Visas For Fiancé(e)s Of U.S. Citizens

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Visas For Fiancé(e)s Of U.S. Citizens

Visas For Fiancé(e)s Of U.S. Citizens

Congratulations on your engagement — the next step is getting your fiancé(e) here!

If you’re a U.S. citizen looking to bring your foreign fiancé(e) to the United States to get married, you’re going to need to file a Form I-129F, Petition For Alien Fiancé(e) in order for them to obtain a K-1 nonimmigrant visa.

You and your fiancé(e) must marry each other within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the U.S as a K-1 nonimmigrant. Your marriage must be entered in good-faith, meaning both you and your fiancé(e) have a real, true intent to establish a life together and are not marrying solely for immigration benefits.

If your fiancé(e) marries you within 90 days of being admitted to the United States as a K-1 nonimmigrant, he or she is then eligible to apply for lawful permanent resident status in the United States (a Green Card).

Should I Be Applying For The K-1 Visa? 

Depending on the circumstances of your particular case, you may want to skip the fiancé visa process altogether and go straight to getting married and applying for a spousal visa. This decision depends on where you reside, how long you wish to wait to be together, and numerous other factors.

If you’re already married, plan to marry outside the United States, or your fiancé(e) is already living legally in the United States, your spouse or fiancé(e) cannot apply for a fiancé(e) visa, but they may be eligible for a green card.

Am I Eligible For A K-1?  

You may be eligible to bring your fiancé(e) to the United States on a fiancé(e) visa if you meet the following requirements: 

  • The sponsoring partner must be a U.S. citizen. U.S. green card holders (permanent residents) cannot sponsor a fiancé for a K1 visa. 
  • Both partners must be eligible to marry—in other words, both must be currently unmarried. Any prior divorce decrees, annulments, or death certificates must be provided to show that any previous marriages have been terminated. 
  • K-1 visas are available to same-sex partners. 
  • You’ve got to provide evidence of the validity of the relationship. This might include photographs, flight itineraries and/or hotel reservations of trips taken together as a couple, written statements from friends and colleagues who are aware of the engagement, letters or emails between the partners. 
  • You and your fiancé(e) met each other in person at least once within the 2-year period before you file your petition. You may request a waiver of this in-person meeting requirement if you can show that meeting in person would violate strict and long-established customs of your fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice; or result in extreme hardship to you, the U.S. citizen petitioner. 
  • Each partner must provide a signed statement indicating an intent to marry within 90 days of the sponsored fiancé’s arrival in the United States. If concrete wedding plans are in place, you should submit evidence such as wedding invitations, receipts of deposits on a venue, etc. 
  • The U.S. citizen fiancé must meet certain income requirements. Specifically, the adjusted gross income on their most recent tax return must be equal at least 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. If they are unable to meet this requirement alone, a joint financial sponsor must file a supplemental “affidavit of support.”  
Step 1: Form I-129F

The process begins with the filing of Form I-129F with USCIS. The primary purpose of this form is to establish the authenticity of the relationship. 

The following supporting documents should be attached to the completed form as evidence: 

Proof of citizenship for the U.S. citizen fiancé (copy of a passport, certificate of naturalization, or birth certificate) 

  • Copy of the sponsored fiancé’s passport 
  • Proof of the legitimacy of the relationship (photos, correspondence, sworn statements from friends and colleagues, etc.) 
  • Proof of having met in person at least one time within the two years prior to filing the form (flight itineraries, hotel itineraries, photos, correspondence, etc.) 
  • Sworn statements, written by and signed by each partner, that briefly discuss the nature of the relationship and testify that you intend to marry within 90 days of the sponsored fiancé’s arrival in the United States. It’s generally best to provide the original signed statements, and keep copies for your records. 
  • A copy of any Form I-94 arrival-departure record previously issued to the sponsored fiancé. 
  • One passport-style photo of the U.S. citizen fiancé and one passport-style photo of the sponsored fiancé. 

After the form and supporting documents are filed at the appropriate address, you should expect a notice of receipt within 30 days. If the USCIS determines they need more information, they’ll also send a Request for Evidence (RFE). Once the Form I-129F is approved, USCIS will send a notice of approval. 

Step 2: Form DS-160 and Interview

Within 30 days of the sponsorship form’s approval, the sponsored fiancé will receive a notice from the U.S. embassy in their home country, stating the date and location of their visa interview alongside a list of required documents. 


The sponsored fiancé must then complete the State Department’s online DS-160 form (technically called the “Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application”). This is the actual K-1 visa application, and it’s very important to print the confirmation page once the form’s been submitted. 

The State Department asks for the following documents: 

  • Two passport-style photos 
  • Birth certificate 
  • Valid, unexpired passport 
  • Police clearance obtained from all countries of residence of more than six months since the age of 16 
  • Sealed medical exam form (obtained through physician abroad who is authorized by the State Department) 
  • Affidavit of support (Form I-134) 
  • Most recent tax returns 
  • Proof of relationship (copy of the approved I-129F package originally filed with USCIS) 

      On to the interview! 

      The visa interview usually happens at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in the sponsored fiancé’s home country about 4–6 weeks after the embassy’s notice.  

      The interviewing officer is likely to make a decision on the case on the day of the interview itself or shortly afterward. If they need more information, it’ll have to be provided directly to the U.S. consulate. 

      Arrival In The U.S. And Marriage 

      Once you’ve met all the requirements and the K-1 visa is approved, the sponsored fiancé has a total of six months from the date of approval of the initial I-129F form to arrive to the United States. 

      The couple must then be married within 90 days, or the sponsored fiancé will lose their K-1 status. If the couple decides not to get married, the sponsored partner will not be eligible to remain in the United States and must leave the U.S. immediately.  

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