A K-1 visa is a dual intent visa given to the fiancé or fiancée of a United States citizen to enter the United States.
K-1 visa requires a foreigner to marry his or her U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days of entry in to the USA.
Once the couple marries, the foreign citizen can adjust his/her status to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States and become a green card holder.
Although a K-1 visa is legally classified as a non-immigrant visa, it typically leads to important immigration benefits and is therefore often processed by the Immigrant Visa section of United States embassies and consulates worldwide.
If a K-1 visa holder does not marry the U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days of entry, then he or she must leave the United States within 30 days.
The great majority of K-1 visas applied for are approved. For instance, in 2009, 95 percent of the K-1 visa applications were approved: out of 29,127 K-1 visas applied for, 27,678 were issued, and 1,449 refused, and 1,266 were waived/overcome.
Requirements for a K-1 visa
Fiance visa attorney California
The fiancées must be eligible to be lawfully married in the state of residence of the petitioner. For instance, at the time the visa petition is filed, as well as at issuance, they must both be of legal age, and not already married to each other or to anyone else.
Under the Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex partners are not eligible for K-1 visas, even those with petitioners from states that otherwise allow same sex partners to marry.
But, a 2005 decision ruled that transsexuals, such as Thai kathoeys and Filipina baklas can get fiancé visas sponsored by the sex of their post-op gender, so long as that sponsor lives in a state where the transsexual marriage will be recognized as heterosexual. Certain individuals are ineligible for any immigrant visa, such as those with certain untreated communicable diseases, those who have committed crimes of moral turpitude, those who are addicted to illegal drugs, persons who were previously deported from the US, and those who have engaged in acts of terrorism or are members of a designated terrorist organization.
The fiancées must have met in person at least once within two years prior to filing the visa petition. This requirement may be waived by the Department of Homeland Security, but only for cases with strong cultural or religious traditions which preclude such a meeting.
Visa applicants are required to show to the Consular officer that they are unlikely to become public charges in the United States.
In general, this is accomplished by the petitioner filing an Affidavit of Support (Form I-134) showing he or she has an income or assets that are above that of the poverty line in the petitioner's state of residence.
The fiancées may be required to put forward certain documents, such as birth certificates and ID cards, to prove their identity, as well as divorce decrees or annulment records to prove they are eligible to marry.
The precise documents required are set by the Embassy in each country to reflect the documents commonly used in that country.
Disclaimer: California Family Law Attorney Disclaimer