Fiances of U.S. Citizens (K-1 Visas)
A person qualifies for a K-1 visa if he/she is:
- A fiancée/fiancé of a U.S. citizen;
- Seeks to enter the U.S. solely to marry with the U.S. citizen petitioner; and
- Will marry within ninety days of entry into the U.S
Minor children of a K-1 visa applicants are given K-2 visas.
K-1 Petition and Visa Application Procedures
The U.S. citizen petitioner files a Form I-129F with the USCIS along with supporting evidence. The U.S. citizen must prove he/she will marry the beneficiary within ninety days of entry into the United States, the U.S. citizen has previously met the beneficiary within two years of filing the I-129F petition, and evidence of the U.S. citizen’s previous criminal record, if any. When the K-1 petition is approved the USICS will issue a Form I-797, Approval Notice with a validity period of four months.
Upon approval of the K-1 petition, the beneficiary must immediately apply for the K-1 visa at an overseas U.S. consulate. The beneficiary must undergo a medical examination prior to K-1 visa issuance. The K-1 visa is valid for multiple entries.
K-1 Rules after Entry into the United States
- A K-1 visa holder must marry the U.S. citizen petitioner within ninety days of entry into the U.S. Failure to marry within the ninety day period will subject the K-1 beneficiary to removal from the United States.
- Once married, the U.S. citizen may sponsor the K-1 beneficiary for U.S. lawful permanent residence based upon Adjustment of Status.
- A K-1 visa holder is eligible for employment in the United States.
- A K-1 visa holder may not change status or adjust status to U.S. lawful permanent residence status on any basis other than through marriage to the K-1 petitioner.
Spouses of U.S. Citizens (K-3 Visas)
A person qualifies for a K-3 visa is he/she is:
- Married to a U.S. citizen; and
- The U.S. citizen has filed a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative on behalf of the foreign national spouse.
Minor children of a K-3 visa applicant are given K-4 visas. Further, K-3 beneficiaries do not require a separate petition
K-3 Petition and Visa Application Procedures
The U.S. citizen petitioner must first marry the foreign national spouse. Then the U.S. citizen files a Form I-130, Immigrant Visa Petition with the USCIS. Upon USCIS issuance of the Form I-797, Receipt Notice for the Form I-130 petition, the U.S. citizen files a Form I-129F petition with the USCIS along with supporting evidence. When the K-3 petition is approved the USICS will issue a Form I-797, Approval Notice.
Upon approval of the K-3 petition, the USCIS sends the file to the National Visa Center (NVC) for clearance and forwarding to the appropriate overseas U.S. consulate. The beneficiary must undergo a medical examination prior to K-3 visa issuance. Once issued, the K-3 visa is valid for two years allowing multiple entries.
Special Rules for K-3 Visa Matters
- A K-3 visa applicant must apply for the K-3 visa at the overseas U.S. consulate in the country where the marriage occurred. For example, if a British national married his/her U.S. citizen spouse in France, the K-3 visa application must be processed in France, not the United Kingdom.
- If an I-130 petition is approved and received by the overseas U.S. embassy or consulate, the K-3 visa cannot be issued. The foreign national spouse must apply for an immigrant visa. This will generally delay processing by several weeks. There is a limited exception to this rule.
- K-3 and K-4 visa holders may not change status to any other nonimmigrant status. Further a person may not change status to K-3 or K-4 status in the United States.
- A K-3 visa holder may not adjust status to U.S. lawful permanent residence status on any basis other than through marriage to the K-3 petitioner.
- A K-3 and K-4 visa holder are allowed to work in the United States. However, they must apply for an Employment Authorization Card (EAD Card) with the USCIS on Form I-765.
- K-3 and K-4 visa holders may travel outside the U.S. while their adjustment of status application is pending. They do not require an Advance Parole travel document.