What Is A K-1 Visa

What is a K-1 Visa?

K1 Fiancé Visa

Although love has no boundaries, the same cannot be said for immigration laws. For couples separated by oceans and borders, embarking on the journey of obtaining a K-1 fiancé visa to bring their foreign national partner to the United States can be overwhelming.

The K-1 visa process can be complex and time-consuming, but with the proper guidance and support, you can successfully navigate the process and be united with your loved one.

Our team of Family Immigration lawyers at Bashyam Global Immigration Law Group provides expert guidance, support, and representation at every step of the fiancé visa process, ensuring that your loved one can join you in the United States as soon as legally possible. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today. We are dedicated to helping you bring your loved one home.

k1 fiance visa with rings

Overview of the K-1 Fiancé Visa – What is it?

The K-1 Fiancé Visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows a foreign citizen to come to the United States to marry their US citizen fiancé (citizen sponsor). After marrying, the foreign national may then be eligible to apply for permanent residence in the United States. The K-1 visa is a single entry visa, meaning the foreign citizen must enter the United States within the visa’s validity period.

Do You Need a K-1 Visa Attorney?

Considering the intricate legal requirements associated with immigration, we suggest you hire a K-1 visa lawyer.

When searching for a K-1 visa attorney, it is crucial to select one who possesses comprehensive knowledge and experience in immigration law, particularly regarding fiancé visas.

Ensure the lawyer has handled numerous cases concerning fiancé visas and is familiar with the entire application process. Additionally, it is recommended to find a friendly and empathetic attorney who can cater to your unique requirements and create a comfortable environment for discussing your concerns and case-related information.

What is a Fiancé In Immigration Law?

fiance in the eyes of immigration law

Under US immigration law, a fiancé is defined as someone engaged to or intends to marry a United States citizen. To bring your fiancé and their children (if applicable) into the country, you must file Form I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé with the USCIS. Once the petition is approved, you must file the K-1 visa application.

Who is Eligible for a K1 Visa?

The couple must meet specific criteria to be eligible for a K-1 Fiancé Visa. The petitioner (US citizen fiancé or US citizen sponsor) and their foreign fiancé must each fulfill specific requirements that are set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

For US Citizen Sponsors:

  • Proof of US citizenship, such as copy of birth certificate or US passport
  • Evidence that they are legally free to marry (proof of termination of any previous marriages) 
  • Have met their fiancé in person within the past two years, unless cultural or religious customs don’t allow this and you receive a waiver of this requirement
  • You must be able to provide evidence of your relationship (photographs, emails, etc.)
  • Able to demonstrate a bona fide intention to marry their foreign citizen fiancé(e) within 90 days of the fiancé’s entry to the United States

For Immigrant Visa Applicants:

  • A copy of the foreign-born fiancé’s passport and birth certificate
  • Birth certificate for any children of the foreign-born fiancé
  • Proof that they are legally free to marry (proof of termination of any previous marriages)
  • Must meet all visa requirements and pass a medical examination before entering the US.
  • Have met their fiancé in person within the past two years
  • Must be otherwise admissible to the United States
  • Must be able to demonstrate a bona fide intention to marry the petitioner within 90 days of entry to the United States

k1 fiance visa lawyer in raleigh NC, american flags

How Do You Apply for a K-1 visa?

Filing the Petition – Prepare and Submit the Form I-129F Petition to USCIS

Once you have established that you and your foreign fiancé meet the eligibility criteria for a K-1 visa, the next step your fiancé immigration lawyer will take on your behalf is to file Form I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This petition aims to establish that your relationship with your fiancé is genuine and that you both intend to marry within 90 days of their entry into the US on a K-1 visa.

  1. Gather Required Documents and Information: For filing the petition successfully, your K-1 visa attorney will gather various pieces of information and documentation, including personal information about you and your foreign fiancé (the visa applicant), proof of your US citizenship, proof of your relationship, and evidence of your intention to marry. Your lawyer will also submit any additional documentation or evidence needed to overcome inadmissibility issues.
  2. Properly Fill Out Form I-129F: Your visa lawyer will complete the form I-129F on your behalf. Any mistakes can lead to delay or denial of your petition, which is why it is valuable to have an experienced visa attorney to ensure everything is filled out correctly and completely.
  3. Pay the Filing Fee: Once the form is completed, your fiancé visa lawyer will submit the filing fee with the application. The filing fee is non-refundable and is subject to change.
  4. Mail the Petition to the Appropriate Address: After completing the form and paying the fee, your visa attorney will mail the petition to the appropriate USCIS address.
  5. Await Notification of Status: Once USCIS has received your petition, they will review your application and notify your lawyer if they need additional information, evidence, clarification, or corrections. Your lawyer will be able to provide you with status updates and easily track your case progress for you.
  6. USCIS Approval: After USCIS has reviewed your petition and found it eligible, they will approve the petition and forward it to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will then send instructions on how to apply for a K-1 visa at the US Embassy or Consulate in the foreign fiancé’s home country.

Applying for a Visa at the US Embassy – After USCIS Approval

After receiving your petition, the US Consulate in your fiancé’s home country or country of residence will contact them and provide instructions on how to apply for a K-1 visa. To obtain a K-1 visa, visa applicants must submit several documents, including:

  • A completed Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160)
  • A valid passport
  • Birth certificate of the foreign-born fiancé
  • Divorce or death certificates to confirm any previous marriages have been terminated
  • Police certificates from all countries where your fiancé has lived since turning 16 years old
  • Medical examination report (I-693) completed by a US-approved civil surgeon
  • Two passport-sized photographs of the foreign-born fiancé
  • Evidence that you have met your fiancé in person within two years before filing the petition 
  • Financial documents proving that you can support your fiancé and any accompanying children.

As stated above, your fiancé visa lawyer will help gather and submit all necessary documentation.

Your fiancé will have to go through a visa interview, during which the US Consulate will determine if your relationship is genuine and if your fiancé qualifies for a K-1 visa. Once all documents are submitted and approved, the foreign-born fiancé will be issued a K-1 visa and can proceed with their travel to the US.

What is the Timeline to Get Married Once Your Fiancé Enters the US?

Once they arrive in the US, you must get married within 90 days, per the terms of the K-1 visa. 

After the marriage is official, the K-1 holder must submit an Adjustment of Status application to acquire a green card, formally referred to as legal permanent resident status.

k1 visa holder and fiance wedding date

How Long Does Getting a K1 Fiancé Visa Take?

The time it takes to get a K1 Fiancé Visa depends on several factors, including the processing times of USCIS and the US Consulate in your fiance’s home country or country of residence. Generally, it can take between 18-30 months for the entire process to be completed and your fiancé to enter the US. However, if there are any delays in the processing, it can take longer. Processing times with USCIS and US Consulates constantly change.

It is also important to remember that this timeline only applies to approved petitions. The timeline may differ if USCIS needs additional information or evidence from you or denies your petition.

Therefore, planning and preparing for the K1 Fiancé Visa process as early as possible is crucial. Hiring a K1 visa lawyer can significantly improve the chances of your application being approved and reduce delays.

The earlier you start the process, the better your chances of getting your petition approved quicker and bringing your fiancé to the US sooner.

What are the Benefits of Having a K-1 Visa?

  • The K-1 visa allows the holder to enter and remain in the US for up to 90 days before getting married
  • Allows couples who are separated by distance or circumstances to marry in the US without having to travel abroad
  • Once a couple is married, they can apply for permanent residence status
  • K-1 visa holders can work full-time once they have obtained an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
  • The fiancé visa process allows dependents of principal applicants (K-2 visas), such as children under 21 years old, to accompany them to the US

FAQs about the K-1 Fiancé Visa

Does My Foreign Citizen Fiancé Have To Interview For Obtaining Their Visa?

Once the petition has been approved, your foreign-born fiancé must attend an interview at their nearest US Consulate in their home country or country of current residence. At this interview, they will be asked questions by a consular officer about the relationship, plans to marry, and other matters related to eligibility for a K-1 immigrant visa.

At Bashyam Global, we believe that to give the best chance of success at the interview, your Fiancé should have a pre-interview preparation session with one of our lawyers on how to approach the interview and any additional documents that may be needed for the application.

In this session, our attorney will review the case with your fiancé and conduct a “mock interview” to best prepare them for the questions they will encounter at their K visa interview.

How Can My Foreign Fiancé Bring Their Kids to the US?

k1 visa fiance family

If your foreign fiancé has any children under the age of 21, you will need to file a K-2 visa for them. This visa is in addition to the K-1 visa for your fiancé. With this visa, your fiancé’s children can accompany them on their journey to the US and stay with you during the 90-day marriage period, as well as file to adjust their status to a lawful permanent resident once their parent is married

What Can a K 1 Visa Holder Do During Their Stay in the United States?

A K-1 visa holder can live and work in the United States while waiting for their permanent resident status. However, the foreign national must apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to be able to legally work in the US, which can take many months to be approved. Additionally, a K-1 visa holder is allowed to attend school and travel inside the United States.  They can only depart the US if they’ve applied for and have had approved an advanced parole document, which is a travel permit that allows one to depart the United States lawfully while their adjustment of status application is pending.

Can a K-1 Visa Holder Apply for a Green Card?

Yes. Once the marriage has occurred, you can apply for a green card (also known as lawful permanent residence status) on behalf of your foreign-born spouse. This typically takes 18 months to complete, but it can take longer, depending on processing times at USCIS.

Can You Work With a K-1 Visa?

Yes, once your foreign-born fiancé has arrived in the US, they can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). This will allow them to legally work in the US while their green card application is being processed.

What Happens If I Don’t Marry Within 90 Days?

If you do not get married before the end of the 90-day period, your fiancé may be required to leave the US. In addition, they may be subject to a three or 10-year bar on re-entering the US. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that you are both prepared for marriage so that you can take advantage of the entire 90-day period.

How Much Does the K-1 Visa Cost?

k1 visa application form approved

The K-1 Fiancé petition application fee is $535 as of May 2023. Additionally, you will need to pay additional fees for the K-1 visa itself, as well as filing the adjustment of status. These can include visa issuance fees and medical examination costs.

 What Is the Possibility for Ineligibility?

A few scenarios may lead to ineligibility for the K-1 visa. These include: if your foreign fiancé does not meet the US immigration eligibility requirements, or if you and your fiancé cannot establish the existence of a bona fide relationship.  In addition, the US citizen fiance having certain criminal convictions could disqualify him or her from petitioning their foreign fiance. If these conditions apply, you must talk to an experienced attorney who can review your case and advise you on the best course of action.

statue of liberty, immigration visa

Navigating the Fiancé Visa Process with Bashyam Global Immigration: A Dedicated and Personalized Approach

At Bashyam Global Immigration Law Group, our attorneys have extensive experience with K-1 visas and can provide expert advice on what documents are required for a successful application. We look forward to helping you bring your special someone to the US.

Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have about the K-1 Fiancé visa process. We are here to help!


Schedule a Consulation