Are you engaged, but only one of you is a U.S. citizen? International marriages have grown increasingly common, but couples must overcome significant legal hurdles before they can live together in one nation.
Fortunately, the U.S. offers the K-1 nonimmigrant visa, commonly referred to as the fiance visa. This visa allows the foreign-citizen fiance to come to the U.S. and marry their citizen sponsor. Once you are married, the foreign-citizen fiance can apply for permanent residency.
Here are the basic steps of obtaining a K-1 visa and eventually a green card:
- Meet your partner in-person at least once in the 2-year period before filing the visa petition.
- File Form I-129F with the USCIS and receive approval.
- Obtain K-1 nonimmigrant visa from a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
- Marry your fiance within 90 days after his/her K-1 entry to the U.S..
- Apply for permanent residence with USCIS.
- After two years, apply to remove conditional resident status
If you fail to marry within 90 days, the foreign citizen may need to leave the United States because the K-1 visa cannot be extended.
Mitigating the Risks of Marriage-Based Visas
Marriage visas are heavily scrutinized by USCIS due to historic rates of marriage fraud. To prevent people from getting married solely to obtain immigration benefits, USCIS goes to great lengths to ensure the legitimacy of any given marriage. If USCIS believes your marriage is fraudulent, then there can be severe consequences, including, but not limited to, fines, jail, and being barred from filing for future immigration benefits.
Due to these risks, seeking qualified counsel from a skilled immigration attorney is imperative for your success. At the Law Offices of Timothy D. Widman, we have years of experience counseling and representing immigrants from all around the world. We believe in your right to take full advantage of the opportunities in the U.S., and we want you and your loved ones to reunite as soon as possible.