A K-1 visa, commonly referred to as a “fiancé(e) visa,” is a non-immigrant visa for fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens. The purpose of a K-1 visa is to allow a foreign fiancé(e) to travel to the United States in order to marry his or her petitioning US citizen fiancé(e).
While a fiancé(e) visa is not a green card, once the foreign fiancé(e) has married his or her petitioning US citizen fiancé(e), he or she may then apply for a green card through a process called “adjustment of status.”
In order to obtain a fiancé(e) visa, the US citizen fiancé(e) must file a petition with USCIS for his or her fiancé(e). The petition requires basic biographical information and documentation about both fiancé(e)s, and it also delves into topics such as criminal history, prior immigration history, and prior marriages. It is extremely important to include sufficient “bona fides” with the petition. The term “bona fides” refers to evidence which supports the “bona fide,” i.e. real or authentic, nature of the relationship of a couple. Bona fides can include evidence such as photos of the couple, plane tickets the couple used to visit one another, letters or affidavits from friends and family regarding the couple’s relationship, screenshots of the couple’s text messages, or receipts evidencing purchases of engagement rings or wedding items.
Once the K-1 petition has been approved by USCIS, it is sent to the NVC (National Visa Center) for further processing. The NVC process is now online, and it requires the petitioning US citizen fiancé(e), or his or her attorney, to upload various documents to an online portal, including but not limited to an Affidavit of Support evidencing the US petitioner’s ability to support the foreign fiancé(e), various biographic and travel documents, financial documents, and police certifications.
After NVC has accepted the uploaded documents, the petition is sent to the foreign fiancé(e)’s local US embassy or consulate. At this point, the foreign fiancé(e) will be required to obtain a medical exam from an approved provider (each embassy or consulate maintains a list of providers). The foreign fiancé(e) will also have an interview scheduled at the local embassy or consulate, the process for which varies depending on the country in which the embassy or consulate is located.
After a successful interview, an approved fiancé(e) visa will be affixed in the foreign fiancé(e)’s passport, and he or she will be authorized to travel to the United States within 120 days of the issuance of the visa. Once the foreign fiancé(e) arrives in the United States, he or she must marry the US citizen petitioner within 90 days of arrival. Finally, after marriage, he or she can apply for a green card through an adjustment of status application.
For more information or to set up a consultation with Attorney Theresa Weaver- Barbers for an immigration matter, please contact us at 717.761.4540 or email us at [email protected]