K Visas — Fiancé(e)
Engagement Visas (K-1 and K-2 Visas)
The K-1 visa nonimmigrant Fiancé Visa is designed for a foreign fiancé of a U.S. citizen.
The K-1 visa allows the foreign citizen fiancé to travel to the United States and marry their sponsor 90 days within their arrival to the United States.
The foreign fiancé will then apply for Adjustment of Status to become a U.S. permanent resident/green card holder. Both the fiancé visa and the Adjustment of Status are filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). For more information, see the Adjustment of Status section.
Because the K-1 visa allows the foreign fiancé to travel to the United States and marry a U.S. citizen after he or she arrives in the United States, the foreign fiancé should meet the requirements of an immigrant visa. Eligible children of K-1 visa applicants may be eligible to receive a K-2 visa.
Under U.S. Immigration Law, a foreign citizen fiancé of a U.S. citizen is the recipient of an approved Alien Fiancé Application, Form I-129F, who was issued a K-1 visa to travel to the United States in order to marry his or her U.S. citizen fiancé.
In general, the U.S. citizen fiancé and the foreign citizen fiancée should have met in person within the last two years. The USCIS may provide an exception to this requirement, based on extreme difficulty for the U.S. citizen to meet the foreign national fiancé in person.
The U.S.citizen and K visa applicant should have an intent to be married within 90 days of the foreign fiancé’s arrival to the U.S. The U.S.citizen and foreign fiancé should also be free to marry when the K visa application is filed and should remain free to marry until their marriage. The USCIS will require proof that all prior marriages have been terminated before approving the K-visa.
Once the foreign fiancé arrives on the K-1 visa, the U.S. citizen and foreign fiancé should be married within 90 days. Failure to do so can create serious problems for the foreign fiancée. The marriage must be legally performed in accordance with the laws of the United States state in which the marriage takes place.
After marriage, the foreign fiancé is usually eligible to file an Adjustment of Status to become a U.S. legal permanent resident.
The most important documentation for a K visa is proof of the relationship and that the parties have met in person within the previous two years of filing the K-visa application. The sponsoring U.S. citizen has the possibility of requesting an exception to this requirement under certain circumstances.
There are restrictions on the number of K-1 visa petitions a citizen is allowed to make. If the citizen has made two K-1 petitions in the past, they can no longer make new K-1 petitions.
If the citizen has made a K-1 visa petition in the past that has been approved, they cannot file a new petition unless two years have passed since that approval. These limitations are also subjected to narrow exceptions established by U.S. immigration law.
If the U.S. citizen has committed certain crimes, he or she can be disqualified from being able to apply for their foreign fiancé under a K-1 visa.
Also, before the foreign fiancé is granted the K-1 visa, the U.S. citizen must demonstrate sufficient income to support the foreign fiancée.
The Application Process for the K-1 Visa
The K-1 Visa Nonimmigrant Fiancé Visa is designed for a foreign fiancé of a U.S. citizen. A green card holder cannot file a fiancé visa as the K-visa is a benefit that is only offered to fiancés of U.S. citizens.
The K-1 visa allows the foreign citizen fiancé to travel to the United States and marry their U.S. sponsor within 90 days of their arrival to the United States.
The First Step (USCIS)
- File the K-Visa Application
The U.S. citizen sponsor must file Form I-129F, Petition for an Alien Fiancé, with the USCIS office in the area where they live. The approval process for this first step takes anywhere from 7-13 months.
Once the I-129F is approved, the case is transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC).
The Second Step (NVC)
- Submit the DS-160 and schedule the interview
The NVC will give you a case number. Once the DS-160 is competed and an interview is scheduled, NVC will forward your petition to the United States Embassy or Consulate where the foreign fiancé lives. The NVC will send you a letter or email when your fiancé’s case is sent to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Once this letter is received, make sure all original documents are in order and prepare for the interview.
The foreign citizen fiancée must bring the following forms and original documents to the interview:
- The Form DS-160, Application for Nonimmigrant Visa completion page. Any K-1 applicant and/or derivative child applying for the K-2 visa must: (1) complete the DS-160 Form and (2) print the DS-160 confirmation page to bring to the interview,
- A valid passport for travel to the United States and valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay in the United States (unless there are specific agreements between countries that provide exceptions),
- Divorce or death certificates of any former spouse for the foreign citizen fiancé and the U.S. citizen sponsor,
- Police clearance from the foreign fiancée’s current country of residence and from all countries where they lived for 6 months or more from the age of 16. (Certificates of conduct are also required to accompany children 16 years or older),
- A completed medical examination,
- Evidence of financial sponsorship (Form I-134, Affidavit of Financial Sponsorship may be requested),
- Two (2) 2×2 photographs,
- Evidence of relationship to the U.S. citizen fiancé,
- Proof of payment of fees.
On average, the processing time for a K visa is between six to twelve months, however, the pandemic has posed a significant delay to standard processing times. As such, applicants should be prepared to wait significantly longer as the U.S. Consulates and Embassies catch up with K visa processing.
If the foreign fiancé has children under the age of 21 they are eligible to receive a K-2 visa. It should be noted that minor children should be admitted to the United States before they turn 21.
It is absolutely essential that the beneficiary of the K-1 fiancé visa marry the U.S. citizen fiancé within 90 days of the day they were admitted to the United States. Once married, the foreign fiancée and her K-2 children can apply for permanent residence through the Adjustment of Status Process.
The K-1 visa has different costs including:
- The I-129F filing fee of $535
- A possible biometrics fee of $85
- An NVC fee of $160
- A $265 fee paid to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy