K1 Fiancee Visa

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

1. What is K-1 fiancee visa?

The K-1 fiancee visa is a nonimmigrant visa which allows the fiance or fiancée of a U.S. citizen to enter into the U.S. and get married to the U.S. citizen.

2. Who is eligible for K1 visa?

As a fiance or fiancee of a U.S. citizen you are eligible if you are:

  1. Legally eligible to marry under the law of both the nations
  2. Planning to getting married within 90 days of your entering the U.S.
  3. Entering the U.S. solely for the purpose of marriage
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3. What are the limitations of K1 visa?

On K-1 visa, you may not:

  1. Change to any other nonimmigrant status while you are in the U.S.
  2. Use K-1 visa to enter the U.S. if you have been temporarily barred from entering into the U.S. for previous violation of U.S. immigration law

4. How long can I stay in the U.S. on K-1 visa?

  1. A K-1 visa is issued with a validity of 6 months. You have to enter the U.S. before the expiry date shown on your K-1 visa
  2. After your arrival in the U.S., you have 90 days to get married or you must return to your home country. There is no legal way to extend the 90 day limit
  3. Once the marriage has taken place in the U.S., you must apply to adjust to permanent resident status. Note that you would first generally obtain a two-year conditional residency and would have to file additional paperwork later for the conditions to be lifted

5. What are the K-1 fiance visa processing times?

The K-1 fiance visa processing times vary with each individual’s circumstances. Under normal circumstances, it takes 3 to 5 months at the USCIS plus 2 to 3 months at the Consulates to process the visa.

6. How do I apply for K-1 visa?

To apply for a K-1 visa, a petition must be submitted by your U.S. citizen fiancé or fiance to the USCIS along with a:

  1. Letter from the U.S. citizen stating your intention to marry each other
  2. Proof that the U.S. citizen and you have met in person within two years of filing the petition (this may be waived for reasons like cultural issues or extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen)
  3. Proof that you both are legally able to marry (age for getting married, no divorce pending cases etc)
  4. Proof of U.S. citizenship of petitioner
  5. Birth Certificate of fiancee
  6. Divorce decree or Death Certificate of any previous spouse

Note: When the USCIS approves the petition, it sends the petition to the U.S. Consulate abroad, which will issue the K-1 visa. The consulate determines whether the foreign fiance would be eligible to receive an immigrant visa, before approving the K-1 visa

7. As a U.S. citizen what additional information do I need to know about K-1 visa?

You must keep in mind that:

  1. As a U.S. citizen, you are completely responsible for your K-1 fiance or fiancee financially
  2. If for any reason you do not marry your K-1 fiance or fiancée and she departs the U.S. within the 90 days, she will not be precluded from coming to the U.S. in the future on another K-1 visa and you will not be precluded from again bringing her or another fiance to the U.S. on a K-1 visa
  3. Your fiance or fiancee can obtain authorization to work under K-1 status

8. Can I transfer my citizenship to my spouse?

No, as a U.S. citizen you may not transfer your citizenship to your spouse. If your spouse wishes to relocate with you to the U.S., your spouse will require an immigrant visa. A Lawful Permanent Resident who is married to a U.S. citizen may apply to become a naturalized U.S. citizen after three years as permenant resident in the U.S.

9. My American citizen fiance is sponsoring me for immigration, does it matter where we get married?

If you wish to marry in the U.S. and take up indefinite residence after marriage, you require a fiancee visa. If you wish to marry outside the U.S. and travel to the U.S. to take up residence, you will require an immigrant visa.

10. Which is quicker to process, an immigrant or a fiancee visa?

The time taken for the K1 fiance visa process varies with each individual case. However, in general, a fiance visa application may be slightly quicker than an application for an immigrant visa, as immigrant visa petitions are taking longer to be processed and approved by the USCIS in the U.S. If the time factor is of importance, you should contact the USCIS office where you will file the petition to ascertain processing times before deciding on applying for a fiance or immigrant visa.

11. What is the process to have the conditional resident status for my spouse removed?

You are required to file a petition with the USCIS to have the conditional resident status removed. The petition must be filed 90 days before the second anniversary of your spouse being admitted into the U.S on an immigrant visa, or adjusting status on marriage, if your spouse entered on a fiance visa.

12. I will not marry within 90 days of my fiance's arrival in the U.S. Can we still apply for a fiance visa?

No, if the marriage will not take place within 90 days your fiance’s arrival in the U.S., it will not be possible to process an application for a fiance visa. If your intent is to eventually marry in the U.S. Visa free travel under the Visa Waiver Program or a nonimmigrant visitor or work visa is not appropriate.

13. Can we apply for K-1 visa while my fiancee is in the U.S.?

The K-1 fiance visa processing times vary with each individual’s circumstances. Under normal circumstances, it takes 3 to 5 months at the USCIS plus 2 to 3 months at the Consulates to process the visa.

14. If I cannot sponsor my fiance how can my fiance reside with me in the U.S?

Your fiance will be required to qualify for a visa either in one of the employment based preference categories, or through the Diversity Visa Program commonly known as the Green Card Lottery.

15. Can my fiance or fiancee work in the U.S. before we marry?

The USCIS may grant permission for your fiance to take up employment in the U.S. before the marriage takes place. To obtain Employment Authorization your fiance will need to file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with the USCIS Service Center which covers your fiance’s place of residence in the U.S after your fiance’s arrival there.

Note: The USCIS is currently taking 90-120 days to process EAD applications and the authorized stay for a K-1 fiancee is only 90 days, therefore you may not receive the EAD in a timely manner, The EAD can only be valid for the period of authorized stay.

16. Can I apply for a fiance visa if my fiance is still married?

The fiance visa petition cannot be filed until you are both legally free to marry. Therefore, you will be required to wait until your fiance’s divorce is finalized.

17. We only wish to travel to the U.S. to marry. We will return to our home country after the marriage. Do we still need a fiance visa?

If you are traveling to the U.S. to marry a U.S. citizen with the intention of returning to your place of permanent residence abroad, you may apply for a visitor (B-2) visa, or if eligible, travel without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program. Evidence of a residence abroad to which the B-2 visa holder or visa wavier traveler intends returning should be carried for presentation to an immigrant inspector at the port of entry.

18. Can I enter the U.S. on a fiancee visa, marry and then leave the U.S for my honeymoon?

On marriage, you must contact the BCIS for further information. If you leave the U.S. without obtaining BCIS permission to re-enter the country, you will be required to apply for an immigrant visa in order to return. This could delay your return by three to six months.

19. Can I travel to the U.S. while my application for an immigrant or fiance visa is being processed?

No, if you intend taking up permanent residence in the U.S., you are required to wait until the immigrant or fiance visa is issued. You cannot reside in the U.S. on a tourist visa or visa free under the Visa Waiver Program while waiting the issuance of an immigrant or fiance visa. When traveling to the U.S. either with a visa or visa free under the Visa Waiver Program, you should be sure to carry with you for presentation to U.S. immigration evidence of your residence outside the U.S. If the BCIS inspector is not convinced that you are a bona fide visitor for pleasure, you will be denied entry into the U.S.

20. Can I change to K-1 status while I am in the U.S.?

No, you may not change status to K-1 while you are in the U.S. The K-1 visa is solely available to finace’s of U.S. citizen’s outside the U.S. to enter into the U.S. and marry the U.S. citizen.