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K-1 Fiancée Visa

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The K-1 visa permits persons who are engaged to marry a United States citizen to enter the country in order to complete the marriage. The visa is unique in that it allows the holder to enter the country on a non-immigrant visa while clearly having an immigrant intent. The purpose of the visa is to allow the fiancée/fiancé to come to the United States and spend up to 90 days in the country to allow both parties to consider finalizing the marriage plans. In a world where increasing numbers of people are brought together through the Internet, the K-1 Fiancée visa will play an increasingly important role in facilitating bi-cultural marriages.

Advantages

The K-1 addresses a fundamental need for many bi-cultural couples: The ability to spend time together in the United States in order to test the strength of the relationship and to allow the foreign national to gain perspective on the American lifestyle.

Processing Time
The K-1 can be processed in 6 to 9 months, a relatively short time considering the process includes both a stateside petition and a consular application and interview. This processing time can vary depending on personnel shortages in the Service and security clearance procedures at the foreign consulate.

Immigrant Intent Not a Barr
For most non-immigrant visas, the applicant has the burden of proving the intent to return to the home country. In many consulates, this requirement is strictly construed, resulting in the issuance of very few visas. The K-1 visa does not have this requirement, making the issuance of the visa less restricted.

Look-See
Most marriage experts maintain the importance of getting to know your spouse before marriage. The decision to get married is an important one that carries many consequences and potential advantages. Long-distance relationships do not allow the couple to gain the same insight as living together and spending time in the same country. The K-1 allows couples to experience a "look-see" at what their marriage together here in the United States might be like. It provides the opportunity to experience the contrasts in heritage, culture, language, religion, and political perspective. The magnitude of the time spent together will allow the couple to see each other in a more realistic light, resulting in a better decision to marry.

Pre-Clearance
The United States citizen has the benefit of the consulate conducting a pre-clearance for HIV and tuberculosis, as well as criminal activity. The foreign applicant will also be advised if the United States sponsor has been convicted of domestic violence, three or more convictions for controlled substance or alcohol, or a serious crime.

Includes Children
The K-1 visa provides for issuance of a K-2 visa for the unmarried children (under the age of 21) of the K-1 visa holder.

Employment Authorization
The K-1 visa holder is allowed to apply for employment authorization once the marriage is completed and the application for adjustment of status is filed.

Allows for Adjustment of Status
The K-1 allows the sponsored foreign national, once married to the petitioner, to adjust status in the United States, rather than requiring a return trip abroad to undergo consular processing.

Judicial Review
The K-1, once married, can seek judicial review of any decision denying benefits under the application for adjustment of status. This avoids the consular process where the decision of the consular officer is final, and not subject to judicial review.

Requirments

Citizenship
The sponsor must be a United States citizen.

Capacity
The sponsor must be of legal age, single, and have legal capacity to marry. The beneficiary must also be of legal age, single and have legal capacity to marry.

Physical Meeting
The sponsor and the beneficiary must have met in person within the 24 months immediately proceeding the filing of the petition unless the meeting would violate strict and long-established customs of the culture or if such a meeting would result in extreme hardship to the citizen sponsor.

Intention to Marry
The sponsor and the beneficiary must intend to marry within 90 days of entry to the United States.

Limitations

Marry or Return
The foreign national has 90 days in which to get married or return to the home country.

No Adjustment of Status or Change of Status
The K-1 visa holder may not seek adjustment of status by marriage to a different person from the petitioner, nor may the K-1 visa holder seek a change of status from K-1 to another non-immigrant visa category.

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