A foreign national that is engaged to be married to a U.S. citizen may be eligible for a K-1 fiancé visa. The K-1 fiancé visa is intended to make the visa process faster for individuals planning to get married. The U.S. citizen must first file an I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once the USCIS has approved the I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé, the foreign fiancé can apply for a K-1 fiancé visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad. The foreign fiancé will have 4 months to obtain a K-1 visa before the I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé expires; however, consular officers are able to revalidate expired petitions.
Requirements Of U.S. Citizen Fiancés
The U.S. citizen fiancé must meet certain requirements in order to bring their foreign fiancé to the United States permanently. The U.S. citizen must be able to financially support their foreign fiancé. Accordingly, the U.S. citizen’s income must be at least 100% of the federal poverty guidelines. Moreover, the U.S. citizen and foreign fiancé must marry within 90 days of the foreign fiancé’s arrival in the U.S. If the U.S. citizen and foreign fiancé do not marry, the foreign fiancé is considered removable and subject to deportation. After the marriage, the U.S. citizen must file an I 485 Application to Adjust Status on behalf of their spouse (and the accompanying I-864 Affidavit of Support) to complete their spouse’s green card application.
Nonimmigrant Visa With Immigrant Intent
Though the foreign fiancé travels to the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa, they have immigrant intent and must qualify for an immigrant visa. The foreign fiancé must be able to complete the immigrant visa application which requires the following:
- A passport which is valid for at least 6 months beyond their intended stay in the U.S.;
- Birth certificates of the foreign fiancé and U.S. citizen;
- Divorce or death certificate of any previous spouse (both the foreign national and U.S. citizen’s previous spouses);
- Police certificates from all the places the foreign fiancé has lived since the age of 16;
- Medical examination;
- Evidence of financial support; and
- Evidence of a fiancé relationship.
When applying for the K-1 visa, the foreign fiancé will have an interview at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy and their biometrics will be taken.
Benefits And Limitations
A foreign national can only enter the United States one time using a K-1 visa. If a K-1 fiancé wants to travel outside of the U.S., they can apply for an I-131 Application for Travel Document with the USCIS. Upon returning from abroad, the foreign national can reenter using the I-131 Travel Document and obtain advance parole.
A K-1 visa holder is not automatically authorized to work in the U.S., but can apply for employment authorization with the USCIS. The foreign fiancé can file an I-765 Application for Employment Authorization and, if approved, will receive an employment authorization document or EAD card.
Social Security Card
A K-1 fiancé may apply for a social security card at their local social security office upon arriving in the U.S.