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Get a K-1 visa to bring a foreign fiancé to the U.S. for marriage

A K-1 visa allows a U.S. citizen to bring their foreign fiancé to the United States for marriage. Both partners must meet specific requirements. First, the petitioner must be a U.S. citizen. Both the petitioner and the fiancé must be legally free to marry. Any previous marriages must have been legally terminated through divorce, annulment or death.

Additionally, the couple must have met in person at least once within the past two years before filing the visa petition, though exceptions exist for cultural or religious reasons.

Filing the petition

The process starts with the U.S. citizen filing Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form establishes the relationship and the intent to marry within 90 days of the fiancé’s arrival in the U.S.

National Visa Center processing

Once USCIS approves the petition, it goes to the National Visa Center for further processing. The NVC assigns a case number and forwards the petition to the U.S. embassy or consulate in the fiancé’s country.

Medical examination and visa interview

The fiancé then receives instructions for scheduling a medical examination and attending a visa interview. At the interview, the fiancé must provide various documents, including a valid passport, birth certificate, police certificates, evidence of the relationship and proof of financial support.

Arrival and marriage

If the consular officer approves the visa, the fiancé can travel to the U.S. They must marry the U.S. citizen within 90 days of entry. After the marriage, the foreign spouse can apply for a green card through adjustment of status, allowing them to live and work permanently in the U.S.

Understanding the eligibility and process for a K-1 visa is important for couples planning to marry in the United States. Proper preparation and adherence to the requirements can help ensure a smooth transition to married life in America.