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Expect heavy scrutiny for a K-1 visa

If a South Carolina resident wants to marry a foreign partner, a K-1 visa for a fiancée provides an avenue for that other party to come to the United States. However, the December 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino may result in more extensive consideration of those seeking such visas. A couple that used such a visa were the alleged perpetrators of the event, which has drawn increased attention to this form of entry into the country. Approximately 50,000 individuals make use of this visa option each year.

The individual petitioning for a K-1 visa must be a citizen of the United States. There is also an expectation that the couple has met in person during the two years preceding the petition, but exceptions may be made in situations involving health problems or cultural requirements that would be violated by a face-to-face meeting. The party coming to the U.S. may go through three biometric screenings at various stages in the process. The first occurs if the initial petition is apprpved. This will enable the fiancée to come to the country on a 90-day basis, during which time the couple must marry.

If the marriage occurs, a second screening follows as the foreign spouse applies for a conditional green card. After two additional years, the foreign party will need to apply for a permanent card, at which time a third screening will take place. Timing is important throughout this process because of various deadlines.

A couple considering applying for a K-1 visa might want the assistance of an attorney when preparing the petition for immigration. Legal counsel may help with ensuring that the protocol at various stages of the process is followed in a timely manner.

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