A K1 visa allows a fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States as a non-immigrant, get married shortly after his or her arrival, and adjust status to that of a permanent resident after marriage.
K1 visa is very useful, and even necessary, in cases where an American citizen cannot legally marry his/her fiancé(e) in a foreign country due to local laws, traditions, or religious reasons. Sometimes couples prefer to have their wedding in the United States and K1 visa will be the way to go.
Since K1 visa is one of the fastest ways to immigrate to the U.S., it has been a favorite vehicle used in visa fraud. For this reason USCIS and consular officers closely scrutinize K1 visa applications, in an attempt to detect marriage fraud and scams.
See detailed comparison between K1 and K3
A fiancé(e) is a person engaged to get married. Fiancé refers to a man who is about to be married; an engaged woman is called fiancée.
As you can see, proof of a bona fide (good faith) fiancé(e) relationship is critical in a successful K1 application. However, each person's situation is unique and there is no standard way to prove a real relationship. You should prepare documents such as photos, email and letter correspondence, travel arrangement to see each other, phone bills showing you two calling each other, wedding plans, and any other evidence that will help convince a consular officer that you and your fiancé(e) have good faith of getting married.
For the K-1 visa application, I-134 should be used since a fiance (fiancee) is a nonimmigrant visa applicant. For I-485 adjustment of status after marriage, I-864 should be used.
An approved I-129F petition is valid for four months. If it is not enough time to complete a K1 visa application, you should contact the consulate to request an extension of the petition (revalidation). The embassy or consulate where you will file the visa petition should have instructions on how to extend an I-129F, and it generally involves you sending a letter to the consulate explaining why such extension is needed.
K1 is a one-entry visa valid for six months only, during which a fiance (fiancee) may travel to a Port of Entry (POE) of the United States. Having a K1 visa doesn't guarantee admission, however. An immigration official at the POE will conduct inspection and determine whether the visa holder is allowed to enter the U.S.
After entering the US you and your fiance (fiancee) must get married within 90 days. The K-1 status cannot be extended beyond the 90-day limit, nor can it be changed to another non-immigrant status.
Since K1 is a one-entry visa, you will not be able to re-enter the U.S. using the same visa. You should apply for a travel document (Advance Parole, Form I-131) while filing for adjustment of status. After AP is approved you may leave and return to the U.S.
The bearer of a K1 visa may work in the United State only after receiving an employment authorization document (EAD). You can apply for EAD using Form I-765, with USCIS.
See here for more information on conditional green card and how to remove conditions.
Yes. Unmarried children of a K1 fiance (fiancee) are eligible for K2 visas, as derivative beneficiaries of their parent's I-129F petition. The U.S. citizen must include any child in the same I-129F petition filed for the fiance (fiancee). A K2 child may accompany the K1 visa holder to enter the U.S., or come later (follow-to-join) within one year of K1 approval.
A K2 child may apply for adjustment of status at the same time his/her parent files I-485, but a separate I-485 petition is required for each child.
Note that the definition of a child is quite complex for immigration matters.
The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA) of 2005 is designed to protect immigrant women and children during international marriage trades, such as mail-order brides. IMBRA requires that U.S. citizens who wish to file K visa petitions for an alien fiancé(e) (K-1) or alien spouse (K-3) must declare on Form I-129F any criminal convictions of the petitioner for a list of specified crimes, including domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, stalking, etc. It also imposes limitations on the number of K1 petitions a U.S. citizen may file. Check out this USCIS memo on IMBRA for more information.