There are many different ways for people to lawfully enter the United States. Some people qualify for asylum or refugee status because of instability in another country. Some people qualify for work-related visas. Many others enter the United States because they have a relationship with a citizen or a lawful permanent resident. A marriage is one of the relationships that can lead to immigration opportunities. Even those who have not married yet may qualify for a relationship-based visa.
An engagement with a United States citizen might make a foreign national eligible for a visa. A K-1 or fiance visa allows someone to enter the United States to marry their fiancé. Every visa program has unique requirements, and the K-1 visa is no exception to that rule. The following are the primary requirements for someone seeking a K-1 visa.
The ability to pass a background check
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has specific standards for entry into the United States. Those standards include being able to pass a thorough criminal background check and having received appropriate immunizations. The application process for a K-1 visa requires that someone undergoes an extensive background check and submits their medical records for evaluation.
A legitimate relationship
Given that a K-1 visa does not involve a verifiable legal relationship with a citizen, the program is somewhat susceptible to abuse. Therefore, the USCIS will carefully scrutinize any application for a fiancé visa to test signs of fraud. Applicants will generally need to prove that they have a pre-existing relationship with one another or that they come from a culture in which arranged marriages organized by family members are commonplace.
A timely marriage
One of the unique requirements that only applies to a fiancé visa is the obligation to marry one’s fiancé quite quickly after entering the United States. Someone with a fiancé visa will typically need to marry their citizen fiancé within 60 days of entering the country. Otherwise, they risk removal from the country and likely have a more difficult time securing a visa should they apply again in the future.
Applicants who are more familiar with the requirements for a K-1 visa after seeking legal guidance may have an easier time fulfilling the standards enforced by the USCIS when they apply and after entering the country.