K-1 Fiance(e) Visa



K-1 Fiance(e) Visa Information

K-1 Fiance(e) Visa Overview

Flow Chart For K-1 Fiance(e) Visa Process

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Related Information

Marriage Visa If Inside U.S.

Marriage Visa If Outside U.S.

Family-based Immigration


American Immigration Lawyers Association Member

American Immigration Lawyers

Association Member



A U.S. citizen who is engaged to a foreign national can invite his or her fiance(e) to the United States for the purpose of marrying through a K-1 visa.  Once the foreign national has entered the United States, the couples must marry within 90 days.  A couple cannot extend the 90 day period and failure to complete the marriage ceremony may result in the K1 beneficiary needing to leave the United States.

Fiance(e) Visa Qualifications

The petitioner of the K1 visa must be a U.S. citizen.  A lawful permanent resident cannot be a K-1 visa petitioner.

The couple must demonstrate that:

1)  Both individuals must be willing and able to marry each other within 90 days of the fiance(e)’s arrival in the United States.

2) Both individuals must have a good faith intention to marry each other.

3) The couple has met each other within the two years preceding the filing of the K-1 visa. (This requirement may be waived, please see below)

K-1 Meeting Requirement Exceptions

The meeting requirement mentioned above can be waived in certain, limited circumstances.  The law allows for the meeting requirement to be waived when it would cause extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen petitioner, or if the meeting would violate the strict and long-established customs of the K-1 beneficiary’s foreign culture or social practice.

In reality, the government has made it extremely difficult to receive a waiver to the meeting requirement.  However, if you think that you and your K-1 beneficiary qualify for an exception, Gafner Law Firm will work with you to fully document your eligibility.

K-1 Visa Process

So, you are engaged, now what?  The following is a step-by-step guide to the process that will allow a foreign national fiance(e) to come to the United States to marry.

United States Citizenship & Immigration Service Stage

The first stage in bringing a K1 beneficiary to the United States requires the U.S. citizen to submit a K-1 visa application to the United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS).  At this stage the couple must submit multiple forms to the USCIS and demonstrate (through documentation) that they are eligible for the K1 visa.

U.S. Consulate Stage

Once the USCIS has approved it, the K-1 visa application is sent to the Department of State and a background check is performed on the beneficiary.  After the background check is completed, the K1 beneficiary is required to undergo a medical examination and is invited to a U.S. consulate or embassy for an interview.  The K1 beneficiary must attend the interview and will be required to submit additional forms.  The American citizen petitioner does not need to attend this interview.

If the K1 beneficiary is successful during the  interview, a K-1 visa will be given to the beneficiary either immediately or a few days after the interview.  The beneficiary can then enter the United States once the K-1 visa is in hand.

United States Stage

Once the K1 beneficiary enters the United States, the couple must marry within 90 days.  There are no exceptions to this time limit and failure to marry will result in the need for the beneficiary to leave the United States.

K-1 Visa Costs

Government Filing Fee: $340

Legal Fees:  $1750

K-1 Fiance(e) Visa:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I enter the United States on a K-1 Visa if I have already married the K1 petitioner?

No.  Unfortunately, a k1 beneficiary cannot enter the United States on a K-1 visa if he or she has already married the U.S. citizen.  The married couple will need to apply for another visa.

What are the Requirements For a K-1 Visa?

The three major requirements for a K-1 Visa are:

  • The U.S. Citizen and foreign national fiance(e) must have a bona fide intention to marry within 90 days of fiancé(e)s entrance into the United States.
  • There is no legal impediments to the couple marrying (i.e. neither individual is currently married).
  • The couple must have met within the two years immediately preceding the filing of the petition.

What if a couple has not met during the two years immediately preceding the two year filing of the K-1 visa petition?

Unfortunately, the two year meeting requirement is written into the statute and cannot be ignored.  The immigration agency will not grant the K-1 visa unless the couple has met during the two years immediate preceding the K-1 visa filing, or if the couple demonstrates that they are eligible for a waiver of the meeting requirement.

Can the meeting requirement be waived?

Yes.  The USCIS will waive the two year meeting requirement for a couple if they can demonstrate that:

  • The meeting requirement would cause the petitioner “extreme hardship,” or
  • The meeting requirement would violate a long established custom of the beneficiary’s culture.

Unfortunately, demonstrating either of these two waivers is extremely difficult and seeking a waiver requires careful preparation and presentation of the petition.

Can the sponsorship requirement be waived, my income level is not high enough?

No.  the sponsor requirement cannot be waived.  However, it is possible to obtain a co-sponsor to help you meet the required financial support.

Why should I retain an attorney to assist with the K-1 visa?

Peace of Mind.  A couple that is beginning the K-1 visa process is beginning a long process that will eventually bring the two individuals together and allow them to live in the United States.  However, this process is filled with many pit falls and wrong turns.  If a couple makes a mistake, the couple faces the possibility of prolonged separation and grieve.  An immigration attorney will do whatever is possible to ensure that no mistakes are made and that the separation is as short and painless as possible.

What is the K-1 Visa Process?

A couple must first obtain a K-1 visa from the USCIS.  Once the K-1 visa is obtained, the foreign national fiancé(e) will attend an interview at the U.S. consulate where the foreign national resides.  At the interview, the foreign national will need to demonstrate eligibility for the visa and desire to marry the U.S. citizen.  If successful, the foreign national will be granted entry into the United States.  Once entry is granted, the foreign national will be able to enter the United States and marry the U.S. citizen.  The marriage must occur within 90 days of entering the United States.

Does the U.S. citizen petitioner need to attend a K-1 visa consular appointment with the foreign national beneficiary?

No, only the beneficiary of a K-1 visa is required to attend the consular interview.

Do I have to marry within 90 Days of Entering the United States?

Yes, the law explicitly states that a K-1 foreign national must marry within 90 days of entering the United States.

What immigration steps need to be done after the K-1 fiancé(e) marries the U.S. citizen petitioner?

The K-1 visa beneficiary must apply for a spousal visa and adjust status to become a lawful permanent resident once the marriage occurs.  The beneficiary will receive conditional permanent residency and will be required to petition for removal of conditions two years after obtaining conditional permanent residency.