FIANCÉ VISA AND RELATED APPLICATIONS
A K-1 Visa (“Fiancé Visa”) allows a foreign individual who is engaged to a United States citizen to enter the country for the purpose of marrying that citizen and later obtaining legal permanent resident status (that is, a “Green Card”). This visa is normally obtained when the fiancé is not already in the United States through another available visa program, such as Visa-Free Travel.
The person making the request for the visa must be a United States citizen. A Green Card holder (legal permanent resident) cannot apply for their fiancé.
The couple must intend to marry and must actually marry within 90 days of the foreign fiancé entering the United States to become a citizen via the Fiancé Petition.
All prior marriages must be concluded with a valid divorce at time of application.
The couple must have met in person in the past two years, unless a religious or other exemption is obtained.
The citizen petitioner must be able to financially sponsor the fiancé or obtain a co-sponsor.
After a fiancé enters the United States, they must marry and apply for adjustment of status (that is, for legal permanent resident status). The application should include request for a travel permit and a work permit application. Once that process is done, the fiancé will receive a two-year Green Card, which must then be renewed. After three years of being a Green Card holder, the former fiancé can file a petition for naturalization and thereby become a United States citizen.
Generally, the Fiancé Visa is a one-time entry visa, meaning that it cannot be used to leave the United States and later come back.
MARRIAGE VISA ALTERNATIVE
A Marriage Visa is a form of immigrant visa leads to a Green Card for the foreign-born spouse of a United States citizen. This visa is normally sought where the spouse has no other current United States visa and is not present in the country. The couple must proceed with an I-130 Petition using Consular Process to obtain the Marriage Visa. This is discussed on our Family Based Immigration page. In the alternative, a foreign-born spouse with another type of valid visa and who is already present in the United States may be able to adjust their status under that visa to that of a legal permanent resident and obtain a Green Card.
Generally, the Fiancé Visa will be slightly faster, so if your goal is to be together in the United States as soon as possible, the Fiancé Visa is the better option. However, the Marriage Visa has its benefits, including the fact that the spouse that is permitted to be employed right away, that is, need not apply for a work permit.
We are available to discuss with and assist you in obtaining a Fiancé Visa or a Marriage Visa related applications.