It`s not new for us that people from one country with its specific culture can marry people who live in other country with different culture. So, if you are a foreigner and you plan to marry a citizen of the United States, the following information would be highly useful for you.
There is so called a K-1 non-immigrant visa, also known as a Fiancé(e) visa. This type of visa is designed for the foreign nationals coming to the United States to marry American citizens and live here. It permits the foreigners to travel to the United States and marry his or her U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival.
But if you plan to marry a foreign national outside the United States or your fiancé(e) is already residing legally in the U.S., you do not need to file for a K-1 visa.
How do you like the fact that during 2013, there were 173 million non-immigrant admissions to the United States and 26,046 of these admissions were fiancé(e) visas (K-1). You can read about this in U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
What Are the Requirements for applying for a Fiancé(e) Visa to the U.S.?
There are some requirements for an American citizen who wants his/her spouse to immigrate to the U.S. So, if you petition for a fiancé(e) visa, you must show that (1) you (the petitioner) are a U.S. Citizen, that (2) you intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the United States and (3) that you and your fiancé(e) are both free to marry. Prior the marriage nullification documents are obligatory. Therefore, you will require copy of any divorce decrees, death certificates, or annulment decrees. Also, you should have (4) evidence that you have met each other, in person, at least once within 2 years of filing your petition. As the evidence of your relationship, you can present airline tickets, visa stamps, hotel receipts, and dated photos.
Steps for Applying for K-1
The first step to apply for a Fiancé(e) (K-1) visa is filing the petition, i.e., you, the U.S. citizen sponsor, must file the Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) Form I-129F with the USCIS office that serves the area where you live. USCIS is the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service formerly known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). After USCIS approves the petition, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will give you a case number and send your petition to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where your fiancé(e) lives.
The Second Step is applying for a visa. The NVC will mail you a letter when it sends your fiancé(e)’s case to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Once you receive this letter, inform your fiancé(e) and she/he can apply for a K-1 visa and prepare for the interview.
Required Documentation For a K-1 Visa Application:
- Completed Form DS-160, On-line Non-immigrant Visa Application. You must complete the Form DS-160 and print its confirmation page to bring to your interview;
- Check if your passport is valid for travel to the United States. The validity date of your passport should be at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the U.S.;
- Divorce or death certificate(s) of any previous spouse(s) for both you and the U.S. citizen sponsor if any;
- Police certificates from all places you`ve lived before, since age 16;
- Medical examination. All applicants for visas are required to have the vaccinations appropriate for age, medical condition, or medical history;
- Evidence of financial support – Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, (should be sent by American sponsor);
- Two 2×2 photographs (each two inches 50 X 50 mm square, showing full face, against a light background, eyes open)
- Evidence of relationship with your U.S. citizen fiancé(e) – i.e. evidence that you have met your fiance(e) and proof of your engagement. Some examples of evidence are family photos (old and recent) showing the parties together, cards, letters, correspondence, and telephone records.
- Payment of fees.
Fees – How Much Will It Cost?
- Filing an Alien Fiancé(e) Petition, Form I-129F costs $340;
- Filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status-$1070;
- Medical examination costs may vary.
Other costs may include translations, photocopying charges, fees for obtaining the documents required for the visa application, (for example passport, police certificates, birth certificates, etc.) and expenses for travel to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for your visa interview. Costs vary from country to country and case to case. For more information on current fees for Department of State, see the link.
You should apply for your visa early because the wait time for the interview appointments can vary by different criteria such as: location, season, and visa category. Here, you can read detailed information about visa appointment and processing wait times.
It is important to know that Medical Examination and Vaccination Requirements exist when applying the K-1 visa. Every applicant for immigrant visa, regardless of age, must undergo a medical examination and to get the vaccinations required under the U.S. immigration law for immigrant visa applicants.
See Vaccination Requirements for IV Applicants for the list of required vaccinations and additional information.
Also, you should read the Rights and Protections pamphlet before your visa interview to learn about your rights in the United States relating to the domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and protection available to you.
What you need to know in case your fiancé(e) has children
Eligible children of K-1 visa applicants may apply for K-2 visas. K-2 non-immigrant visa may be available to children under 21 and unmarried. Separate applications must be submitted for each K visa applicant, and each K visa applicant must pay the visa application fee.
Be sure to include the names of your fiancé(e)’s children on your Form I-129F.
Caution: Do not present false documents!!! Misrepresentations can lead to ineligibility for visa.
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Please, watch our video to learn more about how to apply for a Fiancé(e) (K-1) visa!