Fiance Visas and Marriage Based Green Card

Apply for a K-1 Visa in New York, New York

What is a Fiancé Visa and how it is different from a Marriage-Based Green Card?

What is a Fiancé Visa and how it is different from a Marriage-Based Green Card?

If you have recently gotten engaged or are planning on becoming engaged in the near future Congratulations! If you are searching the internet for words like Fiancé Visa or also knowns as K-1 Visa it probably means that either you or your significant other is not a U.S, citizen or a legal permanent resident (green card holder) but the two of you plan to settle in United States once you are married. What is a Fiancé Visa?

Fiancé Visa is really a K-1 visa but either name is widely used. Fiancé visa or K-1 visa is issued to a person who intends to come to United States for the purposes of marrying their significant other. The term Fiancé applies equally to both men and women as well as same sex couples and other members of LGBTQ community.

There are several requirements for successfully obtaining Fiancé Visa.

The couple must have seen each other at least once in the last two years. However there are exceptions to this rule.

The Fiancé and U.S. citizen must indent to marry each other within 90 days of arrival in United States. They must also go through with the marriage within the 90 days or the Fiancé Visa holder must depart US within that time. This is a very important point because if the couple does not get married and K-1 visa holder remains the immigration options of legalizing in the future are very limited.

Please remember that if you have already married somewhere outside of United States you cannot proceed with the Fiancé visa (K-1 visa) and must instead follow the steps to obtain a spousal visa which involves filing a Petition for Relative Alien (Form I-130) and consular processing among other things.

How is Fiancé Visa Different from Marriage Based Green Card?

There are two options for immigrating to United States to be with your significant other. One is through the Fiancé Visa and the other is the spousal or marriage-based petition.

If you are applying for a Fiancé Visa (K-1 visa) that means that you have not been married yet and that the marriage will take place here in United States. In this scenario the person enters United States on a non-immigrant visa issued for a limited time.

If you have already married your U.S. citizen spouse can sponsor the foreign spouse for a green card. This process is commonly referred to as "I-130 Process" or "Consular Processing". In this scenario the foreign spouse will enter United States on an immigrant visa as a lawful permanent resident.

Please remember that only a U.S. citizen can sponsor a foreign Fiancé for a Fiancé Visa (K-1 visa). This visa is not available for percent residents.

Eligibility for Fiancé Visa

The K-1 fiancé visa is available to fiancés of U.S. citizen who are living outside of United States and intend to get married within 90 days of arriving in the United States. The K-1 fiancé visa requirements include:

  • Both you and your fiancé must be singly and eligible to be married under the U.S. law which means that same-sex couples are eligible for a K-1 fiancé visa whether or not foreign fiancé's home country recognizes same-sex marriage.
  • If either you or your fiancé have been married before you will have to provide a valid divorce or death certificate issued. USCIS provides a list of acceptable documents for every country.
  • The sponsoring fiancé must be a U.S. citizen. Green card holders are not eligible to apply for K-1 fiancé visa
  • The relationship must be proven to be authentic and genuine. The couple can submit photos, correspondence and letters of support from family and friends who know the couple. This can also be demonstrated through concrete wedding plans here in United States, such as venue reservations, invitations, planned events and other things that wedding plans have either begun or are being actively discussed.
  • The couple must have met in person at least once in the last two years. This requirement does have exception for religious practices or if the U.S. citizen can demonstrate a hardship.
  • The U.S. citizen fiancé will have to meet specific income requirements that are set out by USCIS. The U.S. citizen fiancé will have to provide income verification documents such as tax returns, paystubs and employment letter where applicable.

Please note that this is a brief description of eligibility requirements for a K-1 Fiancé visa. In every instance there are case specific details and additional eligibility questions that come into play. To discuss you case with us please call us or schedule your next appointment here