A K-1 visa, or better known as a “fiancée visa” allows a U.S. citizen’s engaged partner to enter the U.S. as long as the couple gets married in no more than 90 days. The newlywed spouse may then apply on the basis of marriage for Legal Permanent Residency (a “green card”).
A K-1 visa is the first step toward continuous legal residence in the United States for many individuals. You can apply for an Adjustment of Status (AOS) after you are legally married to a U.S. citizen, which enables you to obtain a green card. You can live and work legally and permanently in the U.S. once you have a green card.
Eligibility for K-1 Visa
- The sponsoring partner must be a citizen of the United States. U.S. green card holders (permanent residents) can not sponsor a K-1 visa.
- Both partners must be qualified for marriage. Any decrees, annulments, or death certificates for prior divorce must be given to demonstrate that any previous marriages have been terminated.
- K-1 visas are available to same-sex partners regardless of whether the laws in the home country of the sponsored individual permit sex-same marriage.
- The couple must be able to demonstrate that they met at least once within two years of receiving the visa form (except in instances of extreme hardship or in instances where in-person meetings violated cultural, religious, or social standards). Evidence may include flight itineraries, hotel routes, dated photographs, etc.
- Each partner must submit a signed statement indicating an intention to marry within 90 days of their arrival in the United States. If concrete wedding plans have been produced, submitting proof such as wedding invitations, receipts of deposits at a location, etc. is also a good idea.
- Some income requirements must be met by the U.S. citizen. Specifically, in their latest tax return, the adjusted gross income must be at least 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. If they can not fulfill this necessity alone, an additional “affidavit of assistance” must be filed by a joint financial sponsor.
There is no definite deadline to apply for a K-1 visa, but you should plan to apply in advance for several months. It is valid for six months once the application is approved. Hiring an attorney can help speed up the process to ensure that your request is complete.
Get Legal Assistance
If you want to learn more about or if you’re planning to apply for a K-1 visa, it’s best to consult with an experienced US immigration attorney. Contact our team at (956) 412-0707 to determine how we can assist you.