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K-1 Visa for Fiancé of US Citizen

If you are a US citizen, and you became engaged to a person who lives abroad, you may be able to get a K-1 visa for that person. The K-1 visa would allow him or her to come to the United States to marry you. If you have questions about obtaining a K-1 visa for your fiancé, contact The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates to consult with our attorneys. We have more than 50 years of combined legal experience in a wide variety of complex and immigration law matters.

Does my fiancé qualify for the K-1 visa?

In order for you and your fiancé to qualify for the K-1 visa, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. You must be a United States citizen;
  2. You intend to marry within 90 days after your fiancé enters the US;
  3. You must both be legally free to marry, meaning all prior marriages have been terminated;
  4. You must have personally met each other within two years before filing the K visa petition, unless it's against your customs, religious beliefs, or is a hardship.

Be sure that you get married within 90 days after your fiancé enters the US. If you don't get married within 90 days, your fiancé’s K-1 visa will become expired. If the K-1 has expired due to passage of time, it may be revalidated by a director or consular officer. If your fiancé is still in the US at that point he or she is in violation of the law and in the country illegally. The situation may result in dire consequences to your fiancé including deportation and a bar from returning.

When can my fiancé apply for a green card and apply for work authorization?

After entering the US, your fiancé can immediately apply for work authorization (EAD card), which will be valid during the 90 days while the K-1 visa is valid. It is highly recommended that you file the I-485 adjustment of status application and I-765 EAD renewal application immediately after becoming married. The K-1 visa expires after 90 days, and at that point your fiancé will have valid status due to the pending I-485 application. However, the work authorization will expire unless a subsequent EAD card has been approved based upon the pending I-485. Therefore, it pays to file the I-485 and I-765 early.

Can the children of my fiancé qualify?

The K-2 visa category is available for children of your fiancé provided that they meet the following requirements:

  1. Must be under the age of 21;
  2. Must be unmarried.

What if the child turns 21 before getting a green card?

Careful planning is imperative because a K-2 child is only eligible for a green card if the I-485 application is approved before his or her 21st birthday. If the child turns 21 before the application is approved, the child has “aged out” and is no longer eligible for permanent resident status.

There is an exception to this rule if you and your fiancé become married before the child reaches 18 years of age. In this case, the child would legally become your stepchild, and as such would be protected against aging out thanks to the Child Status Protection Act of 2002 (CSPA). Under CSPA, the child's age is deemed to “freeze” until the green card is approved if an immigrant petition is filed for the child. If you have questions about fiancé visas, please contact our immigration attorneys at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA to schedule a consultation with an attorney at an office near you.

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