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K-1 Fiancé(e) visa
The United States immigration laws provide K-1 fiancé(e) visa classification for aliens coming into the United States to marry U.S. citizens.
The process of obtaining a nonimmigrant fiancé(e) visa begins by filing of a petition by the citizen fiancé(e) with United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). The process usually takes approximately 6-8 months from the time of filing until the arrival of the alien fiancé(e). Together with the petition, the petitioner must also submit proof that he or she is a U.S. Citizen, that each party is free to contract a valid marriage with the other, that the couple has previously met in person within the two years preceding the filing of the petition, and that the parties intend to marry within 90 days of the arrival of the alien fiancé(e).
The requirement that the couple must have “met in person” can be waived in two situations: (1) when the in person meeting has not occurred because the person was following a strict cultural or social practices; or (2) for those who would experience extreme hardship if forced to comply with this requirement.
If USCIS is satisfied with the information provided, it will approve the petition and forward the approved file to the consular office having jurisdiction over the alien fiancé(e)’s place of residence. Upon receiving the approved K-1 visa petition, a consular office will contact the alien fiancé(e) and provide a list of the documents he or she needs to submit. The consulate will then interview the alien and issue a K-1 visa if everything is done properly.
In addition to the petition, the following documents will be normally required:
- Passport Photographs – 2 for each;
- If any of parties changed names, then copies of documents changing the name;
- Original petitioner’s naturalization certificate, U.S. passport or certified copy of birth certificate if born in the United States, or green card;
- If any of the parties has been married before, then certified copy of any divorce orders or death certificates;
- Criminal report, court dispositions, if any crimes were committed;
- Evidence of personal meeting within the preceding 2 years;
- Forms G-325A (Biographic Information) for both individuals.
Important note: The requirement of marriage with the sponsoring alien within 90 days is strictly enforced and should be followed. If the alien fiancé(e) does not marry the U.S. citizen who filed the petition within 90 days after arrival and remains in the United States, he/she will be deportable/removable even if he/she marries another U.S. citizen. If the alien realizes that the marriage will not occur within 90 days, he/she must depart immediately.
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