Fiance (E) Visas (K-1 AND K-2)

If a U.S. citizen is engaged to marry a foreign citizen, he or she may apply for a K-1 visa (fiancé (e) visa) to benefit this foreigner. This visa allows the foreign citizen to travel to the United States and marry the U.S. Citizen within 90 days of entry. Once the marriage is celebrated the K-1 visa holder may apply for permanent residence status in the United States. The foreign citizen’s children under 21 years of age receive K-2 visas, and may also apply for residence status in the United States after the marriage takes place.

If you wish to apply for a K-1 visa and seek legal representation please contact Carlos Mauricio Duque, Esq. (immigration lawyer) by calling one of the following telephone numbers:

• Miami, Florida +1 305 436 0155
• Bogotá, Colombia +57 1 426 3975
• México, D.F., México +52 55 4170 3632
• San Salvador, El Salvador +503 2113 3858
• Panamá, Panamá +507 836 5750
• Lima, Perú +51 1 707 5967
• Madrid, España +34 911 239 941
• Buenos Aires, Argentina +54 11 5218 4068
• Caracas, Venezuela +58 212 7715900

In the following paragraphs you will find more information about K-1 visa.

I-129F PETITION: FIRST STEP IN K-1 VISA PROCESSING

The U.S. Citizen must file a K-1 petition in the United States by mailing Form I129F to USCIS. The U.S. Citizen must provide documentary evidence of his or her relationship with their foreign fiancé(e). He or she must also prove that the parties have met each other in person within the past two years.

The law imposes restrictions to the number of K-1 visa petitions that a U.S. Citizen may file. If a U.S. Citizen has filed two petitions in the past he or she may no longer file any more K-1 visa petitions. Similarly, if a U.S. Citizen has previously filed a K-1 visa petition that had been approved he or she may not file a new K-1 visa petition until two years have passed. There are exceptions to these restrictions.

It is also very important to examine the criminal record of the U.S. Citizen before filing the K-1 visa petition. If the U.S. Citizen has committed certain criminal offenses, he or she may not apply for a K-1 visa to benefit his or her fiancé(e). The immigration lawyer will evaluate the U.S. Citizen´s criminal record to determine the immigration consequences of any criminal convictions.

If the I-129F petition is in order, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will approve the case within about five months of receiving the K-1 visa petition. Once approved, USCIS forwards it to the National Visa Center.

K-1 SECOND STEP: PROCESSING BEFORE THE NATIONAL VISA CENTER

USCIS sends the K-1 visa approval to the Embassy of the United States in the respective country through the National Visa Center. The Embassy will ask the citizen and his fiancé(e) to bring to some documents and to pay certain fees. Once all requirements are met the Embassy will schedule an appointment.

K-1 THIRD STEP: EMBASSY INTERVIEW

This interview gives the consular officer the chance to verify that the fiancé(e) is legally eligible for the K-1 Visa. There are several circumstances that constitute legal impediments to benefiting from the K-1 Visa. For example, the commission of certain crimes, having committed fraud in a past visa application, or having a contagious illness that impedes the foreign fiancé(e) from entering the United States. The fiancé(e)’s criminal and immigration history must be evaluated by an immigration attorney before initiating the K-1 Visa process so that all legal impediments to the issuance of the K-1 Visa are identified in advance of the interview. The immigration attorney’s intervention is especially useful when the consular officer concludes that the foreign fiancé(e) must file a “waiver.” To learn more about “waivers” please click on the corresponding link on the left hand side of this webpage.

Another important part of the interview process is the interview to the U.S. Citizen and his or her fiancé(e), and the examination of evidence that proves that they have a bona fide relationship. As I said before, I recommend that both the U.S. Citizen and the fiancé(e) attend the interview so as to give the consular officer the opportunity to interview them thoroughly. However, it is necessary to read each particular Embassy’s restrictions on access to the interview before the U.S. Citizen makes himself or herself present on the day of the interview. Some Embassys will not allow the U.S. Citizen to enter.

K-1 APPROVAL

Once the K-1 Visa application is approved the consular officer will stamp the K-1 visa on the fiancé(e)´s passport. If the K-1 beneficiary has children under the age of 21 these children will receive K-2 visas. It is important to point out that minor children have to be admitted in the U.S. before they reach adulthood.

The objective of the K-1 Visa is to allow the foreign fiancé(e) to travel to the U.S. to get married within 90 days of entry. When the foreign fiancé(e) presents his or her passport with the K-1 visa stamped the U.S. Customs officer will let him or her enter the U.S. in K-1 visa status, but will not admit the foreign fiancé(e) as a permanent resident.

The foreign fiancé(e) who entered on a K-1 Visa must marry the U.S. Citizen who filed the petition within 90 days of arrival in the country. Once the marriage takes place the newly wed foreigner will be able to file an application for permanent residence with USCIS.

THE LAWYER´S ROLE

The immigration lawyer gives invaluable advice to the foreign citizen who wishes to initiate the K-1 visa process. First, the lawyer helps the foreign citizen determine whether he or is eligible for the K-1 visa. In addition, the immigration lawyer provides advice both to the foreign citizen and to the U.S. Citizen on how to properly meet all the requirements of the K-1 visa.

If you wish to apply for a K-1 visa and seek legal representation please contact Carlos Mauricio Duque, Esq. (immigration lawyer) by calling one of the following telephone numbers:

• Miami, Florida +1 305 436 0155
• Bogotá, Colombia +57 1 426 3975
• México, D.F., México +52 55 4170 3632
• San Salvador, El Salvador +503 2113 3858
• Panamá, Panamá +507 836 5750
• Lima, Perú +51 1 707 5967
• Madrid, España +34 911 239 941
• Buenos Aires, Argentina +54 11 5218 4068
• Caracas, Venezuela +58 212 7715900

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