Who is Eligible for a K-1 Fiancé Visa

A foreigner who plans to marry a United States citizen might be eligible to travel to the United States for their wedding, using a K-1 or "Fiancé" visa.

The K-1 nonimmigrant temporary visa grants beneficiaries six months in which to enter the U.S. with one single use. After entry, it permits one period of authorized stay in the U.S. of only 90 days. After a K-1 visa holder gets married in the U.S. he or she can apply for a U.S. green card and eventually become a permanent resident without having to leave the U.S. through the procedure known as an adjustment of status.

Fiancés are fortunate that there are no annual limits on K-1 visas and therefore no long waiting periods like with other visa categories. Still, there are several eligibility requirements to comply with, which will require that the applicant take active steps to complete the application process.

Does a Person Really Need a Fiancé Visa?

If you are a prospective immigrant and you are already residing in the U.S. or if your U.S. citizen fiancé lives with you abroad, obtaining a K-1 visa is probably unnecessary. Instead, you might be better off getting married and then applying for a U.S. green card. Consult with an immigration attorney for more information and analysis of your case.

Eligibility Criteria for a K-1 Fiancé Visa

The main eligibility criteria for getting a K-1 visa are that:

  • The non-immigrating half of the couple is a U.S. citizen (not a permanent resident or a green card holder)
  • Both members of the couple are legally able to marry according to the laws of the state where the wedding will be held (in most states, this means they are single and of legal age; a same-sex marriage is permissible in all U.S. states)
  • The immigrant has a genuine intention of marrying the U.S. citizen petitioner after entering the U.S., and
  • The individuals have met in person within the last two years.

A K-1 visa may not be suitable for couples who are merely considering getting married. The applicant needs to provide evidence that he or she truly plans to get married, such as letters to one another and wedding announcements sent to friends and family.

One of the most persuasive types of proof of your intentions is documentation showing that you have actually set a date for the wedding ceremony and arrangements to rent a space, hiring a photographer and wedding decorator. Before applying ensure that you have flexible time as you cannot depend on getting a visa in time for your planned wedding date as it would be a disappointment to have to cancel and lose your deposits made towards the wedding ceremony.

Is it Possible to Qualify for a K-1 Visa Even If You Have Not Met in Person?

For those couples who are from different countries, the requirement that they have already met is difficult or violates their religious principles. If you practice a religion in which marriages are customarily arranged by families and premarital meetings are restricted, you can ask that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) waive the personal meeting requirement. Economic issues alone are not usually acceptable. So, if it is at all possible for the two of you to meet face-to-face, you should do so.

Meet With Your Local Immigration Attorney

Before applying for a K-1 Fiancé visa you need to find out if you are eligible. Your best bet is to talk to an immigration lawyer who has experience in handling K-1 Fiancé visa applications. You can rest assured that the Gambacorta Law Office team will help meet your needs when applying. Call us at 847 443 9303.