The Fiancé Visa
The K-1 Visa, also known as fiancé or fiancée visa, is a temporary (nonimmigrant) visa issued to the fiancé(e) of a US citizen to enter the United States for the purpose of marriage. This lets the foreign-born fiancé(é) spend 90 days in the U.S., get married, and apply for a U.S. green card through an application process known as adjustment of status.
Before you begin, it’s crucial to check if you and your fiancé(é) are eligible for the K-1 visa. The law requires that you:
- Intend to marry a U.S. citizen
- Are legally able to
- Have met your intended spouse face to face at least once time within the last two years
Intend to marry a U.S. citizen
The person you intend to marry must be a U.S. citizen, that is:
- Someone born in the United States or its territories
- A citizen through application and testing (called naturalization), or acquired or derived citizenship through a family member.
If your fianceé is a permanent resident (or green card holder), you are not eligible for the K-1 visa. He or she would only be able to petition to obtain permanent residency for you only after the marriage has taken place.
Legally able to marry
There must not be any legal barrier to the couple getting married. A legal barrier could be:
- One person being under the age of consent
- One person being previously married to another person, unless he or she proves the marriage was legally ended
- The two members of the couple being related by blood
The legal ability to marry will depend on the laws of the state, as each of the 50 U.S. sets its own rules. For example, you may find that in one state the person must be at least 18 years old to marry, while in another, he or she can be under 18 years old and get married with the consent of the parents or legal guardians.
Likewise, you may find that in one state first cousins are legally allowed to marry, while in another not. With that said, almost all states prohibit marrying your sibling, half-sibling, parent, grandparent, grandchild, uncle or aunt, nephew or niece.
Have met your intended spouse in person within the last two years
Couples will need to make sure they meet at least once in the two years before applying for a fiancée visa. U.S. immigration law requires it in order to protect against sham marriages.
However, this requirement can be waived based on cultural customs or extreme hardship. For example, in some countries, prospective husbands and wives do not meet before their wedding for social/cultural reasons. In order to get the USCIS to overlook the requirement in question, they would have to provide documentation of the prevailing customs in their country.
Talk to an Immigration Attorney
The process of sponsoring a foreign fiancée can be quite stressful. Our immigration attorneys can provide you with expert guidance every step of the way and take the burden out of preparing and filing the necessary forms with supporting documentation.