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What You Need To Know About Obtaining K-1 Visa

If you do not live in the United States but want to move here, you may be interested in getting a visa. There are many different types of visas available, including a K-1 visa. To get this type of visa, you will need to meet certain requirements as well as go through an extensive application process.

To obtain your K-1 visa, it is always a good idea to hire an immigration attorney who can help you through this process. Keep reading to find out what a K-1 visa is for and whether or not you qualify.

What Is a K-1 Visa?

There are different types of visas depending on who you are and why you want to come to the United States. A K-1 visa, also called a fiancée visa, is used for foreign citizens who are engaged to a U.S. citizen. The K-1 visa allows them to enter the United States to get married so that they can eventually become a legal citizen of the U.S. The United States citizen becomes the sponsor of their partner until they can marry.

Requirements For Getting a K-1 Visa

Like any kind of United States visa, there is a long list of eligibility requirements you must meet before you start the application process. One of the main things you need to understand is that you must have proof that you and your fiancé have met at least once within the two years of knowing each other. You may be able to request a waiver for this if you can prove that meeting each other was impossible or extremely difficult.

The K-1 visa also only allows a U.S. citizen to sponsor a foreign citizen so that they can enter the United States legally. To get this visa, each party must prove that they have plans to marry each other within 90 days of the foreign citizen arriving in the U.S.
Here are some other eligibility requirements:

  • The sponsor must be a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.
  • The U.S. sponsor must meet the income requirements for a K-1 visa.
  • Both parties have to submit a signed document showing their intent to marry within 90 days.
  • Both parties must be unmarried and show previous documentation of divorce if necessary.
  • Both parties have to submit proof that their relationship is valid.

Application Process

The application process for getting a K-1 visa can feel quite overwhelming, especially when you have to work with your partner who is in a different location. That is why some couples choose to hire an immigration law firm to help them through this process. Doing so can reduce the chances of something going wrong or part of the application not to be incorrect.

Here is the step-by-step process you will need to go through when applying for a fiancé visa.

Form 1-129F

The first form you must fill out to obtain a K-1 visa is form 1-129F, which helps to prove that the relationship is valid. Here are the types of documents you need to include with this form:

  • Proof that the sponsor is a US citizen.
  • A copy of the foreign fiancé’s passport.
  • A passport-style photo of both parties.
  • Copies of previously issued form 1-94 arrival and departure records for the foreign fiancé.
  • Evidence of the relationship such as pictures together, letters from family and friends, emails, text messages, and so on.
  • Prove that the couple has met within two years, such as booked flights, hotel bills, and pictures.
  • Sworn statements from both parties that they plan to marry within 90 days.

Something else to keep in mind during this process is that the government has a fee for this form, which is $535. The foreign fiancé must also complete a medical exam during this process, which usually comes to about $200. The actual application fee for the K-1 visa is $265.

Form DS-160 and Interview

Once the form 1-129F is approved, the foreign fiancé will receive a notice from their home country’s U.S. Embassy. This notice will include the date and the location of their visa interview, as well as the required documents.

The foreign fiancée must complete the State Department’s DS-160 form, which is online and is the actual K-1 visa application form. They will need to include documents such as:

To passport-style photos
Birth certificate
Sealed medical exam form
Police clearance
Valid and unexpired passport

The sponsoring fiancé will also have to include documents such as affidavit of support, most recent tax returns, and proof of relationship.

The foreign fiancé will also have to attend an interview at their nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. This interview usually takes place 4 to 6 weeks after the initial notice.

Arrival and Marriage

If all the requirements are met and the application is approved, the foreign fiancé will be given a total of six months from the date of the approval of their 1-129 form. They must travel to the United States within this time frame, and when they arrive, the couple’s 90 days will begin.

If the couple decides not to marry, the foreign partner will have to leave the country right away. They will not be able to adjust their status or try to change to another travel visa.

Tips For Getting a K-1 Visa

The denial rate for K-1 visas is roughly 1 out of every 5 applications. This often comes down to couples not understanding the application process or submitting inaccurate or poorly prepared documentation.

Even though it isn’t required, many couples would benefit from hiring a lawyer to help them file their K-1 visa application. A lawyer is especially useful if you do not technically meet all the requirements, such as having met within two years of the relationship.

Contact an Immigration Attorney Today

The process of getting a K-1 visa is extensive, but certain steps can help you get through this application process. Making sure you have all the necessary documentation and understanding the requirements will help make this process easier.

At US Immigration Law Council, we deal with the government, so you don’t have to. For legal assistance from an experienced immigration lawyer, contact us today through our website or by calling us at 1-800-666-4996.