What is the Difference Between the K-1 and K-2 Visa?

The K-1 visa is also known as the fiancé visa and is awarded to those who are entering the U.S. to legally marry a U.S. citizen. The K-2 visa is for children of the K-1 visa holders who wish to accompany their parent to the United States. The K-1 visa holder must legally marry a U.S. citizen within 90 days of their arrival in the U.S. Following the marriage, the K-1 visa holder is allowed to apply for adjustment of status to a permanent resident (LPR) with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Consult with an immigration attorney for more information and for how to apply for the K-1 and K-2 Visa.

K-1 Qualifications

The first part in qualifying for a K-1 visa is being able to provide proof that the couple has known each other for a minimum of two years. The only exception to this rule is for those whose religion or traditional heritage prohibits them from meeting their spouse prior to the marriage. Following the arrival of the K-1 visa holder to the U.S., the couple must marry within 90 days. Documentation will be necessary to prove that one member of the couple is a U.S. citizen, both members are able to legally marry, both members are of legal age to marry; and that any previous marriages for either party have ended with a legal divorce, annulment, or death of a spouse.

Same-sex couples are required to meet the same requirements as any other couple when applying for the K-1 visa. Some states are not administratively equipped to facilitate same-sex marriages, so the couple must marry where same-sex marriage is legal. They must also live where same-sex marriage is legally recognized.

K-2 Qualifications

To be eligible for the K-2 visa program, children must be under the age of 21 and not legally married. As long as the home country recognizes the children as the K-1 visa holder’s, it is not required for them to be biological children. They can be biological, adopted, or legally born to the K-1 visa holder. If the other parent of the children is still living in the home country, the K-1 visa holder is still responsible for complying with the home country’s custody laws.

K-1 Visa Application Process

a US citizen man with his newly wed wife who is on the K-1 visa program with her two daughters who are both holding a K-2 visa issued to children of foreign spousesThe first step in applying for a K-1 visa is filing the Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) with USCIS. This must be filed by the U.S. citizen who is acting as U.S. sponsor for their fiancé. As of 2018, it can take from 5 -7 months for this part of the process to be approved.

Following the approval of the petition, a case number will be assigned and the petition will be sent to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where the fiancé lives. An interview at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate will be required. During which the fiancé will have to present a medical examination from an authorized panel physician. Proof of vaccinations will also be needed. The Fiancé will need to prove that they will not become a public charge in the United States. This process can take from 1-3 months. Documentation that will need to be provided during the interview includes Form DS-160, valid passport for travel, divorce or death certificate of any previous spouses, police certificates, medical examination, evidence of financial support, evidence of the relationship, and payment of fees.

If the petition is approved, the visa can be received within 2-10 days of approval. With the visa, the fiancé will have to apply for a single admission at a U.S. port-of-entry within the validity of the visa, which is 6 months from the date of insurance.

K-2 Visa Application Process

The U.S. citizen of the couple must be the one to start the application process. When they submit the K-1 application, any children of the fiancé must be included if they wish to obtain a K-1 visa. After this, the children will receive their own form to fill out. If the child is too young to do so on their own, the fiancé can fill out the information for them. Proof that the children are legally considered to be K-2 visa holders will be required. The children must be under the age of 21 and unmarried. They will have to attend the fiancé’s interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate and may be asked to answer a few simple questions.

Benefits of the K-1 And K-2 Visas

a woman who is a United States citizen with her newly wed husband who is holding a K-1 visa and his son who is holding a K-2 visaHolders of both of these visas have many benefits and advantages while they reside in the U.S. Both are allowed to apply for permanent residency and all the associated advantages. K-2 visa holders are allowed to apply for work documents and receive an EAD or work permit. They are also permitted to study in the U.S., including attending schools and universities. Obtaining a K-1 and K-2 Visa opens the door for a promising future for immigrant parents and children in the United States.

For help determining your eligibility requirements for each visa and the application process, speak to an experienced immigration attorney. They have the expertise to guide you through the process of obtaining both visas and will provide you with all necessary information to help you make a decision.

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