If you are engaged to a fiancee who is residing in a foreign country and want to marry your fiancee in the United States, the only proper visa for entry into the U.S. is the K-1 fiancee visa.
- You are a U.S. citizen.
- You have met your fiancee in person within the previous two years.
- You and your fiancee are both legally free to marry.
- You and your fiancee both have a sincere intent to marry within 90 days of your fiancee’s arrival in the U.S.
- You can meet the minimum income requirement for a K-1 visa.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
The K-1 visa petition is filed at one of the two USCIS Centers that between them process all of the K visa petitions in the U.S. The Center which will process your K-1 visa petition is determined by the state in which you reside. If there are any missing documents or incorrect paperwork, you will receive a Request for Evidence (“RFE”). Each RFE will delay the approval of your K1 visa petition, and ultimately the approval and issuance of your K1 fiancee visa, by 5-12 months.
National Visa Center (NVC)
When the USCIS has approved the K-1 visa petition, it is forwarded to the National Visa Center (“NVC”) where background checks are performed on the fiancee. The NVC will forward the petition to the Consulate that will conduct the visa interview, but the Consulate will not interview the fiancee until the NVC checks have been successfully completed.
When the approved petition and background checks have been received by the U.S. Consulate having jurisdiction over the city in which the fiancee is legally residing, the Consulate will instruct the fiancee to undergo a medical exam at a clinic specified by the Consulate and to report for the visa interview on a specified date. If the fiancee passes the medical exam and the interview is successful, the K-1 fiancee visa will normally be issued that day or the following day. There are many things that can delay or prevent the issuance of the K-1 fiancee visa. Listed in the order that they seem to occur:
- Missing documents
- Incorrect documents
- Documents completed incorrectly
- U.S. citizen cannot meet the minimum income requirement
- Large age difference between U.S. citizen and the fiancee
- Failure to convince Consular Officer that a bona fide relationship exists between the couple
With the exception of the age difference, all of the above can normally be avoided by hiring an immigration law firm with the experience that we have in handling these situations. The age difference can be more of a problem with certain Consulates than with others, but the risk of a denial due to the age difference can certainly be reduced by adequate interview preparation for the fiancee. Also, we will cover this potential problem in our initial conversation with you and advise you as to what we believe to be your chances of successfully obtaining a K-1 fiancee visa.
The timing of the K-1 fiancee visa depends on the state in which the U.S. citizen petitioner resides and the country in which the foreign fiancee legally resides. If you will give us a call we will be glad to compute the current processing time for your K-1 fiancee visa situation.
Once your fiancee receives the K-1 fiancee visa, he or she has a maximum of six months to use it to enter the U.S. When your fiancee enters the U.S. on the K-1 fiancee visa he or she has 90 days to either marry you or depart the U.S. There are no extensions of the 90 day requirement. If your fiancee does not marry you and does not depart the U.S. within 90 days of arrival, he or she will be subject to deportation. Your fiancee cannot enter the U.S. on a K-1 fiancee visa, marry someone other than you and remain legally in the U.S. If this occurred, he or she would have to depart the U.S. and their American citizen spouse would then have to file for a spousal visa for the foreign spouse.
After your fiancee enters the U.S. on a K1 fiancee visa and marries you within 90 days of arrival, he or she will be allowed to remain legally in the U.S. and will need to file for a Green Card. The Green Card process is referred to as Adjustment of Status. If my firm handled your K1 fiancee visa process, we will give you a discount on our legal fee for the Green Card application.
K-2 VISA (CHILD)
The K-2 visa is for the foreign fiancee’s unmarried children under the age of 21. We will include the child’s K-2 visa request when we file for the parent’s K-1 fiancee visa. The child also has a maximum of six months from the issuance of the K visa to enter the U.S. and basically has the same rights as the K-1 fiancee with the exception that the child must enter the U.S. prior to his or her 21 st birthday.