Applying for a K-1 visa for yourself or your fiancé is an exciting step forward in your relationship. There are several specific qualification requirements for the visa, which allows fiancés of U.S. citizens to enter the country, get married, and begin the naturalization process. Partners who have been previously married, are entering a same-sex marriage, or are underage have special requirements that must be met.
A Northern Virginia immigration attorney can assist you and your fiancé throughout the process, keeping track of paperwork and deadlines to increase your chances of success.
K-1 Visa Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for a K-1 Visa there are a variety of qualifications that either you or your fiancé have to meet. Here are the top requirements that have to be met in order to be eligible for the fiancé Visa.
In order for a partner to legally bring a foreign fiancé to the U.S. to marry, they must qualify as a U.S. citizen. The first form of qualification is that the partner was born in the United States, or one of its territories (including military bases). The second form of qualification for U.S. citizenship is if they were born in a foreign country to at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen.
Another qualification for a U.S. citizenship is through the changing of citizenship status of their parents when they were a minor. When the parents of a child become legal U.S. citizens, they automatically become U.S. citizens themselves. Naturalization also qualifies an individual for U.S. citizenship, and thus the right to bring a foreign fiancé to the U.S. with the intentions of marriage. Legal permanent residents do not qualify
Proof of Relationship
To qualify for a K-1 visa, you and your fiancé must have met in person at least one time within the last two years. This means that while your relationship can be shorter than two years, you must have spent some time together in person within that time period in order to apply for the visa. There must be proof of this visit, which can be submitted in the form of plane tickets, photos, and other documents. If you or your partner’s religious or cultural heritage prohibits a face-to-face meeting prior to marriage, this requirement can be waived.
Fiancés will also be required to participate in an interview, which is used to determine the validity of the relationship. During the interview, applicants will show evidence of the relationship, such as photos, phone bills showing phone calls to each other, and correspondence. They will also be asked specific questions about their fiancé, how they met, and their wedding plans.
Couples who intend to marry are required to do so within 90 days of the visa holder entering the U.S. After the wedding, visa holders can adjust their status to become lawful permanent residents and acquire a green card. If the marriage does not take place within 90 days, the visa holder must leave the country.
This requirement is put in place to ensure that people applying for the K-1 visa actually intend to marry and are not going through the process simply to get a green card and become U.S. citizens.
U.S. citizens who are sponsoring a fiancé on the K-1 visa must have a minimum amount of income to qualify for the visa. The exact amount varies by state, and petitioners can use their assets — such as stocks or real estate — or a co-sponsor to meet the requirement. Your income must be stable, come from a U.S.-based employer, and exceed the minimum amount required. This shows that you will be able to provide for your partner if they are unable to work and meet their basic financial needs.
Some couples may find themselves dealing with additional circumstances. Those who are seeking same-sex marriage must live in a state where same-sex marriage is legal and prove that the marriage will take place in such a state.
If you or your fiancé have been married before, you must show proof that the prior marriage ended in a legal manner. This can be demonstrated through a divorce, annulment, or death certificate. If your fiancé was previously married in a foreign country, that country must recognize legal divorce or annulment in order for the U.S. to do so.
In most states, both fiancés must be at least 18 years old in order to marry and qualify for a K-1 visa. Some, however, allow people under the legal age to be married with consent from both of their parents. Proof of this consent must be shown to obtain the visa.
Filing For A K-1 Visa With Johnson & Masumi
Speak to the Northern Virginia immigration attorneys at Johnson & Masumi for more information about how you can begin your K-1 visa application. The firm specializes in immigration cases, including fiancé visas, work visas, green cards, deportation proceedings and family immigration, among other areas. Johnson & Masumi provides potential clients with free consultations to help understand your case and recommend a course of action tailored to your needs.