The boyfriend or girlfriend of a U.S. citizen can immigrate to the country with a K1 visa, allowing them to marry the citizen within 90 days of their arrival. When a foreign national marries a citizen of the United States, she needs to obtain this first visa in order to change her status and become a lawful permanent resident (LPR).
K1 visa eligibility criteria:
To obtain the K1 visa you must meet the following criteria:
- Be engaged to a US citizen.
- Intends to marry within 90 days of entering the United States.
- Have proof of your relationship before engagement.
- Get married under US laws while in the US on a K1 visa.
- You and the U.S. citizen must have met in person at least once in the last two years.
Exceptions to this requirement will be granted if it can be demonstrated that the U.S. citizen went through extreme hardship in coming to visit the foreign citizen’s fiancé. Extreme difficulties may be demonstrated by cultural conditions, customs, or other factors.
All previous marriages you have had are legally broken.
What documents are required for a K1 visa application?
Here are the documents you should present when applying for a K1 visa:
- A passport is valid for more than 6 months after an intended stay in the United States.
- Two recent US visa photographs according to photography requirements.
- DS-160 form confirmation page and code.
- Letter with the interview schedule.
- Approved Form I-129F.
- Criminal record documents.
- Divorce or death certificates in case of previous marriage.
- Proof of relationship with US citizen.
- Documentation for medical exams (and optional for immunization records).
- Proof of tax payment.
- Proof of health insurance coverage
How to apply for the K1 visa?
The fiance visa request includes some steps that both fiancés must follow. It must first be initiated by the US citizen. The U.S. citizen must obtain permission from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to bring and sponsor his or her foreign citizen fiancé to the United States.
If USCIS grants this authorization, the foreign citizen fiancé will need to apply for the actual K1 visa.
Petition for alien boyfriend:
To get a petition approved by USCIS, you must follow these steps:
Dossier Form I-129F. The U.S. citizen will first need permission from USCIS for the foreign citizen fiancé to visit the United States. This authorization is obtained by filing Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé with USCIS. The petition must be filed from the United States and cannot be filed from abroad.
Submit the petition to USCIS. When the petition arrives at USCIS, officials will review it and examine evidence of the relationship, whether the parties intend to marry, and whether they meet the eligibility criteria. If both the U.S. citizen and the foreign citizen fiancé meet the requirements, USCIS will approve the petition and send it to the National Visa Center (NVC).
Wait for a response from the CNV. Following notification to the couple, the NVC will send the necessary paperwork to the US Embassy or Consulate so that the foreign national may apply for a K1 visa there. The approved petition is identified with the NVC case number. The foreign national is not permitted to apply for the K1 visa without obtaining approval of the I-129F form.
K1 Visa Application Process:
Once your Form I-129F is approved, you can begin your K1 visa application. This must be completed by the foreign national at a U.S. embassy or consulate in his or her country of residence, following these steps:
- Fill out form DS-160.
- Schedule your US fiancé visa interview.
- Complete medical examinations.
- Fill out your document file.
- Attend the visa interview.
- Fill out form DS-160
The K1 visa in this instance is also obtained through the use of Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, for US nonimmigrant visas. The form will ask for your personal information and the reasons why you plan to go to the United States. When you send it, you will receive a confirmation page and a code.
Schedule your US fiancé visa interview:
If you fall within the age range of 14 to 79, you will be required to attend a visa interview. You have to schedule the interview before you can finish it. You need to schedule this as soon as possible because you may have to wait too long if the Embassy or Consulate you are applying from has a high workload. When you schedule your interview, you will receive a letter with your interview schedule.
Complete medical examinations:
No matter your age, if you are traveling to the United States and specifically intend to apply for a United States immigrant visa in the future, you must have the necessary medical examination conducted by a licensed physician. The doctor must write the report indicating any health problems. Since the fiancé will be getting married soon and applying for permanent residency, it is also advisable to undergo the necessary vaccination required by the United States to complete this requirement.
Fill out your document file:
When you show up for your interview at the US Embassy, you must submit the required documents for the K1 visa.
Attend the visa interview
During the interview, you will have to show your documents and answer all the questions the interview officials will have. In addition, the interviewer will inquire about your relationship with the US citizen and other personal information.
Why is a K1 visa application rejected?
There are various reasons why this could happen and some of them could be:
- Involvement in criminal activity in the past (e.g. drug trafficking).
- You sent falsified documents.
- You overstayed your stay in the United States on a previous visa or broke other visa rules.
- If you do not meet these conditions, you may be informed that you are not eligible for the K1 visa.
How much does it cost to apply for a K1 visa?
Applying for a K1 visa costs $265. The amounts vary from year to year and country due to the different relationships the United States has with other countries, but the main categories for which you will be asked to pay fees are as follows:
- Petition fee for Form I-129F.
- DS-160 form submission fee.
- Expenses for medical visits.
- Other costs related to documentation storage and translation.
What is the K1 visa processing time?
K1 visa processing time can vary from weeks to months. It does not have a defined duration of processing time. It is very likely that it will take a few months, so plan for any delays if you are planning your wedding in the United States.
Only after obtaining your K1 visa can you start planning your trip, as if your visa is denied, you may end up not using the tickets purchased up to that point.
How long does the K1 visa last?
The K1 visa is valid for 4 months but it is possible to extend it up to 6 months. Although the K1 visa may be valid for this duration, the couple is expected to marry within 90 days of the foreign national’s entry into the United States.
Can I work on a valid K1 visa?
While you are in the United States on a K1 visa, your U.S. citizen fiancé must demonstrate that he or she can support you. However, as you will be getting married and beginning the process of adjusting your status to permanent, you can plan ahead for the job.
Initially, you must request an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by filing Form I-765 with USCIS. If approved, you can get a Social Security Number (SSN) and even work for the duration of your K1 visa.
Can my children accompany me to the United States on a K1 visa?
If the foreign national has unmarried children under the age of 21, they may accompany the foreign national to come to the United States for the wedding. Children of the K1 visa holder may travel to the United States on a valid K-2 visa.
The US citizen is not required to file USCIS for the fiancé’s children, but they must be mentioned on the Form I-129F. After the petition is approved, each of the children will need to apply for the K-2 visa individually. The children will then have the possibility of obtaining permanent residence even after marriage by submitting a request for adjustment of status.
What are the next steps after marriage?
If the foreign national obtains a K1 visa and the couple marries in the United States within 90 days, the process to adjust the status to permanent begins. This means that the foreign citizen will become a lawful permanent resident of the United States by obtaining a spouse visa.
This process begins by filling out Form I-485. Within the first two years of marriage the foreign citizen will have conditional status with the CR-1 visa and subsequently can obtain unconditional status with the IR-1 visa.
What happens if the couple doesn’t get married after 90 days?
If the K1 visa holder enters the United States and does not marry, she will not be able to extend the fiancé visa. The K1 visa holder would then need to leave the United States and return to their home country. If the K1 visa holder does not return, she may face deportation and legal consequences.