The fiancé(e) visa was designed to allow couples a window of time to unite in the U.S. for the purpose of getting married. The K-1 non-immigrant visa, or fiancé(e) visa, is for soon-to-be spouses of U.S. citizens who want to travel to the U.S. to join their partner. Because this visa is only intended to give you enough time to travel legally to the U.S. to marry, the fiancé(e) visa is for short-term, non-immigrant purposes. Fiancé(e)s do not qualify as relatives who are eligible for green cards as the family member of a citizen or resident. In order to change your status to permanent U.S. resident, you and your partner must get married.
If you are the fiancé(e) of a current U.S. citizen, the fiancé(e) visa can give you up to 90 days to perform your marriage ceremony in the U.S. After this 90 day period, fiancé(e) visas expire.
Failure to marry or depart the U.S. within this 90 day period may put you in violation of immigration law and could initiate removal proceedings, which could negatively affect your residence applications in the future. To avoid any penalties, you should plan to marry your spouse within 90 days of your petition being approved.
In order for you or your fiancé(e) to qualify for the K-1 visa, the petitioning party must be a U.S. citizen. You and your fiancé(e) must also both be unmarried at the time of petition and must have met at least once in person within the last 2 years.
You can be granted a waiver on the meeting requirement if meeting would have caused either party extreme hardship or if your meeting would violate personal social, religious, or cultural customs. You must submit documentation of your relationship with your visa application and should also submit some sort of documentation if you think you are eligible to be excused from this requirement. If you met your spouse through an international marriage broker, you must include that information in your application and provide documentation of that fact.
Traditional religious or cultural matchmaking is not included in the term “marriage broker” and you do not need to disclose that information otherwise.
Children of fiancées who will be marrying a U.S. citizen may also be granted visa under K-2 non-immigrant status. You should include the names of any children you wish to travel with on your immigration forms. After your marriage, your children will be able to apply for permanent status in relation to you or your citizen spouse.
Your fiancé(e) visa can also allow you to be eligible to work. If you plan to work when you enter the U.S., file for employment authorization once you are present in the country.
If you and your fiancé(e) are eligible to be granted the K-1 non-immigrant visa, you can file with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. After your petition is approved, you may legally travel to the U.S. for your marriage ceremony. When making wedding plans, keep in mind that the application will take some time to process and that further information may be necessary. You can find up-to-date information about the length of the review process with the USCIS.
For more information on immigration and help with getting a visa, contact immigration attorney Phillip Kim in Fresno, CA.