As a US citizen and engaged to a foreign national, you will have to sponsor a K1 visa for your fiancé to enter the United States to marry you within the first 90 days. Once the entire K1 visa process is completed and the visa is approved, your fiancé will be able to travel to the US. However, once in, there can be some travel restrictions. Below, let’s analyze the various scenarios where the K1 visa holder is allowed to or not allowed to travel.
A K1 fiancé visa allows for a single visit into the US. Without having the option of having multiple entries, it is important to fulfill all the K1 visa processes in that one visit. Leaving the country will deem the K1 visa as abandoned.
While traveling abroad is not an option on a K1 visa, you can freely move around within the country. Having said that, you are advised to carry your passport and all legal documents including your K1 visa to verify identity at all times.
Travel To The US Before Filing A K-1 Petition
For as long as you and your foreign citizen fiancé have not started the paperwork to file for a K1 visa, your fiancé is free to enter and travel to the United States. He/She will only be eligible for a non-immigrant B2 visitors visa. During the K1 process, your fiancé(e) has to file an I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé. This initiates the K1 visa process. The U.S. government doesn’t have a record of your desire to sponsor a K1 visa, and if you get married, you can visit the US as a temporary visitor.
ImportantIf, during your B2 visitor visa interview any questions or references come up regarding your impending marriage, it is very important that you answer truthfully about the whole situation. Any falsification or misrepresentation will lead to the denial of both B2 as well as K1 visas in the future.
Travel To The US After Filing a K1 Petition
Once the paperwork has started for a K1 visa processing, one of the forms to be filed is the Form 129F which clearly indicates your intent to marry and remain permanently in the United States. Unless this K1 visa is completely approved, your fiancé is not allowed to travel to the US. Alternately, traveling to the US on any other temporary visa will seem like a contradiction to the consular officer.
While the DHS has no rule prohibiting travel after the K1 visa is filed, it is advisable to avoid it until the K1 process is completed. If you do decide to travel, it’s up to the foreign spouse to prove with documentary evidence that you intend to return after your temporary visit.
Travel To The US After Receiving A K1 Visa
Once your I-129F is approved and the K1 is issued to you, you have to travel to the United States within 4 months. Not coming into the US in that time frame, will result in an abandoned K1 visa.
Also, traveling to the US on a different visa (like a B2 visa) after receiving an approved K1 visa just feels like getting undue attention from the consular officers. And risking losing both.
Important to notethe approved K1 visa gives a one-time entry into the US. Once entered, you have to marry your US citizen fiancé within 90-days