When a couple becomes engaged, it’s a time for celebration and planning for their future together. This may include understanding the steps that must be taken when a U.S. citizen wants to bring his or her fiancée to the U.S. on a fiancée visa, also known as a K-1 nonimmigrant visa.
K-1 visa process
The process for the K-1 visa includes filing a petition, a visa interview and background or security checks using fingerprints, names and other information.
Generally, the couple should have met each other in person at least once within two years of their petition for the K-1 visa unless an exception applies.
The couple must be legally free to marry. This means that if either person was married before, that the marriage has been terminated by divorce, death or annulment.
Once the visa is approved, the couple has 90 days to get married and can then apply for a Green Card.
If they do not marry within the 90 days, the visa expires and cannot be extended. It also means that the fiancée must leave the U.S. or will be in violation of U.S. immigration law.
If the fiancée has a child who is under 21 years old and is unmarried, the child may be eligible for a K-2 nonimmigrant visa that would allow him or her to come to the U.S. with the parent. If the couple is married within 90 days of the fiancée’s admission to the U.S., the child may also be eligible for a Green Card.
It’s important that the visa process is completed correctly. An experienced immigration attorney can guide couples through this process.