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DownloadLearn more about how the immigration process works and help you with your immigration concerns and questions. The Charleston USA Immigration Law Center is here to support you in your goal to become a United States citizen.

K-1 Visa Fiancé(e) of U.S. Citizen

This visa category is utilized by a U.S. citizen to get their foreign national fiancé(e) into the U.S. for marriage purposes. It is one of the most popular ways to immigrate to the U.S. There is no priority visa waiting time for this category. It is not used when your fiancé(e) is already in the U.S.

To be eligible the petitioner must be a U.S. citizen, able to support his or her future spouse and make at least 100% of a certain minimum annual income dependent upon what other family members the petitioner also supports (USCIS Form I-134, Affidavit of Support). The petitioner also must have personally visited the fiancé(e) within the past two years of filing for the visa (with limited exceptions) and both parties must be free to marry, i.e. no pending divorces. Finally, both parties must intend to marry within 90 days after entering the U.S.

Submission Process

The citizen petitioner must file USCIS Form I-129F stateside only, with all accompanying documentation and pay all required filing fees. Upon approval the National Visa Center (NVC) will forward it to the fiancé(e)'s home country U.S. Embassy or Consulate for further administrative processing. Accompanying Fiancé(e) children (under 18 and non-married) are listed on the same petition for their K-2 visas.

Then, the fiancé(e) will be notified when and how to get the required medical examination, digital fingerprints, police report, translations, etc., and when to report for an interview, pay all visa processing and issuance fees and receive the visa, if approved. Children that are accompanying will need medical examinations. Sometimes the U.S. citizen likes to travel overseas and attend the interview with the fiancé(e) but this is not required and some offices frown upon it.

The visa is good for 6 months. This gives the fiancé(e) time to, rethink any marriage doubts and settle all home country affairs before leaving to start the "new life". Children need not arrive with the fiancé(e) and can "Follow to Join" later.

U.S. Arrival and Adjustment of Status

Upon arrival in the U.S. and some time reacquainting with the petitioner, a marriage must occur within 90 days of the U.S. arrival date. Failure to do so can deem the fiancé(e) an overstay subject to deportation. If you miss this deadline contact an attorney quickly. The alien can immediately obtain a temporary work permit valid till the interview on the later adjustment of status.

After the marriage the petition should file to adjust the fiancé(e) status to a conditional permanent resident (green card). Until it is approved he/she cannot leave the U.S. or the adjustment of status will be voided and an out of country conditional permanent resident application will be required, which necessitates more time and more money.

We have represented hundreds of these types of petitioners and very well understand the potential problem areas for approval. For example, make the police check a top priority before getting so entrenched that your heart will be shattered if your fiancé(e) turns out to have a drug history, which can be a complete bar to entry. And no, single women from foreign countries of young ages cannot get visitors visas easily. Should your fiancé manage to get one, by all means do not have her wear her engagement ring! Border patrol agents are not blind.

International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2006 (IMBRA)

This act may require the U.S. citizen petitioner to first get a Waiver from the USCIS if two or more K-1 visa applications were filed in the past, a previous unrelated K-1 visa application was approved within the two previous years or he/she has been convicted of certain violent crimes, before filing for a subsequent new K-1 visa.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
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Charleston USA Immigration Law Center, LLP - Immigration Lawyer in Charleston, SC
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