K-1 Visa Attorney in San Jose, CA, Providing Immigration Services to Those Who Wish to Sponsor Their Foreign Citizen Fiancé(e)
Whether you’re a birthright citizen or were naturalized, you can petition to bring your foreign-born fiancé or fiancée to the United States for the wedding. Your fiancé(e) 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, United States citizenship.
In order to qualify for a K-1 fiancée 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 marry in the U.S legally.
Additionally, you must have met your foreign fiancé(e) 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 learn more, you are encouraged to speak with visa lawyers experienced in helping both the citizen sponsor and their alien fiancé.
To apply for a K-1 visa, your fiancé or fiancée 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.
What Are the Basic Requirements for a K1 Visa?
There are certain requirements in place that must be met if the USCIS service center is to issue a K1 Visa to the U.S. citizen and their foreign fiancé. While the list appears simple enough, each step may require a lot of evidence, sometimes including sensitive information.
Requirements for a K1 Visa petitioner include:
- One of the individuals, either the husband or wife-to-be, must be a United States citizen. They may either be born in the U.S. or be a U.S. citizen by way of naturalization. Legal permanent residents do not meet the necessary criteria. Only U.S. citizens. In the case of the American fiance being a lawful permanent resident, you may be eligible for a marriage visa such as the CR-1 spousal visa.
- Both the U.S. citizen and their foreign citizen fiancé must have met sometime within the past two years. Unfortunately, seeing them remotely across the internet via a website program or talking with them on the phone does not satisfy the USCIS requirements. There are, however, exceptions that can be made with the help of an immigration lawyer. In cases where the two of you meeting would have disrupted social practices or cultural norms, it is possible that the USCIS may waive this requirement. Also, if it would cause the U.S. citizen extreme hardship to travel to meet their foreign loved one, then this may be argued by your attorney as well. (For those who have met in person within the last two years, it would be wise to present evidence of that fact, including photographs of the two of you together.)
- Both parties must be free to marry. If either party had any previous marriages, those marriages must have either been ended by divorce, annulment, or death. In some cases, the government may request that you provide proof, such as divorce papers or death certificates. Those who plan to be divorced but are still in the process must see to it that the divorce is finalized before moving forward with a K1 Visa application.
- It is unfortunate, but the United States does not want anyone to be a burden on the system, whether they are natural-born citizens or foreign-born individuals looking for a better opportunity. You must prove to the USCIS that you can financially support each other and your living expenses or risk seeing your application turned down.
- The marriage must be born from a legitimate relationship. If there is no legitimacy to the marriage, then this could be seen as a case of immigration fraud.
- Both the U.S. citizen and the alien fiancé will have to undergo a criminal history background check. Those with an extensive criminal record may not be successful in acquiring a K1 Visa. It is important that you answer all questions honestly in any forthcoming immigration interview, though, as any misrepresentation or mistake may result in a denial.
What Documentation is Requested by USCIS, and How Can K1 Visa Lawyers Help?
For those hoping to obtain a K1 Visa, they should begin preparing by gathering all important documentation that may be asked for either in the application process or in the later interview.
Documentation that may be needed during the process:
- DS-160 form (nonimmigrant visa application).
- A valid passport will maintain its validity for the processing time and the time in which the two parties are married.
- Divorce paper and/or death certificate proving the end of any previous marriage between the fiance and their intended spouse.
- The birth certificates of both fiancés.
- A professional medical examination and proof of the examination’s findings.
- Two passport-style photos were issued by the Department of State.
- Bank account statements and other means to prove that you can financially support each other and will not become a burden on United States benefits programs.
- Money to pay for any and all necessary filing fees.
How to Legally Marry Your Foreign Fiancé or Fiancée in the United States?
First, file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancée, and its accompanying documents. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will either approve the petition and send it to the National Visa Center (NVC) in New Hampshire or deny it and notify you of the reasons for the denial. If you are denied, talk to an immigration attorney (if you haven’t already), and they may be able to assist you in appealing the decision or reapplying.
The National Visa Center will forward an approved petition to your fiancée’s local embassy or consulate, where your fiancée will apply for the K-1 visa. The embassy or consulate will schedule a visa interview with your fiancé or fiancée. Your fiancé 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 fiancé(e) has been admitted to the U.S., you two are then free to marry one another. However, please note that you must marry within 90 days of their arrival in the United States, or your foreign fiancé 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, hopefully then granting them the privileges of lawful permanent resident status. They can apply for citizenship after five total years of lawful permanent residency.
Should You Get Married in the United States or the Country of the Foreign Fiancé?
Sometimes there is a lot of appeal to getting married abroad on some far-off foreign soil instead of in the America that we see every day outside our car window. However, does that make it better to marry overseas in the home country of the foreign fiance? Not necessarily. But it really depends on the particulars of your individual case and who you two are as people.
Ultimately, it comes down to human rights. America is not perfect in this regard, and we see rights vary from state to state sometimes. However, there are certain rights that are afforded to people of America which are simply not given to citizens of foreign countries.
For example, a same-sex LGBTQ couple has the same right to apply for a K-1 fiancé visa in the United States as any other couple. But in many nations, same-sex marriages remain illegal, and LGBTQ people who love one another may be forced to remain unmarried because of that lack of equality.
There may be other requirements in place in other nations, whether they be based on age, race, ethnicity, or religious beliefs, which could make marrying the person you’re in a relationship with more challenging.
Additionally, those who get married in the United States will have a shorter wait to secure a marriage green card.
Contact Our Law Firm to Create an Attorney-Client Relationship Starting with Your Initial Consultation
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. either with an immigrant visa, marriage visa, or fiancé visa application.
While our law offices are based in San Jose, CA, our legal staff also provides legal services to clients in the following localities: San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, Berkeley, San Bernardino, Riverside, Sunnyvale, and the general Bay Area.
If you have questions or concerns about whether you and your partner are eligible for a K1 Visa, please contact our law offices to discuss your case in more detail. Just as no marriages are the same, no one should expect that all K1 Visa cases should be the same either. If there are complications or problems within the application process, your experienced visa lawyer will provide legal strategies about how you may address and overcome the issues until the USCIS approves your application.
To schedule your initial case evaluation, please contact our office either through our website or by calling us by phone at (408) 645-6395.