Wading Through the Complex K-1 Visa Process Requires Legal Assistance
American citizens seeking to marry foreign citizens must go through a challenging visa process. An experienced attorney can help you through it.
August 08, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Wading Through the Complex K-1 Visa Process Requires Legal Assistance
For most couples, the engagement period is a happy time. Unfortunately, the visa process for fiances from different countries is complex and can add stress to a couple's marriage preparations. Fortunately, guidance from an experienced immigration attorney can help the process go more smoothly.
K-1 and K-2 Visas Provide Entry for Foreign-Citizen Fiance(e)s and Their Dependents
For a US citizen and his or her foreign-citizen fiance(e) to marry and reside in the United States, the foreign citizen must obtain a K-1 visa. This type of visa allows holders to apply for permanent resident status after they marry their US sponsors. The marriage must be conducted within 90 days of entry into the United States.
K-2 visas are issued to the dependent, unmarried children of foreign-citizen fiance(e)s. Fiance(e)s apply for K-2 visas for their children when they apply for their K-1 visas. Children must enter the US with or after their foreign-citizen parent enters the country.
K-1 Visa Eligibility
To be eligible for a K-1 visa, foreign-citizen fiance(e)s must be able marry freely, the marriage must be legally possible in the state where the couple intends to reside and the couple must have met in person within the last two years, unless extreme hardship or cultural traditions prevent such a meeting.
Foreign-citizen fiance(e)s may be ineligible for a K-1 visa if they are involved with drug trafficking, have submitted fraudulent documents in the visa application process or overstayed a previous visa.
K-1 Visa Application Process
If a foreign-citizen fiance(e) meets the eligibility requirements for a K-1 visa, he or she may start the complex application process. Couples are strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel during this complicated process. Failure to do so may result in a denial of the visa petition for a number of preventable reasons.
First, the US citizen fiance(e) files a Petition for Alien Fiance(e) Form( I-129F) stateside with the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) division of the Department of Homeland Security. If approved, the USCIS sends the petition to the National Visa Center, which processes the Petition and sends it to the US embassy or consulate in the country where the foreign-citizen fiance(e) resides. The Petition for Alien Fiance(e) Form expires after four months of the approval, though in some circumstances a Consular Officer can extend the timeframe.
After the Petition is approved and sent to the appropriate US embassy or consulate, the foreign-citizen fiance(e) may apply for a K-1 visa and for K-2 visas for his or her children. K-1 and K-2 visas require separate applications and fees. The embassy or consulate will instruct the fiance(e) to get a medical exam and submit the required documents, then fingerprint and interview the fiance(e).
Once the embassy approves the K-1 visa application, it will send the foreign-citizen fiance(e) his or her passport with the visa and a sealed packet of civil documents. It is imperative that the fiance(e) does not open this packet, as it is only to be opened by a Department of Homeland Security immigration official upon the fiance(e)'s entry into the US.
Foreign-citizen fiance(e)s must apply for admission to the US within six months from the date of issuance of their K-1 visas and marry their US-citizen fiance(e)s within 90 days of entry. After the marriage, the US-citizen spouse must submit Form I-864 with an application to adjust the legal status of his or her spouse to legal permanent resident.
Required Documents and Fees for the K-1 Application
The following is a list of required documents foreign-citizen fiance(e)s must present when they apply for their K-1 visas:
-Two Nonimmigrant Visa Applications (Form DS-160)
-One Nonimmigrant Fiance(e) Visa Application (Form DS-156K)
-One Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, Part I (Form DS-230)
-One passport for travel into the US and valid at least 6 months beyond intended stay
-Divorce or death certificates of previous spouses
-Police certificates establishing present country of residence and previous residences
-Record of a medical exam
-Evidence showing the visa applicant's ability to support him or herself in the US
-Two 2x2 passport photographs
-Evidence of the applicant's relationship with their US-citizen fiance(e)
All documents must be in English. The US encourages foreign-citizen fiance(e)s to be immunized since vaccinations, though not required for a K-1 visa, are required to establish permanent residency after marriage.
As evident in the long process and plethora of required documentation, the K-1 visa application process is complex and can be stressful. Couples are strongly encouraged to seek the counsel of an experienced immigration attorney who can help them understand the nuances of the process, exceptions and requirements.
Article provided by The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth
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