Falling in love doesn’t happen when it is convenient. In fact, it often happens at times that make the relationship seem impossible. If you fell in love with someone who lives in another country, getting married can be a way for you to bridge that distance between you.
A K-1 or fiancé(e) visa allows a United States citizen to sponsor someone that they love who is a citizen in another country for entry into the United States for the purpose of their marriage. With a K-1 visa, a fiancé(e) can enter the United States, marry, and then receive a green card.
However, there are rules that govern K-1 visas that you must comply with if you hope to bring someone to the country and marry them.
You need proof of a valid relationship
Despite all the jokes in movies and sitcoms about mail-order spouses, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) expects to see proof of a valid relationship between fiancé(e)s before they will grant a K-1 visa.
Prior in-person visits are usually necessary to qualify as having a valid relationship unless you belong to a religion or culture that does not permit you to meet before you marry. Other people should be aware of your relationship and able to attest to your desire to marry.
Your fiancé(e) must meet certain standards
If you fall in love with someone who refuses the immunizations required to enter the United States or who has serious issues in their criminal background, they may not qualify for a K-1 visa. Fiancé(e)s are subject to the same background check and health requirements as other immigrants. You need to know that your fiancé(e) will meet those standards before you invest the effort and money in applying for a K-1 visa.
You will need to get married relatively quickly
If you want to have a long engagement, you need to wait until it is near its end to apply for a K-1 visa. Once the USCIS approves your K-1 visa request and your fiancé(e) comes to the United States, you only have 90 days to get married. You will likely need to have much of the planning already done by the time that they enter the United States to avoid violating this rule and endangering your future together.
When you understand the rules that apply to the K-1 visa, you will have a better chance of securing one for your fiancé(e). Understanding the different family-based immigration options can help people connect with those they love who live in other countries.