The K-1 visa category for fiancees of U.S. citizens and their accompanying minor children (K-2 visa) was created to speed up the immigration process of bringing a fiancee to the United States for marriage.

The K-1 visa allows a fiance and accompanying minor children to be admitted to the United States as non-immigrants. This spares fiances a long separation from their intended spouse, while continuing their processing for an immigrant visa after the marriage takes place (Adjustment of Status).

Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance is used to file for a K-1 Fiance Visa.

K-1 Fiance Visa Eligibility Criteria: To petition your fiance for a K-1 visa, you must prove:

  • You are a United States Citizen.
  • You intend to marry your fiance within 90 days of his/her arrival in the United States.
  • You and your fiance are both legally free to marry and any previous marriages have been legally terminated by divorce, death or annulment.
  • You and your fiance have met in person at least once within two years of the date you file your petition.

Children of K-1 Fiance Visas; The K-2 Visa

Your fiance’s children who are under 21 and unmarried may be eligible for a K-2 non-immigrant visa. All that is necessary to include them during the K-1 fiancé(e) visa petition process is to include their names on the Form I-129F.

What happens after the K-1 Fiance Visa is Issued?: The K-1 Fiance Visa gives your fiance 6 months to enter the United States. Once in the U.S., your fiance must marry you within 90 days. The K-1 Fiance Visa cannot be used to marry anybody other than the petitioner who submitted the I-129F. If you do not marry your fiance within 90 days, he/she must leave the United States. Once you are married, your spouse may apply for a Green Card (permanent residence).

Working in the U.S. with a K-1 Fiance Visa: After your fiance arrives in the United States, he/she may apply for permission to work by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. The current average processing time for the I-765 is 3 months.

K-1 Fiance Visa and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

HIV is no longer a ground of inadmissibility. This rule was changed on January 4, 2010. Applicants are no longer required to file Form I-690 if HIV infected.

K-1 Fiance Visa Disqualifying Events

A K-1 Fiance Visa will be refused if the applicant:

  • Has committed serious criminal acts including crimes involving moral turpitude, drug trafficking, and prostitution.
  • Is addicted to drugs.
  • Has a communicable disease other than HIV.
  • Has a dangerous physical or mental disorder
  • Is likely to become a public charge.
  • Has used fraud or other illegal means to enter the United States

K-1 Fiance Visa and the International Marriage Broker Act (IMBRA)

When applying for a K-1 fiance visa, you must notify the USCIS if you meet your fiance through an international marriage broker. An international marriage broker is a corporation, partnership, business, individual or other legal entity that charges fees to provide dating, marriage, matchmaking or social referrals between U.S. citizens and foreign nationals.

The following are not considered International Marriage Brokers:

  • Matchmaking organizations of a cultural or religious nature that operate on a non-profit basis and comply with the laws of the country they are in.
  • Dating services, including online dating services, if their primary business is not to provide dating services between U.S. citizens and foreign nationals. They must also charge the same rates to men and women, offer the same services to men and women, and do not base fees or services on the individual’s country of citizenship. For example, they can’t charge U.S. men to be a member, but allow foreign women to join for free.

Multiple K-1 Fiance Visa Filings

If you have filed two or more K-1 Fiance Visa petitions in the past, you must apply for a waiver. You will also need a waiver if you have had one K-1 fiance visa approved within the past two years. To request a waiver, you simply write a letter stating all available facts about your previous filings. You will state that you are requesting a waiver, and attach the letter to your new K-1 fiance visa petition.

Using a Different Type of Visa to Come to the U.S. for Marriage (not a K-1 Fiance Visa): Coming to the U.S. on a different visa (not a K-1 Fiance visa) or no visa, with the intent of getting married would usually be considered immigration fraud. This situation should be avoided. For example, you should not attempt to bring your fiance to the U.S. on a tourist visa with the intent to get married. The penalties for immigration fraud are steep and can even result in up to 5 years in prison.

K-1 Fiance Visa if Fiance is in the United States Illegally: If your fiance is in the United States illegally, you will not be able to get a K-1 visa. Even if you marry, your spouse will not be able to apply for permanent resident status (get a Green Card and get legal) while in the United States. A person who enters illegally may be banned from returning to the United States for up to 10 years. If this is your situation, you should talk to an immigration attorney before you leave the United States. C&G cannot help you in this situation.

For more information on the K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa process click HERE.

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