How K1 Fiance Visa works:

A K-1 visa is issued to a partner of a US citizen to enter the US with the intent to marry the US partner within 90 days from entrance to the US. After getting married, the K1 visa holder can apply for apply for permanent residency in the US by adjusting status (Form I-485).

K-1 Visa or Family Reunion by filing I-130:

For the couples who are already married, a K-1 visa is not an option. Instead, the US citizen or US permanent resident can file Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130), to bring the spouse in the US.

If the couple is not married yet and debating between a K-1 or getting married and applying for I-130, K-1 may be the preferred path as the processing time for an I-130 has been historically longer than for a K-1 visa. So for the couples who wish to reunite in the US as fast as possible, the K-1 visa is preferred.

If the partner is not a US citizen, but permanent resident, a K-1 visa is not an option. Only a US citizen can sponsor a K-1 visa. Filing I-130 by the permanent resident spouse is possible.

K-1 eligibility requirements:

  • The sponsoring fiancé must be a US citizen.
  • Both fiancés must be of allowed to marry: appropriate age, not currently married to another person.
  • The couple must prove that they met in person at least one time within the last two years preceding their petition for the K-1 visa. Exceptions: extreme hardship; if meeting would violate cultural, religious or social norms, traditions.
  • The couple must provide proof that they intend to marry within 90 days upon arrival of the fiancé in the US: wedding arrangements.
  • The US citizen fiancé must show the required level of income. The income requirement is determined by the annually published Federal Poverty Guidelines The US citizen’s income must be not less than 100% of the income listed for the corresponding household size.
  • The alien fiancé will undergo a security screening during the visa process and conviction in certain crimes may cause ineligibility for a K-1 visa.
  • Certain untreatable communicable diseases may cause the alien fiancé to become ineligible for a K-1 visa.
  • Violations of the conditions of the past US visa may lead to the ineligibility of the K-1 applicant.

K-1 process:

  1. Submit Form I-129F along with required evidence and filing fee. Your I-129F shall be sent to the USCIS filing address.
  1. Once the I-129F is approved, the documents along with the approval will be sent to the National Visa Center and to your local US consulate. The I-129F approval is effective for 4 months. Local US Consulate will notify the applicant and provide instructions regarding documents additionally required. The applicant will need to submit medical exam, provide Affidavit of Support (Form I-134) and complete DS-160. The visa fee is usually paid at the visa interview but the applicant needs to verify the local consulate requirements if the visa payment is required prior to the interview.
  1. Your interview will be scheduled depending on the consulate or embassy availability.
  1. The decision on the visa is usually taken during the interview. However, the consular officer may require additional documents or send the case for administrative processing for extra screening. If the K-1 visa is issued, it will remain effective for 6 months.
  1. Once the fiancé enters the US, the 90-day period starts.
  1. Once the couple gets married, the alien spouse can apply for green card through an adjustment of state (Form I-485).

A K-1 visa is a complex process involving the submission of various forms and evidence. Without due preparation, the K-1 visa interview may become a stressful experience as well. It is recommended to work on all stages of a K-1 visa process with a licensed immigration attorney. Only attorney can provide legal advice on the immigration law. Using intermediaries, agencies and paralegal services without attorney’s supervision may lead to the case delay or denial.

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