A K-1 visa allows the foreign-born fiancé of a U.S. citizen to come to the United States to get married. This visa, while legally classified as a non-immigrant visa, is a pathway to legal residency. K-1 visa holders can adjust their status to become a lawful permanent resident and obtain a green card after getting married.
This guide looks at the benefits of the K-1 visa, as well as other things to consider.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
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What Are the Benefits of a K-1 Visa?
- The K-1 visa allows you to reunite with your partner in the U.S. before applying for your green card — the K-1 currently takes around 13-18 months. Learn more about K-1 processing timelines here.
- The K-1 visa is a relatively quick pathway to lawful permanent resident status. A green card enables the holder to live in the United States and legally seek employment.
- The K-1 visa allows the couple to hold their wedding in the United States. Anywhere from Niagara Falls, New York to Napa, California is an option.
- Once the K-1 visa holder files to adjust their status, they can also request travel documents and work permits while the green card request is processing.
- You’ll be well-prepared for your green card application, since there is significant overlap with the K-1 visa application.
- K-1 visas are available for all couples, including same sex couples. This is especially helpful for couples where the foreign fiancé lives in a country that bans same sex marriage.
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Other Things to Know
Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering whether or not to apply for a K-1 visa:
- The couple must be able to demonstrate that they have met at least once in person in the two years prior to filing for a K-1 visa.
- The couple must get married within 90 days of the foreign partner’s arrival in the United States. If they fail to do so, the foreign partner will need to leave the country and return home.
- A foreign-born fiancé cannot marry a different U.S. citizen after entering the country on a K-1 visa.
If you’re feeling unsure about whether to apply for a K-1 visa versus a marriage green card, Boundless has put together a detailed guide comparing the two options. You can also take our 5-minute questionnaire to explore your visa options and determine which path is right you. Get started today!