K1 Frequently Asked Questions

k1 visa guidance
K1 FAQ About the Fiance Visa Process

1. What is the definition of Fiancé?

A fiancé is a person who is engaged or contracted to be married. The marriage must be legally possible according to laws of the state in the United States where the marriage will take place. In general, the two people must have met in person within the past two years.

The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants some exceptions to this requirement. For example, it may be contrary in some traditions for a man and woman to meet before marriage.

Sometimes the USCIS considers a person a “fiancé” even though a marriage contract has been concluded. In such cases, the American citizen petitioner and his/her spouse have not met, and they have not consummated the marriage.

2. What’s the difference between immigrant and non-immigrant visa?

There are two types of visas, immigrant and non-immigrant. In an immigrant visa, the applicant is applying for permanent residence in the United States.

With a nonimmigrant visa, the applicant is visiting the United States for a temporary period of time for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary study, or temporary work.

3. What can be given as proof of a Fiancé relationship?

Some examples of evidence are family and other photographs (old and recent) showing the couple together, letters, cards, correspondence, and telephone records.

4. Can a K-1 Visa Holder Leave the United States?

The K-1 visa allows a fiancé to enter the United States one time only. If you leave the United States after entering on a K-1 visa, you may not re-enter on the same visa.

If you want to leave and re-enter the United States, you should apply with Form I-131 Application for Travel Document to the USCIS office that serves the area where you live for advance parole to return to the United States. See Emergency Travel for information on how to get a travel document that allows you to return to the United States.

5. Can a K-1 Visa Holder Work in the United States?

As a K-1 visa holder, you may file Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization with the USCIS office that serves the area where you live for a work permit (employment authorization document).

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6. What to do if my fiancé has children that I want to come to the US?

The child of a fiancé may receive a derivative K-2 visa from his/her parent’s fiancé petition. You, the American citizen petitioner, must make sure that you name the child in the I-129F petition.

After the marriage of the child’s parent and the American citizen, the child will need a separate form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status.

The child may travel with (accompany) the K-1 parent/fiancé or travel later (follow-to-join) within one year from the date of issuance of the K-1 visa to his/her parent.

A separate petition is not required if the children accompany or follow the alien fiance within one year from the date of issuance of the K-1 visa. If it is longer than one year from the date of visa issuance, a separate immigrant visa petition is required.

Remember that in immigration law, a child must be unmarried. The stepparent/stepchild relationship must be created before the child reaches the age of 18.

7. Can My Fiance Travel Outside the United States?

If you are applying for adjustment to permanent resident status, you must receive advance permission to return to the United States if you are traveling outside the United States. This advance permission is called Advance Parole.

If you do not apply for Advance Parole before you leave the country, you will abandon your application with Immigration and you may not be permitted to return to the United States.

8. How Long Does It Take?

The length of time varies from case to case according to its circumstances. Some cases are delayed because the applicant does not follow instructions carefully or supplies incomplete information.

(It is important to give correct addresses and telephone numbers.) In addition, the embassy or consulate may need to get security clearances for the applicant. Security clearances take time.

9. Will My Fiancé Get a Work Permit?

After arriving in the United States, your fiancé will be eligible to apply for a work permit. (You should note that USCIS might not be able to process the work permit within the 90-day time limit for your marriage to take place.)

Your fiance should use Form I-765 to apply for a work permit. Please see How Do I Get a Work Permit? for more information. If your fiance applies for adjustment to permanent resident status, your fiancé must re-apply for a new work permit after the marriage.

10. How Can I Check the Status of My Application?

Please contact the USCIS office that received your application. You should be prepared to provide the USCIS staff with specific information about your application.

11. What if my visa is denied? How can I appeal?

If your petition for a fiance visa is denied, the denial letter will tell you how to appeal. Generally, you may appeal within 33 days of receiving the denial by mail.

Your appeal must be filed on USCIS Form I-290B. The appeal must be filed with the office that made the original decision.

After your appeal form and a required fee are processed, the appeal will be referred to the Administrative Appeals Unit (AAU) in Washington, DC. (Sending the appeal and fee directly to the AAU will delay the process.)

12. I have Further Questions.

If advice is needed, you may contact the USCIS District Office near you for a list of community-based, non-profit organizations that may be able to assist you in applying for an immigration benefit.

You can visit the USCIS field office’s home page for more information on contacting USCIS offices. In addition, the USCIS Webpage provides information on obtaining free legal advice.

13. Social Security for US Immigrants

Your fiance can apply for a social security number card. There are many advantages of having a social security number card the sooner the better.

A permanent resident of the United States needs a Social Security number to:

➥ Work in the United States
.
➥ Conduct business with a bank or financial institution
.
➥ Pay taxes or to be claimed on a tax return
.
➥ And for other purposes not listed.

➥ Refer to the Social Security Website for further instructions

14. What Should I Know about International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA)?

If you met your fiancé or spouse through the services of an international marriage broker, you must notify USCIS of that fact by answering Question 19 on the form I-129F.

The term international marriage broker means a corporation, partnership, business, individual, or other legal entity, whether or not organized under any law of the United States, that charges fees for providing dating, matrimonial, matchmaking services,

or social referrals between United States citizens or nationals or aliens lawfully admitted to the United States as lawful permanent residents and foreign national clients by providing personal contact information or otherwise facilitating communication between individuals.

For additional IMBRA requirements, see Form I-129F.

15. Is there a Filing Limitation on K Non-immigrant Petitions?

If you have filed two or more K-1 visa petitions at any time in the past or previously had a K-1 visa petition approved within two years prior to the filing of the current petition, you must apply for a waiver.

To request a waiver you must submit a written request with this petition accompanied by documentation of your claim to the waiver.

If you have committed a violent offense against a person, USCIS may not grant such a waiver unless you can demonstrate that extraordinary circumstances exist. For details regarding those circumstances, see Form 129F.

16. What if I, the US citizen, don’t have the required documents for filing the K-1 petition?

You can instead give USCIS the following secondary evidence. However, USCIS may request in writing that you obtain a statement from the appropriate civil authority certifying that the needed document is not available.

Any evidence submitted must contain enough information, such as a birth date, to establish the event you are trying to prove.

  • Baptismal Certificate
    A copy, front and back, of the certificate under the seal of the church, synagogue or other religious entity showing where the baptism, dedication or comparable rite occurred, as well as the date and place of the child’s birth, date of baptism and names of the child’s parents. The baptism must have occurred within two months after the birth of the child.
    .
    .
  • School Record A letter from the school authority (preferably from the first school attended), showing the date of admission to the school, child’s date or age at that time, place of birth, and the names of the parents.
    .
    .
  • Census Record State or Federal census record showing the name(s), date(s), and place(s) of birth or age(s) of the person(s) listed.
    .
    .
  • Affidavits Written statements sworn to or affirmed by two persons who were living at the time and who have personal knowledge of the event. For example, an event such as a birth, marriage or death. The persons making the affidavits may be relatives and do not have to be citizens of the United States. Each affidavit should contain the person’s full name and address, date, and place of birth, and relationship to you and must fully describe the event and explain how he or she acquired knowledge of the event.

17. What Are the Penalties for Giving False Information?

Title 18, United States Code, Section 100 states that whoever willfully and knowingly falsifies a material fact, makes a false statement or makes use of a false document will be fined up to $10,000 or imprisoned up to five years, or both.

18. What Are the Penalties for Marriage Fraud?

Title 8, United States Code, Section 1325 states that any person who knowingly enters into a marriage contract for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws shall be imprisoned for not more than five years or fined not more than $250,000, or both.

19. What if my visa is denied? How can I appeal?

If your petition for a fiancé visa is denied, the denial letter will tell you how to appeal. Generally, you may appeal within 33 days of receiving the denial by mail. Your appeal must be filed on USCIS Form I-290B. The appeal must be filed with the office that made the original decision.

After your appeal form and a required fee are processed, the appeal will be referred to the Administrative Appeals Unit (AAU) in Washington, DC. (Sending the appeal and fee directly to the AAU will delay the process.)

20. What’s the difference between immigrant and non-immigrant visa?

There are two types of visas, immigrant and non-immigrant. In an immigrant visa, the applicant is applying for permanent residence in the United States.

With a nonimmigrant visa, the applicant is visiting the United States for a temporary period of time for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary study, or temporary work.

21. Can a K-1 Visa Holder Leave the United States?

The K-1 visa allows a fiancé to enter the United States one time only. If you leave the United States after entering on a K-1 visa, you may not re-enter on the same visa.

22. Can a K-1 Visa Holder Work in the United States?

As a K-1 visa holder, you may file Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization with the USCIS office that serves the area where you live for a work permit (employment authorization document).

23. What if we don’t have pictures from when we met?

Pictures are great proof that you have met your fiance in person. However, the law doesn’t absolutely require them. Other things you can use as proof include passport stamps showing entry to and exit from your fiance’s country, airline boarding passes, hotel receipts and receipts of other types.

You can also get affidavits from individuals who will attest to your visit. Just note that it may seem suspicious to a consulate that you traveled to a foreign country to meet the love of your life and forgot to bring a camera. You will need to over-compensate with your other evidence.

24. Can my fiance enter with a tourist visa, marry me, & adjust her status to get 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, but they also 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 fiance can come here on a tourist visa and marry you. But she will have 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.

25. Does it matter where we get married?

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.

26. Once my fiance has her K-1 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.

27. How much does it cost to apply for a K1 Visa?

Currently, the filing fee at USCIS is $535. for the filing fee. Other fees will apply later on after the petition has been approved such as the non-immigrant visa application is $265. and the medical exam will vary from Country to Country but in the Philippines, it is $330. for adults.

28. What happens after filing a K1 petition but before I immigrate?

If the beneficiary and petitioner are legally married after filing the I-129F petition, the beneficiary is no longer eligible for the K-1 visa.  The K-1 Petition cannot be converted into a CR-1 or an IR-1 spousal petition.  The K-1 petition will be returned to USCIS.  

To continue the immigration process, the petitioner will then need to file a spousal petition with USCIS on behalf of the beneficiary.

29. How many days does a K1 Fiancee have to marry once on US Soil?

After your fiancé(e) is issued a K-1 visa and enters the U.S. through a U.S immigration port of entry, you and your fiancé(e) must get married within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s entry into the United States.

30. Can I travel to the US for business or pleasure while my K1 Visa is pending?

You can travel; however, you may be subject to additional scrutiny. Traveling under another visa status or the visa waiver program is not advised for K-1 fiancé(e) visa applicants prior to the approval of their K visa as they have already indicated their intention is to marry in the U.S.

31. I entered the U.S. on a K-1 visa but would like to marry somebody else. Is this possible?

No. You can only marry the person who petitioned you. You must leave the United States before your 90-day stay is up. Your new fiance can then file a new K-1 petition to bring you back.

32. I brought my previous fiancé to the United States on a K-1 Visa, but we didn’t get married and she returned to her country. Can I apply for another K-1 Visa?

You can only do a K-1 Fiancée visa one time in a 2 year period, and only two times total. So if it has been more than 2 years you are okay. If it has been less than 2 years you will need a waiver.

In this situation, it may be easier just to get married and file a spousal visa instead of hoping for a waiver that may not be granted.

You can only file two K-1 visa petitions in your life-time without getting a waiver. In this situation, it would probably be easier just to get married and file a CR-1 spousal visa petition. No such limitation applies to the Spousal Visa.

33. How does the K-2 visa work to bring children

To qualify for a K-2 visa, an applicant must be the minor, unmarried child under 21 years of age of a qualified K-1 applicant.

The U.S. citizen who filed an I-129F petition for his or her fiance does not have to file a separate I-129F petition for the child of that fiance. These children must, however, be listed on the I-129F petition of the fiance.

34. What if my Fiance is pregnant and this is not disclosed on the approved petition?

Visa processing can continue in this case if the consular officer obtains a statement indicating awareness of the pregnancy and the desire to proceed with the marriage.

35. Can my fiancee work in another country while in process of K-1 visa? If so, for how long?

Yes, he/she may, for as long as he wishes until he is called for the visa interview by the US embassy.

36. Non-Citizen Petition for Fiance

If I am not yet a citizen, can I petition to bring my fiance to the United States? Is my green card enough to file a claim for my fiance?

It is not possible for a non-citizen to petition for a fiance visa. However, it is possible for the spouse of a green card holder to be granted entry. The waiting times for this process does not take very long at all

37. Can a U.S. Citizen Petition for a fiancé/fiancée of the same sex? 

Yes. In June of 2013, the United States Supreme Court declared unconstitutional part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)that defined marriage as strictly between a man and a woman for all federal statutes and policies;

which effectively barred same-sex couples from seeking federal benefits, including those related to immigration.

Because immigration benefits are administered at the federal level, this new recognition allows same-sex couples to seek immigration benefits based on their marriage, as long as the marriage took place legally in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage.

38. Can a U.S. citizen who previously qualified to petition continue to do so, if recently unemployed?

In this case, the U.S. petitioner must submit information regarding his/her assets (i.e. additional property, stocks, bonds, and other securities) that will convince USCIS that the U.S. petitioner will be able to meet the minimum support required for their fiancé/fiancée—which is 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

39. If I hire FilAm, then how do we get started and how do you communicate with my foreign fiance?

First of all the U.S. Citizen is also known to us as the “sponsor” will have an over the phone consultation which is absolutely free. The foreign fiancee can also contact us for consultation if they like?

Consultations come first in order to evaluate where a couple stands in the way of meeting all U.S. Immigration requirements? Once you have decided to hire us, we provide an email that will gather necessary bio-data information from both of you.

Through the course of the client relationship, you and your fiancee will be able to communicate with us as often as needed through Email – Phone – Text – Facebook – Skype – Viber, all of which are free to you both.

40. Does the U.S. Immigration impose a requirement on how long a couple should know each other before filing?

Many couples ask if there is a requirement on how long the relationship must be developing before they can file the I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancee? There is no specific required time limit imposed on couples who file the petition for a K1 Visa.

But many Couples whom we have helped throughout the years filed after only knowing each other no more than three months. We highly recommend that the Couple accumulate an abundance of supporting documentation that shows they are genuinely sincere to one another.

The U.S. Embassy Interviewers are routinely looking for fraudulent intent Couples which is a big part of their job.

41. Does USCIS have a requirement on how long the Couple must be together in person before filing an I-129F?

As a matter of fact, in the past several years since 2003, we have had numerous couples who simply could not be together in person for more than 3 days,

because they did not have long vacation times or some guys did not have the luxury of time due to self-employment type jobs that where to demanding.

It is safe to say that USCIS does not have any set time in which the Couple must be together to fulfill the “Proof of Meeting Requirement”.

42. Can a green card holder apply for a fiance visa?

Fiance visas are only for fiances of U.S. citizens, not green cardholders. In order to bring your fiance here, you will have to get married first. You will then have to file an immigrant visa petition for your spouse,

known as Form I-130, and wait for it to be approved and for a visa to become available. The best alternative would be to naturalize and become a U.S. Citizen so that you have the K1 Fiancee visa benefits.

43. Do I need to hire a Lawyer or Immigration Attorney?

That depends on your situation if you are the U.S. Citizen sponsor and have needs for litigation due to felonies, domestic violence, or sex crimes,

then you may not be qualified to use the I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancee and might stand a better chance to use a spousal visa instead?

If you do not have any serious criminal convictions then you “Do Not Need to hire a Lawyer or Immigration Attorney” You may use FilAm which is a specialized service that specifically assists couples from the Philippines to the U.S.A.

44. My Fiancee in the Philippines needs an annulment can I marry her/him?

The Philippines does not allow divorce, as it is not a legal way to dissolve a marriage according to Philippines law?

One must undergo an annulment according to the Roman Catholic beliefs which have been known to be very time consuming, costly and often time unpredictable as to when or even if the annulment will ever be finalized?

Most annulment process can take between 1 to 2 years and sometimes never get finalized by court rulings. Without any annulment paperwork, the U.S. Citizen sponsor will not be able to file a petition for alien fiancee?

45. Can the U.S. Citizen sponsor stay in the Philippines while waiting for a K1 Fiancee visa?

This is a question we get every year? Many American guys want to come stay in the Philippines while they wait for their Filipina fiancee to get her U.S. Embassy Interview and then approved to receive a K1 Fiancee Visa to return to the U.S.A together.

It can be done only by those of you who have an income while you are staying in the Philippines and someone back in the U.S.A can get your postal mail for you and send things to you online and in the mail as part of getting prepared for the interview?

Also, you must maintain you’re US Domicile address, bank accounts anything that shows you’re still a resident of the United States.

46. Will the U.S. Citizen sponsor be required to attend the U.S. Embassy Interview?

Only the foreign fiancee is required to undergo a medical exam and attend the U.S. Embassy Interview in order to receive the K1 Fiancee visa. Sponsors are not required and there are no interviews in the U.S. for them to attend also.

If the U.S.Citizen sponsor would like to attend the U.S Embassy Interview with the fiancee in the Philippines then in many cases, it is helpful, but not required.

47. I got my foreign fiancee pregnant on our last visit. What must I do?

Occasionally this happens and one must do everything on their end to get a petition filed to bring over the foreign fiancee before little junior decides to come out!

The expecting mother will need a certified and notarized letter from the father to show the medical team at St. Luke’s clinic that the sponsor knows and accepts the unborn child?

Next, the mother needs to get her K1 Visa and head to the USA before she is too pregnant as airlines may refuse to let her on because of risk having the baby in mid-air?

If the child is not born in the U.S.A then they must be registered at the U.S. Consulate to receive a U.S. Passport the whole process may take an additional 3 months and requires DNA samples. (Go here to learn more..)

48. Do the Philippines have parental consent laws to be followed?

Philippines law does require that all of their younger citizens whether they marry locally or abroad have consent.

If he or she is between the age of 18-22 they will be required to have an affidavit of support from the lawyer or attorney signed by one or two parents or legal guardians stating that they have counseled their son or daughter about getting married beforehand.

Anyone between ages 23-25 is only required to have verbal consent from their parents or legal guardian prior to getting married.

49. Does the alien fiancee need police records to get a K1 fiancee visa?

All applicants from age 16 and up regardless if they are applying for the K1 Fiancee visa or a spousal visa will be required in part with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to provide his or her police records from the country they are a citizen in.

The rule also applies to other countries lived in worked in for a period of no less than 6 months. If the foreign fiancee or a spouse have other legal names from previous marriages or any other, then they must provide police records in those name also.

50. If I filed an I-129F Petition and it was approved recently how long do I have to wait to file for another fiancee?

USCIS has a K Unit that tracks down multiple filers. If you have had an I-129F Petition approved recently meaning the petition got the “Go Ahead” but your alien fiancee and you had a change of heart,

or you brought over your alien fiancee and things did not work out? Or you married but then divorced after a short time? You must wait for a period of two (2) years before you can file again.

Or if you have good supporting evidence and documentation that supports a legitimate reason you could not marry or bring the alien fiancee over, then you can file a waiver without waiting for the two (2) years waiting time.

51. My alien fiancee lives in the Philippines, does she have to speak, read and write the English Language?

There are many reasons that an alien fiancee needs to have a fair amount of English skills not only for attending a U.S. Embassy Interview but entering into their U.S. Port of entry.

Almost all of the government paperwork is done in English as well as interviews conducted in English. If she barely communicates in English and the U.S. Citizen Fiance only speaks English,

well then the Interviewer will believe that she couldn’t possibly be able to have a sincere genuine relationship with him? The only exception would be if it is a U.S. Citizen Filipino who is native to her language.

52. Can I marry my fiancée overseas and still bring her on a K1 visa?

No, K1 visas are available only to persons who are planning to be married. If the marriage occurs, you will have to file an I-130 Relative Visa petition for your spouse.

The one exception to this rule is that if the marriage was religious or social ceremony only, and the marriage wasn’t registered with the local government, a K1 visa may be issued.

53. Is it a “RED FLAG” that my fiancee has children and is not bringing them as K2 Children?

Many foreign fiancees, especially from the Philippines have children born out of wedlock and are required to mention all children old and young on the petition, but are in no way obligated from a U.S. Immigration standpoint to bring their child or children

to follow using the K2 Visa. A K2 Child would be considered her biological child from age 21 and under.

54. My foreign fiancee and I have different Religious Beliefs, will those present problems?

From a U.S. Immigration standpoint, couples who do not share the same religious beliefs do stand the possibility of being denied during a U.S. Embassy Interview?

Though it is rare, Interviewers may ask the K1 Applicant if he or she shares the same religious beliefs as their U.S. fiance? Even though there are many Christian faiths, the best answer to give is yes we both are Christians and leave it at that.

55. As a Sponsor / Petitioner of an I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancee, what should I do if I have a change of heart?

According to U.S. Immigration a nonrelated rule rather an adequate, is for the U.S. sponsor to contact the U.S. government agency that has his or her petition at the time of the change of heart?

Your petition would start off at USCIS, later go to National Visa Center and essentially to the US Consulate of your alien fiancees country. Contacting them by email or letter requires having all of your correct credentials in order to identify that you really are the sponsor and a short letter explaining why you would like your petition to be terminated?

By doing this it will insure you of being able to file for another foreign fiancee later on if so desired? Depending on how far the process has gone, you may have to wait two years before filing another I-129F.