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Love knows no borders, and many U.S. citizens find themselves in international relationships. For those who are engaged to non-U.S. citizens, the K visa serves as a pathway to bring their foreign fiancé(e) to the United States for marriage. In this blog, we will explore the requirements for obtaining a K visa, specifically the K-1 visa for fiancé(e)s and the K-3 visa for spouses of U.S. citizens.
Understanding K Visas
These visas are non-immigrant visas designed to allow foreign fiancé(e)s and spouses of U.S. citizens to enter the United States for the purpose of marriage. There are two primary K visa categories:
- K-1 Visa: This visa is for fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens who intend to marry within 90 days of entering the United States. After marriage, the foreign spouse can apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).
- K-3 Visa: The K-3 visa is for spouses of U.S. citizens. It allows the foreign spouse to enter the United States while waiting for their immigrant visa application to be processed. Once in the U.S., they can file for adjustment of status to become a green card holder.
Requirements for Obtaining a K Visa
To obtain a K visa for your fiancé(e) or spouse, you must meet specific eligibility criteria and follow a structured application process:
1. U.S. Citizenship:
- For the K-1 visa, you must be a U.S. citizen. Green card holders (lawful permanent residents) cannot sponsor a fiancé(e) using the K-1 visa.
- For the K-3 visa, you must also be a U.S. citizen.
2. Legitimate Relationship:
- You must have a genuine, bona fide relationship with your fiancé(e) or spouse, and your intention must be to marry within 90 days of their arrival in the United States.
3. Proof of Meeting:
- For the K-1 visa, you must demonstrate that you have met your fiancé(e) in person at least once within the two years immediately preceding the visa application, with few exceptions.
- For the K-3 visa, the marriage must be valid, and the foreign spouse must have an immigrant visa petition filed on their behalf by the U.S. citizen spouse.
4. Affidavit of Support:
- You, as the U.S. citizen petitioner, must provide an Affidavit of Support (Form I-134) to demonstrate your ability to financially support your fiancé(e) or spouse.
5. Background Checks:
- Both the U.S. citizen petitioner and the foreign fiancé(e) or spouse must undergo background checks, including security clearances and medical examinations.
6. Visa Application Process:
- File a petition for the appropriate K visa with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). For the K-1 visa, file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), and for the K-3 visa, file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
- Once the petition is approved by USCIS, it is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) and the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the foreign spouse’s home country.
- The foreign fiancé(e) or spouse will then complete the visa application process at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, including a visa interview.
- If approved, the foreign fiancé(e) or spouse will receive a K visa stamp in their passport, allowing them to enter the United States.
7. Entry and Adjustment of Status:
- For K-1 visa holders, once in the United States, they must marry the U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days and apply for adjustment of status to become a green card holder.
- K-3 visa holders can enter the U.S. and file for adjustment of status to obtain lawful permanent resident status.
Obtaining a K visa for your fiancé(e) or spouse is a complex but rewarding process that allows you to unite with your loved one in the United States. Careful preparation, adherence to the specific requirements, and timely completion of the application steps are essential for a successful K visa application. Once in the U.S., you can begin your life together as a married couple or continue building your life as spouses of a U.S. citizen.