U.S. citizens who want to marry a foreign national in the United States may petition for a fiancé(e) classification (K-1) for their fiancé(e). To qualify for the K-1 visa, you must show that:
- You have met your fiancé within the last two years (this requirement can be waived only if meeting your fiancé(e) in person would violate long-established customs, or if meeting your fiancé(e) would create extreme hardship for you), and
- You and your fiancé(e) are both legally free to marry (all prior marriages were terminated, and you are over 18 years of age), and
- You and your fiancé (e) both have an intention to marry within 90 days of the fiancé(e)’s arrival to the United States.
You will need to file multiple forms and supporting documents in order to prove to USCIS that you and your fiancé(e) qualify for the K-1 Fiancé(e) visa.
After the petition is approved by USCIS, your fiancé(e) must obtain a visa issued at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad within the period given by USCIS in the Approval Notice. The process of obtaining the interview date can take several months from the date of USCIS approval.
Prior to the Embassy interview, your fiancé(e) must undergo a medical examination in one of the certified medical facilities in the country of your fiancé(e) to determine whether she/e has any contagious illnesses that might pose a threat to the health and welfare of citizens of the United States (AIDS, tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, etc.).
Affidavit of Support. You must prepare a Form I-134 Affidavit of Support for your fiancé(e) to bring to the Embassy interview. You must show that your household income is equal to or higher than 125 percent of the U.S. poverty level for your household. Your household size includes you, your dependents, any relatives living with you, and the immigrants you are sponsoring.
The first stage of an interview will consist of an examination of submitted forms and supporting documentation. The second stage consists of questioning of your fiancé(e) to determine whether there is a bona fide fiancé(e) relationship. If the officer determines that all requirements of the K visa have been met, he/she will instruct the fiancé(e) to return to the Embassy to pick up the visa. Your fiancé(e) is then eligible to fly directly to the U.S.
90 Days for Marriage.
The marriage must take place within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the United States. If the marriage does not take place within 90 days or your fiancé(e) marries someone other than you, your fiancé(e) will be required to leave the United States. Until the marriage takes place, your fiancé(e) is considered a nonimmigrant and may not obtain an extension of the 90-day original nonimmigrant admission.Please note: Your fiancé(e) may enter the United States only one time with a fiancé(e) visa. If your fiancé(e) leaves the country before you are married, your fiancé(e) may not be allowed back into the United States without a new visa.
Work Permit for Fiancé(e)
After arriving in the United States, your fiancé(e) will be eligible to apply for a work permit. You should note that USCIS might not be able to process the work permit within the 90-day time limit for your marriage to take place. If your fiancé(e) applies for adjustment to permanent resident status, your fiancé(e) must re-apply for a new work permit after the marriage.
Resident Status in U.S.
If your fiancé(e) intends to live and work permanently in the United States, your fiancé(e) should apply to become a permanent resident after your marriage. Please refer to Green Card/Spouse for an overview of a procedure to adjust status to permanent residency status. Your fiancé(e) will initially receive only conditional permanent residence status for two years. Conditional permanent residency is granted when the marriage creating the relationship is less than two years old at the time of adjustment to permanent residence status.
Two years after your spouse’s status is adjusted to conditional permanent residency you must petition to remove the conditional nature of his/her status. If you don’t do so your spouse may fall out of lawful immigrant status. You and your spouse must demonstrate that two years down the road you still maintain bona fide spousal relationship in an interview with a USCIS officer. Approximately a year later (three years after the marriage), your permanent resident spouse will be eligible for U.S. citizenship.
Children of Fiancé(e)
If your fiancé(e) has unmarried children under age 21, you may also apply to bring them to the United States. The child may be included in the mother/father’s K-1 Fiancé(e) visa petition as a K-2 beneficiary, provided that the required additional information and documentation is provided to the USCIS and U.S. Embassy. The child must also undergo a medical examination like the mother/father and may be required to attend the Embassy interview.