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A K-1 Fiance Visa is a nonimmigrant visa that permits foreign citizens to enter the US in order to marry their US citizen fiance within 90 days of their arrival in the U.S. If you are interested in bringing your fiance to the U.S., understanding the requirements is essential to success. The fiance visa is a more closely scrutinized process than most visas and it has very strict eligibility requirements.
What are the requirements for a K-1 Fiancée Visa?
- A fiance can only be sponsored by a U.S. citizen. The fiance visa is one of the rare processes where lawful permanent residents (a green card holder) is not permitted to sponsor a fiance.
- Proof of Divorce. Another requirement that is often overlooked is that each partner must be unmarried at the time the request is filed. This may seem obvious, but we often have had calls from interested clients asking whether they can file before their partner is officially divorced since being separated for even years is pretty common. This is a very strict requirement that each person provides evidence that all previous marriages have officially been recognized by the government in either a divorce, annulment or the death of the former spouse.
- Bona Fide Relationship. The next hurdle for a fiance visa couple is to prove that their relationship is real or sincere. To this end, the first requirement is to prove that the couple has met in person at least once within two years of applying for the visa. Although there are some exceptions to this in-person meeting, they are rarely granted. If a couple needs to get a waiver of this requirement, they must show some sort of extreme hardship preventing the meeting together or that their meeting would violate certain religious, cultural, or social norms.
- Intent to Marry within 90 days of entry. Immigration next requires the couple to submit a signed document stating they intend to get married within 90 days after the foreign fiance’s arrival in the U.S. We typically also have our clients provide other evidence of the upcoming wedding such as the booking of the ceremony, the venue booking for the celebration or providing sample wedding invitations.
- Income Requirements. In addition to convincing immigration about the legitimacy of the relationship, the U.S. citizen sponsor must meet income requirements for sponsoring a fiancé. Basically, this comes down to proving that the sponsor’s adjusted gross income on their most recent tax return is equal to or greater than 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. If a sponsor does not meet this requirement, they may use a joint sponsor. Although the law allows for this, immigration is very critical and often requires additional proofs, such as current income and wage proofs from the current employer.
Once all of the hurdles are crossed for the filing of this visa, the sponsor and fiance must then wait for both USCIS and the State Department to review and approve the request and then schedule the in-person interview for the foreign fiance. The interview is where all of the original copies of the required documents must be provided and inspected by an agent of the government. Although this is not an impossible task, it does require a lot of careful attention and preparation.
How long does it take to get a Fiance Visa?
Given the complexity of this process, probably the most common question about the fiance visa is about the time it takes to process. The answer to this depends largely on the office assigned to review the visa. Currently, the fiancé visa processing times are anywhere from 4 to 16 months depending on the office. Current estimates from the government show both California and Texas to have the longest wait times with Nebraska being the quickest. Unfortunately, there is no way to choose which office reviews a request.
What is the Cost of the Fiancé Visa?
The cost associated with the application process varies from country to country and case by case, but the standard government filing fees for the K1 visa are around $695 (I-129F and DS-160). Additional costs include medical examinations, police clearance letters, passport pictures, copies of birth certificates, and other official documents.
We have found that the best way to reduce the stress associated with this process is to consult and hire an experienced fiance visa lawyer to help you navigate the process. This is guaranteed to increase your chances of success and to reduce any delays caused by do-it-yourself filings. Please schedule an appointment with our office to discuss your immigration path whether it is for a us fiance visa or any other request. You can do this by calling our office at 616-805-3435 or by using the following link to schedule an appointment online: https://marvinlawoffice.com/schedule-a-consultation/