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K-1 : Fiance(e) Visa

U.S. citizens who want to marry a foreign national in the United States may petition for a fiance(e) classification (K-1) for their fiance(e). To qualify for the K-1 visa, you must show that:

1. You have met your fiance within the last two years (this requirement can be waived only if meeting your fiance(e) in person would violate long-established customs, or if meeting your fiance(e) would create extreme hardship for you), and

2. You and you fiance are both legally free to marry (all prior marriages were terminated and you are over 18 years of age), and

3. You and you fiance both have an intention to marry within 90 days of the fiance’s arrival to United States.

You will need to file multiple forms and documents (birth certificates, divorce decrees, affidavits, photographs, financial documents, as well as translations thereof, etc.) in order to prove that you and your fiancee qualify for the K-1 Fiance(e) visa.

Once you complete all the forms and gather all the required supporting documentation for the K-1 petition, you can file the petition with the appropriate CIS Regional Service Center. If your application is complete and there are no errors, the application will be approved within several weeks or months. The time of approval varies and depends on the amount of workload of each particular CIS Center. If your application is deficient in any way, the CIS will send a request for additional evidence/documents or will return your application in its entirety for re-submission. CIS may return your application several times, whereas your waiting cycle will begin from where you started.

After the petition is approved, your fiance(e) must obtain a visa issued at a U.S. Embassy or consulate abroad. The process of obtaining the interview date can take several months from the date of CIS approval.

Prior to the Embassy interview, your fiancee must undergo a medical examination in one of the certified medical facilities in the country of your fiance to determine whether she has any contagious illnesses that might pose a threat to the health and welfare of citizens of the United States (AIDS, tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, etc.).

Affidavit of Support. You must prepare a Form I-134 Affidavit of Support for your fiancee to bring to the Embassy interview. You must show that your household income is equal to or higher than 125 percent of the U.S. poverty level for your household. Your household size includes you, your dependents, any relatives living with you, and the immigrants you are sponsoring. You are required to provide U.S. Federal income tax returns for the 3 most recent tax years as well as a letter from your employer stating your income, your employment start date, and the permanent nature of your employment, . If you were not required to file a tax return in any of these years you must provide an explanation. If you cannot meet the minimum income requirements using your earned income, you have various options: (i) you may add the cash value of your assets such as money in savings accounts, stocks, bonds, and property, (ii) you may count the income and assets of members of your household who are related to you by birth, marriage, or adoption, (iii) you may count the assets of the relatives you are sponsoring. If you would prefer that your fiancee not see your financial documentation, arrangements can be made to send the documents directly to the Embassy for the examining officer’s review only.

Embassy/Consulate Interview. The first stage of an interview will consist of an examination of submitted forms and supporting documentation. The second stage consists of questioning of our fiance to determine whether there is a bona fide fiance fiancee relationship. The examining officer may ask any questions that (s)he deems appropriate to determine the relationship. The examination can take anywhere from ten minutes to an hour, depending on the presence or absence of questionable issues in the forms, documentation, or answers to the officer’s questions. If the officer determines that all requirements of the K visa have been met, (s)he will instruct the fiancee to return to the Embassy to pick up her visa. She is then eligible to fly directly to the U.S.

90 days for Marriage. The marriage must take place within 90 days of your fiance(e) entering the United States. If the marriage does not take place within 90 days or your fiance(e) marries someone other than you, your fiance(e) will be required to leave the United States. Until the marriage takes place, your fiance(e) is considered a nonimmigrant. A nonimmigrant is a foreign national seeking to temporarily enter the United States for a specific purpose. A fiance(e) may not obtain an extension of the 90-day original nonimmigrant admission.

Please note: Your fiance(e) may enter the United States only one time with a fiance(e) visa. If your fiance(e) leaves the country before you are married, your fiance(e) may not be allowed back into the United States without a new visa.

Work Permit for Fiance

After arriving in the United States, your fiance(e) will be eligible to apply for a work permit. (You should note that CIS might not be able to process the work permit within the 90-day time limit for your marriage to take place.) If your fiance(e) applies for adjustment to permanent resident status, your fiance(e) must re-apply for a new work permit after the marriage.

Resident Status in U.S.

If your fiance(e) intends to live and work permanently in the United States, your fiance(e) should apply to become a permanent resident after your marriage. Please refer to Green Card/Spouse for an overview of a procedure to adjust status to permanent residency status. Your fiance(e) will initially receive only conditional permanent residence status for two years. Conditional permanent residency is granted when the marriage creating the relationship is less than two years old at the time of adjustment to permanent residence status.

Two years after your wife’s status is adjusted to conditional permanent residency you must petition to remove the conditional nature of her status. If you don’t do so your wife may fall out of lawful immigrant status. You and your wife must demonstrate that two years down the road you still maintain bona fide spousal relationship in an interview with a CIS officer. Approximately a year later (three years after the marriage), your permanent resident wife will be eligible for U.S. citizenship.

Children of Fiancee

If your fiancee has unmarried children under age 21, you may also apply to bring them to the United States. The child may be included in the mother’s K-1 Fiance(e) visa petition as a K-2 beneficiary, provided that the required additional information and documentation is provided to the CIS and U.S. Embassy. The child must also undergo a medical examination like the mother and may be required to attend the Embassy interview.

Fiancees from Russia

There are many reasons why Russian women are so desired as potential wife and life partner. Bringing a fiance from Russia involves certain intricacies of the process applicable only to them. They involve the practices of U.S. Consulates in Russia, certain country conditions and Russian law.

Because attorney Krukova is licensed to practice law not only in U.S., but also in Russia and the rest of the countries of the Former Soviet Union, she is able to help you resolve the issues of Russian law, such as: (i) obtaining consent of a former husband of fiance to bring the child to the U.S., (ii) requirements for a U.S. citizen to be married in Russia, (iii) preparing notarized translation of legal documents from Russian into English. It is also practical to hire an attorney who is able to explain to your fiance in her native language what documents are required from her, how to prepare for the interview at the Embassy and answer other practical issues your fiance might have. We will also help you with obtaining your visa to Russia and other practical arrangements of traveling to the countries of the former Soviet Union.