Spouses & Fiancés of United States Citizens

K-1 Visas For Fiancé(E)S Of United States Citizens

An American citizen who wants a foreign fiancée/fiancé to travel to the United States in order to marry and live in the U.S. must file a K-1 visa petition on the fiancée’s/fiancé’s behalf. A fiancée/fiancé is a person who is engaged or contracted to be married. In order to obtain a K-1 visa there must be a bona fide intention to marry within 90 days of the fiancée’s/fiancé’s arrival in the United States. The anticipated marriage must be legal according to laws of the state in the United States where the marriage is to take place.

Generally, the couple must have met in person within two years of filing the petition. However, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant an exception to this requirement where, for example, it may be contrary to the couple’s cultural traditions for a man and woman to meet before marriage. USCIS may consider a person to be a fiancée/fiancé” even after a marriage contract has been concluded in cases where the American citizen petitioner and the foreign national spouse have not met and consummated the marriage. Additionally, because a fiancée/fiancé visa anticipates that the beneficiary will, upon arrival in the U.S., file an application for adjustment of status to that of lawful permanent resident, the fiancée/fiancé must also meet some of the requirements for an immigrant visa.

A K-1 visa holder is admitted to the United States for a period of 90 days within which the marriage must be entered into. K-1 visa holders are eligible for employment authorization upon arrival to the United States. If the marriage does not take place within the 90 day period, the foreign national will have to return to their home country in order to process for an immigrant visa.

Children under the age of 18 of a K-1 visa holder may obtain K-2 visas to accompany the K-1 parent. Upon arrival K-4 children may attend school and after the marriage of the K-1 parent to the U.S. citizen petitioner, may obtain employment authorization.

K-3 Visas For Spouses Of United States Citizens

Spouses of U.S. citizens and the spouse’s children can also come to the United States on K nonimmigrant visas (K-3/K-4 respectively) in order to complete the immigration process in the United States. However, the U.S. citizen must first file an immigrant visa petition on the spouse’s behalf before filing a nonimmigrant K-3 visa petition. Additionally, before a K-4 visa can be issued to a child, the parent must have a K-3 visa or be in K-3 status. As K-3 visa status anticipates that the beneficiary will, upon arrival in the U.S., file an application for adjustment of status to that of lawful permanent resident, K-3 visa applicants must also meet some of the requirements of an immigrant visa.

Aliens present in the United States in a K-3 or K-4 nonimmigrant visa status can travel outside of the United States and return using their K-3/K-4 visa. Contrary to other applicants pending adjustment of status in the U.S., a K-3/K-4 visa holder’s to departure from the U.S. will not be presumed to constitute abandonment of their adjustment application.

Pursuant to the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA) of 2005, where the petitioning United States citizen and their fiancée/fiancé or spouse met through the services of an international marriage broker, this fact must be disclosed in the petition. The term “international marriage broker” means a corporation, partnership, business, individual, or other legal entity, that charges fees for providing dating, matrimonial, matchmaking services, or social referrals between United States citizens or nationals or aliens lawfully admitted to the United States as lawful permanent residents and foreign national clients by providing personal contact information or otherwise facilitating communication between individuals.

Under IMBRA, USCIS is now required to maintain a database to track repeated petitions for K visas. Upon approval of a second petition for a K-1or K-3 visa by the same U.S. citizen, USCIS will notify the petitioner that information concerning them has been entered into a multiple visa petition tracking database. Thereafter, USCIS enters all subsequent K-1 or K-3 petitions filed by that United States citizen into the database. If a subsequent petition for a K-1 or K-3 visa is filed less than ten years after the date the first petition was filed, USCIS will notify both the United States petitioner and the foreign national beneficiary of the number of previously approved petitions listed in the database. USCIS will also send the foreign national a pamphlet containing information on legal rights and resources for immigrant victims of domestic violence.