Love can happen at the strangest times. You may have been on a brief business trip and met someone with whom you instantly clicked. You may have had a long-term friendship with an overseas pen pal that turned romantic.
People like to believe that love conquers all, but international borders can be a major challenge for a budding partnership. Living in different cities can be hard enough, but living in different countries or even on different continents can place a lot of strain on your relationship.
As a United States citizen, you potentially have the legal right to bring your fiance into the country. The K-1 or fiance visa exists explicitly for the purpose of helping a citizen bring their future spouse into the country. How does the K-1 visa work?
The citizen must apply on behalf of the fiance
When a citizen of the United States gets engaged with someone from another country, they will have to apply to bring their romantic partner into the country. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will potentially approve a K-1 visa for a citizen engaged to a noncitizen.
You can only apply if you intend to have a bona fide marital relationship with your fiance. The USCIS may conduct an investigation to determine the legitimacy of your relationship. For example, they may talk to your family members and review your social media accounts. Generally, they will expect to see a history of communication and face-to-face meetings via travel unless there are religious or cultural reasons that you cannot see one another before marriage.
Your fiance will have to pass the same background and health examinations as other potential immigrants in addition to proving their intention to become your spouse.
Are there restrictions on your K-1 Visa?
A fiance visa is only good for a limited window of time. The terms of the visa require that you get married within 90 days of your fiance entering the country. If you fail to do so, they may have to leave the country. Once you do marry, your spouse will have the option of applying for a Green Card and becoming a permanent resident of the United States.
Learning about the basics of the K-1 visa program can help you move forward with your plans to marry.