USA and the UK
K1 Visa explained
If you have United States citizenship then you are able to bring your foreign fiancé(e) on a K-1 visa and then get married in the US before living permanently in the country.
The K-1 visa allows your alien fiancé to come to the US and marry within 90 days of arrival. Once married, you can apply for a change in status to become a US resident and be granted permanent residency.
You do not qualify for a K1 visa if are already married or want to get married outside of the United States. If that is the case, then you may be eligible for a K-3 Spouse visa and you should discuss this option with an immigration lawyer.
The K1 visa is a non-immigrant visa – meaning it is a temporary visa. Under the government rules the visa holder can not stay longer than 90 days and if they do not marry their U.S citizen fiancé within that time then they must leave the country.
Applying for a K-1 visa and visa interview
Obtaining a K-1 visa can be a lengthy and complicated process, so it is important that you apply using the correct forms and submit all the required documents to avoid delays. The US government will carry out a background check on the US citizen sponsor and the wait time can vary significantly from case to case.
The first step is submitting a form I-129F petition with the local US Citizenship and Immigration Services office. Details of offices can be found on the USCIS website.
Once your application is approved then your fiancé(e) visa petition will be passed to the National Visa Center and your partner will then make an application as well as attending a visa interview with a Consular Officer at their local US Embassy.
All applicants are required to have a medical exam before the interview takes place. The medical examination involves a physical and mental check-up, as well as ensuring all vaccinations are up-to-date.
It can take between four and six weeks after the embassy’s first contact to set-up the interview at the embassy or consulate. However, the person conducting the visa approval interview will usually make a decision about the outcome within 24 hours or request further information. It is important any additional evidence is supplied quickly in order to avoid any further delays to the timescale or failure to be given an approval notice.
Can a K-1 visa holder apply for a green card?
The next step to becoming to be a green card holder is to complete a Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Resident or Adjust Status.
How much does a K-1 visa cost?
If you want to apply for a K 1 visa, you will need to pay the following:
- Filing a K 1 visa fiancé(e) petition (Form I-129F): $535
- Consulate fee for non-immigrant visa application processing: $265
K-1 visa eligibility
You must be able to prove that you intend to get married within 90 days and each application is scrutinised closely. Therefore, it is important to make sure you submit your application with the correct evidence to avoid unnecessary delays to the application process.
Generally, in order to qualify for the K-1 visa you must meet the following criteria and be aware that the K-1 visa is not a marriage based green card.
- The sponsoring partner must be a U.S citizen and have permanent residence in the UK. Green card holders are not eligible to sponsor a K-1 visa application of foreign fiancé.
- Both people must be able to get married – so they must not already be married and they must have evidence of any previous marriages, divorces or annulments.
- Same-sex partners are covered by K-1 visas – even if the foreign spouse/partner’s home country does not permit same-sex marriage.
- The applicants must be able to provide evidence of a genuine and bona fide relationship with written statements from friends and family as well as correspondence between partners. You may also be required to provide required supporting documents such as photographs and receipts to prove legitimacy.
- Evidence of a planned wedding within 90 days is also required. For example, a receipt of a deposit on a venue or a wedding invitation alongside a signed statement confirming an intent to wed must be submitted with the K-1 visa application.
- There are also financial requirements that need to be met. It is required that the U.S citizen should have an income on their most recent tax return that is at least equal to Federal Poverty Guidelines. Employment authorization may also be undertaken by a government agency to double check the income of the U.S citizen petitioner.
- Certain criminal history could lead to a K-1 visa application being rejected. Crimes such as fraud, drug trafficking and a history of overstaying visas could lead to the application being refused by the National Visa Center or immigration services.
How can IAS help me?
At IAS, we specialize in helping happy couples marry in the U.S. and live happily ever after.
Our law firm is experienced in submitting successful K 1 fiancé visa applications and subsequent marriage green card applications. Our attorney services include:
- Reviewing your situation and assessing your eligibility
- Helping you to gather the required supporting documents to build a strong case
- Liaising with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services on your behalf
- Helping you fill your Form I-129F
- Helping you with your adjustment of status to marriage-based green card
Get in touch today. You can call us on +1 844 290 6312 or ask for a free call back from our immigration experts.
Last modified on May 11th, 2022 at 4:07 am
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