K Nonimmigrant Fiance/e Visas
The K-1 Nonimmigrant Fiancé(e) Visa enables a U.S. citizen to obtain a temporary visa for his or her fiancé(e) to enter the United States for the purpose of getting married. Same-sex partners can also avail themselves of this immigration benefit.
The K-1 process is two-fold. The first step requires a U.S. citizen to petition for his or her the fiancé(e) by filling out Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), gathering evidence to establish a bona fide relationship, and filing both the petition and evidence with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office that accommodates the petitioner’s specific geographical location.
After USCIS approves, the petition is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing which will include police background checks for both the U.S. petitioner and the foreign national beneficiary. If both parties pass, the petition is sent to the consulate or embassy where the fiancé(e)-beneficiary will apply for the K-1 Nonimmigrant Fiancé(e) Visa. Applying for the K-1 visa by filing a DS-160 application is the second step of the process.
If all goes well at the interview, the beneficiary will be issued a K-1 visa that is valid for 6 months. Marriage must occur within 90 days of entry into the United States.
In order to be eligible for a fiancé(e) visa, the U.S. petitioner and his or her foreign national fiancé(e) need to provide evidence of the following:
- An in-person meeting within 2 years of the filing date (with limited exceptions);
- The intent to marry within 90 days of the foreign national’s arrival in the United States; and
- Both parties’ legal ability to be married.
For example, if either the petitioner or the beneficiary has been married before, then one or both parties need to provide proof that their previous marriages were legally dissolved. The above list is NOT comprehensive. It is important to understand that entry into the United States is not guaranteed by a visa. A knowledgeable immigration attorney will review your case and advise you of your eligibility for this immigration benefit.