How to Obtain and Qualify for a K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa
Qualifying and obtaining a K Visa is a complex and fact specific process and the information below is a general overview. Please consult with an attorney at Theta Law Firm with your specific facts. An attorney at Theta Law Firm is invaluable in helping go through the bureaucracy and paperwork to obtain the most appropriate visa that will fit your needs and requirements. An attorney is vital to help guide a potentially qualifying individual and their dependents through the process of obtaining a K Visa (and ultimately permanent resident status) in a timely fashion that will not disrupt or interfere with their lives and futures.
Is the K-1 Visa for me?
The K-1 classification grants temporary Visa status allowing a foreign national fiancé to come to the United States to marry their United States citizen sponsor (person they are engaged to marry) within 90 (ninety) days.
Requirements for K-1 Visa Filing
In order to obtain K-1 status, the United States citizen fiancé sponsor must file a petition on behalf of the foreign national fiancé seeking admission to the United States. Certain requirements must be met and evidence presented when filing the required I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e). The petition may not be filed at an abroad office.
The following requirements need to be met before applying for a K-1 Visa:
1. The petitioner is a United States citizen;
2. The petitioner and the foreign national fiancé intend to marry within 90 (ninety) days of the foreign national entering the United States;
3. The petitioner and the foreign national fiancé are free to marry and any previous marriages are legally ended;
4. The petitioner and the foreign national fiancé have met in person at least once within 2 (two) years of filing the petition UNLESS
a. Meeting would violate long established customs of the foreign nationals culture or social practice and all other aspects of the foreign nations traditions are being (or will be) followed. Traditional arranged marriages are an example of an exception to the meeting requirement.
b. Meeting would cause extreme hardship to the United States citizen petitioner.
Additionally, as of 2013, visa petitions of same-sex couples are treated in the same way as opposite-sex couples. For more information please contact an attorney at Theta Law Firm to guide you through the changes in immigration policy and the ramifications it may have on your particular situation.
What to do After you File the 129F Petition?
1. After you submit the petition to the appropriate USCIS address (see footnote 2), and the petition is approved, it is sent to the National Visa Center. The National Visa Center will send the United States petitioner a letter letting them know that the file regarding the foreign national fiancé has been sent to a United States embassy or consulate.
2. At this point, the foreign national fiancé should prepare for a Visa interview and gather the following documentation:
a. Fill out and submit Form DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (can be accessed through https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/). Make sure that you keep the confirmation page that you will have to bring with you to the interview at the embassy or consulate
b. A valid passport
c. Divorce or death certificates of any previous spouses (if applicable)
d. Police certificates from any country where you lived for six months or more
e. Medical examination documentation (will be provided detailed information before your interview)
f. Evidence that you will be able to financially support yourself or that you will be financially supported by your United States citizen fiancé petitioner (this may involve filling out Form I-134, Affidavit of Support by the petitioner)
g. You will be required to provide color photograph of yourself taken within the last six months when submitting Form DS-160. For more information regarding the photograph requirements please go to http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/general/photos.html
h. All applicable fees
You have successfully petitioned your fiancé to be allowed in the United States. Your fiancé was granted a visa after being interviewed at a United States embassy or consulate. Your fiancé arrived in the United States and you were married within the 90 day limit. What happens now?
* As soon as you marry, the foreign national spouse who was granted admission through the K visa, may apply for permanent residence by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status.
Can Your Foreign National Fiancé(e) Work in the United States Upon Arrival?
The short answer is yes. After being admitted, the foreign national fiancé can apply for permission to work by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. If approved, this would provide the fiancé(e) the ability to work for 90 days during the validity of the K visa.
Additionally, right after the marriage takes place, the foreign national can apply to extend the work authorization at the same time he or she files Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status. This would be done by filing another I-765 form with the I-485 form.
Length of Stay
K-Visa status is valid for 90 days. If you do not marry within 90 days, the foreign national fiancé(e) must leave the United States. Not doing so would violate United State immigration law. It should be noted that there are no extensions granted to this 90 day marriage requirement. Termination of K-visa status of the fiancé(e) will also terminate the status of any children accompanying the foreign national and under K-2 status.
Children of Foreign National Fiancé(e) Applicants
If the foreign national fiancé you are petitioning be allowed in the United States has any unmarried children under the age of 21 they may accompany the fiancé and acquire K-2 visa status. The United States citizen petitioner must include the names of the children on the initial I-129F petition. They do not need separate petitions. However, any children will need separate visa applications to be filed after the I-129F petition is approved. After the marriage, any children will also need to individually file for adjustment of status and applicable fees will have to be paid for each.
What if I Marry A Foreign National Outside the United States and Want That Person Admitted Into the United States?
If you marry your fiancé(e) overseas and want them to obtain permanent residence in the United States, a different process is followed from the one described above. Please read the article pertaining to K-3/K-4 Visas on our site and consult with an attorney at Theta Law Firm to see how this could be done.
 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(k).
 For the address of where to file the petition, visit http://www.uscis.gov/i-129f-addresses. For the 129F form please go to http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-129f.pdf.
 Requirements are set out in 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(k).
 Form I-134, Affidavit of Support can be found at http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-134.pdf.
 Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status can be found at: http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-485.pdf.
 Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization can be found at: http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-765.pdf.
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