The K-1 visa allows the foreign-born fiancé of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States and get married.
To apply for a K-1 visa, the foreign partner must live outside of the United States, be legally free and able to marry, have met the U.S. citizen partner in person within the last two years, and not have been convicted of serious crimes. If you have children, the children must be under the age of 21 to be sponsored for a K-2 visa.
In this guide, we’ll cover the requirements when applying for a K-1 visa:
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One of the key requirements to qualify for the K-1 visa is that the foreign partner and U.S. sponsor must have met in person in the two years prior to the date of filing the Form I-129F (“Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)”). The following are examples of evidence to prove that you have met in person:
- Photographs of you and your partner together.
- Airline ticket stubs and hotel receipts that indicate the dates of travel.
- Copies of passport pages showing admission.
- Military orders or letters from commanding officers detailing leave.
Finally, to fully use the K-1 visa for a green card, the couple must marry within 90 days of the foreign partner’s arrival in the United States or they will have to return to their home country.
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In order to sponsor their foreign fiancé, the U.S. citizen partner must:
- Be a U.S. citizen and be able to prove that they are American. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) accepts the following proofs of U.S. citizenship:
- U.S. birth certificate issued by a civil authority
- Unexpired U.S. passport issued for a period of ten years (sponsor over 18-years-old) or five years (sponsor under 18-years-old)
- Statement executed by a U.S. consular officer
- U.S. Department of State Form FS -240 (“Report of Birth Abroad of a United States Citizen”)
- Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship
- U.S. Department of State issued passport card
- Be free and able to legally marry, which means that all prior marriages ended in an official divorce or the death of the spouse.
- Be able to meet 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines income level for your household size. You can only sponsor your partner if you meet the income level required for that household size. You will need to prove that you can financially support your partner once they are in the United States.
- File Form I-129F with USCIS to petition for the foreign partner to come to the United States on a K-1 visa.
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To qualify for a K-1 visa, the foreign partner must:
- Live outside the United States, be free and able to marry, and have met the U.S. citizen sponsor within the two years prior to the filing of Form I-129F.
- Not have committed crimes that would prohibit entry to the United States and be able to present records and documents requested by the U.S. embassy or consulate, such as:
- Birth certificate
- Police certificates
- Military records, if applicable
Once the above requirements are met and the K-1 visa is approved, the foreign fiancé is given six months from the date of approval of the initial I-129F form to enter the United States.
Once the couple is reunited in the United States, they must get married within 90 days, or the foreign fiancé will lose their K-1 status.