If you are a foreign national who has met an American who you want to marry, you’ll need to know about K1 visas.
A K1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows a foreign national fiancé/fiancée of an American citizen to travel to the United States to marry the petitioning U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival.
It’s an important step on the journey to becoming a permanent resident. Once the foreign national is married he or she can apply for an adjustment of status to become a permanent resident and gain a green card.
A step-by-step guide is provided by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The K1 program is a collaborative process involving USCIS, the U.S. Department of State (DOS), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The K1 visas process is a complicated and time-consuming one. It starts with the submission of form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) by the U.S citizen to recognize the foreign citizen as the person’s fiancé or fiancée.
From an early stage, USCIS carries out a background check for national security, criminal records, and other pertinent information on both the petitioner and beneficiary.
We provide a checklist of documents here on our website.
In the K-1 visa interview, the foreign-born fiancé(e) must present the following forms and documents:
- Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application;
- Police certificates from any country where the fiancé(e) lived for six months or longer;
- Divorce or death certificate of any previous spouse(s);
- A passport with a date of validity at least six months beyond the intended period of stay;
- A medical examination;
- Proof of financial support;
- Two photographs;
- Proof of the relationship with U.S. citizen sponsor; and
- Fee payments.
The decision whether to issue a K1 visa will be made after DOS conducts background checks on the visa applicant. The process involves obtaining fingerprints and other background checks similar to those conducted by USCIS, as well as checks of DOS systems and databases held by other agencies. A consular interview is also conducted.
After entry to the United States and marriage, the K-1 nonimmigrant may apply for adjustment to his or her lawful permanent resident status by filing Form I-485 with USCIS.
K1 visas are a complicated part of immigration law. If you going through the process it makes sense to hire an experienced Austin immigration lawyer. Call us for a consultation at (512) 399-2311.