K-1 Fiancé Visa
Many foreign nationals contact our law firm to file their green card applications based their engagement to a U.S. citizen. In many instances, the foreign national arrived in the U.S. on a B-2 tourist visa. Other foreign nationals initially arrived in the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program and have remained in the U.S. beyond the 90-day authorized period. They contact our law firm because they want to get married in the U.S. We have represented couples in both of these situations to obtain their green cards while in the U.S.
Our law firm prides itself on providing our clients with legal advice that is 100% compliant with U.S. immigration law. For example, we tell every client that when choosing a nonimmigrant or immigrant visa, select the one that truly reflects his/her intent of entering the U.S. So if you wish to get married in the U.S., do not apply for a tourist visa or enter under the Visa Waiver Program or ESTA; instead, apply for a fiancé visa.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) §214 allows special visas to be issued to foreign nationals who wish to travel to the United States to marry their U.S. citizen fiancés. After your arrival in the U.S., the marriage must occur within ninety (90) days of the foreign national’s arrival with in the U.S.
There are a few things to consider if you want to go this route. First, a fiancé visa is not available to fiancés of Lawful Permanent Residents. The petitioner must be a U.S. citizen spouse. Second, you must consider the realistic possibility that during the 90 days, your relationship falls apart.
If you arrive in the U.S. and after 2 months, you notice that your U.S. citizen fiancé is abusive, and you no longer wish to marry him/her, by the 90th day, you will have violated the terms of your fiancé visa and will have accrued unlawful presence.
Also note that you will have very limited immigration options to remain in the U.S. Unlike other nonimmigrant visas that allow you to change status (B, H-3, H-1B, etc.), the fiancé visa does not allow you to file for a change of status. If you are in this situation, please call our firm immediately.
I Have Never Met My U.S. Citizen Fiancé. Can We Still Apply for a Fiancé Visa?
It is required that the couple should have met at least once during the two years prior to filing the fiancé petition. If there were ways to get around this, then it would not be a “requirement.” For those couples who have never met, there is an exception.
However, the Immigration and Nationality Act does allow for an “extreme hardship exception”: “if it is established that compliance would result in extreme hardship to the petitioner or that compliance would violate strict and long-established customs of the K-1 beneficiary’s foreign culture or social practice, as where marriages are traditionally arranged by the parents of the contracting parties and the prospective bride and groom are prohibited from meeting subsequent to the arrangement and prior to the wedding day.” INA § 214.2(k)(2). Waivers such as these are rarely granted by the USCIS because so few couples have been able to meet the stringent requirement of extreme hardship. However, we use USCIS’ “case by case” determination to make a unique argument that rises to the level of “extreme hardship.”
I Would Like to Petition for My Same Sex Fiancé. What Do I Have to Prove?
You need to only prove U.S. citizenship, intention to marry within 90 days, eligibility to marry, that you met within the last 2 years (strict requirement), or a waiver of the same,
I Obtained a Fiancé Visa for One Person. After I Arrived in the U.S. I Decided to Marry Someone Else. Can I Still Obtain a Green Card?
Legally, yes, but you will need to retain an attorney. Think about it; your U.S. citizen fiancé submitted a petition for you, then months later, more documents were filed with NVC, then you attended an interview during which you proved that you were going to marry this fiancé.
After all of this, the relationship broke (either before or subsequent to your entry into the U.S. but before the 90-day deadline to marry) and during this time, you already met someone new, and reached a serious point in the relationship that both of you want to get married and the U.S. citizen wants to file for your green card.
I Married My U.S. Citizen Fiancé After 90 Days Passed. Can I Still Apply for My Green Card?
Yes. You need to do so ASAP since you are in the U.S. unlawfully and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have a right to initiate removal proceedings against you.
I Obtained My Fiancé Visa, Entered the U.S., and Married My U.S. citizen fiancé. We have Decided to Live in Another Country. Do I have to File My Green Card and Live in the U.S.?
You do not have to file for your green card. The intention of the fiancé visa is only to marry your U.S. citizen fiancé. You can certainly depart the U.S. and you can reside with your spouse in a foreign country.
My I-129F Has Been Approved, but I Cannot Continue to Live in My Country. Can I Apply for B-2 Visitor Visa?
The Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) interprets INA 101(a)(15)(K) to mean that an foreign national fiancé can apply for and obtain a nonimmigrant visa under another classification, if the foreign national can meet the qualifications of that visa. So a foreign national fiancé who is traveling to the U.S. to marry a U.S. citizen can apply for and receive a B-2 visitor visa if he or she can prove that he or she will depart the U.S. after the marriage. Of course, practically speaking, consular officers and especially Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) may not be convinced that the foreign national intends to depart after the marriage.
How We Can Help
- We assess the relationship to make sure that clients can provide intent to marry within 90 days.
- For couples that just got engaged, we provide an exhaustive list of documents to obtain so we can file a petition that gets approved without a Request for Evidence.
- For couples that have limited documentation, we assist the couple in preparing declarations that compensate for the limited amount of documents.
- We handle the case from beginning to end, which includes everything from filing the petition with USCIS through the interview.
Please give us a call to discuss your case. In-person consultations are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm and Saturdays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Please call our office at 301.529.1912 or complete the form below. Please be sure to provide a timeline of events along with details of your entire immigration history./strong>