If you are a U.S. citizen, you can petition to have your foreign fiancé(e) to obtain a visa to enter the U.S. for the purpose of marriage. In general, you must show that:
- You (the petitioner) are a U.S. citizen.
- You intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the United States.
- You and your fiancé(e) are both free to marry and any previous marriages must have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment.
You met each other, in person, at least once within 2 years of filing your petition.
With today’s high tech world international relationships have become more commonplace. It is much easier to meet those from other countries and to develop serious long term relationships. When international relationships involve a United States citizen, there are options to bring significant others into the United States. If you are a U.S. citizen or the fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen, you might be able to take advantage of the K1 fiancé(e) visa. The K1 visa allows the fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States for the purposes of marriage.
You might qualify for a K1 fiancé(e) visa if you meet the following criteria:
- You are the fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen.
- You have met your fiancé(e) in person within two (2) years preceding your application. There are two exceptions to this requirement:
- Meeting in person would violate strict, established customs of your culture or social practice.
- The requirement to meet in person would result in extreme hardship.
- You intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s entry into the United States.
- You are each free to marry. This means that all previous marriages have been legally terminated.
The issuance of the K1 nonimmigrant visa allows your fiancé(e) to enter the United States for up to 90 days. During this 90 day period your marriage must take place. After you have been legally married, the foreign spouse can then apply for permanent residence (green card) and wait in the United States while the petition is processed.
Children of the Foreign Fiancé(e)
If your foreign fiancé(e) has unmarried children under the age of 21, they will be able to obtain a K2 visa to enter the United States. This process is generally done concurrently with the K1 visa process.
If you have been admitted to the United States on a K1 fiancé(e) visa, you are eligible to file for employment authorization through Form I-765.
90 Day Marriage Requirement
K1 nonimmigrant status automatically expires after 90 days and there is no extension process. Failure to marry within 90 days, or to depart the country, will result in failure to maintain status and an immigration violation. It is important that marriage occur within the 90 day window and the proper application is filed to adjust to permanent resident status (green card) prior to the expiration of the K1 visa.
If you are in a qualifying relationship with a U.S. citizen, we can help you navigate through the K1 visa process. We are experienced at handling K1 fiancé(e) visa applications and ensure that all the necessary paperwork is filed with compelling evidence of the reality of the relationship. It is our advice to obtain the assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer from the beginning of the process. Such advice will help avoid costly mistakes, excessive delays and potential denials.
Contact Richards & Kruger today to speak with an experienced K1 Visa Attorney today!