The K-1 Visa, also known as a fiancé(e) visa, is a nonimmigrant visa for foreign fiancé(e)s of United States citizens to come into the U.S. to get married within 90 days. Once married, the fiancé(e) can apply to become a legal permanent resident. The K-1 visa cannot be extended. If the fiancé(e) does not get married within the 90 days, he/she must depart the U.S. or else be in violation of immigration law. This can result in deportation and affecting future immigration benefits.
The following requirements must be met in order to eligible to apply for a K-1 visa:
- The petitioner must be a U.S. citizen;
- The couple must intend to get married in the U.S. within 90 days of the fiancé(e)’s admission to the U.S. on a K-1 visa;
- Both parties must be legally free to marry;
- Both parties must have met each other in person at least once within the 2-year period before filing for a K-1 visa. Unless it can be shown that meeting in person would:
- Violate strict and long-established customs of the fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice; or
- Result in extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen petitioner.
If the fiancé(e) has children who are under 21 and are unmarried, they can travel to the U.S. with the fiancé with the K-2 visa. Once the fiancé(e) gets married, the children can become a legal permanent resident.
Permission to Work in the United States
The fiancé(e) can apply for employment authorization in the U.S. once they enter on the K-1 visa, however this will only valid for 90 days after entry to the U.S. Alternatively, the fiancé(e) can also file for employment authorization at the same time as the he/she applies for legal residency. In that case, the employment authorization will be valid for 1 year and can be extended in one-year increments.