Last updated on May 15th, 2019
If you are engaged to a United States citizen and want to find a way to come to the United States to plan your dream wedding, immigration law provides a way for you to do just that.
There is a visa created specifically for that purpose and it is called a K-1 fiancé visa.
The K-1 fiancé visa allows citizens of other countries to travel to the United States and stay for 90 days. During these 90 days, it is mandatory that you and your fiancé get married, otherwise, you may be deported.
If this sounds like something you are interested in, the first step is to make sure you meet the K-1 fiancé visa requirements.
Do I Qualify for a K-1 Fiancé Visa?
While the benefits of the K-1 fiancé visa are great, you do not automatically qualify just because you are engaged to a United States citizen and want to get married in the United States.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is in charge of deciding who is granted a K-1 Visa, and they take this responsibility seriously.
USCIS is responsible for processing not only K-1 fiancé visa applications, but also all other visa applications. They are responsible for ensuring the safety of the United States and its citizens by not letting just anyone come into the country.
That being said, USCIS has created a list of requirements you must meet before applying for a K-1 fiancé visa. In order to be eligible, you must:
- Intend to marry your U.S. citizen fiancé within 90 days after entering the United States
- Prove that you and your fiancé are legally able to marry
- Prove that you and your fiancé met in person within the last two years
Proof that I Intend to marry my U.S. citizen fiancé within 90 days after entering the United States
The first requirement of a K-1 fiancé visa is proof that you seriously plan to marry your U.S. citizen fiancé within 90 days after coming to the United States. Your fiancé has to be a United States citizen, not a permanent resident.
Also, keep in mind that the K-1 visa is not for couples that are not sure about getting married. You have to be 100% positive that you are getting married and USCIS will require proof.
Evidence of your intent to get married could include anything from letters between the two of you discussing wedding plans to actual wedding invitations.
Proof That My Fiancé And I Are Legally Able To Marry
The next requirement of a K-1 fiancé visa is proof that you and your U.S. citizen fiancé are legally able to marry one another. It is okay if either of you was married before. You will just have to provide proof that all of your previous marriages have legally ended.
If you are in the middle of a divorce right now, then USCIS does not consider you legally able to marry and you will have to wait until the divorce is finalized. A divorce decree is how you prove to USCIS that you are no longer married.
If you or your fiancé have never been married before, that is even better because you won’t have to provide such paperwork. You will, however, need to be old enough to get married in the state where you plan to marry to be legally able to marry.
If you are underage, USCIS does not consider you legally able to marry and you will have to wait until you are 18 (or whatever the age of consent is in your state).
Proof That My Fiancé And I Met In Person Within The Last Two Years
The last requirement of the K-1 fiancé visa is proof that you and your U.S. citizen fiancé have met in the past two years.
If you have not met your fiancé in person and you have a really good reason why (like it violates your religious beliefs), USCIS may waive this requirement in your case.
You will have to submit proof of why you haven’t met in person and USCIS will decide from there. On the other hand, if you have met in person, proof may include anything from plane tickets to photographs.
I Meet All of the Requirements, Now What?
Meeting the requirements for a K-1 fiancé visa is only the first step to actually obtaining the visa and coming to the United States. You must apply for the visa by filling out Form I-129F and including evidence that you meet the requirements.
Eventually, after your application is processed, you will be required to attend an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you will undergo background checks.
The entire process can take over a year. This is why it is best to apply as soon as possible.