K - 1 and K - 3 VISAFiancé(e) and Spouse Visas
K-1 and K-3 visas are temporary immigrant visas that are used to bring fiancés, spouses, and children of foreign nationality to the United States
K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa
The K-1 or Fiancé(e) visa is a non-immigrant visa petition that enables U.S. citizens to bring their fiancé(e) and their fiancé(e)’s children to the United States. In order to file for this visa, the U.S. citizen and their fiancé(e) must have met personally within the last two years and intend on marrying within 90 days of the fiancé(e)’s admission to the United States. Both individuals must be free to marry, meaning neither person is currently in a legal marriage to anyone else. They must prove that either they have never previously been married, or that all prior marriages have been terminated by divorce, annulment, or death. Additionally, it must be documented that the U.S. citizen and their fiancé(e) have met within the 2 years preceding the date of filing the application and have maintained a continuous and bona fide relationship for reasons other than immigration purposes.
Once the K-1 visa is approved, the fiancé(e) will need to appear for an interview at the designated U.S. consulate abroad in order to be issued the K-1 visa. The consular officer will review documents and ask questions to ascertain the validity of the relationship. Children of K-1 principal applicants who are under the age of 21 can be issued a K-2 visa to enter the U.S. with their parent. With the K-1 visa, the fiancé(e) must enter the United States and marry the U.S. citizen within 90 days. Once admitted, the U.S. citizen can petition for the fiancé(e)’s permanent resident status.
K-3 Spouse Visa
K-3 non-immigrant visas are available to spouses of U.S. citizens, and K-4 visas are available for their children who are under 21 years of age. To qualify, the applicant must already be married to their U.S. citizen spouse, and have an I-130 family petition pending with USCIS. The K-3 visa allows its beneficiaries to come to the United States in non-immigrant status while the I-130 is pending. Once in the United States, K-3 beneficiaries can apply directly for permanent resident status through I-485 adjustment of status application and receive employment authorization. While the processing time for K-3 visas can be somewhat shorter than I-130 and consular processing, the cost is significantly higher. Moreover, unlike the I-130 and consular process that results in a green card, the K-3 must still file for a green card when they get to the United States.
Many people choose to file the K-3 visa when the I-130 processing times are backlogged so they are not separated from their U.S. citizen spouse for long. However, once the I-130 is approved, the consulate may choose to process the immigrant visa instead of the K-3 visa. To determine whether filing a K-3 visa or consular processing is better in your case, you should consult a good immigration lawyer.
Waiver of Personal Meeting Requirement
Certain individuals may qualify for a waiver of the personal meeting requirement under very specific circumstances. For example, if the meeting would cause the U.S. citizen extreme hardship, a waiver may be granted. However, waivers are strictly discretionary so it’s advisable to consult an experienced immigration attorney before your application.
Bona Fide Relationship:
One of the greatest challenges with the fiancé(e) visa is establishing that you have been in a continuous and bona fide relationship with your fiancé(e). Since your fiancée is living abroad and is likely away from you, it can be difficult to provide extensive documentation of your relationship. An experienced immigration attorney will suggest alternative documentation that will be deemed sufficient for approval and guide you throughout the process.
Three Most Common Questions about Fiancé Visas:
If I am a Permanent Resident, can I apply for my fiancé (e)?
No, the Fiancé(e) visa can only be filed by U.S. citizens on behalf of their fiancées.
If I, a U.S. citizen, have been arrested previously, will this impact my application for my fiancé (e)?
Yes, the arrest history of the U.S. citizen can impact a Petition for Fiancé(e) depending on the type of arrest. For example, someone who was convicted for domestic abuse may be prohibited from petitioning in this category.
What happens if I do not marry my fiancé(e) within 90 days of my admission to the United States?
If you marry your spouse outside of the 90 period, you may still be eligible for adjustment of status depending on the length of time you’ve been out of status and whether your spouse will petition for you. Consult an experienced immigration attorney to determine your eligibility.
Do you wish to bring your fiancé(e) or spouse to the United States? Is it important for you to reunite with them as quickly as possible? Call us before you file! Our team of legal experts will determine the best strategy for your case and guide you through common issues that can lead to delays and denials.