You are in love. You want to be with your partner. The only problem is that your fiancé(e) is not a U.S. citizen. What do you do? This question creates significant anxiety among people who are wanting to marry but are unsure of what the right steps are. You do not want to risk a misstep because that can mean delays or denials.
At Luqman Law, our Fiancé(e) Visa lawyer based in Frederick, Maryland helps many couples wanting to marry comply with the law so that everything goes smoothly, and you can begin your life together with ease and joy. Contact us at (301) 900-8680 to schedule a Consultation and learn more about our immigration services in Maryland.
What is a Fiancé Visa?
A fiancé(e) visa—or K-1 nonimmigrant visa—allows a U.S. citizen to bring their foreign citizen fiancé to the United States so they can marry. It's a temporary visa, requiring the couple to get married within 90 days of the fiancé entering the United States.
The U.S. citizen is the sponsor of their potential spouse and is the one who files the petition. To apply for a K-1 visa as the sponsor:
- You must be a U.S. citizen, i.e., not a permanent resident or green card holder
- You must intend to get married within 90 days of your fiancé arrival in the United States
- You and your fiancé must be free to marry, i.e., you both
- must be currently unmarried, cannot be underage, and cannot be related by blood
- You met in person at least once in the two years before filing your petition
- You must demonstrate that you can financially support your fiancé
Immigration authorities must also be satisfied that the marriage is bona fide (genuine). You need to provide supporting documents to show that you and your fiancé intend to set up a shared life together and that you're not marrying for visa purposes alone. Examples of supporting documents include but are not limited to:
- Proof of travel together
- Statements from family and friends
A fiancé visa is a pathway to permanent residency. After your marriage, your spouse can apply for an adjustment of status to obtain a green card.
Process to Obtain a Fiancé Visa in Maryland
Regardless of which state you––as the sponsor for your fiancé––reside in, the steps to obtain a K-1 visa are the same. The fiancé visa application process generally goes as follows:
- You file a Form I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) and supporting documents with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). If approved, this form recognizes your relationship with your fiancé.
- USCIS sends the approved petition to the U.S. Department of State National Visa Center, which forwards it to the relevant embassy or consulate, usually in the country where your fiancé lives.
- Your fiancé completes a DS-160 form (K-1 nonimmigrant visa application) online and provides the required supporting documents.
- Your fiancé attends an appointment at the embassy or consulate where a consular officer decides their application.
If approved, your fiancé has six months to enter the United States. You must marry within 90 days once they do.
Fiancé Visa FAQ
Getting answers to your K-1 visa questions is important to relieving fears and moving forward with confidence. Our immigration attorney answers common questions we get all the time. To get more specific information about your case, contact us directly.
What If My Spouse is Already in the United States?
You cannot apply for a fiancé visa if your fiancé is already in the United States.
If you and your spouse are already married, you should instead apply for a marriage visa, which is the K-3 nonimmigrant visa.
What Happens If We Do Not Marry Within 90 Days?
If you and your fiancé do not marry within 90 days of their arrival, their visa automatically expires, and they must leave the country. They cannot change to another type of temporary visa.
If your fiancé remains in the United States after their K-1 visa expires, they are in the United States illegally. As a result, they are at risk of being deported. Deportation and removal can impact later immigration applications.
A potential solution is a conditional waiver. You will want to speak to an immigration attorney immediately to determine if a waiver is possible. If it is, you want to request a waiver immediately. If the waiver is granted, it is conditioned upon your fiancé marrying you.
Can Children of the Fiancé Get Visas?
Your fiancé's children can be included in their Form I-129F petition if they are under 21 and unmarried. If approved, they receive a K-2 nonimmigrant visa and can enter the United States at the same time or after your fiancé.
Can the Two-Year Meeting in Person Requirement Be Waived?
It's possible to seek a waiver of the two-year meeting in-person requirement in limited circumstances.
If you can demonstrate that meeting in person would “violate strict and long-established customs of your fiancé(e)s foreign culture or social practice” or cause extreme hardship to you, then you may be granted an exception. An example of extreme hardship might be if you are physically unable to travel due to a medical condition or disability.
However, exceptions are typically only granted in exceptional circumstances.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Fiancé Visa?
It can take anywhere from 13 to 18 months. The better prepared your application is, meaning all documentation has been provided and errors have been avoided, the sooner you will get it approved. You can always check the visa status online through the USCIS or with your immigration attorney in Maryland.
Common Fiancé Visa Challenges
Applying for a fiancé visa is a complex process. Some common challenges petitioners face include:
- Failing to file the right petition. It is common for petitioners to get confused between the fiancé visa and the marriage visa. In fact, many think there's only a marriage visa and inadvertently go through this process and get denied.
- Failing to complete the I-129F or DS-160 forms properly. This includes leaving out information or forgetting to sign it.
- Providing insufficient evidence of a bona fide relationship. Your relationship is scrutinized when you apply for a fiancé visa. If there's a lack of evidence that your relationship is genuine—or any suggestion of fraud—your application will be rejected.
- Not marrying within 90 days of the fiancé's arrival in the US. Ninety days is a short time to organize and hold a wedding. If, however, you and your fiancé don't get married within this time, they must leave the United States.
A family immigration lawyer can assist you with navigating the visa application process and avoiding these roadblocks.
Contact a K-1 Fiancé Immigration Lawyer in Frederick, Maryland Today
Get your marriage started off on the right track by getting your fiancé's visa granted. To do so, you need to comply with the visa requirements, which can be complex and confusing. At Luqman Law, our K-1 visa attorney will guide you throughout the process. Contact us today by filling out the online form or calling us at (301) 900-8680. We will schedule a Consultation so that you can learn more about how we can help you get your loved ones to the United States.