The K-1, or ‘Fiancé’ Visa, Is for Foreign Partners Who Currently Live Outside the U.S. but Plan to Enter the U.S. to Marry
When the U.S. citizen partner resides in the U.S. and the foreign partner is outside the U.S., and the marriage is still in the planning stage, it is possible to file for a Fiancé Visa, also known as a K-1 visa. The K-1 visa allows a fiancé to enter the U.S. as a non-immigrant (i.e., on a temporary visa) and marry the U.S. citizen (within ninety days) and then go through the Adjustment of Status process to obtain a conditional green card, leading to permanent residence.
There are advantages to this process. For example, you can begin filing (with Form I-129F) before the marriage takes place, and the foreign fiancé may include any unmarried children under 21 years old in the visa package. However, there are also some drawbacks. The process has more steps than other options. Obtaining the non-immigrant visa is separate from the process of getting the green card once in the U.S., requiring a separate application duplicating many parts of the original visa application. New fees and additional interviews will also be required. This is because the process involves approvals from both the Department of State and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.
Which visa pathway is best suited to any individual couple’s situation will depend on a well-informed analysis of their current circumstances, long-term plans and the options available. Good planning makes a difference, and you owe it to your relationship to try to get it right from the beginning.
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The information presented here is intended to be general in nature, and should not be relied upon as legal advice.
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