What is a K-2 visa?
With a K-2 visa, the engaged partner of a U.S. citizen can bring their child (or children) to the United States as a part of the K-1 fiancé(e) visa process. K-2 visas are therefore always linked to a K-1 visa. The child (or children) must be unmarried and under 21 when they enter the United States.
In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of the K-2 visa:
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Though the engaged partner will need to apply for a number of K visas for themselves and their child or children, the U.S. citizen sponsor will only need to submit one Form I-129F (officially called “Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)”). It can take anywhere from 5 to 13 months to process this form, depending on the service center. For an up-to-date look at processing times, check out this handy tool provided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
From there, it can take another 3 to 4 weeks for the National Visa Center (NVC) to reach out with further instructions. After that, it can take another 4 to 6 weeks for an interview to take place.
Note: These timeframes can vary greatly, depending on the applicant’s circumstances. You can always check the status of your case using the online tool provided by USCIS.
Certain fees apply to all K-visa applicants, but there is only one fee for the initial I-129F petition. The costs can be broken down as follows:
|I-129F Filing Fee (only one needed)||$535|
|Medical Exam Fee (for each K visa applicant)||Varies depending on location. $200 is average.|
|Visa Application Fee (for each K visa applicant)||$265|
|Incidental Expenses||This number will vary depending on your circumstances. Common expense items include: translation fees, travel expenses, and photocopying charges.|
So if the non-U.S. citizen fiancé(e) has 2 kids, they can expect to pay $1,940 — not including incidental costs and assuming the medical fee is $200.
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To obtain a K-2 visa, each child must be under the age of 21 and unmarried when they enter the United States, and both fiancé(e)s must meet the eligibility criteria for the K-1 visa, which are as follows:
- The sponsoring fiancé(e) must be a U.S. citizen
- Both parties must have the intention to marry within 90 days of the non-U.S. citizen’s arrival in the United States
- Both fiancé(e)s must be legally permitted to marry, meaning all previous marriages have been terminated
- Both fiancé(e)s must have met in person at least once within 2 years of filing the initial petition
If these criteria are all satisfied, the non-U.S. citizen beneficiary may apply for the K-2 visa as part of the fiancé(e) visa application process.
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To successfully obtain a K-2 visa, each K-visa applicant must provide the following documents at the interview (unless noted otherwise):
- Confirmation page for completed Form DS-160 (officially called “Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application”)
- Medical exam
- Two 2×2 photos
- Police certificates from current country and previous countries where applicants have resided for more than 6 months since their 16th birthday (this applies to all applicants over 16)
- Passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the period of stay
- Birth certificate
- Divorce or death certificates for previous spouses (this applies only to the fiancé(e)
- Evidence that the K-visa beneficiaries will be financially supported
- Proof of authentic relationship between fiancé(e)s
- Money for fees
The processing for obtaining a K-2 visa can be broken down into 4 basic steps:
1. Filing the Initial Petition (Form I-129F)
First, the U.S. citizen fiancé(e) must file Form I-129F. They need only submit one form for their fiancé(e) and the K-2 children. The U.S. citizen sponsor should be sure to follow the USCIS instructions exactly. Specifically, they will need to include the names of all the K-2 children.
Once the I-129F has been submitted, USCIS will review the attached documents to determine whether the sponsor and the K-visa applicants are eligible. USCIS may send a Request for Evidence (RFE) if they require further documentation. They might do this if, for instance, there’s insufficient proof pertaining to the validity of the relationship in question.
2. Submitting the Visa Application and Attending the Interview
Once the initial petition has been approved, USCIS will send it to the embassy or consulate nearest to the applicant. The embassy will then send information regarding the upcoming interview to the U.S. citizen sponsor. Prior to the interview, the beneficiary will need to get medical exams for all K-visa applicants (including the K-2 children named on Form I-129F). Each K-visa applicant will also need to complete Form DS-160.
All K-visa applicants (including the K-2 children) must attend the interview, bringing with them all the required documents (see above). For more on Form DS-160, read our guide on the subject.
3. Admission into the United States
If the K-1 and K-2 visa applications are approved, the consular officer will return the passports with visas attached to the beneficiaries. The officer will also give a sealed packet containing all the documents provided during the application process. It’s important that the packet remains sealed. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent will unseal the envelope at the border. Note: The visa does not guarantee entry. It is at the discretion of the CBP officer to grant or deny admission into the United States.
Each K-visa recipient must enter the United States within the period of validity listed on their visa. The K-2 children must enter the United States either at the same time or after the fiancé(e)’s date of admission.
Note: If the K-2 children plan on traveling to the U.S. within a year of the K-1 beneficiary’s admission, they do not need to submit a separate petition, as mentioned above. But if they intend on traveling to the United States outside the 1-year window, they will not be deemed eligible for K-2 visas at the outset and will need their own immigrant visa petition.
4. Get Married and Adjust Status
The fiancé(e)s must get married within 90 days of the non-U.S. citizen’s arrival in the United States. Failing this, the K-1 and K-2 visa recipients will need to leave the United States within the 90-day period.
Once the marriage is finalized, the K-visa beneficiaries (including the K-2 children) will be eligible to apply for Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR) with Form I-485 (officially called “Application for Adjustment of Status”). The children must be unmarried when applying for adjustment of status. They will also need to apply either at the same time or after the non-U.S. citizen fiancé(e) submits their application.
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What happens if the non-U.S. citizen fiancé(e) doesn’t leave the United States?
In this case, they’d be in breach of U.S. immigration laws, which would most likely lead to deportation. If this occurs, it could have grave effects on any future immigration applications.
Can my K-2 children apply for work authorization?
Yes. If they want to get work authorization as a K-2 visa holder, they can file Form I-765. They will need to attach proof of admission — which might include a copy of their arrival/departure record — together with their K visa. Once approved, they will be permitted to work during the 90-day window afforded by the visa. They will not, however, be able to renew their Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
They may, alternatively, apply for work authorization with their adjustment of status application. In this case, they’ll need to submit Form I-765 with Form I-485. If they opt to apply for an EAD at a later date, they will need to attach proof that their adjustment of status application is pending.
Can the K-2 children travel to the United States before their K-1 parent?
No. The children must travel either with the parent or at a later date.