What You Need to Get a Fiancé Visa
Fiancé visa or K-1 visa allows a U.S. citizen to bring their engaged partner to enter the United States in order to get married. It allows a couple to wait together in the US while their paperwork is being processed for an immigrant green card. In order to apply for a visa petition for your immigrating fiancé, you need to meet each of these five basic requirements.
If you’re considering applying for a K1 visa for your fiancé, make sure to consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
1. You should be a citizen and not just a lawful permanent resident of the United States.
An immigrant partner can only apply for a fiancé visa if their partner is a U.S. citizen. Having permanent residence from a work permit or work visa is not enough to apply for a nonimmigrant visa for your partner.
2. You should have met your fiancé in person in the last two years.
Keep photos, receipts, and other travel documents from your trip to prove that you’ve physically met.. Make sure you have the information backed up and saved in a safe place, since you could lose these if it’s just saved on your phone.
Some exceptions are allowed for customary and religious reasons, but for most cases, you should’ve met with your partner in person to be eligible to apply for this type of nonimmigrant visa. Speak with an immigration lawyer if you think you qualify for this exception.
3. You and your partner are both free to marry.
This means that both of you are either single, divorced, or widowed. Additionally, you should make sure your fiancé has sole custody of any kids they want to bring to the US, and is in possession of their children’s passport. You don’t want to get your visa approved, then find out that your immigrant partner needs to start a family law process, which can take months or years, in her home country. Make sure to do that first before applying for the K-1 visa.
4. You don’t have any major criminal history.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) typically won’t deny a petition because of a U.S. citizen’s criminal history, unless involving domestic violence or sexual abuse of minors. On other hand, your fiancé will undergo much more scrutiny. Criminal conduct by your fiancé may result in a denial or the need for a waiver.
If you or your fiancé has a criminal conviction, make sure you get it evaluated by an experienced immigration attorney. Serious criminal convictions can disqualify you from the fiancé visa process.
5. You can financially support your fiancé in the US.
Before applying for immigrant or nonimmigrant visas, make sure you earn enough to support your fiancé and their dependents, or get a joint sponsor. You, the U.S. citizen, need to earn 100% of the federal poverty guidelines for your household. However, to apply for the green card, you’ll need to show that you can maintain 125% of the specified amount for your household size. Those who are in active military duty are exempted, and will only need to maintain 100% instead of 125%. The federal poverty guidelines are shown below.
|Sponsor’s Household Size
|100% of HHS Poverty Guidelines*||125% of HHS Poverty Guidelines*|
|For sponsors on active duty in the U.S. armed forces who are petitioning for their spouse or child||For all other sponsors|
Make sure you have your key documents for all of the requirements discussed above. Forgetting even one of this paperwork will result in delays in the processing times of your visa application. As much as 30% of visa applications are delayed or denied because their visa application form is incomplete or has mistakes.
If you’re thinking of filing an application for a fiancé visa or K-1 visa, contact Andres Mejer Law to know whether you qualify. Schedule an immigration strategy and start your immigration journey with us today.