Getting married usually involves meeting the right person, falling in love, and then making plans to wed and spend the rest of your life together. Things get a little trickier with the last part of that process when one of the individuals is from a country outside of the United States. With more and more people traveling abroad for work, the number of people who find themselves in this position is on the rise. While the movies would paint this process as being easily solved by simply getting married in the U.S., there is a little more involved than just that.
It stands to reason that the person that is engaged to the U.S. citizen would want to spend the rest of their life in this country. Before that can happen, though, they need to first apply for a K-1 visa, which is sometimes referred to as the fiancé visa. The visa is considered to be a non-immigrant visa and is good for 90 days, during which time the individual holding the visa must marry the U.S. citizen they are engaged to. If they fail to make that happen within the 90 day period, they will need to go back to their home country. (However, if this is your situation it is VERY important that you talk to an Immigration Attorney immediately in order to review your options.)
The fiancé visa is important in many ways beyond just allowing an individual legal access into the U.S. to marry. It is basically considered to be the first step in the permanent resident process, which of course means getting a green card and the right to live and work in the United States. The K-1 process begins with the filing of an I-129F form, which is forwarded to the consulate situated nearest to where the overseas fiancé lives. The couple are asked to submit proof of their relationship, and will also be asked questions that will help verify that.
If the consular officer handling the case deems that the relationship is indeed real, the K-1 visa will be issued. It is usually an adhesive label bearing the name of the individual, which is then affixed to a page in that person’s passport. He or she then has six month from the date of issue to take a single trip to the United States. It is at this point that the 90 day period begins and when the couple should make plans to marry.
Be sure to visit our fiance visa page of our website for much more information about the K1 fiancé visa process.
Lawrence Gruner is a fiancé visa attorney and a fiancé visa lawyer with almost 20 years of experience handling fiancé visa cases. He is an Immigration Lawyer who handles cases all over the World. He would be happy to answer your questions about fiancé visas or about other immigration cases. He may be reached at 888-801-6558. This article is titled: What is a K1 Visa?