What Is the Difference Between K1 and a Fiance Visa in Arizona?
The main difference between a K-1 visa and a K-3 visa is that the K-1 visa is for foreign citizens who are not yet married to United States nationals, while the K-3 visas are for legally married couples. The United States Congress created K-3 and K-4 nonimmigrant visas to shorten the time a family would need to spend apart while waiting for a decision on their Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
Major K-1 and K-3 Differences
The most significant differences between K-1 and K-3 visas are as follows:
|K-1 Visa||K-3 Visa|
|Eligibility||Must be engaged to United States citizen||Must be married to a United States citizen|
|Validity||Four months||Two years|
|Renewal||Cannot be renewed but may be extended six months||Renewable in two years|
Arizona Immigration Attorney explains other differences in eligibility may include the following:
|K-1 Visa||K-3 Visa|
|Must be engaged to United States citizen||Must be married to a United States citizen|
|Must marry fiancé(e) within 90 days of entering the United States||United States spouse must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative from a foreign country|
|Must provide proof that the relationship is genuine||Must provide proof the marriage is legal|
|An applicant and their fiancé(e) must have met at least once in the past two years unless exceptional circumstances apply.||Spouses must prove their prior marriages are legally over|
|An applicant cannot be legally married to someone else|
A person will file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) to bring their fiancé(e) (K-1) and their children (K-2) to the United States so they can marry their fiancé(e), or spouse (K-3) and their children (K-4) to the United States to await the approval of a Form I-130 filed on behalf of the spouse and their children and availability of an immigrant visa. A Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, is used when an applicant is a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) and needs to establish a relationship with an eligible relative who wishes to come to or remain in the United States permanently and get a Permanent Resident Card (also called a Green Card).
Arizona Immigration Attorney explains people are eligible to bring their fiancé(e)s to the United States on a fiancé(e) visa if they meet the following requirements:
- They are United States citizens.
- They and their fiancé(e) intend to marry within 90 days of the fiancé(e)’s admission to the United States on a K-1 nonimmigrant visa
- They and their fiancé(e) are both legally free to marry.
- They and their fiancé(e) met each other in person at least once within the two-year period before they filed their petition. However, people can request a waiver of this in-person meeting requirement if they can show that meeting in person would violate strict and long-established customs of the fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice, or result in extreme hardship to a person who is the United States, citizen petitioner.
The process for bringing a fiancé(e) into the United States involves USCIS, the United States Department of State (DOS), and United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Background and security checks can be conducted on people and their fiancé(e)s at every stage in the process.
This can include checks in various databases using fingerprints, names, or other biographic or biometric information for national security, criminal history, and other information about a person and their fiancé(e). The process will begin with filing Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), and USCIS will review Form I-129F and the documents submitted.
USCIS may request additional evidence in some cases when it needs additional documentation or information. If a person establishes eligibility, USCIS approves their Form I-129F and recognizes the claimed fiancé(e) relationship.
USCIS sends the approved Form I-129F to the DOS National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will then forward the approved Form I-129F to the United States Embassy or consulate, where a fiancé(e) will apply for a K-1 nonimmigrant visa, usually where the fiancé(e) lives.
The United States Embassy or consulate notifies a person when the visa interview for their fiancé(e) is scheduled. The fiancé(e) will apply for the K-1 nonimmigrant visa and bring the required forms and documents to the visa interview.
A DOS consular officer determines whether a fiancé(e) qualifies for a K-1 nonimmigrant visa. If the consular officer grants the K-1 nonimmigrant visa, it is valid for up to six months for a single entry.
When DOS issues a K-1 nonimmigrant visa, the fiancé(e) travels to the United States and seeks admission at a port of entry while the K-1 nonimmigrant visa is valid. Just like any other visa, a K-1 nonimmigrant visa does not guarantee admission to the United States and a CBP officer at the port of entry makes the ultimate decision about whether to admit a fiancé(e).
After a fiancé(e) is admitted as a K-1 nonimmigrant, a person and their fiancé(e) have 90 days to marry. When people marry within 90 days, the fiancé(e) can apply for a Green Card by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
USCIS reviews Form I-485 and the documents a spouse submitted. It may mail a request for evidence to the spouse if it needs additional documentation or information.
A person and their spouse will usually be required to appear for an interview. If a person was married for less than two years at the time the Form I-485 is approved, USCIS will grant the spouse conditional permanent resident status and issue a Green Card valid for two years.
A spouse will need to remove the conditions on their residence by filing Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence in the 90 days before their Green Card expires.
When a fiancé(e) has a child who is under 21 and unmarried, the child may be eligible to come to the United States on a K-2 nonimmigrant visa. A person must include the names of their fiancé(e)’s children on Form I-129F if they wish to bring them to the United States.
Children must continue to be unmarried and under 21 in order to be admitted to the United States as K-2 nonimmigrants. They can travel with a fiancé(e) or later, but they cannot travel to the United States before the fiancé(e).
Suppose a person and their fiancé(e) married within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s admission into the United States. In that case, the fiancé(e)’s children who were admitted as K-2 nonimmigrants may also apply for a Green Card by filing Form I-485 with USCIS. However, K-2 nonimmigrant children must remain unmarried in order to be eligible for a Green Card, and K-2 nonimmigrant children should apply for a Green Card at the same time or after the fiancé(e).
K-1 and K-2 nonimmigrant statuses automatically expire after 90 days and cannot be extended. Generally, a fiancé(e) and their children must leave the United States at the end of the 90 days if they do not marry.
When they do not depart, they will be in violation of United States immigration law. This can result in removal (also known as deportation) and could affect their future eligibility for United States immigration benefits.
If a person marries their fiancé(e) after the 90-day period, they can file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
Suppose a person is a United States citizen. In that case, their foreign spouse can be eligible for a K-3 visa if they are married to them, are the beneficiary of Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, that they filed for them. They are seeking to enter the United States to await USCIS’ decision on Form I-130. A child of a foreign spouse can also be eligible for a K-4 visa if they are under 21 years of age, unmarried, and the child of a K-3 visa applicant, a person, filed for.
Obtaining a K-3 visa for a spouse means a United States citizen needs to first file two petitions with USCIS: Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative and Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e). Obtaining a K-4 visa for a spouse’s children does not require filing a separate Form I-129F or Form I-130.
When USCIS approves Form I-130 before or at the same time as Form I-129F, the spouse and their children no longer need K-3 or K-4 visas, and this happens in many cases. Suppose a spouse’s approved Form I-130 reaches the Department of State. In that case, an immigrant visa will be immediately available to them. The spouse and their children must apply for it and seek admission to the United States as lawful permanent residents.
If a Form I-129F petition is approved before the Form I-130, USCIS sends the petition to the Department of State. To receive a K-3 or K-4 visa, a spouse must submit a nonimmigrant visa application with the Department of State.
A spouse does not need to submit Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, when applying for the K-3 or K-4 visa but will need to provide evidence showing that they will not become a public charge while in the United States.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with an Arizona Immigration Attorney
If you are trying to secure immigration benefits for your spouse or fiancé(e), do not try to navigate everything by yourself. Contact Arizona Immigration Attorney at Diamondback Legal as soon as possible to get help with every aspect of your requests.
Our firm knows how frustrating it can be dealing with applications to USCIS, but we also know how to get answers and keep everything moving. You can call (602) 755-3199 or contact us online to receive a free consultation with our Arizona immigration attorney.
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