The K-1 Visa, also known as a fiancé(e) visa, allows a foreign-citizen who is engaged to a citizen of the United States to enter the country in order to marry their sponsor who is a U.S. citizen. The marriage must take place within 90 days of arriving in the U.S., after which the foreign citizen may apply for a marriage green card. This is a nonimmigrant visa, but because the foreign citizen usually applies for adjustment of status to a permanent resident (LPR), the fiancé(e) has to meet some of the requirements of an immigrant visa.
There are certain rules a foreign-citizen fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen must meet to qualify for the visa. Both the U.S. citizen and the K-1 visa applicant must be legally free to marry according to laws of the U.S. state in which the marriage will take place. They must have met in person within the past two years, although the USCIS may grant an exception to this requirement based on extreme hardship. They must the have received an approved Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) from the USCIS office that serves the area where the citizen lives. If the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) has children who are eligible, they can make a separate application for a K-2 Visa at the same time.
What Forms and Documents are Needed for a K-1 Visa?
To get a K-1 visa, the U.S citizen and the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) will have to attend a visa interview. The visa interview takes place at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in the sponsored fiancé’s home country, usually about 4–6 weeks after the embassy’s initial notice. The interviewing officer will typically make a decision on the case either the same day of the interview or shortly afterward.
While every situation is different, in general, you will need to produce certain documents and bring them to your visa interview in order to get a K-1 visa. The necessary documents are as follows:
- Passport – You are required to show a passport that is valid for travel to the United States for at least 6 months longer than you intend to stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). If your passport is about to expire, you’ll need to renew it before getting the K-1 visa.
- Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application – You must show the same DS-160 form at the interview that you used to schedule your interview for the K-1 visa. The sponsored fiancé€ must complete the State Department’s online DS-160 form. This is the actual K-1 visa application, and it’s very important to print the confirmation page once the form has been submitted online. Also, any eligible children applying for K-2 visas must complete the Form DS-160 and print out the DS-160 confirmation page and bring them to your interview. Your eligible children may apply for K-2 visas based on the approval of Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), that your U.S. citizen fiancé(e) filed on your behalf, and your U.S. citizen fiancé(e) must list the children on the petition. Separate visa applications must be submitted for each K-2 visa applicant, and each applicant must pay the K visa application fee.
- Birth certificate – You must show your original birth certificate and a copy of the birth certificate. If necessary, you will also need a translation and a notarized copy of the translation. If you don’t have or can’t obtain a birth certificate, you will need to contact a civil registrar for a “certificate of non-availability.” In this case, you may need to find substitutes for the birth certificate.
- Police clearance – You will need to bring in your original Police Clearance Reports from your present country of residence and all countries where you have lived for six months or more since age 16. If you have accompanying children age 16 or older, you must bring police clearance reports for them as well.
- Medical exam report – You can either bring in the medical report (sealed) or have your physician forward the results to the Embassy.
- Affidavit of support (Form I-134) — During the visa interview, you will have to present evidence to the consular officer that you are not likely to become a public charge in the United States. You may present evidence that you are able to financially support yourself or that your U.S. citizen fiancé(e) is able to provide support, such as proof of employment and proof of paying taxes. Form I-134 should be brought to your interview to prove that the U.S. citizen is able to support you.
- Proof of visa fee payment – Bring along your proof of payment for the visa, which is usually a stamped, printed receipt.
- Proof of relationship – You will have to bring a selection of evidence that shows that you’ve maintained a loving relationship with the U.S. petitioner. Evidence may be things like photos of the two of you together, signed statements submitted by friends and family, and correspondence between you.
- Approval notices – With some embassies, you’re required to bring in the original Form I-129F notices and/or NVC approval notices. It is recommended that you take originals and copies, just in case they are required.
- Photographs – In addition, you should bring two (2) 2×2 photographs of yourself. These must be in color, full-face, and taken within the last six months.
K-1 visa applicants should be sure that clear, legible photocopies of civil documents and translations are taken to the visa interview. Documents in foreign languages, other than the language of the country in which the application takes place, should be translated into English. Sometimes, additional evidence is requested, and this will be submitted directly to the U.S. consulate. Original documents and translations will be returned to you.
Visa Requirements and Facts You Should Know
Here is some information that will help you get your visa:
Medical Examination and Vaccination Requirements
Before your interview, every applicant, regardless of age, must undergo a medical examination which must be performed by an authorized panel physician. You will be provided instructions regarding medical examinations from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you will apply for your visa, including information on authorized panel physicians you may use.
K visa applicants are encouraged to get the vaccinations required under U.S. immigration law for immigrant visa applicants. Although such vaccinations are not required to get a K-1 visa, they will be required when you want to become a legal permanent resident following your marriage. That is why it is best to have these vaccination requirements completed at the time of the medical examination. For guidance on immigration matters, including H1B visas, consider consulting with a knowledgeable Kentucky H1B visa lawyer to ensure a smooth and informed process.
There are fees you will have to pay before getting your visa. These are charged for the following services:
- Filing an Alien Fiancé(e) Petition, Form I-129F
- Nonimmigrant visa application processing fee, Form DS-160 (required for each K visa applicant)
- Medical examination (required for each K visa applicant; costs vary from post to post)
- Other costs may include translation and photocopying charges, fees for getting the documents required for the visa application (such as passport, police certificates, birth certificates, etc.), and travel expenses to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an interview. Costs vary from country to country and case to case.
- Filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status
The total cost for a K-1 visa is roughly $1,000, but you can check current fees for USCIS at Check Filing Fees on the USCIS website.
CARMAN FULLERTON PROVIDES K1 VISA LEGAL REPRESENTATION
Those interested in a K1 visa need to invest a substantial amount of money, time and energy. Be aware that certain conditions, such as convictions for drug trafficking, make you ineligible for this visa. Contact a K1 Visa attorney at Carman Fullerton in Lexington, Kentucky, to obtain legal representation to help prevent mistakes and increase the chances of your success by making sure all your documents are in order.
For an initial consultation, call (859) 469-4880.
Attorney Kirby J. Fullerton
Mr. Fullerton’s practice is focused on immigration law. He speaks Spanish, and represents clients in cases before the immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals. He began his career practicing criminal defense, and understands how matters in criminal courts can affect a client’s immigration status. [Attorney Bio]