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K1 Visas Explained

4 MIN READ

Getting engaged to be married can be an exciting and happy time indeed - congratulations! However, you can't let all of the excitement get in the way of practical things that you need to sort out before your big day. And that’s especially the case if you, an immigrant, plan on moving your residency to the U.S. from your homeland to be with your spouse-to-be. 

If you are a foreign national and plan on getting married and living in the U.S., you will need to apply for the K1 visa, one of many in the world of immigrant visas. In this blog post, we will go over what that is, who is eligible for it, and how you can apply and get authorization for one of the many types of visas.

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What Is The K1 Visa?

You might have heard the K1, also known as the “fiance(e) visa.” It’s for foreign nationals who become engaged to Americans and want to get married and live in the United States. 

If you are granted this nonimmigrant visa, then you will have within 90 days in the country, during which you will need to get married. If the marriage does not move forward, then you will need to leave the country. The nonimmigrant visa also becomes invalid if the engagement is broken off before the wedding takes place.

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Who Is Eligible For The K1 Visa?

As with every other type of visa, there are some strict conditions that you will need to meet to apply for the K1 visa. The regulations are as follows:

  • The partner who you are marrying must be an American citizen and not just the a green card holder so that they can provide an Affidavit of Support.

  • Both partners must be able to marry. There need to be documents provided that terminate any previous marriages, such as death certificates and divorce papers.

  • Same-sex partners can apply for a K1 visa even if the foreign national’s home country does not recognize same-sex marriage.

  • The legitimacy of the relationship will need to be proven through submitting photographs, itineraries that show joint trips, emails, and testimonials from family and friends.

  • At least one personal meeting within the past two years must be verified. This condition may be waived if it was impossible to do so because of cultural, religious, or societal norms. 

  • The intent to marry within 90 days must also be proven. Wedding plans, deposits for suppliers, and travel arrangements for the wedding can be submitted as evidence. 

  • The foreign national will also need to prove that they meet at least equal to 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. This information will show that you have the financial means to support yourself in the United States. However, if that is not possible to do, then you will need to find an affidavit who will be your fiscal sponsor.

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The Documents You Need For The K1 Visa

When you start your application for the K1 visa, you will need to submit a variety of documents. This will include all of the following:

  • The DS-160 form needs to be provided by yourself and any minor dependents that may be coming to the U.S. with you. You will need an individual form for each person.

  • The I-129F Form is required for every non-national spouse applying for a nonimmigrant visa

  • A passport.

  • Divorce or death certificates. These will prove that any marriages beforehand were successfully terminated.

  • Police clearances. You will be required to receive consent from each country in which you have previously lived for more than six months from the age of 16.

  • A medical exam from a registered health professional.

  • Evidence of financial support of the I-134 form. If you require an affidavit, then you will need to submit an I-134 form.

  • Two photographs. 

  • Evidence of your relationship. This can be photos, emails, testimonies from friends and family, etc.

  • Proof of payment for the visa application. You can submit the receipts.

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K1 Visa Application Steps

The K1 visa is relatively easy to apply for. You just need to follow these next few steps to no longer need a visitor visa and gain a port of entry.

Step One

First of all, your spouse will need to submit Form I-129F as your sponsor. The supporting documents that have already been mentioned will need to be sent off with this application. Don’t let your spouse forget to submit proof of their citizenship and a passport photograph and possibly more travel document-type paperwork. You should hear from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before 30 days. They will either ask for more information or notify you that they are processing your application to immigrate.

Step Two

While you are still abroad, you will need to complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form. After completing the non immigrant visa, You will also need to take part in an interview with a consular at the nearest United States Embassy or consulate office. Bring your supporting documents and confirmation page from the submission of Form DS-160 towards the path of lawful permanent residence.

You will be told either on the same day or the day after whether your application has been successful, and whether your status as an alien will remain or not.

Step Three

Once your visa is approved, you have four months to enter the United States to get lawful permanent resident status. As soon as you arrive, the 90 days, in which the waiver activates, you need to get married begins. Once you have gotten married, you will then be able to start the Adjustment of Status process so that you can transfer onto a different visa category.

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K1 Visa - Additional Information

There are a few other things to bear in mind when applying for the K1 visa. 

Costs

Firstly, there are a few costs that you will incur. You will need to pay $535 when filing Form I-129F and then the visa fee of $265 at your interview.

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Timeframe

When it comes to the length of time this visa process takes, it does depend on the individual case. The USCIS office should notify you that they have accepted your Form I-129F within 30 days. The whole application process can take anywhere between three to nine months, though.

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Apply for a Green Card After You Are Married

If you are planning to marry someone living in the United States, follow the procedures described in this article to apply for a K1 visa. You will be able to move your focus to wedding planning in no time. What happens once you are married? The majority of K1 visa holders will start the process to transition into green cards once they are married. To do this, you will need to move onto a K3 visa for the transitional period.

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