K-1 Fiancé Visa
The K-1 nonimmigrant visa category permits the fiancé of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States for a 90-day period to marry the U.S. citizen and apply for permanent residence. The processing time for the K-1 visas can take longer than processing for other nonimmigrant visas since it is almost as comprehensive as a Family Relative Petition.
Requirements for K-1 Visa
To qualify for the K-1 visas, the parties must demonstrate that they:
- Have previously met in person within two years of the date of filing the petition, (this requirement may be waived under certain circumstances);
- They have a bona fide intention to marry; and
- Are legally able and willing to conclude a valid marriage in the United States within 90 days after the fiancé’s arrival.
Where to file a Petition for K-1 Visa?
A petition for K-1 visa must be filed at the USCIS Regional Service Center that has jurisdiction over the place where the U.S. citizen resides. The K-1 petition may not be filed at a consulate abroad.
Section 214(d) of the INA requires that the parties meet personally within two years prior to filing the petition. The Attorney General has discretion to waive this requirement, but no specific guidelines are provided under §214(d). As interpreted the regulations, the personal meeting requirement may be waived upon proof that compliance would:
- Result in extreme hardship to the petitioner; or
- Violate strict and long-established customs of the beneficiary’s foreign culture or social practice, as where marriages are traditionally arranged by the parents of the contracting parties and the prospective bride and groom are prohibited from meeting subsequent to the arrangement and prior to the wedding day.
The minor unmarried children of a K-1 principal beneficiary may be accorded K-2 status if accompanying or following to join the beneficiary.