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Who Can Apply for a K-1 Visa?

22nd November 2010
By Paul Anderson in Immigration Law
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The INA (Immigration and Nationality Act) defines a K-1 visa as a non-immigrant visa classification for aliens coming to the United States to marry an American citizen and to set up residence in the United States.

Procedure and requirements for K-1 visa:

To be eligible to file for a K-1 visa the applicant should be:

  • A US citizen.
  • Must have met his fiancé in person within the previous two years or at least once.
  • Should have a serious intention to marry within 90 days of the fiancé's arrival in the United States.
  • Should have a minimum income requirement to qualify for the Affidavit of Support so that the fiancé does not become a public charge.


To get started with the K-1 visa process the American citizen must file a petition on behalf of his alien fiancée with the Form I-129F, Petition for Relative or Fiancée, with the (USCIS) having jurisdiction over the place of the petitioner's residence in the United States. Such petitions are not generally adjudicated abroad.

Once the petition is approved it will be forwarded by the USCIS to the American consular office where the alien fiancée will apply for his or her visa. This petition is valid only for a period of four months from the date of USCIS action and may be revalidated by the consular officer.

On receipt of an approved petition, the American consular officer will intimate the beneficiary and provide the necessary forms and instructions to apply for a K-1 visa.

As the fiancée visa applicant is an intending immigrant, he or she must meet most of the documentary requirements of an immigrant visa applicant.

The following documents are generally required in addition to the prescribed application forms.

  • A valid passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Divorce or death certificate of any previous spouse
  • Police certificate from all places lived since age 16
  • Medical examination
  • Evidence of support
  • Evidence of valid relationship with the petitioner
  • Photographs

As soon as the processing of the case is completed the consular officer will interview the fiancée. If found eligible then a visa will be issued which will be valid for one entry during a period of six months.

K-1 Fiancé Visa and U.S. PORT OF ENTRY:

On entry into the US the marriage should take place within 90 days of admission. Following the marriage the spouse must apply to the USCIS for conditional permanent residence status. After two years the alien may apply to the USCIS for removal of the conditions.

K-1 Fiancé Visa Additional Details:

Family Members

Unmarried minor children who are under 21 years of age of the K-1 visa holder will derive "K-2" non-immigrant visa status from the parent as long as they are mentioned in the petition. A separate petition though is not required if the children accompany or follow the alien fiancée within one year from the date of issuance of the K-1visa. From thereon a separate immigrant visa (I-130) petition is required.

Bringing your loved ones to the United States can be an exciting time. However, one must be prepared and patient, but eventually one can enjoy life together with his/her fiancé.
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