If you are a citizen of the United States and your fiancé(e) is currently living outside of the United States, you may obtain a specialized visa for him/her. The K-1 nonimmigrant visa entitles the visa applicant to enter the United States lawfully, with the intention of marrying an American citizen. Importantly, the foreign national is required to marry his or her U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days of entry or depart the United States. In addition, the K-1 Visa couple must have seen one another in person within 2 years prior to the filing. Although a K-1 visa is legally classified as a non-immigrant visa, once the couple marries, the foreign citizen can adjust status and become a lawful permanent resident of the United States (i.e. a Green Card holder).
It is critically important that the K-1 visa couple obtain evidence of their relationship, which includes proofs that a bona fide relationship exists. Examples of proofs include: photographs together, correspondence records, airline flight transaction records, evidence of remittances to the fiancé(e), and phone bills showing calls to one other. Additionally income evidence is reviewed to insure that the petitioner meets the minimum income requirements.
While the K-1 visa seems straightforward, there are many wrinkles and nuances that require the assistance of a skilled immigration lawyer. For example, there are some countries that have specific additional requirements, including proof that the foreign national is not married at the time of the petition. The Philippines, for example, does not have legal divorce and so a CENOMAR (Certificate of No Marriage) must be obtained to show “singleness” and eligibility for marriage. There are other tricky circumstances in which, for a number of reasons, the K-1 visa couple does not get married within the requisite 90 days. This requires the help of an attorney to explore other options for the foreign national.
Should you have further questions about the K-1 visa or which to pursue a consultation, we invite you to contact the Shulman Law Group, LLC. Our team of experienced immigration law experts is poised to educate, counsel, and assist you or a loved one in successfully petitioning for a K-1 visa and with the steps towards adjusting the status of a foreign national fiancé(e).