Fiance/Fiancee Visas (K1 Visas)
SHORSTEIN, LASNETSKI, & GIHON
helps people obtain Fiance/Fiancee Visas.
When a United States citizen decides to marry a non-citizen who is not on U.S. soil, one of the first things that should be considered is an immigration strategy. Timing is always an issue. Delays in processing can keep a loved ones apart for months or even years in some cases. Shorstein, Lasnetski & Gihon can help you decide whether a fiance/fiancee visa is right for you, or whether you should get married and then apply for an immigrant visa. Everybody's situation is unique. What may be right for someone else may not be right for you. Give us a call to discuss the options and best strategies.
A Fiance/Fiancee visa, also known as a K1 visa, is designed to allow a non-citizen to enter the United States for the sole purpose to get married to a U.S. citizen within 90 days. After the marriage, the non-citizen can apply for a green card (lawful permanent resident status).
- fiance/fiancee of a U.S. citizen
- seeks to enter solely to get married to the Petitioner (U.S. citizen) within 90 days of admission
- must conclude the valid marriage with the petitioning U.S. citizen
- must establish that it is a bona fide marriage
- must marry the petitioning U.S. citizen
The process starts by the U.S. citizen filing a Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance(e). You must submit the form, filing fee and supporting evidence to USCIS. The U.S. citizen must prove that he or she intends to marry within 90 days of the foreign national spouse's admission to the U.S., that the two have met in person within the last two (2) years (or that meeting in-person would violate long and strict customs),
Once the marriage is concluded and the non-citizen files for adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident (green card), they will be issued a conditional lawful permanent resident card. Both the U.S. citizen spouse and non-citizen spouse will have to file a petition to remove the conditions within 2 years. Examples of evidence might include wedding announcements, receipts for wedding venues, bands, photographers, etc., letters from family, friends, and the religious leader who will conduct the wedding, photos of the two together within the last two years, credit card receipts for U.S. citizen showing use in the foreign national's country, and more.
Once you submit the I-129F, filing fee and supporting documentation (listed in the I-129F instructions), you have to wait until the case is processed and you receive an approval notice. How long it takes to receive approval changes and is different depending on what service center your case has been assigned to. You can see the current processing time here.
After you receipt the approval notice, the foreign national can apply for the K1 visa at the U.S. Embassy in their country. The I-129F approval will provide instructions on how to proceed. The foreign national finace(e) will submit an application, documentation, and have an interview with a consular officer. If approved, the foreign national will be able to enter the United States for the sole purpose to get married to the U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days of admission.
After the marriage in the U.S., the foreign national will have to file an I-485, Application to adjust status, in order to obtain a greencard. He or she can also file an I-765, to obtain an employment authorization card (EAD, work permit), along with the I-485, which should come well in advance of the greencard. The greencard will be a conditional one because the marriage will have ocurred within two (2) years of filing for the greencard. So, before the expiration of the two year greencard, the U.S. citizen spouse and the foreign national spouse will have to file a joint petition to remove the conditions, where USCIS will look to make sure the marriage wasn't fraudulent. This usually requires an interview at a USCIS office.
The child of a K-1 visa holder can obtain a K-2 visa and accompany or follow to join the non-citizen spouse. There are time limitations and age limitations, so you should consult with an immigration lawyer about your specific case.
Typically, a U.S. Citizens prior criminal record will have no effect on the immigration process. There is an exception however, under the Adam Walsh Act. A U.S. citizen who has been convicted of a "specified offense against a minor" cannot have a petition for non-citizen fiance/fiancee approved unless he or she proves beyond a reasonable doubt that he or she poses no risk to the alien beneficiary. These cases are often denied and there is no or limited appellate rights, so call us if you or your fiance/fiancee has a conviction for any offense against a minor.
The foreign national's criminal record will be at issue, however, on whether he or she is "admissible" to the United States and therefore eligible for a finace(e) visa.
If you or someone you know is interesting in setting up a consultation to determine eligibility and/or strategy for a K1 visa, please call us: