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The K-1 Visa: A Guide for U.S. Citizens and Foreign Fiancés

The K-1 Visa: A Guide for U.S. Citizens and Foreign Fiancés

Almost everybody knows that the US government lets you bring your spouse from outside the US into the US as a legal permanent resident. But a lot of people do not know that even getting engaged to get married qualifies your fiancé for permanent residency in the US.

This will allow your foreign fiancé to stay long enough to get married in the US, and then you can sponsor them for permanent residency. Not only is this an option, but it is also better for some people. This means there are two basic ways a US citizen can unite in the US with a foreigner.

The first way is for you to apply for a fiancé visa (K-1 Visa) to enable your fiancé to enter the US so you both can marry in the US. Or you can get married outside the US, and then the foreign spouse can move to the US as an immediate family member through the consular process.

It is a good idea to talk with a fiancé visa attorney in NYC to know the option that meets your situation and needs. Fiancé visas are nonimmigrant visas, but they look and act like immigrant visas. The US Department of State classifies the fiancé visa as a visa with dual intent.

Basically, it is a visa that is for nonimmigrants, but the person who gets it may have an immigrant purpose. If you are a US citizen and want to sponsor a fiancé into the US, there are a few things you must do to get the approval you need. Here are some tips you need to know about fiancé visas (K-1 Visas).

What are fiancé visas?

If you are a US citizen, you can get a fiancé visa, which allows your foreign fiancé into the US. But you must marry the foreign fiancé within 90 days of your fiancé’s arrival in the US.

This visa is a great step to getting a green card for your foreign fiancé. Eligible kids of the foreign fiancé usually get a K-2 visa.

Who can get a fiancé visa?

If you are a US citizen, you can sponsor your foreign fiancé for K-1 visas. Green card holders cannot. Both you and your fiancé outside the US must be single. You can show that singlehood by providing evidence of any divorce, annulment, or death certificate from a previous spouse.

You will need to provide evidence of your relationship with your foreign fiancé. You will also need to show that you and your fiancé have met at least once in person within the last two years. You must provide a signed document saying you plan to marry in the next 90 days after your foreign fiancé gets to the US.

You will also have to show that your income on your last tax return is equal to the total of the federal poverty guidelines. A US citizen with a same-sex fiancé can get a fiancé visa, no matter what the laws are like in the home country of the foreign fiancé. If you are unsure if you can apply for a fiancé visa, contact a fiancé visa attorney in NYC to help you assess your situation.

What is the application process?

If you are applying for a fiancé visa, you will need to file a petition (Form I-129F) with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and pay a fee. You will also need to provide supporting documentation. If your petition is successful, it will receive approval within 6 to 9 months.

After the submission of your application gets approval, the USCIS will transfer it to the State Department. You will get notice of the date and time of the visa interview at a US Embassy or consulate. The notice will include a list of documents your foreign fiancé will need to bring.

Your foreign fiancé will also have to undergo a medical exam done by a doctor with USCIS approval. Your fiancé will then have to fill out an online form DS-160, and collect all the documents needed for the visa interview.

The interview should take place at the US Embassy or consulate of the fiancé’s home country within 4 to 6 weeks from the receipt of the notice of the interview. Your fiancé will know, right away or shortly after if the visa will be issued. Upon a decision to issue the visa, the foreign fiancés will have the visas stamped onto their passports.

The foreign fiancé will be able to enter the US in about four months. However, the US citizen and the foreign fiancé must marry within 90 days of the foreign fiancé’s arrival in the US. If you do not marry within 90 days, the foreign fiancé staying in the US will become illegal after the 90 days.

This application process is not this straightforward. Getting a fiancé visa attorney in NYC to go through it seamlessly is a great way to go.

Things to avoid when applying

The USCIS often turns down visa petitions for fiancé of US citizens because of a few things that you can avoid. For example, you might not have signed the petition (Form I-129F). Also, you should check to ensure you complete the Form I-129F properly, and include proof of your relationship’s legitimacy.

The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA) also requires you to reveal certain crimes and limits how many times you can apply for a visa with a different fiancé under certain situations. You should definitely talk with a fiancé visa attorney in NYC to know more about this.

You might also have ‘red flags’ like a big age gap, limited communication because of a common language, or big cultural or religious differences. In most cases, a bunch of these things can lead to the denial of your fiancé visa application.

You can avoid these errors with the help of a fiancé visa attorney in NYC.

Can a foreign fiancé get a green card?

Upon the arrival of the foreign fiancé in the US and marrying the US citizen, the foreign fiancé can get a green card by filing for adjustment of status.

This means that if your foreign fiancé is looking to get a green card after marriage, adjustment of status is the way to go.

The foreign fiancé will need to apply from inside the US and fill out a few different forms. This process usually takes around a year. During that time, you can get work permits and travel abroad as long as you submit the right paperwork.

Upon the approval of the adjustment of status, the foreign fiancé will become a permanent resident and get a green card from USCIS. This status gives the foreign fiancé the right to live and work in the US forever.

Seek Legal Help

Getting a fiancé visa can be a stressful and overwhelming process, but Gehi and Associates have got you covered! 

At Gehi and Associates, we have experienced and dedicated fiancé visa attorneys in NYC. So you can be sure that we will make the process less consuming and stress-free. With us, you do not have to worry about the paperwork and other complex matters in the process. 

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