K-1 Fiancé(e) of U.S. Citizen
K-1 visa classification is available to any foreign national who is engaged to marry a U.S. citizen. The visa, as issued by the consulate abroad, may be used to enter the U.S. for the purpose of marrying a U.S. citizen within a very strict ninety-day window following entry. Within that 90-day period, the U.S. citizen and the foreign national must be married, after which the foreign national spouse may apply for permanent resident status in the U.S..
Both the American citizen petitioner and foreign born fiancé must be legally able and willing to conclude a valid marriage in the U.S. within ninety days of entry. The petitioner and beneficiary must meet standards for establishing a bona fide intention to marry including, but not limited to, documentation of a preexisting relationship, physical meeting. These eligibility requirements are subject to limited exceptions.
As soon as the processing of a case is completed and the applicant has all necessary documents, a consular officer will interview the fiancé(e). If found eligible, a visa will be issued, valid for one entry during a period of six months.
This classification does require an approved petition for K-1 classification. Prior to the foreign national applying for a K-1 visa, the U.S. citizen fiancé must apply for K-1 petition approval from the USCIS. Upon approval, the foreign fiancé(e) must apply directly at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate within four months of the date of petition approval, or seek revalidation by the consular officer.
K-1 visas are valid for one entry during a period of six months following the date of issuance, and allow the bearer to stay in the U.S. for up to ninety days. Within ninety days of arrival in the U.S., the U.S. citizen and foreign national must marry. In order to stay in the U.S. after marriage, the foreign national spouse must then apply for permanent resident status. Please note: failure to marry within the 90 day window following entry on a K-1 visa has very grave immigration consequences. If you cannot comply with the ninety day requirement, it is strongly recommended that you consult with a licensed immigration attorney.
K-1 visa classification is a work authorized status upon entry and does not require additional application to the USCIS.
Each American Embassy and Consulate has different visa application procedures and requirements. It is essential to check with the individual Embassy or Consulate at which you intend to apply.
Applicants should be aware that approval by the Citizenship and Immigration Service or sponsoring entity does not guarantee issuance of a visa. The consular officer, under the authority of the Department of State, may deny the visa. Moreover, issuance of a visa does not guarantee entry into the U.S.. At the Port of Entry (POE), an immigration inspector must authorize the traveler's admission to the U.S., and such inspector has the authority to deny admission in accordance with U.S. immigration laws and regulations.