The K1 Fiance Visa
How It Works, What's Required...
The K1 fiancé visa is used by a US citizen to bring their foreign fiancé to the United States. Upon arrival, the couple has only 90 days in which to get married, or the foreign fiancé will have to leave the US.
The basic requirements for filing for the K1 visa are that the couple has met, in person, at some point during the 2 years preceding the filing of the petition, and that they are both legally free to marry. In addition, the US petitioner must have an income that is above the poverty level for the size of household that he/she will be supporting. You can view the poverty guidelines HERE.
The couple must also provide clear & convincing evidence of a valid relationship. This can be accomplished by submitting proof of travel (boarding passes, hotel receipts, entry/departure stamps in a passport, etc..), proof of an ongoing relationship (chat logs, emails, screenshots from video calls, remittances, postal receipts for packages); photographs together in various settings, and any other evidence you each feel is important in proving a bona fide relationship.
In addition to the above evidence, each party must show proof of who they are, and the US citizen petitioner must show proof of US citizenship. This step can be accomplished by providing copies of the biographic information page from each passport; if the US citizen gained citizenship through the naturalization process, a copy of the naturalization certificate should be provided.
One major piece of documentation that must be submitted with the petition is referred to as the Letter of Intent to Marry; this is where both parties draft a letter that states their intention to get married within 90 days of the foreign fiancés arrival in the US using the K1 visa. It is also a chance to give more insight into your relationship, and tell your story: how you met, how the relationship grew, how you fell in love, and how you began making plans for a future together. Use as much space as is needed, and if you opt to hand-write the letters, make sure they are in English and clearly legible.
That brings us to the next point: All documents which are submitted to USCIS must be in English, or be accompanied by an English translation, and a statement by the person or agency who performed the translation that it is correct and that they are competent in both languages, and capable of making the translation.
So, what do you need to submit to show that you are legally free to marry? For US citizens who have been previously married, you must submit divorce decrees for all prior marriages. For the foreign fiancé, they must also submit any divorce decrees or annulment papers, if applicable. In addition, some countries provide their citizens with a certificate which states that they have never been married; for example, in the Philippines, K1 beneficiaries need to get a CENOMAR (Certificate of no Marriage); this should be submitted with the petition when filed, as proof of being free to marry the US petitioner.
Now for the forms...
The US citizen petitioner must submit USCIS Form I-129F Petition For Alien Fiancé. You can find the most current form & instructions HERE
It is also advisable to file form G-1145, Notice of Acceptance. This form gives USCIS the ability to either text or email you once your petition has been delivered & accepted. You can get that form HERE
The US petitioner must attach 2 passport style photos of each party, and a payment instrument, to the front of form I-129F.
Later during the process, at the interview at the US embassy, the K1 beneficiary will be required to provide proof that the US petitioner is financially capable of providing for the new family. For this, the US petitioner must complete form I-134 Affidavit of Support, and forward that to his/her fiancé abroad. You can get that form HERE
The K1 beneficiary will also be required to submit a recent police clearance, issued by their government, and most likely, a new certificate of no marriage (if applicable in the country where the foreign fiance resides).
At this point, you now have a basic glimpse into the K1 fiancé visa process. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us; and if you are ready to start on this exciting, yet stressful process, let us know, and let our experience work for you and get your fiancé to the United States.