Often referred to as a fiance(e) visa, K-1 nonimmigrant visas enable U.S. citizens to bring their foreign partners to this country with the intent of marrying them in a certain time period. Understanding how fiance(e) visas work and what is expected of you and your partner during the process can make for a more efficient experience. 

It also prevents your fiance(e) from encountering issues with immigration. The more information you have, the better equipped you are to navigate the immigration process successfully. 

Who is eligible for a K-1 nonimmigrant visa? 

People who are betrothed to a U.S. citizen with plans to wed within the 90 days after their admission to the country are eligible for fiance(e) visas. You must also be legally cleared to marry, meaning you are not currently married to another person. 

You must also show that you have met with your partner at least one time with the two years prior to your visa application. This criterion can be waived for two reasons: 1) it is against the fiance(e)’s cultural or religious practice to take place in such a meeting, or 2) the U.S. citizen attempting to bring over his or her fiance(e) would have experienced “extreme hardship” if the meeting took place. 

What if my fiance(e) has a child? 

Children of fiance(e)s who are under 21 and unmarried are eligible for K-2 nonimmigrant visas. If you and your fiance(e) are wed within 90 days of your application, both your fiance(e) and his or her unmarried child can then apply for a Green Card. It is recommended that both parties apply for their Green Cards at the same time. 

Can my fiance(e) work with a K-1 nonimmigrant visa? 

An evidence of work authorization will provide your fiance(e) the ability to work for a period of 90 days after the initial application. If the person applies for a work visa after receiving his or her Green Card (which would take place after the marriage), work authorization is good for a one year period. To extend the authorization, the fiance(e) can reapply for new yearly increments when each authorization runs out. 

What happens if the marriage does not take place in 90 days? 

If the K-1 nonimmigrant visa expires and the marriage has not taken place, the fiance(e) and their children must leave the country or face penalties for violating immigration laws. You can also apply for a Petition for Alien Relative form, which is an alternative method of receiving a Green Card.