Frequently Asked Questions K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa
What Is a K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa?
The fiancé(e) K-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) of a United States (U.S.) citizen. The K-1 visa permits the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) to travel to the United States and marry his or her U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival. The foreign-citizen will then apply for adjustment of status to a permanent resident (LPR) with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Because a fiancé(e) visa permits the holder to immigrate to the U.S. and marry a U.S. citizen shortly after arrival in the United States, the fiancé(e) must meet some of the requirements of an immigrant visa. Eligible children of K-1 visa applicants receive K-2 visas.
How does one apply for a K-1 visa?
Only a U.S. citizen can file a fiancé(e) petition. This is done at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office that has jurisdiction over the place where the U.S. citizen resides.
Who are qualified for a K-1 Fiance Visa?
- You must be a US citizen; Fiancé(e) of permanent residents are not eligible for the K-1 Fiancé(e) visa.
- You and your fiancé(e) must be legally able to marry.
- You must really intend to marry within 90 days of the time your fiancé(e) comes to the US.
- You must not have any disqualifying conditions such as criminal records or any communicable diseases.
- You must have personally met your fiancé(e) within the last two years before you file this petition.
- Note: there are some exceptions such as physical disabilities or cultural prohibitions to personally meeting prior to marriage. However, these exceptions are very hard to get and most requests for an exception to these rules are denied.
What are the documents required for the K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa Petition?
A fiancé(e) is considered an intending immigrant and therefore should present documents similar to those required for an immigrant visa applicant. These would include:
- a valid Philippine passport, a copy of your birth certificate issued by National Statistics Office (NSO) and printed on NSO security paper
- legal documents proving the termination of a previous marriage;
- NBI clearance, police certificates from all foreign countries where the applicant lived for at least six months starting at the age of 16;
- evidence of the relationship with the petitioner;
- evidence of financial support;
- a medical examination completed by St. Luke’s Medical Center Extension Clinic and visa photographs.
- Evidence must be presented that the couple met in person within the past two years before the petition was filed.
Can I get a FREE answer?
Yes. Our experienced VISA Consultants will give you a no obligation evaluation to determine if you will qualify the K-1 Fiance (e) Visa Petition.
Can an applicant request an earlier visa appointment?
If an applicant wishes to advance the visa interview appointment, he/she should write the US Embassy in Manila or call the Immigrant Visa Call Center to request an earlier appointment. Please note, however, that early appointment requests will be approved on a case to case basis (i.e., aging out cases, or in cases involving personal or medical emergencies),and only if K-1 Fiance (e) Visa interview slots are available.
How much time is given to complete the K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa application?
A K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa is valid for four months from the date of its approval. But this may be revalidated by a consular officer provided that both parties are still legally free to marry. It is recommended to gather all the necessary documents for visa interview appointment as soon as possible.
Does the K1 visa grant an immigrant status and entitle the Filipino fiancé(e) to a green card?
No, it does not. The K1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, which allows the holder to stay in the United States on a temporary basis. After the marriage takes place, the alien spouse must contact the USCIS to obtain conditional permanent residence status. The Filipino spouse may apply for removal of the conditional status and become a lawful permanent resident after two years.
What should the Filipino fiancé(e) do upon entry into the United States?
The Filipino fiancé(e) has 90 days from admission into the United States to marry his/her petitioner. The K1 visa does not allow the bearer to marry anyone other than the petitioner. After the marriage, the couple must contact us and file for an Adjustment of Status or the legal status in the United States will be lost.
Can the K-1 visa be used to travel in and out of the United States?
No. The K-1 visa is a single-entry visa, which means that the K-1 bearer who leaves the United States without changing marital and immigration status will not be able to re-enter the country on the same visa. A new petition and visa would be required.
What are the main reasons a K-1 visa is denied?
K-1 Visa applications are subject to the same review standards as immigrant visa applications. The main reasons for visa refusal are: lacking documentation; need to review or verify evidence; lack of genuine relationship; misrepresentation of facts, medical or criminal grounds and potential public charge.
A common basis for refusal is a prior marriage for the beneficiary or the petitioner that has not been legally terminated. There is no divorce in the Philippines. A consular officer will only accept a death certificate or a court ruling of annulment or of presumptive death as evidence that a Filipino marriage has been terminated. An American may terminate a Filipino marriage through a U.S. divorce.
Some common reasons for denial include:
- Missing documents
- Incorrect paperwork
- Insufficient income/savings of the U.S. citizen sponsor
- A very large age gap between the couple can cause concern. However, there is no specific age limitation. Yes, a pretty 21 year old Filipina lady really can fall in love with a 65 year old nice American guy. We have seen this happen many times and we have successfully had visas approved for couples with a very large age gap. Filipino woman tend to be less concerned with superficial attributes than American women. Most Filipino woman are looking for a loving and stable man who will treat them nicely and will accept them whoever they are. They are much less concerned with the age of the man and more concerned with the quality of his character.
- Fiancée cannot obtain written consent from the ex-husband for their child to leave the country
- Fiancée has a very serious contagious illness (such as tuberculosis)
- Petition includes a document that is deemed to be fraudulent
- Couple lacks sufficient evidence of recent day-to-day contact
- Fiancée interviews poorly and the consul doubts that there is a valid relationship with the U.S. citizen
- Fiancée has relatives or friends in the U.S. who seem to be taking too large a role in match-making
- Fiancée was previously in the U.S. and overstayed the visa
- Fiancée commits a misrepresentation during the interview (or so it seems to the interviewing officer)
- Fiancée has a criminal record
Can family members of the Filipino fiancee be included in the petition?
Only the unmarried, minor children (below 21 years old) of the Filipino fiancee can be included in the K-1 petition and are eligible to apply for a K2 visa. If they are unable to depart with their Filipino parent, children who are named in the petition have one year (from the time the K-1 visa is issued) to be issued K-2 visas. They must apply for visas in a timely manner to allow visa issuance within the required time, otherwise the children will no longer be able to derive any immigration benefit from their parent’s K-1 visa and new immigrant visa petitions need to be filed on their behalf.
Can my Filipino fiancee work in the U.S. with a K1 visa?
Yes. When the fiancee enters the United States he/she will be eligible to apply for a work permit after we file for an Adjustment of Status for them. This will give them an Employment Authorization card.
Can the Fiancée's children come to the United States prior to the marriage?
Yes. The children are eligible for K-2 Visas which would allow them to accompany the Fiancee or follow the Fiancee within 12 months of visa issuance. If the children do not apply for a K-2 Visa, they may also be eligible for a K-2 Visa after the Fiancee is married as long as the children apply within 1 year of the Fiancée's K-1 Visa issuance.
Can U.S. Citizens apply for more than one K1 Visa Petition?
A U.S. Citizen may not petition for more than one K-1 Visa at a time. However, if the marriage from a prior K-1 Visa does not take place and the fiancee leaves the U.S., the U.S. Citizen may petition for the same fiancee or another one in the future.
Is the K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa issued immediately following the embassy interview?
It is usually available for pick-up within 5-7 days but if delivered by courier it could take 1-4 weeks.
Can my fiancée enter US with a tourist visa then marry me to adjust her status to legal?
Entering the United States on a tourist visa with the intent of staying is visa fraud. This can and often does lead to deportation and a bar from reentering the United States. For an example of how this can go terribly wrong, read the decision of the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office below. In this case, a Philippine woman married an American and tried to enter the United States on a tourist visa. Not only was she unsuccessful in staying in the U.S., later when she tried to enter the U.S. the legal way, they denied her because of her previous attempt to misuse the tourist visa. She appealed and her appeal was denied. She is now barred from entering the United States.
Note however, that your fiancee can come here on a tourist visa and marry you. But she needs to leave before her tourist visa expires and apply for a spousal visa from outside the United States. It is the intent to stay that is illegal, not the marriage. A person who enters the U.S. with no intent to get married and stay who, while visiting, spontaneously decides to marry and attempt to stay may be able to do so. However, you must convince the government that this was not your intent all along.
Do you help us with the interview?
We will answer any questions you have about the interview and give you some general tips. However, you should be very cautious about any service that offers to coach you on the interview process. According to the U.S. Department of State, “The end result is that every client from a particular consultant sounds exactly like one another. This diminishes credibility among those who memorize the ‘correct’ answers and cannot hold free-flowing conversations with the visa officers.”
Does the location of our marriage matter?
It does not matter where you get married, but you must not get married before you come to the United States on your K-1 visa. Once you are in the U.S. you can get married anywhere. You do not have to get married in the state where the U.S. citizen sponsor lives.
Once my fiancée has her K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa, when should she travel to the United States?
She can travel immediately upon receiving her K-1 Visa, even on the same day. The K-1 Visa is valid for 6 months, so she needs to travel to the United States before the end of 6 months. The K-3 visa is valid for two years.
My Visa Petition was denied. Can I reapply?
Yes. If you have new information or your situation has changed you can reapply using the same process you used the first time.
Should I use a lawyer to prepare my K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa?
Probably not but it depends on your situation. Obtaining a U.S. visa is an administrative and not a legal process. This is simply a benefit request from your government, kind of like getting a driver’s license. No attorney has any type of special access to the process or can in any way give you an advantage if you are otherwise qualified. You will either qualify or you will not and no attorney or anybody else can change the facts of your situation. There is no judge or court involved, just a bunch of forms you send to a government office (USCIS).
Can I Bring a Lawyer to My K-1Fiancee Visa Interview?
No, you can’t bring a lawyer to your Fiancée Visa interview. All K-1 visa interviews
are held at U.S. consulates outside the United States. These consulates do not allow lawyers in the K-1 interview.
Will I get my visa applications fees back if I am denied?
No. All visa application fees are non-refundable.
Can we get married at the U.S. Embassy?
No, American consular officers are not permitted to perform marriages (Title 22, Code of Federal Regulations 52.1). Additionally, marriages are not allowed on embassy grounds.
If my K-1 petition was denied, can make an appeal?
Yes. The denial letter you received will tell you how to appeal. Unless otherwise instructed, you will file your appeal on USCIS Form I-290B. You will normally have 33 days from the time you receive your denial to get your appeal to the USCIS. The appeal must be sent to the same office that denied your petition. Appeals are handled by the Administrative Appeals Unit in Washington, DC.