Did you fall in love during your semester abroad last year? Do you want to get married and live together in the states?
The U.S. government offers you the opportunity to bring your partner to the U.S. to get married—by applying for what is known as a K-1 fiancé visa. Today we walk through the main requirements of this visa:
In order to apply for this visa:
- You must be a U.S. citizen.
- You and your fiancé must intend to marry each other and be legally free to do so.
- You must have met your fiancé in person at least once over the last two years. (There are limited exceptions to this rule.)
- You and your fiancé must marry within 90 days of their arrival in the U.S.
- You must be able to pay all of the necessary application filing fees—totaling $1,200 as of 2018.
There are also some additional requirements in securing a fiancé visa.
Under most circumstances, your fiancé will not be eligible to work in the U.S. until well after the marriage—once they obtain permanent residency status. Therefore, in order to apply for a K-1 fiancé visa, you must earn a sufficient income to provide for your fiancé (and any other dependents in the household). The minimum income requirement is 125 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. For example, if neither you nor your fiancé has dependents, then your income in 2018 would need to be at least $20,575—for a household of two people.
You and your fiancé should have an upstanding history with respect to U.S. law. If you have a criminal record, it won’t necessarily disqualify you from bringing your fiancé to the U.S. However, the government will find out if you have a criminal record that you didn’t disclose—even if the offense has since been sealed or expunged.
Be upfront about your past—both to the USCIS and to your fiancé. Your criminal history could come up in their interview, and it could hurt their chances of acceptance if they don’t know about it.
In addition, your fiancé must have a clean record with respect to U.S. immigration laws. They must not have committed any immigration-related infractions, such as over-staying a tourist visa or working in the U.S. illegally.
Going through the fiancé visa application can be long and overwhelming. Having an experienced immigration attorney on your side can help make the process more manageable.