The K1 Visa Requirements: How to Apply for a US Fiance Visa
To get married in the United States, your partner must apply for and receive a K1 visa. This visa will allow your loved one to travel to the US and marry you in person. The K1 visa requirements can be tricky, so we’ve put together this guide on how to apply for one, including some common mistakes that can come up during the process and how to avoid them.
What are the K1 Visa Requirements? The K1 visa, officially known as the Fiance(e) Visa, allows foreign nationals to travel to the United States and marry their US citizen fiance within 90 days of arrival. It’s essential to have all your documents in order before starting the process since US immigration officials will carefully review every aspect of your relationship. Meanwhile, there are some mistakes one can make while applying for a K-1 visa, of which you get the full details today.
What is a K1 Visa
There are two methods of entering the United States as the fiancé or fiancée of a U.S. citizen. The first is to enter on a temporary visa, get married within 90 days, and then apply for an Adjustment of Status from here. The second is to apply for a K-1 visa before entering the country. With this method, you would be issued a K-1 nonimmigrant visa at your home country’s embassy or consulate abroad. Once in the United States, you would marry your U.S.
What is Required
To be eligible for the K-1 visa, the petitioner and their future spouse must be legally able to marry. Petitioners should also have met their spouses in person within two years of filing their petitions. An interview is required before issuance of the visa, and it will be up to the consulate's discretion if they need a medical examination for more information on how you can apply for this type of visa.
K1 Visa Eligibility Criteria
To get the K1 visa, you must fulfill the following criteria:
- Be engaged to a US citizen.
- Have the intention to marry within 90 days of them entering the US.
- Have proof of your relationship before the engagement.
- Get married according to US laws while in the United States on a K1 visa.
- You and the US citizen must have met in person at least once in the past two years.
- Exceptions to this requirement will be granted if you can prove that the US citizen faced extreme hardship to come and visit the foreign citizen's fiancé. Extreme hardship can be proved to conditions of culture, customs, or other factors.
- Any previous marriages that either of you have had are legally terminated.
What Are the Documents Required for a K1 Visa Application?
Here are the documents that you should submit when applying for a K1 visa:
- Valid passport for more than six months after your intended stay in the US.
- Two recent US visa photographs according to the Photo Requirements.
- Form DS-160 confirmation page and code.
- Interview schedule letter.
- Approved Form I-129F.
- Criminal background documents.
- Divorce or death certificates in case of a previous marriage.
- Evidence of the relationship with the US citizen.
- Medical examination documents (and optional vaccination documents).
- Proof of payments of fees.
- Proof of health insurance coverage
The fiancé visa application has a few steps that both fiances must follow. A US citizen must first initiate it. The US citizen must obtain permission from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to bring and sponsor their foreign citizen fiancé to the US.
If USCIS grants this permission, the foreign citizen's fiancé must apply for the K1 visa.
File Petition for Alien Fiance
To get a petition approved from USCIS, you must go through these steps:
- File Form I-129F. The US citizen will first need permission from USCIS for the foreign citizen's fiancé to visit the US. This permission is obtained by filing Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance, to USCIS. The petition must be filed from within the US and cannot be filed from abroad.
- Send the petition to USCIS. When the petition arrives at USCIS, the officials will go through it and review the evidence of the relationship, whether the parties intend to get married, and whether they fulfill the eligibility criteria. If both the US citizen and the foreign citizen's fiancé satisfy the requirements, then USCIS will approve the petition and send it to the National Visa Center (NVC).
- Wait for an answer from the NVC. The NVC will then inform the couple and forward the documents to the US Embassy or Consulate, where the foreign citizen will apply for the K1 visa. The approved petition is identified with its NVC case number. The foreign citizen cannot apply for the K1 visa without obtaining the approval of Form I-129F.
Your visa interview will be conducted if you are between 14 and 79 years old. To complete the interview, you must first schedule it. You must design it as soon as possible because you might have to wait too long if the Embassy or Consulate you are applying from has a high workload. When you schedule the interview, you will get an interview schedule letter.
No matter your age, if you are traveling to the US and especially planning to apply for a US immigrant visa in the future, you must have a licensed physician conduct the necessary medical examination. The doctor must write a report stating any health issues. Since the fiancé will get married soon and apply for permanent residence, getting the necessary US vaccination is also advisable to complete that requirement.
Compile your document file
When you go in for your interview at the US Embassy, you must present the required K1 visa documents.
Attend visa interview
During the interview, you will have to show your documents and answer any questions the interview officials will have. The interviewer will also ask questions about your relationship with the US citizen and other details about your background.
Why Does a K1 Visa Application Get Rejected?
There are various reasons that this could happen, and some of them might be:
- Involvement in criminal activities in the past (ex., drug trafficking).
- You have submitted falsified documents.
- You have overstayed in the US on a previous visa or broken other visa rules.
If you do not fulfill these conditions, you could be notified that you are ineligible for the K1 visa.
How Much Does it Cost to Apply for a K1 Visa?
It costs $265 to apply for a K1 visa. The amounts vary by year as well as by country due to different relationships that the US has with other countries, but the main categories for which you will be asked to pay fees are as follows:
- Petition fee for Form I-129F.
- Form DS-160 submission fee.
- Medical examination fees.
- Other costs related to filing documentation and translation.
How long Does Visa K1 Processing Time Take?
The K1 visa processing time may vary from weeks to months. It does not have a definite length of processing time. It will likely take a few months, so plan for any delays if you are planning the wedding in the US.
Only after you get your K1 visa can you start making travel plans, since if your access is denied, you might not use any tickets purchased up to that point.
How many years is the K1 Visa Valid?
The K1 visa is valid for four months, but you can extend it for up to 6 months. Even though the K1 ticket might be right for this length, the couple is expected to be married within 90 days of the foreign citizen’s entrance into the US.
Can I Work With a Valid K1 Visa?
While you are in the US with a K1 visa, your US citizen fiancé must prove they can support you. However, since you will get married and will start your process to adjust your status to a permanent one, you can plan to work.
Initially, you must apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by filing Form I-765 with USCIS. If approved, you can obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) and even work for the period your K1 visa is valid.
Can my Children Accompany me to the US With a K1 Visa?
If the foreign citizen has unmarried children under 21 years old, they can accompany the foreign citizen to the US for the marriage. The children of the K1 visa holder can travel to the US with a valid K-2 visa.
The US citizen does not need to file petitions to USCIS for the children of the fiancé, but they must be mentioned in Form I-129F. Upon approval of the petition, each one of the children must apply for the K-2 visa individually. The children will then have the opportunity to obtain permanent residence after the marriage by filing for adjustment status.
What Are the Next Steps After Marriage?
If the foreign citizen obtains a K1 visa and the couple gets married in the US within 90 days, then the process to adjust status to a permanent one begins. This means that the foreign citizen will become a Legal Permanent Resident of the US by getting a spouse visa.
This process begins by filing Form I-485. Within the first two years of marriage, the foreign citizen will have conditional status with the CR-1 visa and can obtain unconditional status with the IR-1 key afterward.
Applying at the Embassy
If you and your fiancé have found each other, the next step is applying for your visa. You will need certain documents when using them at the embassy, so make sure you have these ready before you get there. You will also need to set up an appointment ahead of time, which can be done on the US Embassy website.
Other Questions About the K-1 Visa Process
Most U.S. Citizens who wish to live and marry in the United States need a family-based visa. One of the more common visa types is the K-1 visa. The K-1 visa is temporary because it only lasts 90 days and cannot be extended past that time. Obtaining this type of visa does not mean you will be granted permanent residence status on arrival in the United States; you must apply for an adjustment status once you are physically present. When applying for the K-1 Visa with USCIS, you must submit a Form I-129F petition and supporting documents. In addition to filing Form I-129F, you must complete Form DS-160 and pay any applicable fees before sending your petition and supporting documents to USCIS. Once USCIS has received your request, they will determine whether or not your petition can be approved within six months from when they receive it.
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