The K1 visa process can be stressful and filled with setbacks if you are not adequately prepared each step of the way. The following guide answers some of the more K1 visa FAQs that immigration lawyers receive regarding the visa process. Of course, the best way to prepare is to work directly with an immigration lawyer, as the specifics of each case are unique and may require a slightly different process.
K1 Visa FAQs: Everything To Know About The K1 Visa Process
The following is a detailed review of the most frequently asked questions about the K1 visa. This should help you determine what you can expect throughout the process so that you and your fiancé can adequately prepare.
What Are The Eligibility Requirements For The K1 Visa?
The K1 visa allows a U.S. citizen to sponsor their fiancé so that they can enter the United States and marry. The basic eligibility requirements include:
- The sponsor must be a U.S. citizen
- There must be a clear intent to marry upon entry to the United States
- Both the sponsor and their fiancé must be able to legally marry (i.e., not currently married)
- The couple must have met within the past two years
There are additional requirements that must be met as well, such as eligibility requirements (discussed below). An immigration lawyer can help ensure you and your fiancé are adequately prepared and eligible for the K1 visa process.
How Long Do I Have To Get Married After Entering The United States?
The K1 visa is a temporary visa that is valid for 90 days after entry into the United States. The couple must legally marry within this 90-day window. It is important to marry within this window of time to avoid possible deportation and a ban from visiting the United States for up to ten years.
If you marry past the 90-day window, then you will need to file an I-30, Petition for Alien Relative.
What Are The Income Requirements For The K1 Visa?
The income requirements for the K1 visa are based upon the number of household members and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) poverty guidelines. For two members, the K1 visa income requirement in 2021 is an annual income of $17,240.
For three members (i.e., the couple and a child), the income requirement increases to $21,960. For four members, it increases to $26,500. This requirement is in place to ensure the couple and their children can adequately support themselves long-term in the United States.
How Long Does It Take To Process My K1 Visa Application?
The processing time for the K1 visa ranges from six to nine months in most cases, depending on the caseload the USCIS has at the time. It can take an additional four to six weeks to schedule the K1 visa interview.
Once the application is approved following the K1 visa interview, the foreign national can legally enter the United States and marry their future spouse. Keep in mind, you are only allotted 90 days upon entry to the United States to be married. After the marriage, the foreign national can then apply for permanent resident status.
How Much Does The K1 Visa Cost?
There are certain costs you and your fiancé can expect to cover throughout the K1 visa process. The first cost is usually for the I-129F, which carries a fee of $535; the U.S. citizen is responsible for covering this cost. Other costs may include the travel costs (e.g., plane ticket) and lawyer fees. Finding a lawyer that offers competitive rates and understands the K1 visa process can help you save money.
What Can I Expect During The K1 Visa Interview?
The primary purpose of the K1 visa interview is to ensure the legitimacy of the engagement. Even if you have no reason to be concerned (meaning your intentions for marrying your fiancé are legitimate), it is important to prepare. Most consulars ask questions regarding how you met your future spouse, where you intend to get married, what your fiancé does for fun, etc.
What Happens After I Am Married?
After you are married legally inside of the U.S. on your K1 visa, then you (the foreign fiancé) can apply for Adjustment of Status to become a legal permanent resident inside of the United States. Once you are a legal permanent resident, you can seek employment.
Contact The Immigration Attorneys At Pride Immigration
If you and your fiancé are in need of a K1 visa to marry within the United States and start the green card process, then contact the immigration lawyers at Pride Immigration. We can assist you throughout the process and answer any questions or concerns you have along the way.
Beeraj Patel, Esq.
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