A Fiance or K-1 visa is granted to foreign citizens who intend to marry American citizens, and allows them entry into the United States. A fiance visa does not grant legal permanent residency (green card). Instead, it only grants the alien 6 months to enter the United States, and then 90 days to marry the U.S. citizen after entry. The K-1 visa allows entry once only, so once the alien has entered the country, he cannot leave and return on the K-1 visa.
How Do I Obtain a K-1 Visa?
To obtain a fiance visa, the U.S. citizen must first file a Petition for Alien Fiance, USCIS Form I-129F. Once this petition has been approved and processed, it will be sent to the embassy or consulate where the fiance is applying. Once the petition has been approved, the alien has 4 months to apply for the visa.
To receive the visa, the alien fiance must provide the following to the embassy:
- Passport valid for six months after intended entry into U.S.;
- Birth Certificate;
- Police certificate from all places lived since age 16;
- Medical examination;
- Evidence of financial support;
- Two Nonimmigrant Visa Applications, Form DS-156;
- One Nonimmigrant Fiance Visa Application, Form DS-156K;
- Evidence of a fiance relationship.
How Do I Apply for Permanent Residency Once Married?
Once married, the alien must apply for a marriage visa which grants permanent residency. The alien must file an Application to Register Permanent Residence USCIS Form I-485, and the U.S. citizen must file an Affidavit of Support, USCIS Form I-864. Once approved, the alien will be granted a conditional green card.
After 2 years, the alien can apply to remove the conditional status, Form I-751. The alien must have been married for 2 years, or have divorced from a good-faith marriage, and demonstrate that the marriage was not to evade immigration laws.
Do I Need an Immigration Lawyer?
The laws regarding immigration and the application procedures for legal residency can be very complex, especially if English is not your native language. An immigration attorney can make sure that your application is complete and accurate which may speed up its processing. A lawyer may also aid in your appeal should your application be denied.