How to Bring Your Fiancé(e) to the United States with a Visa

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    It’s common knowledge that long-distance relationships are tough, to say the least. Often, the couple is counting down the days until they can be reunited for good and never have to schedule a video call again. These feelings are difficult enough for those who find love across city or state lines. Those whose significant others live internationally face this problem tenfold, in addition to an array of unique challenges. International couples’ obstacles don’t end the moment either says “yes” to the big question and buys a plane ticket, unfortunately. Engaged couples still need to be legally reunited to complete their nuptials and to begin their lives together in the United States.

    What is the K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa?

    Before the word “visa” even leaves your lips, you will need to establish intent with the American government to marry a foreign national upon bringing them to the United States. You can do this by completing and filing a Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) to the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). It is important to remember that you must be a citizen to submit this petition on behalf of your fiancé(e).

    Once your Petition has been accepted, your fiancé(e) may apply for a K-1 Nonimmigrant visa (commonly called the fiancé(e) visa) with their local U.S. Embassy. This visa allows your fiancé(e) to travel to the United States with the intent to marry you. Visa approval is contingent on a successful visa interview and acceptable documentation and evidence of the intent to marry. Along the way, the U.S. Department of State may run background and criminal history checks on both you and your fiancé(e).

    What are the Limitations of the Fiancé(e) Visa?

    As the name suggests, the K-1 nonimmigrant visa is not a permanent residency visa or evidence of citizenship. This particular visa type allows your foreign national fiancé(e) to enter the United States legally for 90 days with the intent to marry you in that time. Only after the two of you have wed within the timeframe may your new spouse apply for a permanent residency visa (or green card).

    Once your betrothed arrives, your wedding will be subject to the same legal requirement as all other American weddings; you both must be of legal age and free to wed. Any previous marriages must have been dissolved by divorce, death, or annulment before you are free to marry each other.

    Applicants must have met each other in-person at least once in the two years leading up to their application. Government agencies might ask you to prove this meeting with documentation of the experience. Typically, the government only waives this requirement if it directly conflicts with a cultural or religious tradition for one of you or if meeting would cause you (the U.S. citizen) severe financial hardship.

    Do We Need Any Other Documents?

    You will each be asked to provide documentation of your relationship and intent to wed throughout the process. Make sure you have records available – even photographs and emails may be valuable.

    If your fiancé(e) has unmarried children under 21, they may also come to the United States. However, they would be classified as a K-2 nonimmigrant. Therefore, your fiancé(e) would need to complete a separate K-2 nonimmigrant visa application in addition to their own K-1 application. As the U.S. citizen, you can name your partner’s children on your initial Petition that you submitted to the USCIS. If approved for a visa, they may enter the U.S. alongside or after your fiancé(e). Following your wedding, these children would also be eligible to apply for a green card.

    If your partner intends to work, they can submit an Application for Employment Authorization as soon as they arrive in the U.S., even before you wed. Depending on when they apply, their authorization would have different expiration dates. If they apply before your wedding, the authorization is good for 90 days, just like their K-1 visa. Applications submitted after you marry and alongside a green card application are valid for one year and may be renewed.

    Complete Your Immigration Documents with Experienced LDA Assistance

    If all these complex documents have your head in a spin, you aren’t alone. Whether you’re applying for a visa, permanent residency, or naturalization, it’s easy to become with complicated government processes. If you’re ready to bring your fiancé(e) over on a visa or change your own status, the experienced immigration legal document assistants of ProSe Legal can help you make sense of all the paperwork. Our team offers personalized, convenient service throughout the Inland Empire remotely, from our local office, or in our state-of-the-art mobile office.

    today or call (909) 497-1349!