Marriage is an exciting time in a person’s life. Two people will live together, experience growth and maturity, and start making their own memories. But what if one of the two people is foreign-born? There are a few steps to go through in order to be married and reside in the United States as a foreign spouse. Foreign spouses must follow the required immigration laws if they wish to live in the United States.



The K-1 visa is provided through the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Once a foreign national has a K-1 visa, they can reside in the US and have the ability to marry a citizen of the United States.


Requesting a K-1 Fiancé Visa

When applying for the K-1 fiancé visa, foreign fiancés must have a U.S. citizen fill out the I-129F Petition. When this petition has been completed, it is then sent by the United State Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS) to the National Visa Center (NVC). From there, it goes to the American embassy where the foreign national can be assigned his or her visa. This visa is only valid for four months. Once the four months are up, the visa has to be revalidated by an immigration lawyer.


Can the Fiancé be Ineligible?

Committing serious crimes, being sick with a contagious disease, being addicted to drugs, having a mental disorder, having illegally entered the United States before, participating in prostitution, or engaging in drug trafficking are ways that a foreign national could be determined as ineligible to receive a K-1 Visa and go against immigration law requirements.


Applying for the K-1 Visa

Once the visa has been revalidated by the immigration lawyer, the foreign national must show proof with a certificate. The immigration lawyer will give them the application and instructions for applying for the K-1 Visa. Since the foreign national intends on becoming a U.S. citizen, they must meet certain requirements. Once they have the necessary paperwork filled out, they must submit the paperwork with the following: a medical examination, birth certificate, USCIS photographs, evidence of relationship with the U.S. citizen that applied for them, a valid passport, the divorce or death voucher of the person they were previously involved with, an account for all the places they have lived since they were 16 years old, and employment records.


Other Requirements

Both parties of the marriage must be willing and able to participate in the marriage. There must be proof that the two have met in person within the past two years. Once that has been proven, the fiancé will be given an interview by the United State Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS). If they pass this interview, they will be given a certificate for 6 months. The marriage must happen within 90 days of admittance into the United States. Then the foreign national must go back to the USCIS to submit a record of entry to obtain a set residential status.



The process of applying for the K-1 Visa will take about 3-6 months from when the USCIS filed the record of the fiancé’s arrival in the United States. Once all of the requirements are complete, the newly married couple can focus on building their lives together and getting to know one another more.


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