Whether you’re a birthright citizen or were naturalized, you can petition to bring your foreign-born fiance or fiancee to the United States for the wedding. They can use a K-1 visa, as long as you intend to marry within 90 days of their entry. Once you are married, your spouse can apply for lawful permanent residence (green card status) and, eventually, citizenship.
In order to qualify for a K-1 fiancee visa, you must be about to enter into a valid marriage. That is to say, it cannot be solely to obtain immigration benefits but must be the product of a bona fide intent to establish a life together. You both must also be free to legally marry in the U.S.
Additionally, you must have met your fiancee in person at least one time within the two years before you file the K-1 visa petition. Waivers of this requirement are available under certain circumstances.
To apply for a K-1 visa, your fiance or fiancee must be outside the U.S. If you are marrying outside the U.S. or are both already in the U.S., you can still get a green card for your spouse once you are married.
How to apply for a K-1 fiancee visa
First, file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancee, and its accompanying documents. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will either approve the petition and send it to the National Visa Center or deny it and notify you of the reasons. If you are denied, talk to an immigration attorney if you haven’t already.
The National Visa Center will forward the approved petition to your fiancee’s local embassy or consulate, where your fiancee will apply for the K-1 visa. The embassy or consulate will schedule a visa interview with your fiancee. Your fiancee should bring the required forms and documents to the interview. After the interview, the State Department will either grant the K-1 visa or deny it. Assuming it is approved, the visa is valid for a single entry during the subsequent six-month period.
Once your fiancee has been admitted to the U.S., you must marry within 90 days or your fiancee will have to leave.
After the marriage, your spouse can apply for a green card. Your spouse will generally be given conditional permanent resident status, which is a green card that is valid for two years. Ninety days before the conditional green card expires, your spouse will need to apply to have the conditions removed. They can apply for citizenship after five total years of lawful permanent residence.
For assistance with a K-1 visa, contact Yew Immigration Law Group. We have years of experience helping people come to live and work in the U.S.