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K-1 visas for Fiances of US Citizens

What is the K-1 Fiancee Visa?

Bi-national marriages are very common these days and many Americans have found their true love in another country. While there are those who opt to settle in their partner’s home country, it seems most bring their loved one to the U.S. to reside.

But bringing a partner to the U.S. from a foreign land is not an easy process. Both need to meet the requirements of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and submit statutorily required documentation.

The United States Congress created the K-1 visa to allow an American Citizen (and K-1 benefits are only available to the fiancée of a United States Citizen) to bring their foreign fiancée to the USA in order to marry and remain. This is a dual intent non-immigrant visa that allows the foreign national fiancee of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States for a period of 90 days for the purpose of marriage and filing for adjustment of status.

K-1 Visa Process

The K-1 visa process can essentially be boiled down into two phases: the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) phase and the Department of State (DOS) phase. A petition for fiancé visa benefits must first begin with the petitioning of the DHS. The American Citizen will have his or her nationality verified by DHS officers in order to ascertain whether or not he or she is eligible to petition for fiancée immigration benefits. The foreign fiancée will also be vetted in an effort to determine his or her identity. DHS will also make an assessment as to the couple’s relationship in order to gauge whether the relationship is in fact genuine and that the foreign spouse genuinely intends to move to the USA in order to marry his or her American counter-part. In some cases, DHS will request further evidence pertaining to the petition. Should DHS approve the case then the case file will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (under the auspices of the DOS) which will then send the petition and all relevant documentation relating thereto to the appropriate US Embassy or US Consulate abroad. At this point, the so-called “Consular Processing” phase has begun and the foreign fiancée will need to complete various forms for the DOS and eventually attend an interview at the Visa Section of the post abroad. After interview, a foreign fiancée could be issued a 221(g) request for further evidence at which point further action would need to be taken in order to complete the process. Concurrently, the foreign fiancée may be found inadmissible to the USA based upon the legal grounds of inadmissibility set forth in the United States Immigration and Nationality Act. In that case, the foreign fiancée may only be admissible to the USA after being granted an I-601 waiver of inadmissibility. Should the visa application be approved then the visa will usually be issued within 7-10 days from the interview date.

It should be noted that the K-1 visa is specific to the individuals cited in the petition so the K-1 visa holder may only use the K-1 to travel to the USA to marry the American Citizen named in the fiancée visa petition.

For more detailed information please see: K-1 visa.