Do you want to bring your foreign fiancé to the United States to get married? The first step is to obtain a K-1 nonimmigrant visa for your fiancé, also known as the fiancé visa.
To obtain a K-1 fiancé visa, you and your fiancé must intend to marry each other within 90 days of entering the US as a K-1 nonimmigrant. Your marriage must be real, and not for the sole purpose of obtaining an immigration benefit. If you marry within 90 days of entering the United States, he or she may apply for lawful permanent resident status in the United States (a Green Card).
If you have already married, plan to marry outside the United States, or your fiancé is already residing legally in the US, your spouse or fiancé is not eligible for a fiancé visa. There is a different process for that.
Eligibility for Fiancé Visas
You may be eligible to bring your fiancé to the United States on a fiancé visa if you meet the following requirements:
- You are a U.S. citizen;
- You and your fiancé intend to marry one another within 90 days of your fiancé’s admission to the United States on a K-1 nonimmigrant visa;
- You and your fiancé are both legally free to marry (this means you both are legally able to marry in the United States and any previous marriages have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment); and
- You and your fiancé met each other in person at least once within the 2-year period before you file your petition. You may request a waiver of this in-person meeting requirement if you can show that meeting in person would:
- Violate strict and long-established customs of your fiancé’s foreign culture or social practice; or
- Result in extreme hardship to you, the U.S. citizen petitioner.
Children of Fiancé
If your fiancé has a child that is under 21 and unmarried, the child may be eligible to come to the United States on a K-2 nonimmigrant visa. If you marry your fiancé within 90 days of entering the US, your fiancé’s children may also apply for a Green Card. However, K-2 nonimmigrant children must remain unmarried to be eligible for a Green Card. K-2 nonimmigrant children should apply for a Green Card at the same time or after your fiancé.
Permission to Work
After being admitted to the US on a K-1 nonimmigrant visa, your fiancé can immediately apply for work authorization. In this case, your fiancé’s work authorization is valid for only 90 days after his or her entry into the US.
However, your fiancé may also apply for work authorization at the same time as they apply for their green card. In this case, your fiancé’s work authorization is valid for one year and may be extended in one-year increments.
Failure to Marry Within 90 Days
K-1 and K-2 nonimmigrant status automatically expires after 90 days and cannot be extended. Generally, your fiancé and their children must leave the US at the end of the 90 days if you do not marry. If they don’t depart, they will be in violation of US Immigration law. This may result in removal (deportation) and could affect their future eligibility for US immigration benefits.