and any previous marriages have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment).
- 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 the eligibility criteria are met, you need to petition for your fiancé(e) by filing form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) with the USCIS. USCIS reserves the right to deny the petition if it is unable to verify the relationship or eligibility. If approved, they forward the form to DOS National Visa Centre who further sends the form to the U.S. Embassy in the country your fiancé(e) resides. Your fiancé(e) will be required to file for a K-1 visa with them.
If the visa is approved, your fiancé(e) will be granted admission in the U.S. pending inspection. It is essential that you get married within 90 days. If you fail to comply, your fiancé(e) will be required to leave; there is no visa extension. If they refuse to depart, they will be placed in removal proceedings in the immigration court, which can impact their future immigration benefits.
Once you are married, your spouse can apply for a green card to obtain permanent residence by filing form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status with the USCIS. Keep in mind that the green card issued is conditional and will only be valid for two years. They can also file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, along with this form. If they prefer to work as soon as they arrive in the U.S., they have the option to file for work authorization after their arrival. It will only be valid for 90 days.
If your fiancé(e) has children under the age of 21 and unmarried, they are allowed to enter the U.S. on the K-2 nonimmigrant visa provided you have mentioned them on Form I-129F. After marriage, they too can apply for a green card.
Our immigration attorneys at Bhuchar Law Firm can help you prepare your applications and assist with the required documents. We ensure you are aware of all your legal obligations to make the visa process seamless. Book a consultation with us at our office if you have any further questions.