By Jarbath Peña Law Group
People from other countries have many reasons for wanting to immigrate to America. But what if a U.S. citizen falls in love with someone who lives in another country and has not yet immigrated? What if the couple wants to get married in the United States?
K1 fiancé visas make it possible for a U.S. citizen to have their foreign fiancé legally come to the country and get married. There are many benefits associated with this type of visa. Today, the immigration lawyers of Jarbath Peña Law Group will discuss the benefits and requirements of getting a K1 fiancé visa for the person you intend to marry.
What Is a K1 Fiancé Visa?
A K1 visa is a visa intended for non-immigrants. In other words, if the intended spouse of a U.S. citizen lives in another country and has not immigrated to the U.S. yet, a K1 visa allows the citizen to bring their fiancé into the country for the purpose of marriage.
What Are the Requirements for a K1 Visa?
Suppose you are a U.S. citizen who wants your foreign fiancé to come into the country to get married. You could apply for a K1 visa, but they must meet the following requirements.
Intent to marry. You and your fiancé must intend to marry one another within 90 days of the foreign fiancé entering the United States.
No legal obstacles. Neither you nor your fiancé can have an obstacle to marrying within that time frame. For instance, if one of you is legally married and not yet divorced, you cannot get a K1 visa for your fiancé until they are divorced and can remarry.
Must have met in person. You and your fiancé must have met in person within the past two years on at least one occasion. However, you can request an exemption from this requirement in certain instances.
Reside Internationally. Your fiancé must reside outside of the country and not within the U.S.
Law Abiding. You and your fiancé must not have been convicted of certain serious crimes.
A seasoned immigration lawyer can help determine if you and your fiancé qualify for such a visa. Then, if they determine that you are eligible, your attorney can help you fill out and file the application in a timely manner.
Benefits of a K1 Visa
Let’s look at some of the benefits of obtaining this type of visa.
It allows you to marry your foreign fiancé in America;
It allows your fiancé to get a green card and achieve lawful permanent residency in the U.S., as long as you marry within 90 days of their arrival in the country;
While waiting to qualify for permanent citizenship, a K1 visa allows your new spouse to live and work legally in the U.S.; and
After a period of time as a lawful permanent resident, your new spouse can choose to become a full U.S. citizen with all the associated benefits and rights.
The experienced lawyers of the Jarbath Peña Law Group can help you navigate this process, making sure your rights are protected along the way.
Applying for a K1 Visa
We will discuss the basic steps for applying for this visa. However, please be advised that there are details we can not comprehensively cover in this article. However, mistakes can delay the process and make it unnecessarily stressful. If you consult an attorney, that can go a long way in making sure you have completed the application accurately—thereby minimizing the risk that the USCIS will delay or deny your petition.
First, you will need to ensure that you meet all the requirements spelled out above. You must have the intent to marry within 90 days of your fiancé’s arrival in America, there must be no legal obstacles to that marriage, and you must have met in person within the past two years or gotten a waiver of that requirement if an exception applies.
You must accurately complete and submit the Petition for Alien fiancé. The form, along with any required documents, gets submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
When the USCIS approves your application, the National Visa Center will send you notice of the approval as well as instructions for the next step. These instructions include how to apply for a K1 visa in the foreign country where your fiancé lives. They will have to submit their application to that country’s U.S. Consulate or Embassy.
The foreign fiancé will have to gather the required documentation and schedule an interview. The interview will take place at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country. The documents you must gather and bring with you include the following:
Any forms required by that country,
A valid passport,
A certificate of the fiancé’s current marital status,
Police Clearance Letter,
Evidence of the relationship the two of you share, and
Documentation of a medical evaluation.
The documents you need might change depending on your circumstances. Your attorney can help inform you of what is necessary in your case.
The interviewer will examine the validity of your relationship and review your documents. If they approve the K1 visa, the fiancé must then travel to the U.S. and marry within 90 days of arriving.
Contact Jarbath Peña Law Group
Immigrating to the United States is a complex task with many moving parts. Filling out forms and submitting them partially complete or without the proper documentation can cause unnecessary delays or even the denial of your petition. When you are trying to get a K1 visa for your fiancé who lives in another country, the requirements are complex. Parts of the process must happen in the U.S., while other parts happen in the fiancé’s home country.
Melisa Peña is a seasoned immigration lawyer who can take the stress out of this process for you. She knows what USCIS requires, and she can help ensure that you properly complete and file the necessary documents.
So allow us to take the guesswork out of the equation. You can count on us to make the process of getting your fiancé a K1 visa easier and stress-free. Call the Jarbath Peña Law Group today to schedule a consultation.