The K-1 is a nonimmigrant classification that is designed to facilitate the admission of intending immigrants who wish to marry. The K-1 visa allows the fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States for a 90-day period to marry the U.S. citizen petitioner and apply for permanent residence. The foreign national fiancé(e) may be able to obtain temporary permission to work when he or she arrives in the U.S..
Requirements For K-1 Visa
A. Who May Apply For A K-1 Visa?
A foreign national is eligible to apply for a K-1 fiancé(e) visa if:
1. the fiancé(e) is a U.S. citizen
2. he or she is engaged to be married to the U.S. citizen fiancé(e)
3. the couple have met in-person within the last 2 years
Exceptions to the Requirement of Meeting In-person: There are two exceptions to the requirement of meeting in-person:
a. Long-established religious customs: If the requirement to meet the U.S. citizen fiancé(e) in person would violate strict and long-established customs of the U.S. citizen’s or the foreign national fiancé(e)’s cultural or social practice.
b. Extreme hardship: If the U.S. citizen proves that the requirement to personally meet the fiancé(e) would result in extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen.
TIP: These are very difficult standards to meet.
4. the couple is legally eligible to marry under the laws of their own country as well as the laws of the U.S.
5. the foreign national’s sole intention for coming to the U.S. is to marry their U.S. citizen fiancé(e) and
6. the foreign national fiancé(e) and U.S. citizen petitioner plan to get married within 90 days of the foreign fiancé(e) entering the U.S.
B. Ineligibility To Apply For K-1 Visa
There are certain conditions and activities that may make a foreign fiancé(e) ineligible for a visa. Examples of these ineligibilities are:
- drug trafficking and related activities
- overstaying a previous visa
- practicing polygamy
- advocating the overthrow of the government and/or
- submitting fraudulent documents
NOTE: The consular officer is required to tell the foreign national fiancé(e) whether or not he or she is eligible for the visa, whether there is a waiver of the ineligibility available, if necessary and what the waiver procedure is.
K-1 And K-3 Visa In Comparison
|Features||K-1 Visa||K-3 Visa|
|Visa Type Filing Govt. Agency Forms Processing Time||Nonimmigrant||Nonimmigrant|
|I-129F||I-129F and I-130|
|3 to 5 months at the USCIS plus 2 to 3 months at the Consulate||3 to 5 months at the USCIS plus 2 to 3 months at the Consulate|
|Multiple Entries Visa Validity||No||Yes|
|Valid for 4 months; must marry petitioner within 90 days of entry to the United States||Valid for 24 months|
|Marriage Place Extension of Stay Green Card||Inside the U.S.||Inside or Outside the U.S.|
|Conditional Green Card||May obtain permanent Green Card if marriage is more than 2 years old at the time of approval of Adjustment of Status|
How To Find A Foreign Bride (Fiancée)
U.S. citizens find their foreign fiancé(e)s through a number of routes. Many meet their future spouses through school or work in the U.S. or overseas. Others meet their fiancée through tours with a matchmaking company or “international marriage broker”.
Whatever the method, the most important thing is that the relationship is bona fide and that the U.S. citizen and foreign national truly want to get married to start a life together and not solely to obtain U.S. immigration benefits for the foreign national fiancé(e). Because of the increased incidence of marriage and K-1 visa fraud, the scrutiny of both marriage and fiancé(e) cases have increased significantly. It is important that whether you are the foreign national or the U.S. citizen, you speak with an immigration professional before embarking on the journey towards marriage and the green card.
What VisaPro Customers Are Saying
Vispro professionals helped us through multiple steps from getting a K1 visa to US green card, and ultimately US citizenship for my husband. Although their services were remote for us (we are in CA and they are in DC), they provided excellent support and communication through email, phone calls, and skype. We are very pleased with their services and personal attention and are grateful for all their help guiding us along this process.