A K-1 Fiance Visa is a type of nonimmigrant visa that allows the fiance of a U.S. Citizen to enter the United States to get married. It is different from a Marriage Green Card. It will enable the foreign fiance (or fiancee) to get a Marriage Green Card once the couple is married. A K-1 Visa can be a good option for someone who wants to come to the U.S. more quickly than a Marriage Green Card through Consular Processing would allow. It can also be a good option for someone whose U.S. Citizen fiance cannot travel abroad to get married. Getting a K-1 Visa costs $800 and usually takes 12-15 months. Adjusting status to a Marriage Green Card from a K-1 Visa costs $1,225 and takes an additional 4-6 months. We can help you prepare the paperwork for both a K-1 Visa and a Marriage Green Card quickly and easily with our free online application. Read on to learn more.
A K-1 Fiance Visa is a type of nonimmigrant visa that allows the fiance (or fiancee) of a U.S. Citizen to enter the United States to marry their Citizen fiance. U.S. immigration law requires the couple to marry within 90 days of the fiance's arrival in the U.S. A K-1 Visa is different from a Marriage Green Card. It will allow the foreign fiance (or fiancee) to get a Marriage Green Card from the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services once the couple is married. A K-1 Visa can be a good option for someone who wants to come to the U.S. more quickly than a Marriage Green Card through Consular Processing would allow. It can also be a good option for someone whose U.S. Citizen fiance cannot travel abroad to get married.
To get a K-1 Fiancé Visa, all of the following must be true:
If you and your fiance are eligible for a K-1 Fiance Visa, you can apply by following this 4-step K-1 Visa process. For additional information, check out this detailed guide from USCIS.
The first step in the application process is for the U.S. citizen fiancé to prepare and file a Form I-129F K-1 visa petition with U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The purpose of this form is to prove that your relationship is legitimate. Only a U.S. citizen may file Form I-129F - a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) cannot request a K-1 visa for their fiance.
We can help you prepare your Form I-129F for free with our simple online web app.
When you file your Form I-129F Fiance Petition with USCIS, you will need to include the following supporting documents with your forms:
Once you mail your Form I-129F and supporting documents to the appropriate address, USCIS will send you a receipt notice within about 30 days. The receipt notice is proof that they are processing your case.
It usually takes USCIS 6-9 months to process an I-129F petition. Every USCIS service center has different processing times. The amount of time it will take the center to process your petition will depend on which service center you send your forms to.
While you wait, be on the lookout for any Requests for Evidence (RFE) from USCIS. They will send an RFE if they need additional information.
Once USCIS approves your Form I-129F, they will send an approval notice to the mailing address(es) you provided on your form.
Once they approve your Form I-129F petition, USCIS will transfer your case to the U.S. Department of State's National Visa Center (NVC). The foreign fiance will receive a notice from the U.S. embassy in their home country about 30 days after their Form I-129F is approved. This notice will provide the date and location of their required visa interview. It will also include a list of additional supporting documents and instructions on how to provide these documents to the embassy. It is important to make sure that the contact information you provide on your Form I-129F is correct, or you may not receive this notice. We can help you prepare this paperwork correctly, for free, with our simple web app.
After you receive the notice from the U.S. embassy/NVC, the foreign fiancé needs to complete the State Department's online DS-160 form (the "Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application"). The DS-160 is the actual K-1 visa application. When you complete this form online, you need to print the confirmation page. Printing the confirmation page is very important because you will need to send it to the embassy and bring it to your visa interview. Our free online app will help you complete your Form DS-160 and the required supporting Forms I-134 and DS-5540.
The U.S. embassy processing your case will request documents from the U.S. citizen fiance and the foreign fiance. Every embassy has a specific process for providing these documents, so be sure to follow the instructions that they provide in their notice.
Documents from the U.S. citizen fiance
Documents from the foreign fiance
Your visa interview will take place at the U.S. embassy or consulate listed on the notice you received after USCIS transfers your application to the National Visa Center. This will probably be the embassy or consulate in the foreign fiance's home country and will take place 4–6 weeks after you receive the notice. Only the foreign fiance needs to attend the visa interview. The interview is usually pretty straightforward and painless. You can learn more about the visa interview here.
There is a $265 fee for a K-1 fiance visa. You will usually pay this fee at the visa interview, but every embassy/consulate has its own requirements. Be sure to follow the instruction in the notice you receive from the embassy or consulate that is handling your case.
The consular officer who conducts your visa interview will usually make a decision on the same day as the interview. If they need additional information or evidence, they will ask you to submit it to the U.S. consulate/embassy after the interview.
Once your K-1 visa application has been approved, the foreign fiance will receive a sealed visa packet. Do not open this packet! The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent who inspects you at the border will request it from you, and they may not allow you to enter the U.S. if the packet has already been opened.
It is important not to wait too long to enter the U.S. after your visa application is approved. You must enter the U.S. within four months of the date that your K-1 Visa is approved.
You need to get married to your U.S. citizen fiance within 90 days of arrival in the USA. If you don't, the foreign fiancé will lose their K-1 status. If you decide not to get married, the foreign fiance must return to their home country ASAP.
You cannot change status from a K-1 visa to anything other than a Marriage Green Card. You also can't use your K-1 Visa to marry anyone other than the U.S. citizen with whom you filed the Form I-129F.
After you get married, the foreign spouse can apply for a Marriage Green Card by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status and the required supporting forms and documents. To learn more about this process, check out our article about how to get a Marriage Green Card with a K-1 Fiance Visa. We can help you prepare all of the required forms for this process for free with our simple online app.
You do not necessarily need to be engaged to get a K-1 Visa, but it will be much harder to prove that your relationship is legitimate if you are not married before you apply.
The U.S. Citizen sponsor must be at or above 100% of the Federal Poverty Level. There are no specific income requirements for the foreign fiance, but they will need to file DS-5540 in order to prove that they will not become a public charge.
Yes. Once you have entered the U.S. on a K-1 Visa, you can immediately apply for work authorization by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (EAD). It will take USCIS 1-2 months to process this application, and the work permit will only be valid for the first 90 days after you enter the U.S. The best way to get a longer-term work permit is to apply for a Marriage Green Card. In this case, you can file Form I-765 together with Form I-485. We can help you prepare Form-I-765 by itself or with Form I-485 for free using our simple online app.
Yes. You can bring your children to the U.S. with you as long as those children are under 21 and unmarried. If you include these children on Form I-129F, and they are eligible, they will receive K-2 Visas when you receive your K-1 Visa. Your children must continue to be unmarried and under 21 in order to be admitted to the United States with you as K-2 nonimmigrants. They may enter the U.S. with you or after you, but they cannot enter before you. They can apply for Green Cards with you once you use your K-1 Visa to marry the U.S. Citizen fiance who sponsored you.
If USCIS denies your K-1 visa application, you may be able to file an appeal. It is a good idea to work with an experienced immigration attorney to file your paperwork.