The K-1 visa is available to foreign nationals who intend to marry a U.S. resident citizen. It has recently been highlighted by the TV show "90-Day Fiancé", whose title refers to the requirement for marriage to take place within 90 days of the fiancé's arrival in the U.S..
In reality, being approved for a K-1 visa involves a great deal of advance preparation and stamina to endure a potentially lengthy process. This process can be quite complex, with strict requirements. If you and your foreign-citizen fiancée are planning to marry in the U.S., consulting an experienced immigration lawyer is highly advisable.
Before your partner can apply for a K-1 visa, you will have to file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office that serves your area of residence. If the petition is accepted, your fiancé will have to complete the DS-160 form online and provide supporting documentation for their application, which may vary depending on whether your intended spouse was previously married.
As part of the application, your partner will need to arrange a medical examination with a physician approved by the U.S. Embassy. As the number of accredited physicians is limited, your fiancée may need to book an appointment well in advance to avoid delaying their application. They should also be prepared to travel some distance to the clinic, unless they are fortunate enough to live nearby.
There are numerous other requirements that must be met and issues to consider that are too long to list here. Make sure that you research the process thoroughly before beginning your application. A lawyer with experience in facilitating fiancé visa applications can tell you exactly what is required from you and your partner at every stage of the process and ensure that your application is completed fully and accurately.
If the application is approved, your partner will be able to enter the United States on a K-1 visa. After getting married in the first 90 days, your spouse can then apply for a change of status to become a permanent U.S. resident. This comes with its own set of requirements — which is a subject for another post.
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