Congratulations on your upcoming marriage!
As a US Citizen, you may sponsor your spouse or fiance to come live in the United States. This is typically done under the K-1 Fiance Visa category. Generally, the US Citizen will file for a fiance visa petition. Once approved, the alien spouse will have his or her visa processed in their consulate abroad, and then enter the country under a K visa. Upon arrival, the couple must marry within 90 days. If the marriage does not take place in this time frame, the alien spouse must leave the country.
Due to the unfortunate abuse in this category (“marriage fraud”), one needs to be particularly careful on how you approach this route of sponsorship.
All to often, eager couples who do not want to wait for visa processing, will have the alien entering the country under a nonimmigrant visa, such as a tourist visa, with the intent to marry after the aliens arrival. Entering the country with a nonimmigrant visa with the intent to immigrate amounts to visa fraud.
If the couple have not already married and the alien spouse is not in the country, the usual course of action is for the petitioning US Citizen to seek a K1 Fiance Visa.
K-1 Fiance Visa process, step-by-step:
The US Citizen files a petition for his/her alien fiance. The petition is filed in the United States. The US Citizen must show that they have personally met within the last two years (exceptions apply), they are free to marry, and they intend to do so within 90 days of the alien arriving in the United States.
If the petition is approved, the Alien will visit the local Consulate to obtain a K1 fiance visa. At this time, the alien will undergo regular immigrant visa processing, including a medical exam by an approved clinic. If successful, the alien will receive a K1 visa in their passport. In addition, the alien will receive a sealed envelope that is to be given to the border inspector upon entry.
The Alien has six months to enter the United States using the K1 fiance visa. Upon entering the country, the Alien provides the sealed envelope. When entering the United States on the K1 fiance visa, the Alien is given a 90 day stay in the United States.
The US Citizen and the Alien have 90 days in which to get married. If they do not get married, the Aliens’ status expires. Once married, an application for adjustment of status must be filed.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can we marry abroad and come back to the United States together?
Depending on your case, we generally do not recommend this due to the complexities that can arise. It can be frustrating for couples since, after the marriage, the US Citizen normally returns home while the Alien spouse must wait for the petition and visa processing to be completed before they can enter the United States. Usually the Alien Spouse can NOT enter the United States on a temporary basis (Eg Tourist) while waiting for the paperwork to be completed. A non immigrant visa may not be issued as the alien spouse clearly has immigration intent. If at all possible, the best course of action will be to wait for the alien spouse to enter the country on a K1 visa and then the couple may marry within the 90 day period. Please note that exceptions may apply depending on the foreign consulate, and options may exist to do “one-step” processing or filing of a K3 visa.
Can a US Permanent Resident sponsor a spouse?
A US Permanent resident can sponsor his or her spouse. However, this is not done under the K visa category. Instead, the resident must file for his or her spouse under the second family-preference option. See this chart
for more details.
What about the children of the Alien Spouse?
Children may accompany the Alien Fiance Spouse, and children are typically processed with K2 status (for a K1 fiance) or K4 status (for a K3 spouse).
After we marry, how do we prove the relationship?
It is generally a good idea to produce significant evidence of a spousal relationship, as this is an easy area for the application to be rejected if any form of marriage fraud is suspected. Documentation should include jointly filed tax returns, wedding pictures, photo albums documenting the relationship before and after the wedding, telephone bills, benefits for the spouse listed by the sponsor (eg health insurance).
Our K-1 Fiance visa was denied! What now?
We are sorry to hear about your denial, at a time you had hoped to be celebrating. However, all hope is not lost. Key to understanding the next course of action is to understand the reason for the denial. Please contact us for a free review of you denied K-1.
Why use us for your Fiance visa
1 (855) -4-US-VISA
- Direct access to your attorney
- Flat fee for the K-1 Fiance visa
- Our office practices immigration law exclusively
- Russian speaking paralegal
- Spanish services available
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- Online case status
- Online document management
- Guidance every step of the way
- Reduced rates on subsequent Adjustment of Status