Getting a K-1 Nonimmigrant Visa: Your Key to Getting Married and Settling in the U.S.

K-1 Nonimmigrant Visa

The K-1 nonimmigrant visa is also referred to as a fiancé(e) visa. To obtain the visa, you and your future spouse must show your intention to marry within 90 days of entering the U.S. as a K-1 nonimmigrant.

What the K-1 Nonimmigrant Visa Allows you to Do

Therefore, the K-1 visa offers several privileges to nonimmigrants. These amenities include the following:

  • You can come to the U.S. to marry a citizen of the U.S.
  • You have the ability to apply for permission to work as soon as you arrive.
  • If a U.S. citizen cannot marry you in your country of origin, the K-1 visa offers a solution.
  • If you have children who are under 21 years of age who are not married, they can accompany you as relatives.

Take Note of the Requirements

You’re required to marry your U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days of entering the U.S. Therefore, the visa only lasts 90 days and cannot be extended. 

If you wish to stay in the U.S., you must apply for a green card after you’re married.

If you don’t get married within 90 days, you’re usually asked to leave the U.S.

How to Qualify for a Non-immigrant K-1 Visa for Marriage in the US

To proceed with the K-1 process, you’ll first need to fill out a petition for approval. The approval for the petition usually takes about four months. After the petition is approved, it takes another one to four months for an overseas U.S. consulate to issue the K-1 visa.

Determining Your Eligibility for a K-1 Visa

If you plan to marry a U.S. citizen, your future spouse can bring you to the US with a K-1 visa. While this is a non-immigrant visa, it can easily be converted to a green card once you’re married and settled.

To obtain the K-1 visa, the couple must be able to marry, by law. This means they must be of legal age and both must be single. 

When a K-3 Visa is the Solution

If one of the parties is already married, the US government cannot issue a K-1 visa. However, you can apply for an immigrant visa or a special fiance visa for couples already married, which is a K-3 visa

Learning More about the Requirements

When applying for the K-1 visa, you must plan to marry and must have met and regularly seen each other in person for two years. In some circumstances, this requirement is waived for people who practice a religion where the marriage is arranged, which prohibits premarital meetings. 

To be released from the pre-meeting requirement then, you must show that you plan to follow the customs of your religion for marriage.

A waiver for a personal meeting may also be granted if the meeting might cause extreme hardship, such as a medical issue. Economic hardship, alone, is usually not accepted.

A Recap of K-1 Eligibility

In summation, the U.S. has four primary eligibility requirements for granting a K-1 visa:

  1. The petitioner has to be a resident of the U.S.
  2. Both parties must be able to marry lawfully.
  3. The foreign national must have a sincere and real desire to marry the petitioner upon arrival in the U.S.
  4. The couple must have seen each other within the past two year unless their religion forbids premarital meetings or a meeting would have caused extreme hardship, such as a medical condition.

Filing the Petition

The petition that the U.S. citizen files for a K-1 visa are submitted to the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) of the U.S. Government. It is delivered to one of the INS service centers. When a petition is completed, the idea is the show three things:

  1. The future spouse and petitioner do plan to get married within 90 days after the arrival of the future spouse in the U.S.
  2. Both parties can legally marry.
  3. Both parties have physically met within the last two years unless a waiver applies. 

The petition will not give you immigration benefits. You still need to move on to the next part of the process and submit the visa application.

During this part of the proceedings, the future spouse carries out the steps in the U.S. consulate in their country. You cannot file an application until the petition is approved. 

Therefore, you cannot complete the application process while you’re in the U.S., as the K-1 nonimmigrant visa is designed to allow entry into the U.S. for the purpose of marriage in the U.S. 

When You Don’t Need to Submit K-1 Visa Paperwork

If you already live in the U.S. or your future spouse and you live overseas, you don’t need the K-1 immigrant visa. You can simply get married and apply for a green card.

K-1 Nonimmigrant Visa

Call the Rijal Law Firm to File Your K-1 Visa Right Away

As you can see, immigration laws are specifically outlined yet complex. That is why you need to gain assistance from an immigration attorney. To ensure you’re doing everything right, contact the Rijal Law Firm the right way. Call (951) 667-1919 any time of the day.

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