K-visas, or fiancé visas, are awarded to foreign nationals who would like to marry a United States citizen, as well as any foreign children. There are three types of K-visas. K-1 visas allow a foreign national fiancé to live in the U.S. on a temporary basis so that they can get married. K-2 visas are given to children, who can accompany their parents to the U.S. while the marriage takes place. K-3 visas, meanwhile, are given to spouses after they have married a U.S. citizen. Each type of visa must be applied for by the fiancé or spouse who reside in the U.S.
These K-visas each have specific legal filing requirements, and it is therefore advisable to work with an immigration attorney who can assist you and your fiancé with the visa process.
The K-1 visa allows a foreign national fiancé to enter the U.S. within six months of receiving the visa. They must be legally married to the petitioning U.S. citizen — the person they have declared they will marry — within 90 days of entering the country. If the fiancé chooses to marry a different person, or begins the visa application process while they are in the U.S., they must return to their home country and begin the process again.
To obtain a K-1 visa, you must be able to prove that the couple has known each other for at least two years unless either religious or cultural norms prohibit the meeting of spouses before marriage. They must also be able to prove that they are legally able to marry, including being of legal age and that any prior marriages ended due to annulment, divorce, or death of a spouse. Specific paperwork showing evidence of each qualification may be necessary.
K-1 Visa Restrictions
There are several restrictions that apply to a K-1 visa. A visa holder may not change their legal immigration status until they are legally married to the U.S. citizen who filed the original petition. If the marriage ends in divorce, the visa holder will not be allowed to change their status. There are waivers are available for certain special situations you may encounter during the application process. For example, U.S. citizens who have previously applied for two or more K-1 visas and U.S. citizens who have previously received K-1 visa approval two years prior to filing for a new one may need special paperwork.
K-2 visas are given to children age 20 or under who are accompanying a parent with a K-1 visa to the United States. The children must be unmarried, but they do not have to be the biological children of the U.S. citizen fiancé. They may also be adopted by the non-citizen fiancé.
Parents must show proof of the relationship between them and the child, such as a birth or adoption certificate, and must also prove that the child’s financial needs will be met and that any other living parents of the child consent to the child’s move to a different country.
After the children have moved to the U.S., they are eligible to apply for a green card.
Visa Restrictions for K-2
Similar to K-1 visas, K-2 holders may only remain in the U.S. for up to 90 days. Anyone with a previous immigration law violation will not be permitted to enter the U.S., and they must be unmarried and under 21 at the time of entry. Special priority may be given to children who are turning 21 soon in order to ensure that they are able to remain with their parent while the visa process continues. An immigration attorney can assist you in determining whether the timing of your K-2 visa application will present any difficulties for the children involved.
After being married, a non-U.S. citizen can receive a K-3 visa. The petition for this visa is filed by the citizen spouse in the U.S. Children who are accompanying the non-citizen parent to the U.S. will be given a K-4 visa during this process. These visas allow the holders to remain in the country as if they were citizens.
A K-3 visa has several benefits. Visa holders are eligible for a social security number and jobs in the U.S., and there is a shorter waiting period for couples who apply for this type of visa than other visa options. A K-3 visa lasts for two years, after which point the visa holder can apply for a green card and ultimately become a citizen if they would like to do so.
To obtain a K-3 visa, an immigration petition must be filed for the visa holder. This type of visa allows multiple entries into the U.S., while a K-1 visa allows only one and is valid for only six months in comparison. However, a K-3 and K-4 visa can only be applied for and obtained after the marriage has taken place.
Contact A Local Immigration Attorney
Applying for any of these visas requires understanding complex legal requirements and filing guidelines. Misunderstanding these guidelines could result in failing to properly file the necessary paperwork, resulting in delays that could damage your ability to successfully apply for K-visas in the future. It is therefore important to work with an local immigration attorney who can assist you and your fiancé throughout the process.
Johnson & Masumi serves clients in the Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. areas. Johnson & Masumi works in immigration law, including naturalization and citizenship, asylum and refugee immigration, deportation, family immigration, and fiancé visas (K-visas). Johnson & Masumi’s attorneys have decades of experience in immigration related matters, so call today to schedule a consultation and discuss your fiancé visa situation with a local immigration attorney.