The K-1 nonimmigrant, or fiancée visa, allows the foreign citizen fiancée of a US citizen to come to the United States and marry his or her UC citizen spouse within 90 days of arrival.
Remember that this visa is not for use if you are simply considering the idea of marriage. Rather, you will need to show definite proof of your plans to get married within the allotted period of time.
If your nonimmigrant fiancée is already in the United States, or if your fiancée lives outside the United States with you, then getting a K-1 visa is unnecessary. The better option is to first get married than apply for a green card.
In order to be eligible for the K-1 visa, you must fulfill the following requirements:
- Your intended spouse must be a US citizen (not a permanent resident);
- The couple must be legally able to marry, that is, each member must be single and be of legal age to consent to the marriage;
- The intending immigrant must have a genuine intention of marrying the US citizen spouse after arriving in the US; and
- The two must have met and seen each other in person within the past two years.
Procedural Steps in Filing for a K-1 Visa
There are four major steps in filing for a K-1 visa:
- US Citizen fiancée mails a visa petition on USCIS Form I-129F to a USCIS regional service center in the United States;
- After the approval of the petition by USCIS, the petition is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing, and NVC will send it to the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate where your fiancé(e) will apply for a K-1 nonimmigrant visa;
- The NVC will provide the foreign national fiancée with specific instructions and document requests, including where to go for the medical examination.
- The foreign national finacee can then enter the United States with the visa that is issued.
NOTE: Eligible children of K-1 visa holders under the age of 21 years can receive a K-2 visa.
Required Documents for the Visa Interview
According to the US Department of State, the foreign national fiancée is required to bring the following documents to the visa interview, subject to any additional requirements depending on the specific nature of the case:
- Two (2) Nonimmigrant Visa Applications, Form DS-156 (prepared in duplicate).
- One (1) Nonimmigrant Fiancé(e) Visa Application, Form DS-156K
- One (1) Application For Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, Form DS-230, Part I (You are not required to complete Part II.)
- A passport valid for travel for at least six months beyond the intended period of stay
- Divorce or death certificate(s) of any previous spouse(s) for both you and the U.S. citizen sponsor
- Police certificates from your present country of residence and all countries where you have lived for 6 months or more since age 16 (Police certificates are also required for accompanying children age 16 or older)
- Medical examination (vaccinations are optional, see below)
- Evidence of financial support (Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, may be requested)
- Two (2) 2×2 photographs
- Evidence of relationship with your U.S. citizen fiancé(e)
- Payment of fees