By Atty. James G. Beirne
With the advent of the internet, more and more people from different countries are able to interact with American citizens. This constant communication often leads to long-distance romance that culminates in a visit to the country of the foreign citizen and a decision to make such relationship more lasting. When this happens, the American citizen would want to bring his or her fiancÃ©e to the United States to meet the family and plan for the wedding.
To enable the fiancÃ©(e) to enter the US legally, the fiancÃ©(e) needs to obtain a K-1 visa. The fiancÃ©(e) K-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the foreign citizen fiancÃ©(e) of a US citizen. The K-1 visa permits the foreign-citizen fiancÃ©(e) to travel to the United States and marry his or her US citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival.
The foreign citizen will then apply for adjustment of status to a permanent resident (Legal Permanent Resident or green card holder)) with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Eligible children of K-1 visa applicants receive K-2 visas.
The K visa is technically a temporary and hybrid visa because the future wife or husband will enter the US with the intention of adjusting to a permanent visa or green card. This classification is designed to expedite the entry of an intending immigrant, unlike other temporary visas such as the B-2 tourist visa where adjusting status is prohibited.
There must be sufficient evidence that the couple have fulfilled the following requirements before the I-129F can be approved:
They must have previously physically met in person within the two years preceding the date of filing the petition, unless a waiver of this requirement is granted;
Have a bona fide (meaning sincere, legitimate, and truthful) intention to marry, and:
Are legally able, and actually willing, to finalize a valid, legal marriage in the United States within 90 days after the beneficiaryâ€™s arrival in the United States.
The USCIS may allow an exception to this requirement, based on extreme hardship for the US citizen sponsor to personally meet the foreign citizen fiancÃ©(e), or for other meritorious reason, such as if it is contrary in either the US citizen sponsorâ€™s or foreign-citizen fiancÃ©(e)â€™s culture for a man and woman to meet before marriage.
The intention to marry each other once the fiancÃ©(e) arrives in the US must be proven by providing supporting documents as evidence of relationship (photos together, email/chat correspondence, plane tickets, receipts of money transfers, phone bills, etc).
To apply for a K-1 fiance(e) visa, the petitioner must first file the I-129F petition at the USCIS service centers. After USCIS approves the petition, it is sent to the HYPERLINK “http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_1309.html”National Visa Center (NVC) for processing, and NVC will send it to the US Embassy or Consulate where your fiancÃ©(e) will apply for a K-1 nonimmigrant visa.
Once the US Embassy or Consulate receives the petition from NVC, it will provide the fiancÃ©(e) with specific instructions, including where to go for the required medical examination.
During the visa interview, applicants will be required to present evidence to the Consular Officer that they will not become a public charge in the US. Thus, the Consular Officer may request that a Form I-134 (Affidavit of Support) be submitted by the US citizen fiancÃ©(e).
The US citizen fiancÃ©(e) will have to submit Form I-864 to USCIS with the application for adjustment of status to that of legal permanent resident following the marriage.
The fiancÃ©(e) will have to meet admissibility requirements. Certain conditions and activities may make the applicant ineligible for a visa, such as drug trafficking, overstaying a previous visa, and submitting fraudulent documents.
If the applicant is ineligible for a visa, he or she will be informed by the Consular Officer and advised whether he or she may apply for a waiver of the ineligibility and what the waiver process is.
If the fiancÃ©(e) applicant is issued a K-1 visa, the Consular Officer will give the passport containing the K-1 visa and a sealed packet containing the civil documents you provided, plus other documents prepared by the US Embassy or Consulate. It is important that the fiancÃ©(e) does not open the sealed packet. Only the immigration official should open this packet when he or she enters the United States. As the K-1 visa holder, the fiancÃ©(e) must enter the US either before or at the same time as any qualifying children holding K-2 visas.
The K-1 visa application process is a complicated matter and requires submission of numerous documents. It is advisable for the US citizen petitioner or the fiancÃ©(e) to seek the advice of an experienced immigration attorney.
Call us today and schedule a free consultation.
An active member of the State Bar of California and the State Bar of Nevada, James G. Beirne is also a member of the highly respected American Immigration Lawyers Association and Los Angeles County Bar Association Immigration Section. He is admitted to practice before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, all federal district courts in California and Nevada, California state courts, and Nevada state courts. Mr. Beirne has represented clients in numerous immigration cases. His offices are located at 520 E. Wilson Ave., Suite 110, Glendale, CA 91206, and 17215 Studebaker Rd., Suite 380, Cerritos, CA 90703, with telephone numbers (818) 552-4500; (562) 865-4480; and (866) 903-4522. He also has offices at 2640 E. Garvey Ave., Suite 104, West Covina 91791, with tel. no. (626) 262-4446. His newest office is at Valencia Executive Plaza, Suite 200-E, 27201 Tourney Road, Valencia, CA 91355, tel. no. (661) 200-0644.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. Results may vary depending on the facts of a particular case. We make no prediction, warranty or guarantee about the results of any case, nor do we assume any legal liability for the completeness of any information and its impact on the results of any case. Each case is different and results depend on the facts of each case. Consult with and retain counsel of your own choice if you need legal advice.