The K-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows the fiance of a US citizen to enter the United States in order to get married. Once the couple is married, the foreign fiance can now apply for a marriage green card to secure lawful permanent residence. This is considered a faster process than applying for a marriage green card abroad.
Filing for a K-1 visa can be a long, complicated process. It’s advisable to seek the assistance of an immigration attorney to help you through the many steps ahead to ensure that the legal immigration goes as smoothly as possible.
What is the K1 Visa Process?
The first step in the process is for the US citizen to prepare and file a K1 visa application (otherwise known as the Application for Alien Fiancé). This form attempts to provide proof that your union is legitimate and is not for the sole purpose of granting legal status to a foreign individual. The K1 visa application can only be filed by a US citizen. A US green card holder is not granted access to the K1 visa process.
Once mailed to the correct government address, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will mail you a receipt for your application. After many months, if your case is approved it will be transferred to the U.S. Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC), where new evidence will be required. From there, the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form must be completed for the State Department.
Additional information, fees, visits, and appointments will then be required before the foreign fiance can come to the US for the marriage.
When Do I Have to Get Married to Be Eligible for the K1?
Once your K1 application has been approved, you will receive a sealed visa package. It is important not to open this yourself, as customs will ask for it and sometimes takes issue if the packet has been opened previously.
The foreign fiance must enter the US within four months of the K-1 approval. And then, within 90 days of that arrival, the US citizen and the foreign fiance must get married in the US. If the marriage doesn’t take place within 90 days, the K-1 status will be revoked, and the foreign party must then return to their home country.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
There are many forms, steps, meetings, and pieces of information required to make the K1 process legal and acceptable by all government agencies. If one detail is late or out of place, the application may be denied. This is a long process and you need to do things the way the government asks for it or it’ll all take that much longer.
If you’ve found your special someone, you should be able to marry them and make a life with them, regardless of what country they hail from. The Bains Law Offices can help make the process easier for all.