A fiancée of a US citizen may apply for a nonimmigrant visa, which allows US entry for 90 days. Within that 90 day period, the US citizen and the foreign fiancée must be married. The fiancée must then apply for permanent resident status in the United States.
K1 Visa Petition
To establish K1 visa classification for an alien fiancée, an American citizen must file a petition with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service). The approved petition will be forwarded by the USCIS to the American consular office where the alien fiancée will apply for his or her visa. A petition is valid for a period of four months from the date of USCIS action, and may be revalidated by the consular officer.
Visa Ineligibility, Visa Waiver
Applicants who (1) have committed serious criminal acts; (2) are likely to become a public charge; (3) have used illegal means to enter the United States; (4) have a communicable disease or a dangerous mental disorder; (5) are drug addicts; or (6) are subject to the J1 two-year foreign residency requirement, do not qualify for a K1 visa, unless a waiver of inadmissibility is granted. The waiver must be approved by the USCIS before the consular officer will issue a K1 visa.
Applying For A K1 Fiance / Fiancee Visa
Upon approval of the K1 petition by the USCIS, the applicant may apply for a K1 visa stamp at the American consular office. A fiancée visa applicant is an intending immigrant and, therefore, must meet documentary requirements similar to the requirements of an immigrant visa applicant. Both the American citizen petitioner and alien beneficiary must be legally able and willing to conclude a valid marriage in the United States. The petitioner and beneficiary must have previously met in person within the past two years unless the USCIS waives that requirement. As soon as the processing of a case is completed and the applicant has all necessary documents, a consular officer will interview the fiancée. If found eligible, a visa will be issued, valid for one entry during a period of six months.
After Entry Into The U.S.
The alien fiancée must apply for work authorization with the USCIS in order to accept employment in the United States. The marriage must take place within 90 days of admission into the United States. Following the marriage, the alien spouse must apply to the USCIS for permanent residency. The applicant is initially granted conditional resident status. After two years, applicant may apply to the USCIS for removal of the conditional status.
The unmarried, minor children of a K1 beneficiary derive K2 nonimmigrant visa status from the parent so long as the children are named in the petition. A separate petition is not required if the children accompany or follow the alien fiancée within one year from the date of issuance of the K1 visa. Thereafter, a separate immigrant visa petition is required.
The alien fiancée must apply for work authorization with the BCIS.
To consult an immigration lawyer regarding the K1 Fiancée Visa, please call us at (212) 947-7534 or e-mail us at Michael@mmlawnyc.com . An attorney in our office would be happy to assist you.