Amidst these unprecedented times due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is increasingly common that a US citizen and their international partner are separated because of travel restrictions.
Due to these additional restrictions, in some circumstances, a K-1 fiancé(e) visa may be an advisable option for couples not yet married who may not be able to marry soon due to travel restrictions. The K-1 fiancé(e) visa is intended for couples who are not yet married.
K-1 Visa Process
For legal eligibly for the couple to file and have an I-129F Petition approved, the following requirements must be met. The US citizen petitioner and foreign national fiancé(e) both must be free to marry, and able and have a good faith intention to marry upon the fiancé(e)’s entry to the US within 90 days.
Requirement that the Couple has Met
The couple generally must have met in person at least once within the two-year period preceding the filing of the I-129F Petition. This is something proven with the initial I-129F filing through evidence to establish at least one meeting occurred. This requirement may only be waived in two circumstances.
K-1 Visa Interview
At the time of the interview at a US Consulate for the K-1 visa, important criteria are reviewed before a visa can be issued. K-1 visas are generally adjudicated like an immigrant visa since the applicant is in a process that leads to permanent residency in the US. As such, K-1 visa applicants must attend a US medical exam, provide police clearances, military records (if any), and in some cases demonstrate they are unlikely to become a public charge in the US.
K-1 Visa Approval
After the K-1 visa is issued and the applicant enters the US, it is important to remember some of the limitations of this process. The foreign national and US citizen partner must marry within 90 days of the foreign national’s entry into the US to be able to apply for permanent residency (green card) in the US. This is an affirmative filing that must be made with USCIS after marriage.
If a marriage does not occur, generally, the foreign national must depart the US. A K-1 visa holder cannot marry someone else, or change to another non-immigrant visa (employment, student, visitor, etc.).
A K-1 visa is a single-entry visa. Thus, the foreign national cannot travel outside of the US on this visa for re-entry. A K-1 visa can be reissued only for the remaining days left in the 90 days period. So, travel is not advisable unless the foreign national is departing and will not marry the US citizen partner. The foreign national may only travel after obtaining permission to travel as part of the adjustment of status process or becoming a permanent resident.
K-1 visa holders must obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or become a permanent resident to be able to be employed in the US. The EAD is usually applied for as part of the residency application process; but, may take significant time currently to be approved.
If you would like further information regarding your eligibility, please don’t hesitate to reach out to VISA LOUNGE Global Immigration !