K1 Fiancée Visa
In situations where a U.S. citizen wishes to marry or has married an individual the K1 visa, K3 visa or adjusting status to lawful permanent residence (green card) are typically the most expeditious visas to reunite the U.S. citizen with his fiancée or spouse. A fiancée of a US citizen is eligible for the K1 visa and a spouse residing abroad is eligible for a K3 visa. A U.S. citizen may petition for his or her spouse to obtain permanent residence if the spouse is residing in the U.S.
The K1 visa is the most effective method for bringing an alien fiancée to the United States. A U.S. citizen may bring their fiancée to the United States by filing a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The alien fiancée is allowed to stay in the United States for ninety days. Subsequent to the ninety-day period, the U.S. citizen and alien fiancée must marry and file for lawful permanent residency (green card). Moreover, the U.S. citizen and alien fiancée must have met within two years of filing the petition. A waiver may be obtained to overcome the two-year meeting requirement. Both parties must be legally able to marry. Therefore, divorces must be finalized prior to filing the K1 visa petition.
Applicants must be aware of immigrant intent, unlawful presence, and public charge issues to ensure that they are in compliance with immigration law. Furthermore, the USCIS will scrutinize the relationship to ensure that it is bona fide and not entered into solely for the purpose of gaining immigration benefits.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE K1 PETITION IS APPROVED?
Once USCIS approves the petition, the application is sent to the National Visa Center to perform security checks. The National Visa Center will forward the petition to the US embassy.
The consulate will send a letter to the alien fiancée requesting a list of documents. The consulate will also commence security clearance processing. After 9/11 security checks have significantly increased the complexity of consular processing and have increased processing times. The security clearance will partly determine whether or not the beneficiary is inadmissible to enter the United States.
Once all processing is completed, and the applicant has all necessary documents, a consular officer will interview your fiancée to determine if she is eligible for the K1 visa. The officer will review all of the documents and question the K1 visa applicant to determine that the relationship is bona fide, ensure the applicant is not inadmissible and will not become a public charge. If the consular officer finds that your fiancée meets all of the legal requirements she will issue a K1 visa valid for one entry for a period of six months. Alternatively, the officer may deem that a waiver of inadmissibility is necessary, issue a denial or request additional documentation. U.S. embassy processing tends to be the most intricate aspect of the fiancée visa process. Consequently, non-approvals may occur at the U.S. Embassy even if there is an approval by the USCIS.
AFTER MY FIANCEE ENTERS THE UNITED STATES WHEN MUST WE MARRY? IS MY FIANCE/FIANCEE ELIGIBLE FOR WORK AUTHORIZATION?
The fiancée must marry the U.S. citizen within ninety (90) days of entry and apply for adjustment of status to obtain permanent residency (green card). Work authorization may be granted to K1 visa holders and typically requires an additional application after entry to the United States. With the adjustment of status application, the fiancée may also apply for employment authorization and permission to travel while the adjustment of status is pending. If an applicant enters the United States on a K1 visa they are ineligible for an extension of stay or change of status.