Fiance Visa (K-1) Basics

Jul 21, 2015 | K-1 Non-Immigrant Visa

As a Miami immigration lawyer, I have represented a good number of  U.S. citizens wishing to bring a foreign national fiancé(e) living abroad to the United States to marry. Below are some frequently asked questions.

What are the eligibility requirements when applying for a fiance visa?
If you petition for a fiancé(e) visa, you must show that:

  • You (the petitioner) are a U.S. citizen.
  • You intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the United States.
  • You and your fiancé(e) are both free to marry and any previous marriages must have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment.
  • You met each other, in person, at least once within 2 years of filing your petition. There are two exceptions that require a waiver:
    1. If the requirement to meet would violate strict and long-established customs of your or your fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice.
    2. If you prove that the requirement to meet would result in extreme hardship to you.

If you are in doubt as to whether your fiance meets the requirements listed above, I would encourage you to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer.

What happens after the fiancé(e) visa is issued?
Once issued, the fiancé(e) visa (or K-1 nonimmigrant visa) allows your fiancé(e) to enter the United States for 90 days so that your marriage ceremony can take place. Once you marry, your spouse may apply for permanent residence and remain in the United States while USCIS processes the application. Again, if you have any questions, you should speak with a Miami immigration lawyer.

What about the children of my fiancé(e)s?
If your fiancé(e) has a child (under 21 and unmarried), a K-2 nonimmigrant visa may be available to him or her. Again, speak with your Miami immigration lawyer to discuss your options.

Can my fiance work in the U.S.?
After admission, your fiancé(e) may immediately apply for permission to work by filing an application for employment authorization with the USCIS Service Center having jurisdiction over your place of residence. Any work authorization based on a nonimmigrant fiancé (e) visa would be valid for only 90 days after entry.

However, your fiancé (e) would also be eligible to apply for an extended work authorization at the same time as he or she files for permanent residence. Again, I would encourage you to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer to discuss your options.

What happens if we do not marry within 90 days?
Fiancé(e) status automatically expires after 90 days. It cannot be extended. Your fiancé(e) should leave the United States at the end of the 90 days if you do not marry. If your fiancé(e) does not depart, he or she will be in violation of U.S. immigration law. This may result in removal (deportation) and/or could affect future eligibility for U.S. immigration benefits.

If you would like more information on the K-1 (fiance) visa, please contact Miami immigration lawyer The Law Office of Tatiane M. Silva, P.A., Esq. at (305) 895-2500 or visit our website at tmsilvalaw.com.