How can I help my fiancé who is a foreign national travel to the U.S. so we can marry and live together?
Are you a U.S. citizen who is looking to tie the knot with an individual who lives abroad? Do the two of you plan to get married and live together in the U.S.? If so, your fiancé may be granted permission to travel to the U.S. to marry you if you file the necessary paperwork with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and they approve your fiancé for a K-1 visa to do so.
Now, before assuming that your fiancé will qualify for a K-1 visa so that the two of you can elope in the U.S., you will want to be sure you both meet the eligibility requirements USCIS has set forth. These include:
- Both you, the U.S. citizen, and your spouse, the K-1 visa applicant, “must have been legally free to marry at the time the petition was filed and must have remained so thereafter.”
- Your marriage must be “legally possible according to laws of the U.S. state in which the marriage will take place.”
- Your fiancé, who is a foreign citizen, and you, who will serve as their sponsor, “must have met in person within the past two years.” Now, the S. Department of State does say that USCIS “may grant an exception to this requirement based on extreme hardship for the U.S. citizen sponsor to personally meet the foreign-citizen fiancé(e).” For instance, if the foreign individual’s culture does not permit that a man and woman meet prior to marriage, this may stand as a valid reason for not meeting this requirement. Hence, you would still qualify to file an application for a K-1 visa.
What forms must I file in order to obtain a K-1 visa for my fiancé?
You will be required to fill out and file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) with USCIS. The U.S. Department of State highlighted that this form cannot be filed at a U.S. Embassy, Consulate, or USCIS office abroad, rather it must be filed with the USCIS office that serves your particular area. According to USCIS, you would need to mail your form along with any other corresponding documentation that is required of you to the following address:
The USCIS Dallas Lockbox
For U.S. Postal Service:
P.O. Box 660151
Dallas, TX 75266
For Express mail and courier deliveries:
2501 South State Highway 121 Business, Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067
What happens once USCIS receives my application for a K-1 visa for my fiancé?
Now, once your petition is received and approved by USCIS, it will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) and you should be provided with a case number shortly after. Your petition will then be sent to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where your fiancé lives. You can then expect to receive a letter from the NVC which will provide you with instructions for your fiancé including where they will need to go for an interview. It is important that your fiancé bring the following with them to their interview:
- A completed Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application
- A valid passport
- Divorce or death certificate for any previous spouses for both you and them.
- Police certificates “from your present country of residence and all countries where you have lived for six months or more since age 16.”
- Medical examination
- Evidence of financial support
- Two 2×2 photographs
- Evidence of relationship
- Payment of fees
If, at any point, you or your fiancé does not understand something or aren’t sure what needs to be brought to the interview, you can always contact one of our K-1 visa attorneys who will be more than happy to address the concerns you have.
How long do I have to marry my fiancé before his/her K-1 visa expires?
After your spouse follows through with all the requirements on his/her end and has been issued a K-1 visa to travel into the U.S., the two of you have 90 days to marry after their arrival. Once those 90 days are up, your fiancé will need to apply for adjustment of status to a permanent resident (LPR) with USCIS.
As you can see, obtaining a K-1 visa requires you and your fiancé to go through a lengthy process. And to be sure you understand this process entirely and don’t make any errors that could delay your fiancé receiving their K-1 visa so the two of you can wed, we suggest you consult with a K-1 visa lawyer who can walk you through the process.