Bringing Your Fiancé(E) to The United States
If you are a US citizen, but your future spouse is a foreign national and lives abroad, you might wonder if there is a way to bring them here before marriage, in order to have your wedding in the US. Luckily, your fiancé(e) could obtain a K-1 nonimmigrant visa, which is also known as a fiancé(e) visa.
As the name suggests, the K-1 visa was designed specifically for a fiancé(e) of a US citizen. This visa allows the foreign national fiancé(e) to travel to the United States in order to marry his or her US citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival. The visa is also available to same-sex couples.Who is eligible for a Fiancé(e) Visa?
There are several basic requirements that need to be met:
- You are a U.S. citizen;
- You and your fiancé(e) plan to marry one another within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s arrival in the United States;
- There are no legal impediments to marriage (this means you are both legally able to marry in the United States and any previous marriages have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment); and
- You and your fiancé(e) met each other in person at least once within the 2-year period before you file your petition. You can ask for an exception if you can demonstrate that meeting each other would violate strict and long-established customs of your fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice; OR that meeting each other would result in extreme hardship to you.
The first step in the process of obtaining a fiancé(e) visa, is for you, the US citizen, to file a petition with the USCIS. Once the petition is approved, USCIS will send it to the National Visa Center (NVC). Upon receipt, NVC will issue a case number and send the petition to the appropriate US Embassy or Consulate, which in majority of cases is the country where your fiancé(e) lives. The US Embassy or Consulate will then notify you when a visa interview for your fiancé(e) is scheduled.
If your fiancé(e) marries you within the 90 days after arriving in the United States, he or she will be eligible to apply for a lawful permanent resident status, i.e. Green Card. Moreover, if your fiancé(e) has children (unmarried and under 21 years of age), they can be included in the original petition for your fiancé(e), and they can join him or her and come to the US on a K-2 visa.
There are several restrictions regarding a fiancé(e) visa.
- If the foreign national fiancé(e) is already in the United States, they cannot apply to change their status to K-1.
- In addition, if you come here on a fiancé(e) visa or K-2 visa, you cannot change your status to a different status.
- Finally, a fiancé(e) visa holder can adjust their status (obtain Green Card) only on the basis of marriage to the petitioner.
The process of obtaining a K-1 visa could sometimes feel overwhelming. In order to avoid any setbacks, it is wise to seek counsel from an experienced immigration attorney before you start the process.Hiring A California Immigration Attorney
If you are ready to petition for your fiancé(e) or have more questions about the process and alternatives, please contact The Justice Firm locally at (310) 914-2444 or at our Toll-Free number at (866) 695-6714, or visit us at our website. Our immigration attorneys serve clients in Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange, Ventura, and San Bernardino counties.