When a U.S. Citizen is engaged to be married to a foreign citizen, a K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa will allow the foreign fiancé(e) to enter the United States for the purpose of marrying the U.S. citizen. The foreign fiancé(e) will also thereafter be able to apply for adjustment of status (green card). Since the couple has not yet married, the K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa is likely the most efficient way of bringing a foreign fiancé(e) to the U.S.
Fiancé(e) Petition Requirements
A U.S. citizen must satisfy the following requirements to successfully petition their fiancé(e) for a K-1 Visa:
• Intent to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the U.S.
• There are no legal impediments to marriage; any previous marriages of either the U.S. citizen petitioner or the foreign fiancé(e) must have been legally terminated through death, divorce, or annulment.
• There has been at least one in-person meeting within two years of filing the fiancé(e) visa petition. There are two exceptions to this in-person meeting requirement: if the in-person meeting would violate strict and long-established customs of your or your fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice; or if the in-person meeting requirement would result in extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen petitioner.
Fiancé(e) Visa Petition Procedure
A U.S. citizen files a petition for his or her foreign fiancé(e) with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS will only approve the petition if they are convinced that all of the legal requirements have been met. In addition to the requirements stated above, the USCIS will also want to see evidence that the relationship is bona fide, or a true, legitimate relationship as opposed to one entered into for the sole purpose of obtaining immigration benefits. The U.S. citizen petitioner may submit any evidence they want to establish the legitimacy of the relationship, but this proof often consists of photographs, e-mails or letters, personal statements, etc.
Following approval of the petition, the USCIS will schedule the foreign fiancé(e) for an interview at the U.S. Embassy in their home country. During this interview the Consular Officer will also want to be convinced that the foreign fiancé(e) is not marrying his or her U.S. citizen petitioner solely for a green card. They will also want to see updated evidence of the relationship. More importantly though, since this is a personal interview, the foreign fiancé(e) will be questioned by the Consular Officer. They will have to answer detailed, in-depth questions about the relationship history, personal questions about their fiancé(e), plans for the future, etc. Providing incomplete or incorrect answers may, sadly, lead to a denial of a request for a fiancé(e) visa.
Children of K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa Holders
The unmarried, minor children of K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa holders may apply for K-2 visas. If approved, they will be permitted to enter the U.S. with their mother or father.
Reasons for Visa Denials
K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa applications are highly scrutinized. There are multiple reasons why an application might be denied, including:
• Application errors and missing information
• Criminal background
• Prior immigration problems
• Medical issues
• Inability to prove that the relationship is legitimate
• Inability to meet income requirements
• Previous marriages have not been legally terminated
Are You Already Married?
If the foreign citizen for whom you want to petition for a green card is actually your spouse and not your fiancé(e), you are not eligible to file a Fiancé(e) Visa petition. You must then file a “Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.”
Adjustment of Status
Following the foreign fiancé(e)’s admission to the U.S., they are required to marry their U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days. The failure to marry within 90 days will require the foreign fiancé(e) to depart the U.S. and they will have to apply for a new visa to return to the U.S. Assuming the marriage does take place within 90 days though, the foreign fiancé(e) may then file an application for adjustment of status.
Reeves Miller Zhang & Diza – Full-Service Immigration Law
If you would like to submit a Fiancé(e) Visa Petition, the skilled legal team at Reeves Miller Zhang & Diza can help. We will work tirelessly to submit a well-documented petition and prepare you for your personal interview at the U.S. Embassy. The process can be complex, and even minor errors can result in delayed or denied applications. Don’t make the mistake of attempting to apply on your own. Contact Reeves Miller Zhang & Diza today for a confidential consultation about your case.