If your future spouse is a foreign national residing abroad, you probably have a lot of questions about green cards, visas, and your ability to create a life and future together in the United States. For example, what is the difference between a Fiancé Visa and a standard family petition? Does a Fiancé Visa involve consular processing?
As you plan your wedding, you’ll also want to consult with our team from the Law Office of 360 Immigration Law Group. We can help you understand your legal options and help ease the pressures of the immigration process, including communicating with the government.
DOES MY LOVED ONE NEED A FIANCÉ VISA?
A fiancé visa, also called a K-1 visa, allows a foreign national who is currently engaged to a U.S. citizen to enter and reside in the United States before the actual wedding. However, not every engaged couple needs to apply for a fiancé visa. Before you start the time-intensive K-1 visa application process, you should assess your specific situation and needs. Your fiancé does not need a K-1 visa if:
- They do not plan on living in the U.S. after your marriage;
- You are not planning on getting married in the United States;
- They already have a valid green card or visa, and can legally reside in the U.S.
Under these circumstances, your fiancé may have the option to apply for permanent residency after your wedding, using a different process. However, if your future spouse lives outside the United States, does not have a valid visa, and wants to apply for legal permanent residency (green card), the first step in their immigration journey is a fiancé visa. We can help you understand the full spectrum of immigration options available to you.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR A FIANCÉ VISA?
The eligibility requirements for a K-1 visa are relatively broad. But it’s always a good idea to consult with an immigration lawyer before you apply. This is especially true if your future spouse has ever been charged or convicted of a crime abroad or in the U.S., or committed a U.S. immigration violation. U.S. immigration law is very complicated, and even something like petty theft or a DUI can change the way it is applied to you or a family member. An immigration lawyer can help to avoid missteps that could cost your fiancé their visa or green card.
Your foreign national fiancé is typically eligible for a fiancé visa if you can show the following:
- You are a U.S. citizen;
- You and your fiancé plan on marrying within 90 days of their entry into the United States;
- In the past two years, the two of you physically met each other;
- You both can legally marry each other in the U.S. – in other words, you are not currently married.
Any of your fiancé’s children who are under the age of 21 can also receive the K-2 derivative status visas if they intend to move to the U.S. along with your fiancé. Notably, legal permanent residents, DACA recipients, and other visa holders cannot request a K-1 visa for their loved ones.
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