Some people incorrectly believe that if they are engaged to a United States citizen, they can legally enter and live in the U.S. automatically. This is not the case. Entering the country as the fiancé of a citizen can be a complicated process, so it is important to seek the help of a skilled immigration lawyer. Read on to learn more about fiancé visas, who is eligible, and how you can go about getting one.
What is a K-1 Visa?
The purpose of a K-1 visa, also referred to as a fiancé visa, is for a non-U.S. citizen to enter the country and marry a U.S. citizen. If your fiancé is granted a K-1 visa, he or she may enter the country and you will have 90 days to get married. If you are married within this time, you and your spouse may reside in the country. If you do not get married within 90 days of your fiancé entering the country, he or she will have 30 days to leave the country. Not everyone will be eligible for a K-1 visa.
Who is Eligible for One?
There are a few requirements that must be met by both parties when applying for a fiancé visa.
In order for your fiancé to obtain a K-1 visa:
- you must be a U.S. Citizen
- you may be asked to provide evidence of your income, to ensure that your income meets or exceeds 100% of the U.S. poverty guidelines
- You must prove that you and your fiancé have been together for at least two years prior to filing for a visa, and have met in person at least once
- This can be proven by presenting photos, copies of correspondence, records of phone calls or letters, etc.
What is the Process of Obtaining One?
In order for your fiancé to obtain a K-1 visa to enter the country, he or she must complete a background check, interview, and medical exam. The background check will be conducted to determine whether the fiancé has a criminal record. If a small crime has been committed a number of years ago, this may not delay the process. Additionally, the fiancé will be interviewed. This interview will help determine the fiancé’s interest in marriage, and the legitimacy and severity of the relationship in question. Your fiancé may be asked questions about you, your family, and your previous relationships, among other topics. The interview will also be used to ensure that your fiancé is of good moral character.
The process of obtaining a K-1 visa, entering the country, and getting married can be a fast-paced process. Having a knowledgeable attorney guide you through it can make a world of difference.
CONTACT OUR FIRM
Katona & Associates, PLLC is an experienced, highly dedicated New York City immigration law firm located in lower Manhattan. Our firm works with clients in all matters of immigration law, including employment immigration, family immigration, deportation defense, green cards, and citizenship. Contact us to discuss your case and get the help you need.