If you are a fiancé of a U.S. citizen, the K-1 visa may be the perfect option. The K-1 visa allows the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) to travel to the United States and marry his or her U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival.
The foreign-citizen will then apply for adjustment of status to a permanent resident (LPR) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- The foreign national fiancé must be living outside of the U.S;
- The U.S. citizen must first file a Petition for Alien Fiancé with USCIS and have it approved before the foreign national fiancé may apply for a K visa;
- Both the U.S. citizen and the K-1 visa applicant must have been legally free to marry at the time the petition was filed and must have remained so thereafter;
- The foreign national fiancé and U.S. citizen must have met personally at least once in the two years before the K visa petition was filed.
The First Step: Filing the Petition
- The U.S. citizen sponsor, must file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), with the USCIS office that serves the area where you live.
- After USCIS approves the petition, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will provide a case number and send the petition to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where fiancé(e) lives.
The Second Step: Applying for a Visa
- The NVC sends the fiancé(e) case to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate and schedules the interview.
- Eligible children of K-1 visa applicants may apply for K-2 visas. Separate applications must be submitted for each K visa applicant, and each K visa applicant must pay the visa application fee.
Before the issuance of an immigrant or K visa, every applicant must undergo a medical examination which must be performed by an authorized panel physician.
The Third Step: Adjustment of Status – USCIS
- After entering the U.S. and after getting married, the K-1 nonimmigrant may apply for adjustment to lawful permanent resident status.
- During the adjudication process, USCIS again conducts background checks on both parties, including fingerprint checks on the foreign spouse, and schedule an interview for both spouses.
- If married for less than two years at the time the Form I-485 is approved, the applicant will be granted conditional permanent resident status and issued a Permanent Resident Card valid for 2 years.
- Filing an Alien Fiancé(e) Petition, Form I-129F
- Nonimmigrant visa application processing fee, Form DS-160 (required for each K visa applicant)
- Medical examination (required for each K visa applicant; costs vary from post to post)
- Filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status
- The I-129F petition is valid for four months from the date of approval by USCIS. A consular officer can extend the validity of the petition if it expires before visa processing is completed.
- With your visa, you can apply for a single admission at a U.S. port-of-entry within the validity of the visa, which will be a maximum of 6 months from the date of issuance. You must marry your U.S. citizen fiancé(e) within 90 days of your entry into the United States.
- Eligible children may apply for K-2 visas based on the approval of Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), that your U.S. citizen fiancé(e) filed on your behalf, but your U.S. citizen fiancé(e) must list the children on the petition. Separate visa applications must be submitted for each K-2 visa applicant, and each applicant must pay the K visa application fee. After your marriage, your children will need to file separately from you for adjustment of status. Your children may travel with (accompany) you to the United States or travel later (follow-to-join).
To learn more about your options contact our San Francisco law firm to speak with one of our immigration attorneys.