K-1 Visa (US Visa for Fiancé) Overview

Who can file for whom?

If you are an American citizen and are planning on marrying a foreigner you have the option of bringing you fiancé to the United States on a temporary non-immigrant visa to marry and live here. You may also apply to bring your fiancé's unmarried children, who are under the age of 21, to the United States via the same visa petition.

Legal permanent residents (green card holders) may not file petitions for the fiancé visas, although they may petition for the immigration of their new spouse after the wedding.

Visa Acquirement and Post Visa Process Summary

The K-1 visa is a temporary visa to the United States for the sole purpose of getting married within the United States. This visa is not a permission to stay in the US for long term. You have 90 days to get married after your fiancé arrives in the country. If he/she plans to stay/work in the US, you will have to file another petition and application in order to adjust his/her status to a permanent resident (green card holder).

K-1 Visa Conditions

Until the marriage takes place, your fiancé is considered a non-immigrant. Your fiancé may enter the United States only one time with a fiancé visa. If your fiancé leaves the country before you are married, your fiancé may not be allowed back into the United States without a new visa. If the marriage does not take place within 90 days or your fiancé marries someone other than you (the U.S. citizen filing the petition), your fiancé will be required to leave the United States.

If your fiancé intends to live and work permanently in the United States, your fiancé should apply to become a permanent resident after your marriage. (If your fiancé does not intend to become a permanent resident after your marriage, your fiancé/new spouse must leave the country within the 90-day original non-immigrant admission.)

Applicant Ineligibility for a Visa

Certain conditions and activities may make an applicant ineligible for a visa. Examples of these ineligibilities are:

  • Trafficking in Drugs
  • Overstaying a previous visa
  • Practicing polygamy
  • Advocating the overthrow of the government
  • Submitting fraudulent documents

The consular officer will tell you, the applicant, if you are ineligible for a visa, whether there is a waiver of the ineligibility and what the waiver procedure is.

How Long Does It Take?

The length of time varies from case to case according to its circumstances. Some cases are delayed because the applicant does not follow instructions carefully or supplies incomplete information. (It is important to give correct addresses and telephone numbers.) In addition, the embassy or consulate may need to get security clearances for the applicant. Security clearances take time.

Conditional Permanent Status

After your marriage, your new spouse will initially receive conditional permanent residence status for two years. Conditional permanent residency is granted when the marriage is less than two years old at the time of adjustment to permanent residence status. The difference between you and an unconditioned permanent resident is that your permanent resident status will expire in two years from when it was given, unless you successfully petition to have the condition removed. As a new couple you need to file the Form I-751 during the 90-day period immediately before the second anniversary of the date your alien spouse was granted conditional permanent residence.

Find Out More About the Application Requirements for the Removal of the Conditions of Residence Petition