U.S. Citizen Fiance
The K-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa for the fiancé(e) of a US citizen or permanent resident. This visa allows the foreign citizen fiancé́(e) to travel to the US and marry their US citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival.
It is important to note that the foreign citizen has to apply with the Department of Homeland Security and the USCIS for the change of status of citizenship after the marriage. Thus, the K-1 visa just acts as a mediator between the migration of the foreign citizen to the US and the change of citizenship. The eligible dependent (children) of K-1 visa holders need to apply for a K-2 visa.
Requirements for K-1 visa:
Besides the general requirements found here, there are some additional requirements:
- The US citizen sponsor needs to file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé́(e) with the USCIS office and wait for the approval.
- Complete a medical examination before your interview. Regardless of your age, the medical examination has to be performed by a panel physician.
- Occasionally, you may be requested to file Form I-134 or I-864 with the USCIS for certain requirements regarding financial support and adjustment of nationality status to that of a legal permanent resident (LPR) after the marriage.
Restrictions under K-1 visas:
Once you have the K-1 visa and travel to the US to your fiancé(e), you need to get married within a period of 90 days and file with the USCIS for change of status of citizenship to LPR. This requirement should be followed strictly.
The petition is valid for 4 months from the date of approval by USCIS, but it can be extended if it expires while you are undergoing the visa process.
What After You Get The K-1 Visa?
When your K-1 visa is approved, you will receive a sealed packet from the consular office. It contains your civil rights document and your passport. Do not open the sealed packet. The DHS officials will open the packet once you reach the US port of arrival.
You can apply for work authorization when you apply for the LPR adjustment of status. The work permit granted by the USCIS is called the Employment Authorization Document. Be mindful that this takes 45 to 90 days for this document to process and till then you might lose your fiancé(e) status.
If you miss the 90-day period, you should apply for an extension for your stay to remain legal. adjustment of status your stay in the US becomes illegal. It is advisable that you stay in the US and get married as soon as possible even if you miss the 90-day period. This is so because going through legal proceedings regarding your status is easier on US soil than filing a petition for return to US soil.