The K-1 visa is a temporary visa that allows non-citizen fiancé(e)s of United States citizens to enter the country legally for the purpose of marriage. The number of K-1 visas issued annually hovers around 30,000-35,000 and is targeted towards a fairly niche group of immigrants. Yet the cultural relevance of the K-1 visa is significant due to popular TLC TV show 90 Day Fiancé. Reality TV often brings general awareness to seemingly random topics, and it seems that certain immigration laws are not an exception.
The TLC show’s name is slightly misleading as nearly all of the couples applying for a K-1 visa are typically engaged much longer than 90 days before entering the country. The 90 days refers to the length of time recipients of the K-1 visa have upon entry into the country to become married. The 90 day period is not intended as a period of time in which to decide whether to get married, but is intended to be used as time to organize and host the wedding. However, it is not unheard of to have a wedding called off due to a change of heart. If the proposed marriage dissolves, the foreign national must return to his or her home country before the expiration of the K-1 visa, similar to any other non-immigrant visa.
K-1 visas do have more requirements other than the intention to get married to a United States citizen. Both parties must be eligible to be married legally in the United States and the couple must have met in person at least once in the previous two years. The meet in person requirement can be waived to accommodate certain social or religious customs or if it would create extreme hardship.
In order to receive a K-1 visa, the U.S. citizen half of the couple must file immigration Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e). If the application is approved, the foreign national half of the couple will need to interview with a Department of State consular officer at a U.S. embassy or consulate office in his or her home country. After the K-1 visa is approved, the foreign national will have 6 months to enter the United States, and upon arrival, will have 90 days to get married. After the marriage, the foreign national spouse can apply for a green card with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Green cards stemming from K-1 visas are conditional for two years in order to prevent fraud.
International couples seeking to settle in the U.S. can seek guidance and legal help from immigration attorneys. The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth has been helping immigrants to the United States for more than 35 years. Our immigration experts provide free consultations over the phone. Call us today at 888-517-9888 to schedule your free consultation today!