K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa Lawyer in Chicago
Citizens of the United States who want to enter into marriage with a foreigner might feel hopeless, but luckily there is a visa designed for this very process known as the “fiancé visa”. The K-1 visa is used to allow citizens to bring their intended spouses into the United States in order to get married.
The K-1 visa is only valid for 90 days. That means that you must marry within 90 days of your fiancé (e) entering the United States, otherwise the visa expires and they will have to return to their home country. You should also note that the K-1 visa does not automatically transfer into permanent residence status (a green card) after you are married. Your new spouse will have to apply for their permanent resident status in addition to being approved for the original K-1 visa.
This process can be fairly complicated, and it’s always a good idea to hire someone who understands how to navigate the process and law. An experienced attorney can help you better understand how to best apply for a fiancé visa as well as how to approach the green card process once you are married. The latter can be an especially arduous process, and you should have someone on your side who is familiar with the law and can help you navigate the tricky application process. We understand what an exciting and worrying time this can be, and we’re ready to work with you to help increase your chances of a speedy resolution.
Additional K-1 Visa Requirements
As the individual petitioning for the issuance of a K-1 visa, you are also subject to certain requirements. To apply for the K-1 fiancé visa, you must meet the following:
- Be a citizen of the United States.
- Have met your intended spouse – face-to-face – within past two years
- Be legally able to marry; you and your intended must be either single or divorced
- Meet certain financial requirements
- Have a serious intention to get married within 90 days from your fiancé(s)’s arrival
- Failure to meet any of these requirements can result in your request being denied, or in the process slowing down quite a bit
K-1 Visa Application Process
It should be noted that the application process for a K-1 visa is not the quickest process to begin with. There are several steps that must be taken before the visa is issued, and not all of them are reliant on the petitioner. Your fiancé will also be required to take steps of their own in order to ensure that they have the best chance possible of being approved for the visa.
First of all, the citizen applying for the petition will fill out paperwork with the United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS). This is done in the United States. Only after the USCIS has approved the paperwork will things move along to the next step. This second step occurs when your case is transferred to the United States’ embassy in the home country of your fiancé. They will be required to take a medical exam and fill out paperwork to ensure that they are eligible to enter the United States. Your fiancé will also need to complete an interview with the United States consulate/embassy. After all of these steps have been completed, their visa will be either approved or denied.
In general, this process takes anywhere from five to eight months. This will change depending upon your specific case, and factors like where you live as well as where your fiancé lives. Other complications that could delay the case include the previous actions of the petitioner. If they have previously filed two or more fiancé visa petitions within their lifetime or have had such a visa approved within two years or less prior to the filing date of the current petition, the process could be delayed and they might have to seek a waiver in accordance with the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA). Additionally, someone who has been convicted of specific violent crimes or committed sex crimes (especially against a minor) might also need to seek a waiver in order to continue with the petition process.
Why Might a K1 Visa Get Denied?
K1 fiancé visa applications are scrutinized carefully and there are many reasons for why a K1 Fiance Visa might be denied. Some of the more obvious reasons are a lack of or incomplete documentation, medical concerns, criminal backgrounds, lack of proof of a legitimate relationship, a need to verify documentation or information provided by the applicants, or insufficient financial documentation to prove that the US Citizen Petitioner can financially support his or her foreign-citizen fiancé. Another common reason for denial is where a previous marriage for one of the parties has not been legally terminated.
Can Same Sex Couples Apply For a K1 Fiance Visa?
Yes. With the Supreme Court’s recent ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), I am of the firm opinion that same sex couples can now apply for a fiancé visa.