K1 Visa for a Foreign-Citizen Fiancé(e) of a U.S. Citizen | Frequently Asked Questions
Bringing your fiancé(e) to the United States and starting your life together is a turning point in your relationship. To make it happen, your partner will need to obtain a K1 visa. But first, you may want to learn the basic terminology and understand the steps related to fiancé(e) visa. In this article, we share a list of the most common questions regarding this visa category.
1. What is a U.S. fiancé(e) visa?
The K1 Fiancé(e) visa is a U.S. nonimmigrant visa intended for fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens who live outside of the United States. Although a nonimmigrant visa, fiancé(e) visa is considered a dual intent visa: it allows you to enter the U.S., marry your significant other, and apply for a green card.
2. How long is the K1 visa valid for?
K1 visa is valid for six months from the date it was issued. Once the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) arrives in the U.S., the marriage has to take place within 90 days from the entry date, and this period cannot be extended.
3. How long does it take for a K1 visa to be processed?
It takes approximately seven months for your petition to be processed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Some visa cases get delayed because the applicants overlook certain instructions and submit incomplete applications.
4. How can I get a U.S. fiancé(e) visa?
Obtaining a K1 visa involves steps that both you and your fiancé(e) need to take. You’ll need to file the Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), complete your DS-160, submit additional documentation, pay the fees, and finally attend an interview. In the article K1 Fiancé(e) Visa | Application Process and Useful Tips, we discuss the process and useful tips for a K1 visa.
5. Can I get a work permit while on a K1 visa?
Although it is certainly possible to apply for a work permit while on a K1 visa, it is not a standard practice. This is mainly because it takes two months or longer for the USCIS to process your work permit application. Having in mind that you need to marry your fiancé(e) within the 90-day period, it is best to wait until you receive your marriage-based green card.
6. How do I prove that our relationship is legitimate?
In order to prove that you and your partner have a strong relationship, you will have to collect the evidence over a long period of time, ideally months. The evidence which proves that your relationship is genuine includes letters or gifts you’ve exchanged, photos you took together, vacations, chat and call logs, and any other relevant evidence which shows that you are an actual couple and that you do not intend to marry for immigration purposes exclusively.
7. Can I visit my fiancé(e) in the U.S. while I’m waiting for my fiancé(e) visa approval?
In case you want to stay with your fiancé(e) who is a U.S. citizen as you’re waiting for your K1 visa to be approved, you have an option to apply for a B2 tourist visa, but only for a temporary stay—you cannot reside in the U.S. However, it is not recommended to do so since a tourist visa requires proof that you have ties to your home country and that you plan to return back, which might be difficult to do since your fiancé(e) is a U.S. citizen. It is best to wait until your fiancé(e) visa gets approved to avoid any risks.
8. Am I eligible to apply for a K1 visa?
To be eligible for a K1 visa, both you and your fiancé(e) need to meet certain requirements. Having a criminal record or overstaying a visa, for instance, will decrease your approval chances. Use our free eligibility checker, and see if you may qualify.
9. Is there an interview for a K1 visa?
Yes, the foreign fiancé(e) will have to attend an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
10. Does my fiancé(e) need a medical examination?
Medical examination performed by an authorized physician is required. If your fiancé(e) is bringing children with them, they will also need to undergo the examination.
11. Can my fiancé(e) bring their children as well?
Yes, your fiancé(e) is allowed to bring dependents with them. The K1 fiancé(e) visa allows unmarried children under 21 years of age to accompany their parent who is traveling on a K1 visa. The required visa in that case is a K2 visa.
12. Do I need to file separate petitions for my fiancé(e)’s children?
No, there is no need to file separate petitions. As we’ve established, the K1 visa allows dependents which means that one petition is enough, but children must have separate applications. After the marriage takes place, children will have to file for the adjustment of status separately from their parent.
13. Do I meet the income requirements to sponsor my fiancé(e)?
Your financial situation determines if you’re able to sponsor your fiancé(e), and it depends on your annual income, the state where you live, and the number of people in your household. Access our free income calculator, and see the minimal annual income requirement in your case.
14. I don’t meet income requirements, can someone else help us out?
In case you alone cannot financially support your fiancé(e), you can have a joint sponsor or a household member help you. If a household member, who must be at least 18 years old, wants to provide financial help, you will need to submit the additional Form I-864A. On the other hand, if the sponsor is not related to either of you and doesn’t reside in the same household with you, then you will have to submit the Form I-864 together with the primary affidavit.
15. How much does the U.S. fiancé(e) visa cost?
The total cost of a fiancé(e) visa includes government fees, medical examination fees, and additional costs for filing documents and translation, and it varies from case to case.
16. Can I extend my petition if it has expired?
Keep in mind that the I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) is valid for four months from the date of approval. In case your petition has expired, it can be extended by the Consular Officer.
17. I haven’t met with my fiancé(e) in the past two years, is that going to be a problem?
A prerequisite for obtaining a K1 visa is that you and your partner have met in person in the past two years. In specific situations, such as the case of an arranged marriage where it is prohibited to meet with your fiancé(e) because that would violate cultural norms, you may get a waiver of this requirement.
18. My fiancé(e) and I married while we were waiting for the K1 visa approval, what do we need to do now?
If you got married while your K1 visa approval was pending, you’re no longer eligible for this visa type. You will need to request the cancellation and apply for a spouse visa instead. Having two active applications simultaneously is a bad idea which can lead to legal issues.
19. There is a big age difference between my fiancé(e) and I, am I still eligible to apply?
When it comes to the big age gap, in some cases it may be problematic. But still, it all depends on the country you’re from and who the petitioner or beneficiary is. Each case is specific, so it is best to consult with our agents and explain your situation. As long as you’re able to provide enough evidence to show that your relationship is legitimate, it should not be a major issue.
20. Can a fiancé(e) visa be denied?
U.S. K1 visas typically get approved, but there are certain circumstances which may affect your approval chances, which make you or your fiancé(e) ineligible. If you’re wondering why K1 Fiancé(e) visa applications get denied, you can check out our article and learn about the most common reasons for visa denial, so you know what to expect.
21. After my fiancé(e) visa is approved, do I need to travel to the U.S. right away?
You don’t need to travel to the U.S. immediately after you receive your K1 visa. However, you do need to travel within the following six months after the approval date.
22. Can I expedite the process?
The visa processing can be expedited only in the case of an emergency. The NVC will consider expediting your case if there’s a medical emergency and you need to take care of your partner.
VisaExpress is part of the GovAssist family, which also owns and operates GovAssist Legal, a non-traditional legal services provider authorized to the practice of Immigration Law by the Utah Supreme Court’s Office of Legal Services Innovation.
Our team is supervised by in-house immigration lawyers, and you will be provided with attorney representation throughout your case. Using technology and our paralegal team we can charge much less than traditional law firms.