fiance visa

When a United States citizen wants to marry a foreign-born person who is living outside of the country, and they want the marriage to take place in the United States, they need to obtain a special visa known as a K-1 or fiancé visa. This is a temporary visa issued for the sole purpose of allowing the couple to get married, though after the marriage takes place, it does allow the foreign-born spouse to apply for lawful permanent residence. The process of getting a K-1 visa is time-consuming, complex, and has many requirements that need to be met, so many people turn to experienced attorneys for help. At Reinherz & Reinherz Law Offices, we have assisted many people in obtaining fiancé visas, and we are happy to help you with the process as well.

The first step in obtaining a fiancé visa is to ensure that you meet the personal meeting requirement. These visas will not be issued unless you and your fiancé have met in person within the last two years. If more time has gone by, or if you have never met, then you will need to address this issue first. The only exception to this rule is when a meeting would present a severe hardship for the U.S. citizen or when a marriage has been arranged according to a religious tradition.

Once this requirement is met, the U.S. citizen needs to file a petition by mail with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). There are specific forms for this, as well as a requirement of proof of citizenship, evidence of courtship and the intent to marry, a personal statement from each member of the couple, and more. Divorce or death certificates proving that neither of you are still married (if you’ve been married before) are also required, as is a submission of a nonrefundable fee. USCIS will review the petition, request any missing information, and send a notice acknowledging that they have received it. If all goes well this will be followed by notification of approval and the petition being forwarded to the National Visa Center; then the U.S. embassy where the fiancé lives will be notified and will invite the fiancé to appear for an interview and submission of a variety of forms, including a birth certificate a medical examination for vaccinations, evidence of financial support and of a fiancé relationship, and a passport, in addition to many other documents. If the consular officer finds all of the information to be complete and in order, they will approve the application for the K-1/fiancé visa. If approval is withheld there is no right of appeal, though reapplication is permitted.

Once the K-1 visa is received, the fiancé needs to present it at the U.S. point of entry, which may be a border or an airport. This is the last step, and it is important to remember that if the officer at Customs and Border Protection believes that you are not eligible for the visa, they may deny entry.

K-1 visas are temporary: you must receive an official marriage certificate within 90 days or the visa expires. Once the marriage is complete, there is no requirement that a green card application is made, though it can be. Otherwise, the fiancé can leave the country.

If you need assistance in applying for a K-1 visa, the attorneys at Reinherz & Reinherz can help. Contact our office today to learn more.

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