K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa
In the News: The Daily News, a major New York newspaper with 2.5 million daily readers, profiled Anna Valentini, Esq. and Susan Calvaruso of Valentini Law Offices, PLLC among immigration law experts who participated in the Daily News Citizenship Now! event from April 28, 2008 to May 2, 2008.
How Valentini Law Offices Can Benefit You: We understand that being together with your significant other is very important so we work very hard to get your K-1 fiancé visa approved as fast as possible. By routinely dealing with a delicate task of proving that the relationship is bona fide and staying tuned to the latest USCIS regulatory updates, we can reunite you with that special person in the United States within months. As a special benefit to our K-1 visa clients and their fiancées, we speak Spanish, Polish, Japanese, Russian, Ukrainian, German, French and Italian.
Valentini Law Offices, PLLC
The K-1 is a nonimmigrant visa available to alien fiancées of US citizens and the alien fiancées' children (who enter the US on K-2 visas). The sole purpose of the K-1 visa is to facilitate the marriage of an alien fiancée to a US citizen in the United States. K-1 visas are not available for the fiancées of Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders). Compared to other immigrant and nonimmigrant visas, K-1 visa processing times are fairly short.
The K-1 visa is only available for alien fiancées who are outside of the United States. K-1 visas are issued in the consulate of the fiancée’s country of nationality. In other words, change of nonimmigrant status to K-1 while in the United States is not allowed. K-1 visa holders are also prohibited from adjusting their K-1 status to any other nonimmigrant status once in the United States.
It is required that the alien fiancée and a US citizen have met at least once in person within the past two years before a K-1 petition can be filed on behalf of the alien fiancée. However, under certain compelling circumstances, this requirement may be waived. A second key aspect of the K-1 visa application is the proof of a bona fide relationship. This is an area that can be tricky, and is best navigated with the help of a qualified immigration attorney. Through our experience in handling this type of case we have developed a comprehensive checklist which has been successful in assisting each of our clients obtain final visa approval at the consular interview.
The Application Process
The K-1 application can be described as a two step process. The first step involves submitting a petition to the Department of Homeland Security’s USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). The petition is supported with documentary evidence and properly filed with this agency. Upon USCIS’ approval of the petition, the application is forwarded by the Department of State to the appropriate US Consulate in the beneficiary’s country of residence.
The second step in the K-1 process is the consular processing portion, and begins once the consulate receives the information forwarded by USCIS. Further document gathering and visa application forms are completed at this time, and once all required items are submitted to the consulate the visa interview appointment is scheduled.
The consular interview is where the final determination of visa issuance is made by the interviewing officer. Only the foreign national fiancée will attend the interview, as the US citizen petitioner is not required to be present. If approved, the actual visas can be received either the same day or within a few business days, depending on the consulate.
The Next Steps
The attainment of the K-1 visa, while a significant step in the immigration process, is not the end of the journey for the foreign national fiancée. A marriage between the United States citizen and an alien fiancée must be entered into within 90 days of the alien fiancée's arrival into the United States. After the marriage takes place, the alien spouse and alien spouse’s children must apply for Adjustment of Status to lawful permanent residency (the green card). For more information on this process, please see our Adjustment of Status page.
The approval of an Adjustment of Status application means that an alien spouse becomes a US Conditional Lawful Permanent Resident. This “conditional green card” is valid for a period of two years. One year and nine months after an alien spouse becomes a Conditional Lawful Permanent Resident, the alien spouse must apply for removal of the condition.
As you can see, applying for the K-1 visa is a complex process requiring specialized knowledge of US immigration policy and procedures. This is a type of case that we routinely handle and would be glad to assist you with. Make the right decision by putting our experience to work for you.