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What is a K-1 Visa?

A South Carolina resident who is engaged to be married to a person who is not a citizen of the United States may sponsor his or her significant other on a K-1 visa application. The K-1 visa allows a non-citizen fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States in order to get married.

The terms of the K-1 visa require that the marriage take place within 90 days of the foreign individual's arrival in the U.S. After the marriage, he or she must apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, to have his or her status adjusted. If the K-1 visa applicant has children, the children may travel to the U.S. on K-2 visas.

The requirements of the K-1 visa are relatively straightforward: both the U.S. citizen and the foreign citizen must be free to marry under the laws of the relevant jurisdictions at the time the visa petition is filed, and they must remain so until the marriage. With limited exceptions, the U.S. citizen and their intended spouse must have had in-person contact within the previous two years. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the USCIS for situations of extreme hardship or if meeting prior to marriage is against the religious or cultural requirements of the parties.

Each K-1 visa situation is unique, and the decisions of the relevant governing bodies may vary based on the facts of a particular case. This blog post is meant as a source of general information only and does not constitute legal advice. An immigration and naturalization lawyer may be able to answer specific questions about family immigration including the the K-1 process or assist interested parties with the petition and during subsequent interactions with USCIS.

Source: U.S. Visas, "Nonimmigrant Visa for a Fiancé(e) (K-1)", October 23, 2014

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