Love knows no boundaries or borders, but the U.S. government certainly does. Perhaps you met someone on an international business trip or even online, and eventually fell in love. Now you’re engaged to be married, but your soon-to-be spouse is a citizen of another country. How do you go about bringing them to the U.S.?
Thankfully, U.S. immigration law allows you to sponsor your fiancé(e)’s entry into the country. Once admitted, your spouse will be able to join you so you can have the wedding of your dreams. But before getting to that point, there are a few things you’ll need to do to secure the K-1 fiancé(e) visa.
This article covers three of the major things you’ll need to do to obtain a K-1 visa. There are more steps than this, but these are some of the most important.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is always on the lookout for those who would abuse the visa programs.
Unfortunately, over the years there have been situations where people abused the fiancé(e) visa program by entering into so-called “sham marriages.” The goal? To gain entry for someone through the use of a fiancé(e) visa, without truly intending to stay married. Though this is rare, it has caused immigration authorities to closely scrutinize K-1 applications.
This means you’ll need to provide evidence that your relationship is valid. Typically, unless there are religious or cultural restrictions involved, USCIS will expect that you have met each other in person at least once within the 2-year period before you file the K-1 application. You can prove that by showing pictures of you together, for example. Additionally, letters or emails you’ve sent back and forth or even social media posts can be used to show that you have a real relationship.
USCIS will perform a background check of your fiancé(e). Your fiancé(e) could have medical issues or a criminal record, either of which might impact their ability to obtain a K-1 visa. Your fiancé(e) may need to submit to a medical exam as part of the background check.
The K-1 visa requires that you get married within 90 days from when your fiancé(e) enters the country. The visa expires after 90 days and cannot be extended.
If you aren’t married by 90 days, then your fiancé(e) will most likely need to leave the country. Failing to leave voluntarily can lead to a removal proceeding, which could limit their ability to return to the U.S. in the future.
You don’t have to navigate the complex fiancé(e) visa process by yourself. Dallas K-1 attorney Mark E. Jacobs can help you properly plan and apply for the visa, avoiding potential errors along the way. To get started, call his Dallas office at 972-445-7577 or contact him online anytime.