Fiance Visa Eligibility

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If you’re an American citizen living in the United States and you are engaged to someone living in a foreign country, you may want to get married here so your fiancé(e) can apply for a Green Card (lawful permanent residency). But in order to come here for those reasons, your fiancé(e) must get a K-1 visa.

The process starts when you file a petition on their behalf by filing Form I-12F with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Along with this form, you must provide proof that you meet certain requirements. You must demonstrate eligibility for a K-1 Visa by sending copies of specific documents and other material along with Form I-129F.

First of all, you, as the petitioner must prove that you are a United States Citizen. You can do this by submitting copies of  the following documents:

  • Your birth certificate showing you were born in the United States
  • Your original Certificate of Naturalization
  • Your  original Certificate of Citizenship;
  • Your Form FS-240, Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States;
  • Your valid, unexpired U.S. passport or passport card that is valid for at least five years issued with a validity period of at least five years

If you don’t have copies of any of those documents, USCIS will also accept a written statement made by a U.S. consular officer certifying that you are a U.S. citizen and the bearer of a currently valid U.S. passport.

You must also prove that you and your fiancé(e) are legally free to marry. In other words, you must show that any previous marriages ended through divorce, the death of your spouse or annulment. Acceptable proof of this would be a copies of a divorce decree, an official death certificate or paperwork related to the annulment.

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Because a K-1 or “Fiancé visa is only valid for 90 days, you must submit evidence that you and your fiancé(e) both intend to get married within that time. Without sufficient proof, USCIS and/or consular officials will assume that your fiancé(e) is trying to obtain the visa for fraudulent purposes.

Acceptable proof of intent to marry within three months include sworn statements made by each of you detailing the relationship and/or copies of any documents that collectively demonstrate your mutual intent. These could include copies of receipts or any other paperwork that specifically shows when the wedding will take place such as catering contracts, a letter or sworn statement from the officiant, wedding announcements and/or invitations.

The next requirement is that you and your fiancé(e) met personally at least once within the 24 months prior to seeking a Fiancé Visa. USCIS accepts the following as proof of such a meeting:

  • Sworn statements by each of you detailing the circumstances of the meeting(s)
  • Copies of airline tickets from trips to your fiancé(e)’s country
  • Copies of stamped passport pages as evidence of travel to your fiancé(e)’s country
  • Copies of applicable travel documents showing when your fiancé(e) came here
  • Any other applicable evidence, including pictures of you together

If you and your fiancé(e) haven’t met in person within the past two years and you think this requirement should be waived, you must provide a written explanation and evidence to support your claim. For example, if you claim that you never met in person within the specified time because the travel would have created a significant financial burden, you must provide proof. You must also provide proof if you claim that you didn’t meet in person for cultural or religious reasons.

Finally, you must demonstrate that you have the financial resources and ability to support your fiancé(e), or that someone else will help you support your fiancé(e) if he or she is unable to support himself/herself while living in the United States. To do so, you must file Form I-864, Affidavit for Support with USCIS.

Failure to meet any or all of these requirements will result in disqualification from the K-1 visa process, and a finding of fraudulent intent or immigration fraud could result in denial of your fiancé/e’s immigration benefits, including permanent residence, imposition of a large fine and as well as a possible fine of up to $10,000 and up to five years in prison.

Consequently, it is crucial that you understand all of the criteria for eligibility and how your unique circumstances may or may not affect it. For more information about these and any additional prerequisites, contact our experienced immigration attorneys today.

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