K-1 FIANCÉ VISA
K-1 fiancé visa is a travel document that allows a foreign Fiancé of a U.S. Citizen to enter the United States for the sole purpose of getting married.
Fiancé Visas are generally considered the quickest vehicle to legally bring a foreign fiancé to the U.S. with the intentions of marriage and immigration.
The U.S. citizen Petitioner shall use Form I-129F, Petition for alien Fiance, to bring Fiancé’s of U.S. citizens (K-1) to the United States as non-immigrants and allow them to marry in the U.S. The Fiancé’s dependent children may accompany any K-1 immigrant.
K-1 FIANCÉ VISA FILING REQUIREMENTS:
- Proof of US Citizenship of the Petitioner;
- Intent to Marry his or her fiancé within 90 days of arrival;
- The parties have previously met in person within 2 years before the date of filing the petition
- The two year meeting requirement can be waived;
- Each person must show that he or she can legally marry, i.e. the person shall be of the right age, single or a final divorce decree or a death decree issued by a civil authority must be submitted for all previous marriages;
- The parties are willing to conclude a valid marriage in the United States within 90 days after the alien’s arrival;
- The Petitioner shall disclose all the prior petitions filed;
- The Petitioner shall disclose all the prior criminal convictions if any;
- The Petitioner shall disclose the Name of Marriage Broker, if applicable.
EVIDENCE OF MEETING IN PERSON FOR K-1 FIANCÉ VISA
– Such evidence may include:
- Photographs of the petitioner and beneficiary together; it is nice to have a recognizable background, like Red Square, Karlov Bridge, etc.;
- Airline ticket stubs and receipts – that indicate the date(s) of travel;
- Copies of passport pages showing admission stamps;
- Military orders or letters from commanding officers;
- Tickets with the petitioner and beneficiary’s names on them.
MEET WITHIN 2 YEARS TO SATISFY K-1 FIANCÉ VISA – WAIVER REQUIREMENTS 8 CFR 214.2(K)
As a matter of discretion, USCIS may exempt the petitioner from the 2 year requirement if compliance:
- Would result in extreme hardship to the petitioner (very serious illness),
- Would violate strict and long long-established customs of the beneficiary beneficiary’s foreign culture or social practice, as where marriages are traditionally arranged by the parents of the contracting parties and the prospective bride and groom are prohibited from meeting subsequent to the arrangement and prior to the wedding day.
THE NECESSARY STEPS TO OBTAIN A K-1 FIANCÉ VISA
First, an I-129F Petition shall be filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and must be sent to the appropriate USCIS Service Center, which can be found in the instruction to I-129F. Form I-134 Affidavit of Support, needs to be filed with I-129F petition, and an appropriate fee. The check shall be issued to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The supporting documents shall include:
1) Petitioner’s documents:
– A copy of petitioner’s passport;
– Copy of Petitioner’s divorce certificate if any;
– A passport-style, color photograph taken within 30 days of the date of filing this petition;
2) Beneficiary’s Documents
– Copy of Beneficiary’s divorce certificate with certified translation if any;
– Copy of Beneficiary’s Passport;
– Copy of Beneficiary’s Birth Certificate with certified translation;
– A passport-style, color photograph taken within 30 days of the date of filing this petition.
3) Petitioner’s and beneficiary’s letters of intent to marry each other within 90 days upon beneficiary’s arrival to the US;
4) Proof that the parties have previously met in person within 2 years before the date of filing the petition;
5) Evidence of dating.
Second, if the K-1 Petition is approved, USCIS will send the information to Department of State (DOS) the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will send the approved K-1 petition to the Consulate or Embassy where the beneficiary is residing.
Thirdly, The beneficiary will receive clear instructions of all the necessary steps to take and forms to file. Consular Post schedules the beneficiary for an interview. Beneficiary fiancé(e) applies for the K-1 nonimmigrant visa and brings the required forms and documents to the visa interview.
Finally, if eligible, the consulate will issue the K-1 Non-immigrant visa. If the consular officer grants the K-1 nonimmigrant visa, it is valid for up to 6 months for a single entry. If the consular officer does not find the relationship to be bona fide, DOS will not issue a K-1 nonimmigrant visa and instead will return the Form I-129F to USCIS. Generally, if DOS returns a Form I-129F to us after it has expired, we will allow it to remain expired. However, one may choose to file a new Form I‑129F.
The beneficiary then shall travel to the US to marry the U.S.citizen petitioner within 90 days of admission.
To obtain permanent residency, K-1 visa fiancé files Form I-485 to adjust status to a conditional permanent resident after the valid marriage.
How long is the K-1 fiance visa valid?
If it is not used within 4 months the K-1 visa will expire. USCIS will not re-open expired K-1 petitions unless there is a clear error regarding statutory eligibility in the record at the time of the original adjudication of the petition.
K-1 WORK AUTHORIZATION
K-1 can apply for work permit on Form I-765 only after entering on K-1 visa. It takes about 90-120 days to obtain an EAD. It means that K-1 immigrant can file I-765 before he or she gets married to US citizen. One cannot apply for work permit while still in outside of the U.S.
The K-2 visa is meant to allow the unmarried, under 21, minor child of an alien classified as K-2 to accompany the K-1 to the U.S.
Can the K-1 Fiancé Visa be extended or renewed after the initial 90 days of entry if there is no marriage?
No. The Fiancé must leave the country if he or she does not marry within the 90-day period after U.S. entry. They may not re-enter the U.S. again under the same U.S. fiancé Visa. They may, however, re-enter the U.S. after approval of a completely new Fiancé K-1 Visa by starting the entire process again with the same Petitioner or a new Petitioner.
The denial of a Form I-129F petition for aK-1 Fiancé Visa may be appealed to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) in Washington, D.C.9
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LAW. FAM 502.7-3(C)(5) (U) K-1 and K-2 Visa Adjudication
a. (U) Adjudication Factors:
(1) (U) Petitioner and Beneficiary Must Have Met: USCIS regulations (8 CFR 214.2(k)(2)) require that the petitioner and the K-1 beneficiary have met in person within two years immediately preceding the filing of the petition. At the USCIS director’s discretion, this requirement can be waived if it is established that compliance would result in extreme hardship to the petitioner or that compliance would violate strict and long-established customs of the beneficiary’s foreign culture.
(2) (U) Petitioner and Beneficiary Must Be Legally Free to Marry:
(a) (U) For a K-1 petition to remain valid, the petitioner and the beneficiary must:
(i) (U) Have been legally free to marry at the time the petition was filed;
(ii) (U) Have remained so thereafter; and
(iii) (U) Continue to have the intent to marry within 90 days after the beneficiary’s admission into the United States.
(b) (U) A K-1 petition filed when the petitioner and/or the applicant was still legally married shall not serve as the basis for visa issuance, even though that marriage was terminated, and applicant/petitioner became free to marry within 90 days of arrival in the United States. If you find that the petitioner and/or applicant is/was not legally free to marry, you must return the K-1 petition to NVC under cover of memorandum detailing the specific, objective facts giving rise to the officer’s determination.
(3) (U) Multiple Petitions Approved for Same K-1 Beneficiary: In instances where more than one U.S. citizen fiancé́(e) has filed visa petitions on behalf of the same beneficiary and more than one K-1 visa petition has been approved for the same beneficiary, you must suspend action and return all petitions with a covering memorandum to the USCIS office who approved the last petition, via NVC, so that the petition approvals may be reviewed.
(4) (U) Marriage for Purpose of Evading Immigration Laws (INA 204(c)): See 9 FAM 504.2-5(C)(2), paragraph d.
(5) (U) Additional Factors That May Raise Questions in K-1 Cases:
(a) (U) There are several possible discrepancies between the facts stated on the petition and the actual circumstances of the K-1 beneficiary which might lead you to question whether the relationship is bona fide, or which might cause the petitioner to choose not to go forward with the marriage. These include having one or more children not named in the petition, a prior undisclosed marriage (even if it has been annulled or ended by divorce or death), or, in the case of a fiancée, a current pregnancy.
(b) (U) Discovery of a ground of ineligibility of the K-1 applicant raises another issue of the petitioner’s awareness of all the factors associated with the fiancé́(e).
(c) (U) You should use your discretion in determining whether to return the K-1 petition to USCIS in such cases. You should, however, first solicit from the petitioner information as to whether he or she was aware of the circumstance(s) and whether, in light thereof, he or she still wishes to proceed with the proposed marriage. If satisfied in this regard, you need not return the petition. If you have further questions about whether a petition should be returned to USCIS, contact VO/F and FPP.
b. (U) K-1 Relationship Not Satisfactorily Bona Fide:
(1) (U) You should refuse the visa application under INA 221(g) and return the K-1 petition to DHS through NVC with a memorandum recommending revocation if you are not satisfied with respect to the bona fides of the relationship or if the petitioner indicates that he or she no longer intends to go forward with the marriage. If you suspect the applicant is being forced to marry against his or her will, you may consult with VO/F before returning the petition to USCIS due to the sensitive nature of the return.
(2) (U) If you find that the fiancé(e) or marital relationship is not bona fide but is a sham entered into solely for immigration benefits, you should refuse the visa application under INA 221(g) and return the K-1 or K-3 petition to DHS through NVC with a recommendation for revocation under cover of a memorandum detailing the specific, objective facts giving rise to post’s conclusion. Because the I-129F petition is only valid for four months USCIS rarely considers the revocation request and will place the petition into termination status. All immigrant and K-1/K-3 petition revocation cases are to be routed through NVC to the approving USCIS service center of field office.
My K-1 petition was approved and I am preparing the DS-160 online visa application. However, the approval expires soon and I don’t think that the embassy will schedule the interview soon enough. What should I do?
While the Form I-129F approval is only valid for 4 month, it may be revalidated by the Consular office. Request that the consular officer revalidate the petition. The Petitioner can prepare a statement saying that the petitioner is still legally free and eager to marry the beneficiary, and will marry the beneficiary within 90 days of entry, sign it and give it to the beneficiary to take to the interview.
I am a U.S. citizen, how do I help my fiancé become a U.S. Permanent Resident? If I choose the fiancé visa option, how does my fiancé obtain permanent resident status?
Your fiancé will need to enter the United States with a K-1 Fiancé Visa. Once admitted to the United States with a K-1 Fiancé Visa, your fiancé will be authorized to stay for 90 days during which you are permitted to marry. As soon as you marry, your spouse may apply for permanent residence by filing a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status, and mailing it to:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
P.O. Box 805887
Chicago, Il 60680-4120
My Fiancé has a child. May the child come to the United States with my fiancé?
If the child is under 21 years old and is not married, a K-2 visa may be available to him or her. Be sure to include the names of your fiancé’s children on your I-129F fiancé petition.
Can my fiancé work in the United States while on a fiancé visa?
After admission as K-1, your fiancé may immediately apply for permission to work by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with the USCIS Service Center having jurisdiction over your place of residence. Any work authorization based on a non-immigrant fiancé visa would be valid for only 90 days after entry. However, your fiancé would also be eligible to apply for an extended work authorization at the same time as he or she files for permanent residence. In this case, your fiancé would file Form I-765 together with Form I-485 as soon as your marry.
What if my fiancé is already in the United States in another status and we decide to marry now?
If your fiancé is in the United States and entered using a visa other than a K-1 fiancé visa, and you marry, then you may file an I-130 relative petition for him or her as your spouse. He or she may be able to file Form I-485 along with your petition to Adjust Status.
What if we are engaged but have not yet decided to marry?
K-1 Fiancé Visa is a temporary visa that simply permits your fiancé to enter the United States so that the two of you can marry in the United States within the 90 days permitted from the date of entry. It is not a way for you to bring a person here so you can get to know one another, or spend more time together to decide whether or not you want to marry.
What happens if we do not marry within 90 days?
K-1 Fiancé Visa status automatically expires after 90 days. It cannot be extended. Your fiancé should leave the United States at the end of the 90 days if you do not marry. If your fiancé does not depart, he or she would violate U.S. immigration law. This could affect future eligibility for U.S. immigration benefits.
How long does it take to get employment authorization upon arrival on K-1 Fiancé Visa?
A K-1 visa holder is work authorized upon admission to the US. Most employers are not aware of this, however.
Besides I-129F, do I need to file G-325A, Biographic Information form or any other forms or documents for obtaining K-1 Fiancé Visa ?
No, you no longer need to file the form G-325a with your I-129F. However, you do need to provide proof of your relationship, having met in person anytime during last 2 years, and intent to get married.
What is IMBRA, and does it affect my case?
The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA) became law in 2006. If you have been convicted of certain violent crimes, then you require a waiver before proceeding with a K-1 visa petition.
specified crimes: domestic violence, sexual assault , child abuse and neglect, dating violence, elder abuse;
Homocide, murder, manslaughter, rape, or attempt to these crimes
Crimes related to controlled substance or alcohol where the petitioner has been convicted on at least three occasions and where such crimes did not arise out of a single act.
What Is a “Fiancé(e)”?
A fiancé(e) is a person who is engaged or contracted to be married. The marriage must be legally possible according to laws of the state in the United States where the marriage will take place.
In general, the two people must have met in person within the past two years. The Department of Homeland Security`s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants some exceptions to this requirement. For example, it may be contrary in some traditions for a man and woman to meet before marriage.
Can I extend the K-1 Visa beyond the original four month validity?
A consular officer can revalidate a K visa petition for additional periods of 4 months provided the officer concludes that the petitioner and beneficiary remain legally free to marry and continue to intend to marry each other within 90 days after the beneficiary’s admission into the United States.
To have the petition revalidated send a written request to the Embassy that includes a statement of your intention to go forward with the marriage.
Can I take my wife abroad for honeymoon?
Only when she receives her Green Card or advanced parole she can leave the U.S. Without abandoning her status. Hawaii and Puerto Rico are well suited spots for dream honeymoon.
B-2 vs K-1
B-2 visitor visas are nonimmigrant intent visas. Application for entry on a B-2 with the intent to marry and adjust or immigrate is fraud. Entry on a B-2 to visit, and then getting engaged or married to a U.S. citizen and filing for adjustment is not. Most offices apply the 30/60 day rule regarding presumptions of fraud.
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