Step by step guide to the K-1 Fiancé visa
Are you looking to get married to your fiancé, but he or she is living in the United States and because your fiancé cannot come to your country. Then, don’t worry by applying for the K-1 nonimmigrant visa pass; you can marry your fiancé by visiting the United States.
K-1 fiancé visa is a type of non-immigrant visa pass that enables the foreign fiancé to arrive in the United States and get married to their Citizen Fiancé US. In this article, you will get complete details about the K-1 nonimmigrant visa.
If you wish to apply for US citizenship then you can apply for the us citizenship by naturalization process.
What is a K-1 Fiancé Visa?
K-1 fiancé visa is defined as a type of nonimmigrant visa that enables the fiancé or fiancée to visit the United States to get married to their fiancé. As per the United States law, the couples are required to get married within 90 days after the fiancé arrives in the US.
This visa is different from a marriage green card as this Visa allows the fiancé to get married to their partner living in the United States, and after when they both are married; they can request for the marriage-based green card.
In simple words, K-1 nonimmigrant visa is one of the easiest and quickest ways to arrive in the United States as compared with the marriage green card.
This visa is mainly for those US citizens who cannot travel outside the United States to get married to their partner. For getting more information related to the green card you refer to the green card guide.
K-1 Visa eligibility criteria
If you are willing to request for the K-1 visa to bring your fiancé to the United States, make sure you have an intention to get married to your fiancé within 90 days of his or her arrival in the US. Apart from this, you are also required to meet some of the mentioned eligibility criteria:
- You should be a United States citizen. Lawful permanent residents or green card holders are not allowed to sponsor their fiancé to arrive in the United States.
- You and your fiancé both should have an intention to marry each other. If any of you were previously married, you would require showing evidence to the USCIS, which mentions that your previous marriage has been terminated. In order to prove that your previous marriage has been terminated, you are required to present some of the documents like proof of an annulment, divorce decree or a death certificate.
- You will have to prove that you and your fiancé know each other for the past two years and should have met each other personally at least once in the past two years before filing the application. If your meeting in person with the partner might violate cultural, religious or social norms, you can exclude meeting this requirement.
- A citizen living in the United States has to prove that their income and the tax return are exceeding or meeting 100% of federal poverty guidelines. If not, then they will require submitting a supplemental form I-867 or I-867A with the application.
- It is essential for the applying fiancé willing to arrive in United States needs to pass the public charge test.
What are the ways to apply for the K-1 Fiancé visa?
When you are aware that you and your fiancé are eligible to apply for the K-1 fiancé visa, then to apply for the K-1 fiancé visa, you are required to follow some of the essential steps mentioned below:
File form I-129F
The first step in applying for a K-1 fiancé visa is for the US citizen as he or she will require to get ready to file an application form I-129F K-1 visa petition with the USCIS. The motive behind filing this application form is to show that your relationship with your partner is legal. This form is only for the US citizen, not for the lawful permanent resident or green card holder, as they are not allowed to sponsor their fiancé to arrive in the United States.
What documents are needed need process your Form I-129F Fiancé Petition?
Some of the supporting documents are required while filling the application form I-129F Fiancé Petition with USCIS. Relevant documents are listed below:
- You will need to prove that your fiancé is the legal US citizen. Some of the documents you need to show to prove it are certificate of naturalization, a birth certificate, or a copy of the passport.
- Photocopy of your foreign fiancé’s passport.
- You will have to show that your relationship with your fiancé is legitimate. The more evidence you will provide, the more will be your chances of getting the visa.
- You’ll need to show the photographs of you and your fiancé together.
- You will also be required to show the hotel reservation and flight records where you and your fiancé visit together or visit to meet each other.
- You also need to show emails, texts and letters that you sent to each other to communicate from the past few years.
- Well wishes from family, friends and relatives who know that you both are going to marry each other.
- You will have to present evidence showing that both of your previous marriage has ended. To prove that your previous marriage has ended you can present some of the documents like death certificate, certificate of annulment and divorce.
- You’ll need to provide a document showing that you met with your partner in person at least once in the last two years. You can prove it by showing hotel receipts, photos, letters, texts or emails, etc.
- You will have to present the sworn statement, which is signed and written by each partner, mentioning that you both have an intention to marry each other within 90 days after your partner arrives in the United States. To avoid the possibility of rejection, you should provide the original statements and keep the photocopy with yourself.
- You will require presenting the photocopy of the Form I-94 arrival-departure record, which foreign fiancé obtained after visiting the United States.
- A single passport size photo of both the partner.
Ensure that all your documents that you are submitting to the USCIS should be in English. If you do not know to read and write in English then it is better choice to hire certified translation agency USA that can translate your foreign language documents in English. No matter your fiancé is coming from Spain you can also get Spanish to English language translation service at an affordable rate.
You are required to file the application fee for the form I-129F is $535. You are not limited to payment method as you can pay the filing fee through money order, cheque, or credit card. However, ensure that you should not pay a filing fee in cash as USCIS does not accept payments in cash.
After completing your application form and mailing the form I-129F along with the supporting documents to the address provided, USCIS will provide you with the receipt notice in not later than 30 days. Receipt notice is not the approval of your application as it is just a notice notifying you that USCIS has received your application and now processing your case.
The USCIS takes the average time to process your form I- 129F is 6 to 9 months, as time may vary depending upon the type of center. So the time that it will take to process your application will depend on the Centre you have sent your forms to.
While waiting for updates on your petition form, you should also check if USCIS has sent you a request for evidence. If USCIS needs some additional documents, they send can you the RFE.
As soon as the USCIS approves your form I-129F, they will provide you the approval notice on your registered mailing address that you mentioned on your form.
Step 2: File Form DS-160
After your petition form, I- 129F, is approved by the USCIS, they will transfer your case to the US Department of State National Visa Centre. Also, a foreign fiancé will get a notice from the US embassy to their home country within 30 days after their application is approved.
The notice will contain the location and date of the Visa interview. Besides the date and location, it will also include some of the supporting documents that you are required to provide to the embassy.
Make sure that the address and contact information that you provided on the petition form I-129F is accurate as if the information is incorrect, then you might not receive the notice.
After receiving the notice from the US Embassy or national Visa Centre, the next step for the foreign fiancé is to fill up the State Department online DS-160 form the “Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application”).
This application form DS-160 is referred to as the actual K1 visa application. When you are done with filing this application form online, you need to take the printout of the confirmation page.
It is an essential part of the application form that you should take the printout of the confirmation page as you need to send this confirmation page to the embassy. You are also required to carry this confirmation page along with you while visiting for the interview.
The US Embassy managing your case asks for supporting documents from the foreign fiancé or US citizen fiancé . Does every embassy have their process to provide the document to read the instructions properly given in the notice.
Documents from the U.S. citizen fiancé
US citizen fiancé are required to provide an affidavit of support (form I-134). This support form is referred to as a legal document in which US citizens’ fiancé mentions that he/she will avoid their foreign fiancé getting dependent on the government benefits anytime in the future.
However, US citizen fiancé are required to file their recent tax returns. Therefore, it is your responsibility to pay their most recent tax return; it’s always a better option to pay off all the tax returns for the past three years. Also, he/she will need to present the proof of their relationship with the fiancé, for which they will require to present a photocopy of the approved petition form I- 129F package, which was filled and approved by the USCIS.
Documents from the foreign fiancé
The supporting documents that need to be provided by the foreign fiancé:
They’ll be required to provide and two passport size photographs.
A valid birth certificate
Printout of their valid passport
A foreign fiancé also needs to provide the police clearance certificate from all the countries where foreign fiancé had lived for more than six months from the age of 16 years.
Completely packed medical exam form which you can get at the immigration medical examination through the approved doctor.
You are also required to provide the form DS-5540 public charge questionnaire. The department uses this document to check if there is any possibility of the foreign fiancé becoming a public charge in the future. If the state of the department detects that they are likely to become the public charge, then their application will be rejected.
Step 3: Attend your visa interview and pay the visa fee.
After that, the next step is to attend the Visa interview and pay the Visa fee. Your Visa interview after the approval of your application will be held at the US embassy or the consulate, which was listed on the notice that you received from USCIS before they transferred your application to the National Visa Centre.
Your Visa interview will be straightforward, and the question will be asked related to your application. This usually occurs within 4-6 weeks once you receive the notice at the embassy or consulate office located in the foreign fiancé’s home country.
The charge for the K-1 fiancé visa is $265. This fee needed to be paid at the visa interview, but the requirements and needs vary from embassy to embassy, so ensure to read the instructions properly mentioned in the notice that you obtained from the embassy that is handling your case.
The embassy or consulate office conducting your Visa interview will tell you the final decision on the same day of the interview, but if they need any additional requirement which is the part of your application, then they will ask you to submit the additional documents to the embassy after completing the interview.
After getting approval of your K-1 visa application, then foreign fiancé will get a packed visa packet. They are not required to open the packet. However, when a foreign fiancé visits the United States at the entry port, US customs and board protection agents ask for the packet. If you have already opened the packet, they won’t allow you to enter the United States.
It is recommended that you should not wait for long after you have received the approval of your visa application from the United States. You need to arrive in the United States within four months after your application is approved.
After visiting the United States, you are required to marry your fiancé within 90 days. If you do not marry your fiancé within 90 days, you will lose your K-1 visa status. Therefore, if you decided not to marry your fiancé after visiting the United States, then it’s better to return to your home country as soon as possible.
If you wish to change your K-1 status, then you can change your visa status only to the marriage green card. You cannot use your K-1 visa to marry anyone else other than your fiancé, who sponsored your application.
If anytime in the future you apply for the marriage based green card make sure you read the instructions properly and also ensure that your marriage green card documents is in English language. As USCIS consider the documents that are in English.
Step 4: Come to the U.S. and get married!
Once you are married to your US citizen fiancé with whom you file your petition form I-129F, the foreign spouse can request the marriage green card by filling the form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence, or adjusting status along with the needed supporting documents and forms.
K-1 Fiancé Visa FAQs
Do you have to be engaged to apply for a K-1 Fiancé Visa?
It is not mandatory for you to get engaged with your partner to apply for the K-1 fiancé visa. But then you will face challenges in proving your relationship is legimate with your partner.
What are the income requirements for a K-1 Fiancé Visa?
The income requirement of the US Citizen Fiancé sponsoring you should be either equal to 100% of the federal poverty level or more. There are no such income requirements for the foreign fiancé who is arriving in the United States to marry the US citizen fiancé, but still, they will require completing and submitting the form DS-5540, which acts as evidence that they will not be the public charge.
Can I work with my K-1 Fiancé Visa?
Yes, you are allowed to work in the United States after you have arrived in the United States through K-1 visa. You need to immediately apply for the work authorization by filing the application form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (EAD).
The total time taken by the USCIS to process the application will be 1-2 months. At first, your work permit will be valid for 90 days after arriving in the United States. The easier and more perfect way to get a work permit by applying for the marriage green card.
In such a situation, you will require to file both Form I-765 and Form I-485 at the same time.
Can I bring my children to the U.S. with me on a K-1 visa?
Absolutely yes, you have the option to bring your children to the United States only if they are unmarried and under the age of 21 years. While filing the petition form I-129F, you have to include your children, and if they meet the needed requirements, they will get the K-2 visas at the same time when you receive K-1visa.
Ensure that your children should be continued to be unmarried and should not be more than 21 years of age till they are admitted to the United States along with you as K-2 non-immigrants. Your children can enter the United States either along with you or after you, but they cannot enter before you arrive in the United States.
They are eligible to request the green card along with you after you get married to your US citizen fiancé with whom you file a petition I-129F.
What should I do if USCIS denies my K-1 Visa application?
If due to any of the reasons, USCIS rejects your K-1 visa application, you can still file an appeal against the rejection. To file an appeal against the rejection, it is always a better option to consult an immigration lawyer.