The fiancé(e) visa or K-1 nonimmigrant visa is for a foreign-citizen fiancé(e) of a United States citizen who wants to enter the United States. The K-1 nonimmigrant visa allows the foreign national to travel to the United States in order to marry his or her U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of entry into the U.S.
Once the foreign citizen fiancé(e) and the U.S. citizen petitioner get married, the foreign national may apply for adjustment of status to become a permanent resident (LPR) with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Read our section on steps to obtain a K-1 fiance visa here. For a free initial consultation, and confidential legal counsel, contact our experienced Los Angeles immigration attorneys at JCS Immigration and Visa Services.
Who is a fiancé(e) in immigration law?
For the purposes of United States immigration law, a foreign national fiancé(e) is an individual engaged to a U.S. citizen. The fiancé(e) may be the beneficiary of an approved Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), and will then be issued a K-1 nonimmigrant visa for travel to the U.S. in order to marry the petitioning U.S. citizen.
What are the basic eligibility requirements for a fiancé(e) petition?
In order to file the Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), the petitioner must be a U.S. citizen. The petitioner must show that:
- He or she is a U.S. citizen;
- He or she and the fiancé(e) intend to marry within 90 days of the fiancé(e) entering the U.S.;
- Both parties are legally free to marry (not currently married);
- The two parties have met in person in the past two years prior to filing;
It is important to note that in order for the K-1 visa applicant to be granted an immigrant visa, he or she must also meet all the criteria for an immigrant visa before being approved for admission to the United States. For more information on issues that may cause inadmissibility, please visit our section here.
If I petition for a K-1 visa, how does my fiancé(e) become a permanent resident?
Once your fiancé(e) enters the United States, he or she is authorized for a 90-day stay, in which he or she must marry you, the U.S. citizen petitioner. Once married, your spouse, who is now categorized as a K-1 visa spouse by USCIS, may apply for lawful permanent residence by filing an Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status. If you need assistance with your K-1 visa petition, or for an application for permanent residence, please contact our experienced U.S. immigration attorneys today.
My fiancé(e) has a child. May the child come to the United States with my fiancé(e)?
As long as the child of the fiancé(e) is under 21 years of age and is unmarried then a K-2 visa may be available to him or her. The names and information of the children must be included on the initial petition with USCIS.
What happens if we do not marry within 90 days of my fiancé’s entry?
The fiancé(e) nonimmigrant status expires automatically after 90 days and it cannot be extended. The fiancé(e) must leave the United States at the end of 90 days if the marriage does not happen. If the fiancé(e) does not depart on time he or she will violate immigration law and this could affect future eligibility for U.S. immigration benefits.
What is the process for obtaining a K-1 nonimmigrant visa?
The process for obtaining a K-1 nonimmigrant visa for a foreign citizen fiancé(e) starts with USCIS. The first process is file Petition for Alien fiancé(e) with USCIS. Once approved, USCIS will forward the approved petition to the Department of State (DOS)’s National Visa Center (NVC).
At this point additional forms and fees are required before the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad is given the petition. The final step is the foreign fiancé(e)’s interview with the Embassy or U.S. Consulate when the nonimmigrant visa is issued. For a step by step guide on obtaining a K-1 visa please visit our Steps for Obtaining a K-1 Fiance(e) Visa webpage.