Getting married is a major commitment intended to last for life, and those who get engaged usually (and understandably) want to start planning a future with their fiancé right away. Yet, when one fiancé lives in the United States but the other lives elsewhere, the distance between them may become a major obstacle to the development of their relationship.
Thankfully, there are special immigration programs that specifically help those engaged to someone in another country bring their fiancé to the United States. K-1 fiancé visas allow United States citizens to reconnect with someone they love from another country and potentially help them get married in the country. There are a few important restrictions on K-1 visas that applicants need to know about before moving forward.
They must validate the relationship
For a foreign national to secure a K-1 visa, they will need to establish that they have a bona fide relationship with the United States citizen. Often, this process will involve a combination of personal interviews and the submission of evidence, like photographs taken when visiting each other previously or letters exchanged between the engaged individuals. Careful vetting helps deter fraud and can also drastically increase how stressful the visa application process is for some people.
The fiancé must meet certain standards
Individuals cannot bring just anyone to the United States with a K-1 visa. Like any other visa applicant, the foreign national fiancé will need to meet certain standards. Not only will they need to submit medical records to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), but they will also need to undergo a thorough background check.
The couple will need to wed quickly
Although many visas are valid for multiple years, K-1 visas are a type of specialized, transitional visa. They allow someone to enter the country specifically to change their marital status. Those who marry within 90 days of entering the country with a K-1 visa can potentially apply for a conditional green card. Those that do not get married in that limited window of opportunity may face removal and additional challenges if they apply for a K-1 visa again in the future.
Learning more about the visa programs that help reunite couples may benefit those who want to marry despite being from different countries. Seeking legal guidance proactively can be helpful as well.