K-1 visa allows the foreign national that marries the U.S. citizen to travel there. A betrothed couple can hold the ceremony during a certain period of time only while they are there. The foreign citizen that is about to marry the U.S. citizen must be granted this visa. Otherwise, this person will surely face some difficulties when starting to change the status in order to become a legal permanent resident (LPR) and live in the United States on a permanent basis.
The applicant must apply for K-1 visa to get married with the U.S. citizen within 90 days after the arrival to the U.S. The ceremony and legal marriage certificate should be sent as evidence to the Department of Homeland Security before the foreign national finally moves to the United States to live with the spouse.
K-1 Visa Requirements
Before obtaining K-1 visa and marrying the U.S. citizen, the Applicant should meet some requirements to get the spousal visa. He/she then must pass a security check in order to identify unofficial relationships or marriage contracts to obtain a Green Card solely. Thus, if you are going to get married with
the U.S. citizen, you have to meet the following criteria:
- Provide evidences of your relationship before the marriage;
- Proofs of holding a wedding ceremony while in the United States on a K-1 visa basis;
- Marriage will be contracted in accordance with the laws of the United States, where the marriage takes place.
The Applicant and the U.S. citizen must have seen each other in person within the past two years. There may be exceptions to this rule. For example, the U.S. citizen has made great sacrifices to the spouse that is a citizen of another country. The difficulties can be proven on a cultural or some other basis.
The Applicant may be given various reasons for this, such as:
- Criminal history (e.g., drug trafficking)
- Forged, invalid documents
- Overstay in the U.S. with a previous visa
- Violation of other visa conditions
Nevertheless, the K-1 Visa candidate isn’t the only one that should meet the requirements mentioned above. The U.S. citizen that intends to get married with a foreigner should meet the following requirements as well:
- Be the citizen of the United States of America and provide birth certificate or naturalization certificate;
- Be intending to get married to the citizen of another country within 90 days of their expected stay in USA;
- Have divorce or death certificate of any previous spouse.
K-1 Visa application
There are steps in the visa application process that should be taken by both the U.S. citizen and a future spouse. The U.S. citizen must initiate visa application. The U.S. citizen must obtain the permission from the USCIS to bring and support his foreign spouse to the United States of America. The foreign citizen must apply for K-1 visa if the USCIS approves it.
Step 1. The U.S. citizen will first need to get the permission from the USCIS for a future spouse to visit the United States. It can be issued by filling in I-129F form. It must be filed directly from the United States. The filing fee of the petition is $535. In case all requirements are fulfilled, the USCIS will approve and send it to the National Visa Center (NVC). After that, the NVC will inform the couple about the approval of their application and forward the documents to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, depending on where the foreign national will apply for K-1 visa. The approved application receives the case number from the NVC. However, without the approval of form I-129F, the foreign national can’t apply for the given visa.
Step 2. The K-1 visa application must be completed as soon as the I-129F form is approved. The foreign national must fill it at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
The K-1 visa applicant must fill online form DC-160. This form contains personal information along with the reason of the visit to USA. After filling and sending the form, the candidate will receive a confirmation page and code.
The Applicant must undergo a medical examination with a qualified doctor, regardless of the age. The doctor must provide the conclusion about any health issues. Foreign citizens that are going to obtain a permanent residence in the USA after the marriage must get the required vaccination.
The consular officer will give a foreign national the necessary forms and instructions to apply for K-1 Fiancé Visa. They include the same documentary requirements as any other immigrant visa applications. In addition to application forms mentioned above, the following documents are usually required:
- Valid passport
- 2 photographs, according to the requirements
- DC-160 form, confirmation page and code
- Letter of invitation for interview
- Approved I-129F form
- Certificate of criminal record
- Proof of termination of any prior marriages
- Evidences of the relationship with the U.S. citizen
- Medical exam
- Proof of payment of the required fees
Original documents should be signed and sealed by the issuing authorities. All documents that are issued in foreign languages have to be translated into English. As soon as the case processing is done and the Applicant has collected all documents, the consular officer will interview the fiancé.
Minor children under the age of 14 don’t need to attend the interview. If the officer finds the answers eligible, K-1 fiancé visa will be issued. This visa is valid for 4 months but can be extended up to 6 months.
The K-1 petition, birth certificate, non-immigrant visa application, medical exam and other supporting documents will be placed in a sealed envelope and given to the Applicant. The document should be given to the USCIS representative at the port of the entry.
Issuing K-1 visa includes certain fees. They may vary from year to year and depend on the U.S. diplomatic relations with other countries. The main types of fees are the following:
- Application fee for I-129F form
- Fee for sending DS-160 form
- Fee for medical examination
- Other payments
U.S. Port of Entry
The process of changing the status is completed once the foreign national receives K-1 visa and the couple marries in the USA within 90 days. Therefore, the foreigner will be granted a permanent residence in the United States on a spousal visa basis.
By filing I-845 form, the foreign spouse will be granted conditional status with the CR type visa on a period of two years after the date of marriage and will then be able to obtain unconditional status with the IR type visa right away.
The U.S. citizen must be indicated in the application to the USCIS (Form I-129F). Once it’s approved, each child must apply for K-2 visa individually. Children will also get the opportunity to obtain permanent residence permits after their parent’s marriage.
If the K-1 visa holder has been granted permission to enter the United States and the marriage was not concluded within 90 days, then this type of visa can’t be renewed. The K-1 visa holder must leave the U.S. and return back to his/ her home country. The K-1 Visa holder can expect the deportation and legal consequences if he or she does not leave the U.S. upon the visa expiry date.
Last update July 21, 2020