Visa’s For The Fiancé(e) Of Legal U.S. Residents
Portions of the content on this page are available as public information on the USCIS website.
Criteria for Eligibility
A U.S. citizen who wants to bring his or her foreign fiancé to the United States in order to get married will need to obtain a K-1 nonimmigrant visa (K-1 Fiancé Visa) for his or her fiancé.
In order to obtain a K-1 fiancé(e) visa, the U.S. citizen and fiancé must intend to marry each other within 90 days of the fiancé entering the U.S. as a K-1 nonimmigrant. The marriage must be valid, meaning both the U.S. citizen and fiancé have a bona fide intent to establish a life together and the marriage is not for the sole purpose of obtaining an immigration benefit.
Path to Lawful Permanent Residence (Green Card)
If the U.S. citizen and fiancé(e) marry each other within 90 days of the fiancé(e) being admitted to the U.S. as a K-1 nonimmigrant, he or she may apply for lawful permanent resident status in the United States.
Eligibility for Fiancé(e) Visa
A U.S. citizen is eligible to bring his or her fiancé(e) to the United States on a fiancé(e) visa, if the following requirements are met:
- You are a U.S. citizen;
- You and your fiancé(e) intend to marry one another within 90 days of your finance(e)’s admission to the United States on a K-1 nonimmigrant visa;
- You and your fiancé(e) are both legally free to marry (this means you both are legally able to marry in the United States and any previous marriages have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment); and,
- You and your fiancé(e) met each in person at least once within the 2-year period before you file your petition. A waiver of the “in-person meeting” requirement is available, if you can show that meeting in person would:
- Violate strict and long-established customers if your fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice; or
- Result in extreme hardship to you, the U.S. petitioner.
The process for a U.S. citizen to bring his or her fiancé(e) to the United States involves the following 5 steps:
Step 1: Petition for Fiancé(e) – USCIS
- File a nonimmigrant petition requesting USCIS to recognize the relationship between the U.S. citizen and foreign national fiancé(e)
- Once approved, the approval is sent to the Department of State (DOS) National Visa Center (NVC)
Step 2: Visa Application – DOS
- The NVC forwards the approved petition to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where the foreign national fiancé(e) will apply for a K-1 nonimmigrant visas. This is generally the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to where the fiancé(e) lives.
- The U.S. Embassy or Consulate will send notification when a visa interview for the foreign national fiancé(e) has been scheduled.
- Fiancé(e) will apply for the K-1 nonimmigrant visa and bring the required forms and documents to the visa interview.
- The DOS consular officer will determiner whether the foreign national fiancé(e) qualifies for the K-1 nonimmigrant visa.
- If granted, the K-1 nonimmigrant visa is valid for up to 6 months for a single entry
Step 3: Inspection at a Port of Entry – CBP
After DOS issues a K-1 nonimmigrant visa, the foreign national fiancé(e) travels to the United States and seeks admission at a port of entry (e.g. airport) within the 6 months visa validity.
Step 4: Marriage
Once admitted to the U.S. in K-1 nonimmigrant visa status, U.S. citizen and foreign national fiancé(e) have 90 days to marry each other.
Step 5: Adjustment of Status – USCIS
- If the marriage happens within 90 days, the foreign national fiancé(e) – now spouse – can apply for an adjustment of status, i.e. green card from within the United States.
- Once reviewed, USCIS will schedule an interview for U.S. citizen and spouse.
- If the marriage has been for less than 2 years at the time of green card approval, USCIS will grant the spouse conditional permanent resident status and issue a green card valid for 2 years. Spouse will need to move the conditions on his or her residence in the 90 days before his or her green card expires.
Children of Fiancé(e)s
The child of a K-1 applicant may accompany the parent as a K-2 nonimmigrant visa holder as long as the child s unmarried and under the age of 21. Names of the children must be included on the original petition. Lastly, children may travel with the K-1 parent or enter the U.S. after, but they cannot travel to the U.S. before the K-1 parent.
In order to remain eligible for the green card, K-2 children must remain unmarried at the time of filing the adjustment of status application.
After being admitted to the U.S. on a K-1 nonimmigrant visa, the applicant may immediately apply for work authorization. If granted, work authorization is valid for only 90 days after his or her entry into the U.S.
Work authorization is also applied for with the adjustment of status application. Here, if granted, work authorization is valid for one year and may be extended in one -year increments.
Failure to Marry Within 90 Days
The K-1 and K-2 nonimmigrant status automatically expires after 90 days and cannot be extended. If the U.S. citizen and foreign national fiancé(e) do not marry within 90 days, then the fiancé(e) and children must leave the United States.
However, if U.S. citizen and fiancé(e) marry after the 90-day period, then you may file a Form I-130. See Family Based Immigration section.
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