While there are several different avenues for immigrating to the United States, one of the most common ways of doing so is for a foreign national to marry a U.S. citizen. In cases where a couple may have plans for marriage while they are living in different countries, a fiancé visa will allow the foreign fiancé to enter the U.S. and receive authorization for permanent residence. Understanding what is required of an immigrant who receives a fiancé visa can make the process less daunting. This can ensure that a couple will take the correct steps to ensure that the application for a visa will be approved, and they can also address any issues that may affect a person’s ability to continue living in the United States and eventually apply for citizenship.
Eligibility Requirements for Fiancé Visas
In order for someone to qualify for a fiancé visa, they must meet certain conditions. First, both the immigrant and their U.S. citizen fiancé must be free to marry, meaning neither of them is currently married. Additionally, they must have physically met each other at least once in the two-year period before applying for the visa. However, exceptions can sometimes be made if there are extenuating circumstances, including religious or cultural practices in the home country of the foreign fiancé or extreme hardship that has made international travel difficult or impossible. The couple must also intend to get married within 90 days of the immigrant’s arrival in the U.S.
Filing a Petition for a Fiancé Visa
If all eligibility requirements are met by both parties, then the U.S. citizen fiancé can file a petition for a K-1 nonimmigrant visa on behalf of the foreign fiancé. They will file Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petition will include information about both parties such as their names, birthdates, addresses, employment histories, financial statuses, and more. The applicant must also include evidence of a valid relationship, such as photos together or emails that have been exchanged, as well as evidence that they have met in-person within the past two years. If either party had previously been married, evidence will need to be provided showing that this marriage has been terminated, such as a divorce decree or a death certificate for a deceased spouse.
Once USCIS receives the petition and verifies that the eligibility requirements have been met, an approval notice will be sent that will allow the foreign fiancé to schedule an interview with their home country’s U.S. embassy or consulate. After this interview is complete and a consular officer approves the visa, the foreign fiancé will receive authorization to enter the United States.
Getting Married and Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident
After the foreign fiancé comes to the United States, the couple must get married within 90 days. The foreign spouse may then apply for a Green Card, and they can do so by filing Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) with USCIS. When this form is approved, a conditional Green Card will be issued that will expire after two years. Prior to the expiration date, the couple will need to file a petition for a permanent Green Card. This can be done by filing Form I-751 (Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence) with USCIS. Failure to complete these steps may affect a foreign spouse’s legal status in the United States, and if they do not maintain a valid Green Card, they could face deportation.
Contact Our DuPage County Fiancé Visa Lawyers
Obtaining a K-1 fiancé visa can seem like a complex, overwhelming process, but understanding the requirements and the procedures that will be followed can help make things easier along the way. At [[title]], we can provide guidance during this process, ensuring that you file the correct forms, provide the correct evidence, and complete all requirements to obtain a K-1 visa, apply for a Green Card after getting married, and remove the conditions on permanent residence. To learn more about how we can assist with your case, contact our Illinois immigration attorneys at [[phone]] and schedule a free consultation.