A US citizen who is engaged to marry a foreign citizen can apply for a fiancée visa, which is known as a K1 Visa. This visa is approved for a period of only ninety days and allows the fiancée of the US citizen to live permanently with the US citizen in the United States provided that they actually marry within the ninety day period. No extensions of the time period are permitted for this visa. If the marriage does not occur within the ninety day period, then the fiancée must return to his or her home country.
If the US citizen does not marry the fiancée, the fiancée will not be precluded from applying for another fiancée visa in the future. However, the US citizen will have to file the International Marriage Broker Regulation (IMBRA) waiver if he or she wants to file for another fiancée visa within two years of the approval of the first fiancée visa. If the marriage does not occur within the ninety day period, the foreign fiancée will not be precluded from receiving another fiancée visa in the future.
Neither green card holders nor permanent residents of the United States are eligible for a fiancée visa.
To qualify for a fiancée visa, the following requirements must be met:
Exception to the requirements
The petitioner may be exempted from the above requirements "if it is established that compliance would result in extreme hardship to the petitioner or that compliance would violate strict and long-established customs of the K-1 beneficiary's foreign culture or social practice, as where marriages are traditionally arranged by the parents of the contracting parties and the prospective bride and groom are prohibited from meeting subsequent to the arrangement and prior to the wedding day." INA § 214.2(k)(2). Unfortunately, such exemptions are very rarely granted by the USCIS US Citizenship and Immigration Services, because it is almost impossible to establish the facts required to obtain the exemption to the complete satisfaction of the government.
Processing of the petition
Problems in Processing
The most common issues that, alone or in combination with other problems, can lead to a denial/failure of a K1 visa are:
Usually, if one of the first five problems listed above exists, a second chance will be allowed to cure the problem with additional documentation or through a second interview. If the problem is not cured, the case is sent back to the USCIS. Problems that lead to a question about the genuineness of the relationship between the couple will typically cause the petition to be sent back to the USCIS for administrative review/revocation or sent to the Embassy’s Anti-Fraud Unit. Delays in such cases typically exceed six months.
Permanent Status in the USA
Although the fiancée visa is a temporary visa, once the US citizen and the fiancée are married, the US citizen must apply for an adjustment of the status of the fiancée, now spouse, to obtain conditional, permanent residence status through an interview with the USCIS. After the interview, the spouse must apply for removal of the condition to receive a ten year, permanent residence card the maximum period for which a green card is issued is 10 years because in 5 years within this time frame you can opt to apply for citizenship. The foreign born spouse is eligible for citizenship three years after receiving the green card. As per law the fiancée now wife of US citizen can apply for citizenship after three years of receiving the green card. The maximum period for which a green card is issued is 10 years and then can be renewed if the permanent resident does not opt to become the US citizen.
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