An individual must file for a special fiancé visa if they are the fiancé of an American who is currently living abroad and wants to obtain a visa in order to come to the United States to get married. Once the non-citizen fiancé marries their American fiancé, they can file for an adjustment of status in order to obtain a green card and become a permanent resident.
Once a fiancé becomes engaged, they are not required to intend to reside permanently within the United States. They may choose whether they want to continue residing in the United States after they get married.
Am I Eligible for a Fiancé Visa?
An individual may be eligible to obtain a fiancé visa if they intend to marry a United States citizen who they met within the last 2 years and are legally able to marry. In other words, that American citizen is not currently married and meets the age requirements..
The United States citizen fiancé must be an actual citizen and not a green card holder or permanent resident. The individual who is seeking the fiancé visa must be able to prove those requirements with documents.
Documentation may include evidence such as ceremony plans, marriage proceedings, or other types of marriage forms used to prepare for marriage to a United States citizen. If the alien fiancé has children under the age of 21, those children may also be eligible to immigration to the United States.
What is a Fiancé K-1 Visa?
A fiancé visa, or a K-1 visa is granted to a foreign citizen who intends to marry an American citizen. It gives the alien fiancé entry into the United States.
Fiancé visas do not grant legal permanent residency as do green cards. Instead, the fiancé K-1 visa only grants the alien fiancé 6 months to enter into the United States and 90 days following that to marry the United States citizen fiancé after entry.
A fiancé K-1 visa only allows entry for the alien fiancé one time. Therefore, once the alien fiancé has entered into the United States, they cannot leave and return on their fiancé K-1 visa.
How Do I Obtain a K-1 Fiancé Visa?
In order for an individual to obtain a fiancé visa, the United States citizen fiancé is required to file a Petition for Alien Fiancé, or USCIS Form I-129F. Once the citizen completes this petition and it is processed and approved, it is sent to the consulate or embassy of the alien fiancé.
Once this petition is approved, the alien fiancé has 4 months to apply for their K-1 fiancé visa. To receive a K-1 fiancé visa, the alien fiancé is required to provide the following to their embassy:
- A passport valid for six months after the individual’s intended entry into United States;
- A birth certificate;
- A law enforcement certificate from all places the fiancé has resided in since the age of 16;
- A medical examination;
- Evidence of financial support;
- Two Nonimmigrant Visa Applications, called Form DS-156;
- One Nonimmigrant Fiance Visa Application, called Form DS-156K; and
- Evidence of the fiancé relationship, which can be provided by the evidence discussed above.
How Long Will It Take to Obtain a Fiancé Visa?
It may take as long as 6 months to obtain a fiancé visa. It may also take another year following the individuals’ marriage before the alien fiancé receives their permanent visa.
It is important to be aware that obtaining a K-1 fiancé visa is a long process which may take a long time to complete. This process contains multiple steps which include the United States citizen filing a petition with the USCIS for approval.
Following this application, the alien fiancé is required to provide additional documentation to their local United States embassy in their home country. The alien fiancé may also be required to attend a visa interview and a medical exam.
How Do I Apply for Permanent Residency Once Married?
Once the alien fiancé and the United States citizen fiancé are married, the alien fiancé is required to apply for a marriage visa that grants them permanent residency. The alien fiancé is required to file an Application to Register Permanent Residence, or USCIS Form I-485.
The United States citizen fiancé is required to file an Affidavit of Support, or USCIS Form I-864. Once these forms are approved, the alien fiancé will be granted a conditional green card.
Once 2 years have passed, the alien fiancé may apply to remove the conditional status, using Form I-751. The alien fiancé is required to have been married for at least 2 years or be divorced from a good-faith marriage. It must be demonstrated that the marriage was not used to evade United States immigration laws.
What is a Sponsor Spouse?
A sponsor spouse is the fiancé or spouse of the individual who is applying for legal permanent residence in the United States. The immigrant fiancé or spouse can be residing within the United States on a visa, or they may still reside outside of the United States.
The sponsor fiancé or spouse is required to be a United States citizen or to be a permanent resident, or hold a green card, as well as other requirements.
What Are the Income Requirements for a Sponsor Spouse?
A sponsor spouse is required to meet certain income requirements which are set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A sponsor fiancé or spouse must fill out the Affidavit of Support on Form I-864 in order to verify that they will have adequate financial support for their family and themselves.
The minimum income requirement for the sponsor spouse is 125% of the federal poverty line. This is the minimum income which is necessary to support an individual without having to rely on public assistance.
The USCIS publishes the minimum requirements for income of a sponsor spouse each year on Form I-864-P.
What if I Do Not Meet the Minimum Income Requirement?
If a sponsor spouse does not meet the minimum income requirements and the alien fiancé is employed, the individual may be able to claim both incomes. However, they will need to consult with an immigration attorney regarding how to accomplish this.
If the sponsor spouse is attempting to bring multiple family members into the United States but they do not meet the minimum income requirement, they may be able to bring one family member over at a time. By doing things in this manner, the family members who are present in the United States can work and add their income to the total household income.
Should I Speak with an Attorney?
It is very important to have the assistance of an immigration attorney for help with any financial issues related to a visa that you may have. Immigration requirements and the required forms may be numerous and complex.
Your attorney will review your applications to ensure that they are accurate and complete, which can help to speed up the visa process. Additionally, they can help you file an appeal if your visa application is denied.
Your lawyer can assist you with bringing your fiancé or spouse to the United States in a legal and timely manner. They can also assist you with minimum income requirements and ways in which multiple family members can legally enter into the United States.