If you are a United States citizen and are engaged to someone who does not have U.S. citizenship, your fiancé’s immigration status may prevent them from legally living in the United States with you. Luckily, the process of obtaining a visa for your fiancé to join you in the United States is relatively straightforward and easy to complete with the help of an experienced immigration attorney.
If you are an American citizen and are engaged to a foreign national, call JacksonWhite Law’s immigration team today to start the process of assisting your fiancé legally immigrate to the United States.
What is a K1 Visa?
For American citizens who are engaged to someone who is not a U.S. citizen, your fiancé will need to apply for a K1 visa through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in order to legally enter into the U.S. for your wedding. The K1 visa, also known as the “fiancé visa”, permits the fiancé of an American citizen to travel to the U.S. and be married within 90 days, but the visa is only valid for those 90 days.
A K1 visa is a stepping stone visa, meaning anyone who obtains a K1 visa will need to apply for further immigration statuses following the wedding. After your wedding, you are legally married to a U.S. citizen and because of that you are eligible to apply to become a lawful permanent resident.
If you do not apply to become a legal permanent resident of the U.S. soon after your wedding, your immigration status will be in jeopardy and the process of becoming a legal permanent resident will be tougher.
What are the Immigration Requirements for a Fiancé?
In order to obtain a K1 visa, you and your fiancé must meet the following criteria:
- Both the U.S. citizen and the fiancé must be legally free to marry, meaning any previous marriages must have ended in an official divorce or annulment.
- The marriage must be legal in the State it occurs in
- The U.S. citizen and their fiancé must have met in person within the last 2 years
If for either religious or cultural traditions you and your spouse have not met in person in the last two years, USCIS may grant you and your fiancé an exception and you should hire an experienced immigration lawyer to assist you.
I Have a K-1 Visa But My Wedding is Cancelled
K-1 visas automatically expire after 90 days and they cannot be extended. Generally, a fiancé with a K-1 visa must leave the U.S. at the end of the 90 day period if they end up not getting married, and if they do not leave the U.S. within that period of time they are violating U.S. immigration law and unless they marry a U.S. citizen they are jeopardizing any future chances of legally immigrating to the United States.
If you remain in the U.S. and eventually get married to a U.S. citizen after your K-1 visa has expired, it is still possible for you to become a lawful permanent resident, but the process will take much longer and it will cost more money.
Obtaining K-2 Visas for My Children
If your fiancé who is applying for a K-1 visa has a child or children under 21 years old and are unmarried, the child or children are eligible to come to the U.S. on a K-2 visa so long as the paperwork is correctly filled out and submitted on time. The immigration team at JacksonWhite law has years of experience assisting families immigrate to the U.S. and they are here to help you with all of your immigration needs.
Can I Work in the U.S. with a K-1 Visa?
After you have been admitted to the U.S. on a valid K-1 nonimmigrant visa, you are eligible to apply for a work authorization. If your work authorization is granted by the USCIS, you are then eligible to work in the United States for a limited time.
Just as a K-1 nonimmigrant visa is valid for 90 days, a work authorization for a K-1 fiancé is only valid for the 90 days after they enter into the U.S. and to legally continue working in the U.S. after the 90 days, they must apply to become a lawful permanent resident.
The immigration system in the U.S. can be challenging to navigate on your own, and if you make mistakes while filling out paperwork, your application may be denied and you will not be refunded the hundreds of dollars you paid for fees and charges. Luckily, you do not have to navigate the immigration system on your own.
Immigration attorneys Pace Rawlins and Natalia Villar are here to help you with all of your immigration needs, contact us below.