What applicants need to know about K-1 or fiancé visas

On Behalf of | Jun 18, 2023 | Family Immigration

People who live in separate countries may fall in love despite the distance that separates them. They then have challenges ahead if they want to spend their lives together. When one of those people lives in the United States, there is a very involved process required for them to both live in the country.

The fiancé of a United States citizen can apply for a K-1 visa. This visa will allow them to lawfully enter the country to get married. They will then qualify for a conditional marriage-based green card and possibly eventually citizenship. K-1 visas are very useful, but there are certain things applicants need to know about them early in the process.

K-1 visas are subject to intense scrutiny

There have always been concerns that people will abuse visas granted based on marital relationships.  Therefore, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) tends to be very thorough when reviewing K-1 visa applications. A fiancé seeking entry into the country will have to pass a background check and submit medical records to help establish that they meet the current criteria for immigration. They will also typically need to attend an interview and establish the validity of their engagement either by establishing a cultural tradition of family-arranged marriages or demonstrating a true relationship between the partners.

K-1 visas are only briefly valid

A K-1 visa won’t grant someone long-term permission to remain in the United States. Many visas allow someone to remain in the United States for multiple consecutive years, but that is not true of a K-1 visa. The goal is to allow entry into the country to facilitate the marriage of a foreign national with a United States citizen.

Typically, someone who legally enters the country with a K-1 visa can only remain in the United States for 90 days. Therefore, people will need to quickly arrange to become legally married or risk their fiancé’s removal from the country after they went through all of the effort to secure a K-1 visa. Learning about the rules that govern the most common family immigration programs can help people to successfully bring their loved ones to the United States.