Finding someone that you want to marry is a wonderful event in your life. In your case, you are a U.S. citizen but your fiancé is a citizen of another country. You want the person you love to come to the United States and share in the American experience as you two build a life in this country. To make this happen, you should obtain a K-1 nonimmigrant visa for your fiancé.
People refer to a K-1 visa as a fiancé visa. If your fiancé is not a lawful permanent resident of the United States, obtaining this visa is an important first step to eventually making your husband or wife to-be a permanent U.S. resident. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website explains what must happen in order to successfully apply for a K-1 visa.
Eligibility for a K-1 visa
To obtain the visa, you must be a U.S. citizen and you and your fiancé must be free to marry. Arrangements like an existing marriage must not hold you back from successfully acquiring a legal marriage license. In addition, you and your fiancé must intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé entering the U.S. on the K-1 visa.
Meeting each other in person
In this age of online video streaming, it is possible to interact with a person across long distances and develop a strong relationship. In fact, you might not have even met your fiancé in person. However, this could be a problem. The USCIS explains that U.S. citizens should meet a foreign fiancé at least once in person within two years before filing a K-1 petition.
However, you could request that the U.S. government waive this requirement because of certain conditions. The act of meeting your fiancé would result in extreme hardship to you or a meeting of your fiancé in person is not feasible because it would violate the social practices or customs of your fiancé’s home culture.
Marrying within 90 days
It is important that you marry no later than 90 days after your fiancé enters the United States because the U.S. government does not extend a K-1 visa for a further length of time. If you fail to marry, your fiancé could face deportation. If your fiancé has children and has brought them to the U.S., they will likely face deportation as well.
The good news is that once you do marry, your new spouse is eligible for a Green Card on the basis of your marriage. This can put your spouse on the road to becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen.