Must-Know Facts About the K1 Visa for the USA  

A K-1 visa allows a fiancé born outside of the US to enter the country and marry a US citizen. 

To apply for a K-1 visa, the foreign partner must meet the US citizen spouse in person within the past two years, be able to marry, be legally free, and not have a severe felony conviction. Additionally, the foreign spouse must be able to live outside of the United States. If you have children, you must sponsor them for a K-2 visa before they reach the age of 21. 

This article will cover the essentials for applying for a K-1 visa.  

K1 Visa Requirements  

  • A U.S. Citizen Is Required to File the Petition. Your fiancé, the petitioner, has to be a US citizen to qualify for a K-1 visa. No one may apply for a K-1 visa if they are already lawful permanent residents of the US. 
  • Marrying Must Be Legal for Both Parties. A K-1 visa may only be granted to couples who meet the legal requirements for marriage. This effectively ends any prior marriages. 
  • Getting Married in the Next 90 Days. Another requirement for a K1 visa is that the couple planning to wed must have the intention to do so no later than ninety days after the K1 visa holder arrives in the US. The primary petitioner, who must be a citizen of the United States, is required to provide clear documentation showing that the parties intend to be married to get a K-1 visa. 
  • Physical Meeting Requirement. Proof of a personal meeting between the petitioner and their fiancé within two years of filing the petition is required for a K1 visa application. Making this regulation official is an attempt to reduce the frequency of cases involving “mail-order brides.”  

K-1 Visa Holders Can Apply for Permanent Residence Without Staying  

To receive a K-1 fiancé visa, it is not required to intend to permanently reside in the United States once the marriage has taken place to receive a K-1 fiancé visa. You are free to make your own decision about applying for a green card and remaining in the US.  

You may apply for a tourist visa instead if you know you won’t be staying in the US after the wedding, or you can take advantage of the perks of being a citizen of a VWP nation if you’re already planning. Problems may arise, however, if you decide you want to apply for a green card right after you are married, despite your initial reservations. If you entered the nation on a B-2 guest visa, there’s a chance that you can face accusations of misusing your tourist visa. This would prevent you from receiving the green card. If you had taken part in the VWP, the result would have been the same.  

What Happens If You Fail to Marry Your Fiancé within 90 Days?  

Neither you nor your fiancé(e) may marry during the first 90 days of your arrival in the US, and neither of you may leave the US during that period; otherwise, your fiancé(e) will lose immigration status. This implies that your fiancé or fiancée-to-be could potentially face deportation immediately upon Day 91, as their prolonged presence in the US would be considered unlawful. If you and your fiancé(e) stay in the country illegally for six months or more, you will face a three- to ten-year prohibition from re-entering the US.  

In this case, your fiancé or fiancées may regain legal status after 90 days have elapsed if you marry them in the US. Extra paperwork, including Form I-130, and extra money will be needed from you. Your fiancé or fiancée must also complete a separate medical evaluation. Because you aren’t willing to marry your spouse on time, people may start to doubt the legitimacy of your relationship.  

Processing Time for K-1 Visas  

After you submit your initial Form I-129F, it will take about 30 days for USCIS to notify you that it has accepted your application. You might spend the next six to nine months on the process, not including the additional period if they issue a Request for Evidence. 

The overseas fiancé cannot begin the online application for a nonimmigrant visa prior to this deadline. The entire procedure can take four to six weeks, starting from the acceptance of your application and ending with the request to schedule an interview at the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. 

Keep in mind that these processing times assume everything goes according to plan in the typical scenario. This means that the time it takes to secure a K-1 visa might range from ten months to over twelve months. 

What Is the Approval Rate for Fiancé Visas? 

On the first try, the government approves around 65% of fiancé visas. If USCIS rejects your application, you can revise and resubmit it. If USCIS denies your application, you have the option to appeal the decision. The success rate of appeals is around 60%.