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Who can apply for a K-1 fiancé visa?

On Behalf of | Jan 2, 2024 | Immigration Law

Applying for a K-1 fiancé visa is a significant step for individuals looking to bring their foreign fiancé to the United States for marriage. However, not everyone is eligible for this visa. Understanding the eligibility criteria is important before embarking on the application process.

From the U.S. citizen petitioner to the foreign fiancé beneficiary, several key factors determine eligibility for a K-1 visa.

U.S. citizen petitioner requirements

The first step in the K-1 visa process involves a U.S. citizen filing a petition on behalf of a foreign fiancé. To qualify as a petitioner, one must be a U.S. citizen. Permanent residents, or those with green cards, are not eligible to file for a K-1 visa. Additionally, the petitioner must intend to marry his or her fiancé within 90 days of the latter’s arrival in the United States. Demonstrating a genuine intention to marry and the legal capacity to do so are key aspects of the eligibility criteria.

Foreign fiancé beneficiary criteria

On the other side of the equation is the foreign fiancé, the beneficiary of the K-1 visa. To be eligible, the fiancé must plan to marry the U.S. citizen petitioner. He or she must also be legally capable of doing so. Both parties must also have a bona fide intention to establish a life together in the United States. Furthermore, the couple must have met in person at least once within the two years preceding the filing of the petition. However, there are limited exceptions for certain hardship situations.

The Center for Immigration Studies reports that, in 2021, 82.2% of K-1 visa applicants had their applications approved. By meeting these criteria and following the required steps, couples can navigate the path forward together on U.S. soil.