By now, you might have seen us talk about Love, Talent and Money as the three main pillars of immigration. While we post a fair share about investment visas like the EB-5, and talent visas like the H1-B visa, in this post we are going to highlight how you can come to the United States through love, by means of the K-1 visa--also known as the fiance visa.
When is the K-1 visa the best option?
When U.S. citizens want to bring their fiance or fiancee to the U.S to marry within 90 days.
What are the benefits of this type of visa?
The K-1 fiance visa generally has a shorter processing time compared to marriage-based immigration visa petitions, which is an important consideration for engaged couples who haven’t yet legally married. Additionally, the K-1 visa allows for children to accompany the fiance, and for the fiance to file the Form I-765 to request legal employment status in the United States.
Please note, if you have already married, plan to marry outside the United States, or your fiancé(e) is already residing legally in the United States, your spouse or fiancé(e) is not eligible for a fiancé(e) visa.
What makes someone eligible for the K-1 visa?
There are a few criteria to consider, such as:
- The fiance visa applicant intends to enter the U.S. solely to marry the U.S. citizen
- The applicant has met the U.S. citizen within the last two years before filing for the K-1 fiance visa. This requirement can be waived only if meeting your fiance in person would violate long-established customs, or would create extreme hardship for the U.S. citizen
- The applicant will marry the petitioning U.S. citizen within 90 days of entering the U.S.
- The applicant and the fiance are legally eligible to marry under the laws of country of origin as well as the laws of the U.S.
What happens after the K-1 visa is granted?
If the applicant and fiancé(e) marry within 90 days of being admitted to the United States as a K-1 nonimmigrant, he or she may apply for lawful permanent resident status in the United States (a Green Card).
If the engaged couple does not get married, another issue arises. K-1 and K-2 nonimmigrant status automatically expires after 90 days and cannot be extended. Generally, your fiancé(e) and his or her children must leave the United States at the end of the 90 days if you do not marry. If they do not depart, they will be in violation of U.S. immigration law. This may result in removal (deportation) and could affect their future eligibility for U.S. immigration benefits.
If you are a U.S. citizen looking to bring an immigrant fiance to marry in the U.S., we can help. Contact our team of immigration attorneys today.