K-1 (Fiance Visa)
The fiance visa allows the fiance of a U.S. citizen to enter the U.S. and marry within ninety days of entry. Once married to the U.S. citizen petitioner, the K-1 visa holder must apply for permanent residence (a green card).
To qualify for the K-1 Visa:
- The fiance must be coming to the U.S. for the purpose of marrying the U.S. citizen;
- Both persons must be legally able to marry within ninety days after the fiance enters the U.S. (all prior marriages must be legally terminated); and
- The couple must have met each other within the last two years, unless a waiver is granted.
The K-1 visa petition is filed by the U.S. citizen petitioner with the USCIS. Supporting documentation must include proof that the couple have met, are legally able to marry, and intend to marry within ninety days of the fiance entering the U.S. Once the petition is approved, the USCIS forwards it to the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If it is determined that the fiance would be eligible for a green card, the visa is approved.
There are additional requirements for couples who meet through a marriage broker because of the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act. Under IMBRA, the U.S. is required to provide information to foreign fiances about their legal rights and resources. The act requires the U.S. government to give foreign fiances of U.S. citizens a copy of the criminal background check that USCIS does on U.S. citizen-sponsors, as well as a copy of the visa sponsor application.