It’s almost Valentine’s Day, but if your fiancé, your fiancée, or your spouse is half-a-world away from you on this special romantic holiday, an experienced Las Vegas fiancé visa attorney may be able to help you reunite with that one special person. Bringing your spouse, fiancée, or fiancé into the United States is a complicated task that may take some time, so it is important to start the process as early as possible. Spouses, fiancées, and fiancés will need one of the “K” category visas which include:
• K-1 visas for the fiancés and fiancées of U.S. citizens
• K-2 visas for the qualified children of the fiancés and fiancées of U.S. citizens
• K-3 visas for the spouses of U.S. citizens
• K-4 visas for the eligible children of the spouses of U.S. citizens
Even though the K visas are offered to the spouses, fiancées, and fiancés of United States citizens, a K visa is a temporary, nonimmigrant visa. A U.S. citizen’s fiancée or fiancé holding a K-1 visa has ninety days to get married to the U.S. petitioner-citizen and to apply for legal permanent resident status. If the wedding ceremony does not take place within ninety days, the fiancé or fiancée could become subject to deportation.
Foreign nationals who apply for K-1 visas and their prospective U.S.-citizen spouses should know that getting married solely to gain an immigration advantage is considered marriage fraud, and offenders could be charged and prosecuted. A conviction for marriage fraud is punishable by stiff fines and up to five years in prison, and a foreign national who is convicted for marriage fraud could be permanently banned from re-entering the United States.
HOW DOES ONE GO ABOUT GETTING A K-1 VISA?
According to the official website for the Department of Homeland Security, the process of acquiring a K-1 visa begins when a U.S. citizen-petitioner, with the help of an experienced immigration lawyer, files Form I-129F to petition U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to recognize a foreign citizen (the eventual beneficiary of the visa) as the person’s fiancé or fiancée. Evidence that both parties are free to marry and that they in fact intend to marry within ninety days of the beneficiary’s arrival must also be submitted.
USCIS reviews the documents and conducts a background check for national security, criminal records, and other pertinent information about both the petitioner and the beneficiary. An approved Form I-129F means only that USCIS recognizes the relationship that is claimed between the petitioner and the fiancé or fiancée. Form I-129F approval alone does not allow the fiancé or fiancée to enter the United States, nor is it a guarantee that the Department of State (DOS) will grant a K-1 visa.
USCIS sends the approved Form I-129F petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC), which in turn forwards it to the embassy or consulate where the fiancé or fiancée will apply for the K-1 visa – usually an embassy or a consulate in that person’s home nation. The NVC will then notify the petitioner when it is time for the fiancé or fiancée to apply for the K-1 visa. The fiancé or fiancée applies for the K-1 visa by submitting identity and civil documents, proof of the relationship, and a medical examination conducted by an approved doctor.
WHAT HAPPENS AT THE CONSULATE OR EMBASSY?
DOS conducts a background check on the visa applicant, including fingerprinting, and a consular interview is also conducted. If the DOS consular officer does not believe the relationship is bona fide, the K-1 visa will be denied, and the K-1 petition will be returned to USCIS. If the K-1 visa is issued, it is valid for one entry into the United States, but – as with any visa – approval for a K-1 visa does not guarantee entry into the United States.
The fiancé or fiancée, now a K-1 visa holder, must travel to the United States and request admission at a port of entry within the valid period indicated on the visa. Inspection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at a port of entry includes the verification of identity and travel documents and may also require an interview. If admitted to the United States, the K-1 nonimmigrant has ninety days to marry the same U.S. citizen who filed the original Form I-129F with USCIS.
After the wedding ceremony, the K-1 visa holder may apply for lawful permanent resident status by submitting Form I-485 to USCIS. USCIS will again conduct a background check on both parties which may include fingerprinting and interviews. If the couple is married less than two years at the time the Form I-485 is approved, the applicant will be granted conditional permanent resident status and issued a permanent resident card (you probably know it as a “green card”) that is good for two years.
A conditional green card is not renewable. The conditions must be removed, or a conditional permanent resident will lose lawful permanent resident status and be subject to deportation. To remove the conditions, a Form I-751 must be submitted to USCIS within ninety days of the end of the two-year conditional permanent resident period. Both spouses should jointly file the Form I-751. During this process, USCIS may conduct an additional background check on both spouses.
WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?
Qualified minor children of K-1 visa applicants are eligible in most cases to obtain K-2 visas. The child may travel to the United States with the fiancé or fiancée or may travel separately to the United States within one year of the date that the K-1 visa is issued to the parent. A separate petition is not required by USCIS provided that the children accompany or follow the parent within one year.
Immigration authorities are dedicated to keeping families together whenever it’s possible. If you are confronting any immigration problems regarding the entry or status of your fiancé or fiancée or members of your own family, get the legal help you need – an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney who can provide the legal advice and assistance that will be specific to your personal situation and circumstances.
The best way to enter the United States is with complete documentation and the assistance of our experienced fiancé visa lawyers. An immigration attorney helps employers, international students, professionals, entrepreneurs, and international investors – as well as those who are in love – obtain visas and deal with our nation’s often-baffling immigration laws, rules, and regulations.