How To Get a K-1 Fiancé Visa
A fiancé visa (also known as a K-1) will get you legally into the U.S. in order to marry your intended spouse. A fiancé visa (Form I-129f) is valid for six months. After you enter U.S., you must get married to your fiancée within 90 days. There is no legal way to extend the 90 days. After the marriage, you must apply to adjust to permanent resident status (Form I-485). This will give you a two-year conditional residence (green card). Two years later you will have to petition to remove the conditions on your green card (Form I-751). Three years after you receive your initial green card you can file for U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process if you are still married to your U.S. citizen spouse (form N-400).
Do I qualify for a fiance visa?
In order to qualify for a fiancé visa, you must:
- Intend to marry a U.S. citizen – This seems obvious but don’t lie just to get into the U.S. If you are caught both you and your fiancé will face jail, fines, and you may lose any chance of legally coming to the U.S. Also your intended must be a U.S. citizen, either naturalized or born a citizen. A green card holder can’t petition for a fiancé;
- Have met your fiancé in person during the last two – There are exceptions to this requirement where you can show cultural customs (like arranged marriages) or extreme hardship (medical or emergency situations) that prevented you from seeing each other during the last two years; and
- Are legally able to marry. For example, if you were previously married you must first get a divorce before you marry your intended or if you are a widower you must show a death certificate.
What do I need to petition for my fiancé?
Your U.S. citizen fiancé must have the following:
- Letter or affidavit from each of you saying you intend to marry each other within 90 days of entering the U.S.;
- Proof that the two of you met in person within two years of filing the petition or proof as discussed above of a cultural or extreme hardship;
- Proof that you both are legally able to marry (age for getting married, not presently married, etc.);
- Proof of U.S. citizenship of petitioner;
- Birth Certificate of fiancée or passport;
- Divorce Decree or Death Certificate of any previous spouse; and
- Affidavit of Support that you will and can financially support your spouse.
How much income do I need to support my fiancé?
Although the fiancé visa is a nonimmigrant visa (which lasts only 90 days), it will also allow your fiancé to apply for a green card within 90 days of entering the U.S. Despite that the financial standards for most non-immigrant visa only require you to show that you have sufficient assets to cover your fiancé’s time in the U.S., fiancé visa’s need to show more in order to get the visa approved.
You will have to fill out Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, and prove that you have sufficient income to support your fiancé. I recommend that you satisfy the higher requirements for the adjustment of status application (Form I-485) which you will be filing within 90 days of your fiancé’s entry into the U.S. When your fiancé visits the U.S. consulate to get her visa, you don’t want a denial because of inadequate finances. To avoid any delay you should meet the higher standard. That means you need to show that you can support your fiancé at 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The guidelines are published annually on Form I-864P and are based on your household size (usually taken from your income tax returns) including your fiancé and dependents.
If you can’t meet the financial standard for getting your fiancé a visa then you need to consider having a friend or family member serve as a joint sponsor. That is someone who agrees to share financial support for your fiancée. In other words, if you can’t financially support your fiancé, the joint sponsor agrees to become 100% responsible for the support. Joint sponsors must sign a separate Affidavit of Support on Form I-134.
What about my fiancé’s kids, can they also come to the U.S.?
Your fiancé’s kids may also enter the U.S. as her dependents with status knows as K-2. However, they must be under 21 and unmarried when they enter the U.S. “Children” in this case includes your fiancé’s natural kids, adopted children, and children born out of wedlock. As long as you can prove that then “children” are recognized as your fiancé’s children in her county the U.S. will honor it.
You do need to be aware that there is a potential issue if your fiancé’s child is over 18 but under 21. The “child” will be allowed to enter the U.S. as a K-2 dependent. The issues come up when you file for the green card because in order to qualify as a “step-child” you must show that the marriage occurred before the child turned 18. If the child is already 18 and you are applying for a fiancé visa clearly that didn’t happen. This is an evolving area of the law. There has been litigation on the issue. Before you apply make sure you discuss it with your immigration attorney.
What is the process for a K-2 Visa?
You fiancé’s child will go through a similar process as your fiancé. In Form I-129F you must include the child in the indicated section (at present it is question 14 but these forms are constantly changing). You must prove the child’s relationship to your fiancé with evidence. Consular forms will then be issued for both the fiancé and her children. Typically, the interview happens the same day for both of them. The children get factored into the household size when you prepare the Affidavit of Support, Form I-134.
After you get married and apply for a green card, you can file a separate adjustment of status (Form I-485) for your K-2 dependent children.
What if your step-child is about to turn 21?
Children must be under 21 and unmarried until they enter the U.S. Ideally at least 90 days before they enter the U.S. That will give you more than sufficient time for your fiancé to enter the U.S., get married, and file for adjustment of status. If your step-child is close to turning 21 you must alert immigration authorities and request that they expedite the process. They typically will.
What can Andres Mejer Law do for me?
This is a detailed and evolving area of the law. Make sure you consult us with an immigration attorney before you begin the fiancé visa process. One mistake can cost you months of headaches and jeopardize not only your wedding plans but your fiancé’s ability to get a green card.
If you are ready to speak to someone today, you can
- Call 888-695-6169 and speak to our knowledgeable staff,
- Fill out the contact form on this page; or
- Select the live chat feature on this page.
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