Disclaimer: The information below is a basic explanation of the fiancé(e) visa process and is not legal advice. Each immigration case is different based on a person’s individual immigration, family, and criminal history.
U.S. Citizens may petition for a fiancé(e) by filing a K-1 Visa Petition. A K-1 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa available to a bona fide (“real”) fiancé(e) of a U.S. Citizen, to be used only for the purpose for coming to the United States to marry the U.S. Citizen Petitioner.
There are four steps in order for a fiancé(e) to become a Permanent Resident of the United States:
- Visa Petition. A petition must be filed with the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) with evidence that the parties meet the requirements for a K-1 Visa (see below).
- Visa Application. Once the K-1 Petition is approved, then the fiancé(e) must file an application for a K-1 Visa to come to the United States. This requires a visa interview at the fiancé(e)’s local U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
- Marriage. Once a visa is issued by the U.S. Department of State it is valid for 4 months to enter the U.S. Once the fiancé(e) has entered the U.S. on the K-1 visa, both parties have 90 days to marry.
- Adjustment of Status. Following the marriage, the fiancé(e)/spouse of the U.S. Citizen must file an application for Adjustment of Status in order to become a Resident. If the Adjustment of Status Application is approved before the second anniversary of the marriage, then the fiancé(e)/spouse will be granted a two year Conditional Residence Status, and a Petition to remove the conditions on residency must be filed within 90 days before the Conditional Residency expires.
REQUIREMENTS FOR K-1 VISA
- Petitioner is a U.S. Citizen.
- Fiancé(e) seeks to enter the US solely to marry the Petitioner. (Marriage must take place w/in 90 days after Fiancé(e)’s entry into the U.S.)
- No legal impediments to marriage for either party.
- The relationship is bona fide (meaning a true relationship, & not entered into for immigration benefit).
- Petitioner & Fiancé(e) have previously met in person 2 years from the date that the petition is filed.
- This requirement may be waived in the case of extreme hardship or long-standing cultural custom.
- Petitioner has not been convicted of certain classes of crimes including: (a)domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse or neglect, dating violence, elder abuse, stalking; (b) attempted or actual homicide, murder, manslaughter, rape, abusive sexual contact, sexual exploitation, incest, trafficking/peonage, slave trade, holding hostage, kidnapping, false imprisonment; (c) crimes relating to a controlled substance or alcohol where the petitioner has been convicted on at least 3 separate occasions, & where such crimes did not arise from a single act.
For advice specific to your case, please call Dady & Hoffmann LLC at (815) 394-1359 to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys.