K1 Visas

K1 Visa for Vegas

As a Las Vegas K1 visa lawyer, I sometimes recommend K1 visas to my U.S. citizen clients contemplating marriage to someone abroad. A k1 fiancée visa is a one-entry traveling visa to lawfully bring the foreign fiancée of a United States citizen to the United States. The purpose of the visa is for the citizen  to marry the fiancee in America within 90 days after her entry.

After the marriage the K1 visa holder start processing for a green card (adjust status to permanent residence) without leaving the United States. K1 visa processing is a much quicker way to bring the fiance compared to marrying the fiance abroad and waiting for 9-12 months for immigration visa processing. When done using experienced legal counsel, a fiance visa can bring the fiance to the United States within 4-5 months.

If you have a foreign national fiancé, it is important that you consult an experienced k1 visa lawyer to understand the k1 fiancé visa application process before you begin. It is also important that you seek legal advice before you marry a foreign national.

Starting the processing with the k1 visa petition

The first step in the process is for the United States citizen to file a visa petition on form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé́(e) with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You must have met your foreign citizen fiancé within the previous two years before you file the visa petition.

You must show that:
1. You met the fiancée in person within the last two years before you filed the visa petition
2. Both you and your fiancée are free to marry [single, divorced (include annulment) or widowed], and
3. You both intend to marriage each other in the United States within 90 days of the K1’s entry.

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Meeting your foreign fiancé in person and the established custom exception

The USCIS will usually deny your visa petition unless you have met your foreign fiancée in person within the last two years. An online meeting on a dating site, alone usually will not do: you must meet in-person or in the flesh. The USCIS director however has discretion to exempt the petitioner from this personal meeting under certain limited conditions.

First you may get an exception if you prove that compliance would result in extreme hardship to you. Examples of extreme hardship includes medical problems that prevent travel, security or political conditions of the foreign country and financial hardship.

Alternatively, the director may grant you an exception if compliance would violate strict and long-established customs of your K-1 beneficiary’s culture or social practice. One example of this is where marriages are traditionally arranged by the parents of the contracting parties. According to custom, the prospective bride and groom should not meet after the arrangement and before the wedding day. 8 CFR 214.2(k)(2). In cases with customary prohibitions, you must also show that you have or will meet any and all aspects of the traditional arrangements according to marriages under that custom or practice.

marriage visa

The approved petition – validity period and k1 visa application.

After USCIS approves the k1 visa petition, it will let you know and send the file to the State Department (National Visa Center), which will contact the proper U.S. consulate (IV post) which will interview the beneficiary and make the final decision on the visa. The petition is valid for four months. The approved petition is not a visa and merely entitles the beneficiary to apply for a K1 visa during the validity period of the petition and when instructed to do so by the US Consulate.

You may extend the validity period of the petition for more periods of four months if both of you are legally free to marry and still intend to marry each other within 90 days of the beneficiary’s entry into the United States. If the fiancee does not take action on the application within one year, the consulate will return the petition to the USCIS district office which approved the case.

Children of K1 Visa beneficiary

The minor child (as defined in INA 101(b)(1)) of a k1 fiancé parent may be included in the same I-129F petition and given a K-2 visa if the child will go with or follow to join the parent. You do not need to file a separate petition for the child of your K1 alien fiancé in such case. The US consulate can issue a K-2 visa to the child of the K-1 principal alien in the I-129F petition even after the principal alien has married the U.S. citizen fiancé́(e), and acquired Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status. However, the cutoff date for issuance of a K-2 visa is one year from the issue date for the K-1 visa to the principal alien.

After one year, and provided that the alien qualifies, the filing of an immediate relative petition by the U.S. citizen step-parent (if child under 16 when the marriage occurred) or second preference petition by the LPR parent would be required. See 9 FAM 41.81 N12.
Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (“Adam Walsh Act”)

The USCIS may deny a petition by a U.S. citizen with convictions for “specified offenses against a minor,” under the Adam Walsh Act, unless the Department of Homeland Security determines that the U.S. citizen poses no risk to the beneficiary. The term “specified offense against a minor” means an offense against a minor that involves any of the following:
(A) Offense (unless committed by a parent or guardian) involving kidnapping.
(B) Offense (unless committed by a parent or guardian) involving false imprisonment.
(C) Solicitation to engage in sexual conduct.
(D) Use in a sexual performance.
(E) Solicitation to practice prostitution.
(F) Video voyeurism as described in section 1801 of title 18, United States Code.
(G) Possession, production, or distribution of child pornography.
(H) Criminal sexual conduct involving a minor, or the use of the Internet to facilitate or attempt such conduct.
(I) Any conduct that by its nature is a sex offense against a minor.
The crimes are broadly interpreted by USCIS and the federal courts.

K1 Visa Application and Interview

After the proper U.S. consulate receives an approved K-1 visa petition, the embassy will send a letter to the beneficiary outlining the steps he or she should take to apply for a visa. The letter will include instructions for accessing Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application and a copy of USCIS’s pamphlet, “Information on the Legal Rights Available to Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence in the United States and Facts about Immigrating on a Marriage-Based Visa.”

These steps include:

  1. Gathering Civil Documents
  2. I-134 Affidavit of Support signed by Petitioner
  3. DS-160 Completion and DS-160 Submission
  4. Fee Payment
  5. K1 Visa Medical Examination
  6. Interview Scheduling
  7. Courier Selection or delivery option for passport with visa
  8. Interview
  9. Visa Delivery

The interview with the consular officer is one of the most significant parts of the K1 visa processing.

Validity of K1 visa

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The k1 visa is a one entry visa. The period of validity of the K1 visa is the period during which the k1 beneficiary may use it in seeking admission to the United States. The validity period of the k1 visa validity is different from the period the immigration authorities at a port of entry may authorize the beneficiary to stay in the United States as reflected on Form I–94, Arrival-Departure Record.

Employment Authorization and K1 Visas

A person admitted to the United States in K non-immigrant status is authorized to work incident to status for the period of authorized stay. K-1/K-2 aliens seeking work authorization must apply, with the fee, to the Service for work authorization according to §274a.12(a)(6) of this chapter. K1 visa persons can apply for a Social Security Card upon admission to the United States, even before marriage to their petitioner.

Under Section 205(c)(2)(B)(i)(I) of the Social Security Act, the Social Security Administration is required to assign social security account numbers SSNs “to aliens at the time of their lawful admission to the United States either for permanent residence or under other authority of law permitting them to engage in employment in the United States. . . .” Because the federal regulation 8 CFR 274a.12 (a) (6) authorizes K-1 visa holders to work incident to their visa status, K-1 visa holders are eligible for SSNs.
Adjustment of Status for K1 Visa Holders

After entering a valid and good faith marriage to the petitioner within 90 days of his or her admission as a K1 nonimmigrant the K-1 beneficiary and his or her minor children may apply for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident under section 245 of the Act. If the adjustment application is approved the beneficiary and minor children will be admitted as permanent residents.

If the marriage is less than two years old when, the beneficiary becomes a permanent resident, the USCIS director will admit the principal and children as conditional permanent residents (2-year green card) subject to the conditions prescribed in section 216 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Contact our Las Vegas attorneys for K1 visa service

You or your foreign citizen fiancé or spouse may have many questions about how to immigrate to the United States. Contacting a fiancé visa attorney at the earliest opportunity can help bring the one you love to America quickly and lawfully. Seek legal counsel before you marry. If you want to learn more about k1 visas or family visas contact an experienced marriage visa lawyers at Goodin Law P.A. in Las Vegas for more information and expert help.