Most people who wish to help their fiance(e) immigrate to US have a doubt on what form to file, whether K1 visa or Form I 130. It depends on the the length of the relationship, the supporting evidence, the number of times the sponsor or the petitioner has physically met their fiance(e), are few of the considerations to file the appropriate form.
Only the citizens of the US may file a K1 visa for a fiance(e). If you are a legal permanent resident you may then have to file Form I 130 to petition your spouse. A K1 visa is issued to the fiance(e) of a United States citizen to enter the US and marry the United Citizen within 90 days after the entry of the fiance(e) into US. A K3 visa is used by a US citizen to bring his or her spouse to the US. Form I 130 is used by a US Citizen or a legal permanent resident to petition his or her spouse for a green card.
The average waiting time for K1 visa is approximately 7-9 months, K-3 petitions take approximately 8-10 months and Form I 130 petitions take approximately 8-12 months to be processed.
What Form Must I File?
If you are a US Citizen and you wish to bring your fiance(e) to US to get married you must file K1 visa application. On approval of the petition by the US Citizen, the fiance(e) may travel to United States for a period of 90 days. A K-1 visa requires a fiance(e) to marry his or her US citizen sponsor within 90 days of entry into the United States. The fiance(e) may then obtain work permit to work in the United States. It is mandatory that the US Citizen and the fiance(e) must be married within the 90 days period , so that the fiance(e) will be eligible to apply to adjust status to a lawful permanent resident.
If you are a US Citizen and you wish to bring your spouse to US then you must file K3 visa application. You can apply for a K-3 visa for your spouse only after you have filed the I-130 petition. Your spouse can enter the US on a K3 visa while the I-130 is pending and must apply to adjust status to a permanent resident with the USCIS upon approval of the petition.
Form I 130 is used by either by a US Citizen or a Legal Permanent Resident to petition their spouse to immigrate to United States. This process is a lengthy process when compared to that of K1 and other processes.
A K1 visa holder will not be able work or leave the country until they apply for adjustment of status. When they file for adjustment of status, applications for employment and travel will also have to be filed. After 90 days of filing the petition, the spouse may be able to travel and work.
A K-3 visa is a multiple-entry visa and the spouse may travel out of the country. The K 3 visa holder must apply for an EAD/work permit and it has to be filed along with the adjustment of status application.
Once the adjustment of status application is approved, the applicant acquires legal permanent resident status. They may then obtain employment immediately and also travel outside the country.
The INA (Immigration and Nationality Act) defines a K-1 visa as a non-immigrant visa classification for aliens coming to the United States to marry an American citizen and to set up residence in the United States.
Procedure and requirements for K-1 visa:
To be eligible to file for a K-1 visa the applicant should be :
- A US citizen.
- Must have met his fiancé in person within the previous two years or at least once.
- Should have a serious intention to marry within 90 days of the fiancé’s arrival in the United States.
- Should have a minimum income requirement to qualify for the Affidavit of Support so that the fiancé does not become a public charge.
To get started with the K-1 visa process the American citizen must file a petition on behalf of his alien fiancée with the Form I-129F, Petition for Relative or Fiancée, with the (USCIS) having jurisdiction over the place of the petitioner’s residence in the United States. Such petitions are not generally adjudicated abroad.
Once the petition is approved it will be forwarded by the USCIS to the American consular office where the alien fiancée will apply for his or her visa. This petition is valid only for a period of four months from the date of USCIS action and may be revalidated by the consular officer.
On receipt of an approved petition, the American consular officer will intimate the beneficiary and provide the necessary forms and instructions to apply for a K-1 visa.
As the fiancée visa applicant is an intending immigrant, he or she must meet most of the documentary requirements of an immigrant visa applicant.
The following documents are generally required in addition to the prescribed application forms.
- A valid passport
- Birth certificate
- Divorce or death certificate of any previous spouse
- Police certificate from all places lived since age 16
- Medical examination
- Evidence of support
- Evidence of valid relationship with the petitioner
- As soon as the processing of the case is completed the consular officer will interview the fiancée.
- If found eligible then a visa will be issued which will be valid for one entry during a period of six months.
K-1 Fiancé Visa and U.S. PORT OF ENTRY:
On entry into the US the marriage should take place within 90 days of admission. Following the marriage the spouse must apply to the USCIS for conditional permanent residence status. After two years the alien may apply to the USCIS for removal of the conditions.
K-1 Fiancé Visa Additional Details:
Unmarried minor children who are under 21 years of age of the K-1 visa holder will derive “K-2” non-immigrant visa status from the parent as long as they are mentioned in the petition. A separate petition though is not required if the children accompany or follow the alien fiancée within one year from the date of issuance of the K-1visa. From thereon a separate immigrant visa (I-130) petition is required.
Bringing your loved ones to the United States can be an exciting time. However, one must be prepared and patient, but eventually one can enjoy life together with his/her fiancé.