K-1 visas are for fiancees of US citizens allowing them to come to the US to get married. They are available for male-female and for same-sex marriages.
The first step to establish eligibilty for a K-1 visa is for the US citizen to submit a I-129F petition to the USCIS. Once the petition is approved, it will be forwarded to a US Consulate abroad where the fiancee will apply for his or her K-1 visa. The petition is valid for 4 months although this period may be extended by a consular officer.
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APPLYING FOR K-1 VISAS
Upon receipt of an approved petition, the US consular officer will notify the fiancee and give him or her the necessary forms and instructions to apply for a K-1 visa. Since a K-1 visa applicant is an intending immigrant, he or she must meet most of the same documentary requirements of an immigrant visa applicant. In addition to the prescribed application forms, the following documents are normally required:
- Valid passport
- Birth certificate
- Divorce or death certificate of any previous spouse
- Police certificate from all places lived since age 16
- Medical examination
- Evidence of support (including Form I-134)
- Evidence of valid relationship with the petitioner
Both the US citizen and the fiancee must be legally able and willing to conclude a valid marriage in the United States. They must have previously met in person within the past 2 years unless the government waives this requirement. As soon as the processing of a case is completed and the applicant has all necessary documents, the fiancée will be interviewed at a US Consulate. If found eligible, a visa will be issued.
K-1 VISAS: US PORT OF ENTRY
At the port of entry, the fiancee will receive a stamp in his or her passport giving temporary permission to work pending marriage to the U.S. citizen. The marriage must take place within 90 days of admission into the US. Following the marriage, the alien spouse must apply to the USCIS for conditional permanent residence status. After 2 years, the immigrant must apply to the USCIS for removal of the conditional status.
K-1 VISAS: ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
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Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening an 8 attorney firm specializing in immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.
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