An alien wishing to enter the United States to marry a U.S. citizen fiancé or fiancée must apply for a K-1 nonimmigrant visa. Once the alien has entered the U.S. on a K-1 Visa, the marriage to the U.S. Citizen fiancé/fiancée must take place within ninety days of the alien’s entry to the United States or else the alien must leave the country. Once the marriage has taken place, an I-129F petition must be filed by the U.S. citizen with USCIS on behalf of his/her fiancé (e). After the petition is approved, the fiancé (e) must obtain a visa issued at a U.S. Embassy or consulate abroad.
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This category is non-immigrant in name only; in reality it is a transitional status for aliens who will be immediately eligible for permanent residence upon marriage. Please note, upon their adjustment of status, your fiancé (e) will initially receive conditional permanent residence status for two years. Conditional permanent residency is granted when the marriage creating the relationship is less than two years old at the time of adjustment to permanent residence status. Your fiancé (e) may enter the United States only one time with a fiancé (e) visa. If your fiancé (e) leaves the country before you are married, your fiancé (e) may not be allowed back into the United States without a new visa
U.S. citizens who will be getting married to a foreign national in the United States may petition for a fiancé (e) classification (K-1) for their fiancé (e). In order to do so, you and your fiancé (e) must be free to marry. This means that both parties must be unmarried, or any previous marriages must have ended in divorce, annulment or death. If any of the parties have been divorced, that party must provide certified copies of their divorce decree(s) at the time of the interview. For the purposes of filing only copies of biographic documentation are necessary. The US Citizen and foreign national must certify that they are legally able to and intend on marrying one another within the 90 day period granted vis-à-vis the K-1 visa by signing an intent to marry statement. You must also have met with your fiancé (e) in person within the last two years before filing for the fiancé (e) visa. This requirement can be waived only if meeting your fiancé (e) in person would violate long-established customs, or if meeting your fiancé (e) would create extreme hardship for you. You and your fiancé (e) must marry within 90 days of your fiancé (e) entering the United States.
You may also apply to bring your fiancé (e)'s unmarried children, who are under age 21, to the United States.Requirements
- The US Citizen and foreign national must be legally free to marry and intend to marry within the 90 day period
- Generally, the US Citizen and foreign national must have met in person within the last 2 years (prior to filing)
- Form I-129F, must be filed only by a U.S. citizen on behalf of the fiancé (e) foreign national. Only U.S. citizens can file a fiancé visa petition, NOT green card holders
- The Petitioner/U.S. Citizen must meet the income requirement required by CIS. Otherwise a Joint Sponsor will be necessary. Proof of financial support must be provided along with the fiancé visa petition with copies of the US Citizens accompanying financial documents such as most recent income tax return, wage statements or 1099’s for the most recent tax year, last 3 pay stubs or last 6 months of bank statements if self-employed, and letter of employment. To view the Poverty Guidelines for the Affidavit of Support please click here.
- The Petitioner’s signed and completed Form I-134 Affidavit of Support as proof that the U.S. Citizen can financially support the foreign national. There is no bypassing this requirement.
- If the Petitioner cannot support the foreign national, a Joint Sponsor must sign the I-134 Affidavit of Support and provide financial documentation
- Evidence of U.S. citizenship is required – such as original U.S. birth certificate, your U.S. passport, your Certificate of Naturalization, or your Certificate of Citizenship
- Foreign national’s biographical documents are also required such as a copy of the birth certificate, copy of foreign passport, divorce decrees (if applicable). Documents not in English must have certified English translations
- 2 Form G-325A’s, a Biographic Data Sheets (one for the U.S. citizen and one for fiancé(e))
- Two color photos of you and one of your fiancé(e) taken within 30 days of filing
- Copies of any divorce decrees, death certificates, or annulment decrees if either you or your fiancé (e) have been previously married.
- Proof of permission to marry if you or your fiancé (e) are subject to any age restrictions.
- Documentation showing proof of bona fide engagement such as photographs, evidence of joint travel, joint accounts, proof of communication (emails, social media messaging) etc.
If the Petitioner cannot support the foreign national, a Joint Sponsor must sign the I-134 Affidavit of Support and provide the same financial documentation as the US Citizen (most recent income tax return, wage statements or 1099’s for the most recent tax year, last 3 pay stubs or last 6 months of bank statements if self-employed, and letter of employment)
The Joint Sponsor must meet the income requirement required by USCIS based on their household size. Please click here to view the Poverty Guidelines for the Affidavit of Support.Work Permit
After arriving in the United States, the alien will be eligible to apply for a work permit by filing Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization along with Form I-485 Application for Permanent Residence.Stay and Extensions
An alien under K-1 visa can remain in the United States for ninety days, which cannot be extended. The alien must marry during that period or leave the United States. Once the marriage has taken place, the alien should apply to adjust their status to permanent resident by filing Form I-485. Generally, the alien at first obtains a two-year conditional residency and would have to file additional paperwork later for the conditions to be lifted. If the marriage is more than 2 years old at the time the I-485 application is approved, the foreign national will be issued the 10-year permanent resident card, instead of the conditional 2-year green card.Frequently Asked Questions about K-1 Visa