K-1 Visa for Fiancé(e)s of U.S. Citizens

A U.S. citizen has a fairly straightforward avenue to facilitating the entry of their fiancé(e) into the U.S., assuming a number of eligibility requirements are met. The process starts with the U.S. citizen preparing and filing Form I-129F with the designated U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Citizenship and Immigration Service office in the U.S. Once approved, the foreign fiancé is then eligible to apply for a K-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country. Following visa issuance, the K-1 visa holder will enter the U.S. to get married and then eventually undergo green card processing in the U.S.

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Back to the requirements to the I-129F petition requirements: With few exceptions, the U.S. citizen petitioner and their fiancé must have met each other in person within the 2 year period prior to petition filing. Documentation to confirm that meeting, such as copies of plane tickets/boarding passes, credit card records and receipts reflecting purchases in the foreign country at issue, are among the required paperwork to support the I-129F petition. The exceptions to this rule are when circumstances arise where imposing the meeting requirement would violate well established and strict rules governing the foreign fiance’s cultural and/or social norms OR, would otherwise lead the petitioning U.S. citizen to experience “extreme hardship”.

The parties must also a) document that any previous marriages for either have been terminated and b) confirm their intention to marry within 90 days of the foreign fiance’s entry into the U.S. and thereafter, establish a genuine martial relationship and life together in the U.S.

Following I-129F approval, the foreign fiancé will eventually be required to appear for a visa interview at a U.S. consular post where they will face thorough questioning about the couple’s history and their overall intentions regarding the relationship. If all goes well and the K-1 visa is issued, the parties must marry within 90 days of the foreign fiance’s entry into the U.S.

From there, the K-1 visa holder should complete their green card process in the U.S. by way of an I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status, which includes numerous supporting/accompanying documentation requirements. While that process is pending, the foreign spouse is eligible to receive an employment authorization and advance parole travel document. A decision on the I-485 application sometimes takes place without further interview in the U.S., but the parties should plan on being required to appear to be questioned further by an immigration office at a U.S. DHS/CIS office near the home. Typically this process culminates with the issuance of a 2 year, conditional green card, since the marriage at issue is usually less than 2 years old at time of approval.

Among the issues parties to this process must be sure to keep an eye on is the requirement that the marriage between the parties only takes place following the K-1 visa holder’s entry into the U.S. and not before.

Additionally, the K-1 visa holder is eligible to have their under 21 year old children accompany them to the U.S. on a K-2 visa and undergo green card processing along with their parent.

When faced with having to navigate the K-1 Fiance visa process, it make sense to consult with experience immigration counsel, like Richard Hanus and the Law Offices of Richard Hanus. Richard Hanus has helped hundreds of clients successfully find their way through this complicated labyrinth of rules and regulations, and with his clientele feeling a sense of confidence and ease throughout the process.