K-1 and K-2 Visas
One out of every five people in Florida is an immigrant. While some enter the country on work visas, others have family members who make them eligible for entry. For select individuals, the best option is to seek a K-1 or K-2 visa. If you are a citizen of another country and have a fiancée who is a United States citizen, you could benefit from this type of visa.
With K-1 visas K-2 visas, families can come and stay together. Here at the Florida Immigration Law Counsel, we know the value of that. You can count on us to guide you through the process and handle all of your immigration needs.
What are K-1 Visas and K-2 Visas?
K-1 visas are for the fiances of United States citizens. If the foreign national does not have a US Immigration status, they can ask their fiancée to petition for their entry to the country. Meanwhile, K-2 visas are for the children of the immigrant on the K-1 visa. If your fiancee is a parent, they may require a K2 visa if they want to bring their child or children into the United States.
If the beneficiary of the visa wants to stay in the country, the K-1 visa holder and the U.S. citizen must marry within 90 days of the visa holder entering the U.S. Failing to do so makes the visa holder an unlawful immigrant.
What is a K1 visa?
The K-1 visa, also known as the fiancée visa, allows foreign nationals who have yet to marry their citizen fiancée to enter the United States for up to 90 days, during which they must finalize their marriage. After filling out the visa application and receiving approval from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the couple has permission to legally marry in accordance with the laws in both countries.
Requirements for a K-2 Visa
The visa requirements for K-2s are more than just being a child of the K-1 visa beneficiary. The child must be under 21 and unmarried. Additionally, they must accompany the K-1 visa holder or follow them after their entry.
If the U.S. citizen of the fiancée has convictions for sexual abuse, the family may not be eligible for a K-1 visa. The only exceptions are for certain offenses or those who receive a waiver from the Department of Homeland Security. These cases can be quite complex, so you should consult with a family visa attorney to learn more.
The Application Process
The U.S. citizen must file the petition for a K-1 and K-2 visa. Before the K-1 visa holder enters the country, the petition is good for four months. It can be revalidated every four months as well. However, after several attempts, immigration officials may choose to deny the petition.
If approved, the citizen needs to file a form with the consulate. In the event that the citizen dies or withdraws the petition, the petition is no longer valid.
What is the difference between a K1 and K2 visa? And the K3 visa?
The K-2 visa, by contrast, is for the children of the K-1 visa holder to also accompany them and enter the U.S. as a dependent, as long as they are named in the K-1 visa petition.
What is a K-4 visa?
After the marriage has been made official, the former K-1 fiancée can apply for Adjustment of Status to receive a K-3 visa. The difference between the K-3 visa and the fiancée visa is that the K-3 allows for multiple entries in and out of the U.S., whereas the K-1 fiancée visa only allows for one. Additionally, the K-3 visa is valid for two years, whereas the fiancée visa is only valid for six months.
A K-1 parent, who is unmarried, may petition to sponsor their child or children under the age of 21 with a K-2 application. Similarly, the K-4 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that grants the unmarried children of a K-3 spouse visa holder 21 years of age or younger entry into the U.S. and to apply for an immigrant visa.
Source: Travel State
How much does a K-2 visa cost?
There are a few costs that are associated with a K-2 visa:
- I-129F filing fee: $535.
- U.S. embassy fee (if applicable): $265
Should I get the K-1 visa for my fiancée?
It is best to give us a call at Florida Immigration Law Counsel to determine if the K-1 visa is right for you or if it would be better for you to get married outside of the U.S. and then apply for a spousal visa later. The answer to this question varies from couple to couple. The answer could also depend on whether you will also require K-2 visas for your fiancée’s children and how many. The average wait time to receive a K-1 visa is eight months for USCIS to process Form I-129F, the Petition for Alien Fiancé. Additionally, they need another four to six weeks to schedule an interview request with the closest U.S. embassy or consulate. If you do not want to wait this long, then you should express your concerns to one of our attorneys at Florida Immigration Law Counsel.
One option is to get married outside of the U.S.and then have your U.S.citizen spouse sponsor your petition for a green card. But if you want to get married in the United States, and you are not a U.S.citizen, then you can arrive in the United States on the K-1 visa as long as you get married within 90 days.
The Process of Immigrating to the United States
After your petition has been approved by USCIS, it is then transferred to the Department of State’s National Visa Center for pre-processing. Then you will receive a welcome letter either by email or physical mail that contains information on how you can check your status and manage your case. You can also check online which cases the NVC is currently reviewing.
Once you receive that letter, you will need to pay the Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee and the Affidavit of Support Fee, as well as gather evidence of your finance and other supporting documents.
What is a Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé?
The U.S. citizen/petitioner uses this form in order to allow their fiancée and their children to come to the U.S. and apply for lawful permanent resident status. It can take USCIS up to eight months to process the Form I-129F and another 4-6 weeks to set up a visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
Are green card holders or permanent residents eligible to sponsor a fiancée to receive a K-1 visa?
No. The partner who is sponsoring the fiancée for the K-1 visa must be a U.S.citizen.
When Does the Government Deny a Petition?
It is possible for immigration officials to deny your petition. Typically, they will do this for one of the following reasons:
1. There is no belief that the couple intends to marry within 90 days of entry to the U.S.
You need to convince immigration officials that you plan on marrying within 90 days. However, you also need to prove to them that your marriage isn’t fraudulent. If they suspect that the marriage is a sham, they will deny your visa.
2. Legal complications would prevent the marriage from happening
If there are any laws that prevent the marriage from happening, the visa will not be granted. For instance, a 14-year-old cannot be a K-1 visa beneficiary in Florida. This is because the legal age for marriage is 16.
3. The couple has not met in person in the last two years
In most cases, immigration services will deny a petition if the couple had not seen each other in the two years prior to filing the paperwork. But there are some exceptions to this. When there is hardship, the government may waive this requirement. Typically, this does not include financial hardship. Rather, it involves cultural or social challenges.
4. The petitioner did not disclose their criminal record
If the U.S. citizen committed certain criminal acts, they must report them. This includes restraining orders, domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse, stalking, and some violent crimes.
Even an attempt to commit one of the above crimes must be reported. If the applicant fails to report them, the government could deny the petition.
Having convictions does not immediately disqualify you from petitioning for your fiance. After receiving your police and court records, the officials could decide to approve your petition. They might first notify your fiancée of your convictions.
What Happens After the Approval?
While in the country on K-1 status, you are allowed to work. But first, you need to get an employment authorization document.
Once the couple marries, the K-1 visa holder can adjust their immigration status. If they do so within two years of the marriage, they can become a conditional permanent resident. Doing so two years after the marriage makes them eligible to be lawful permanent residents.
In some situations, the marriage does not last. If a divorce happens before the immigrant can adjust their status, they may still be able to do so. This usually requires an Affidavit of Support from the original spouse who petitioned for the visa.
For K-2 beneficiaries, the process is similar. The visa holder can adjust their status with the K-1 beneficiary. This can depend on the age of the K-2 visa holder. For more information, you should speak with an expert on the matter.
It’s important to realize that all of this hinges on the marriage. If the marriage never happens, the visa holder cannot change their immigration status. For example, they cannot apply for a working visa. There are no extensions to the visa. Therefore, it’s crucial that marriage happens before the 90 day period passes.
History of K Visas
United States immigration goes back to the 1700s, with the first United States Congress passing the 1790 Naturalization Act, which established a uniform set of guidelines for naturalization and immigration into the United States. Five years later, the theU.S.enacted another law requiring that those who immigrate to the U.S. renounce their allegiance to the previous state or sovereignty where they were a citizen.
About 150 years later, the U.S.found itself in WWII. War can have lasting impacts on a society, and it can cause people to meet who would have never had the chance otherwise. Immigration law did not know it needed to account for love to occur between a United States citizen serving abroad and foreign nations. Unfortunately, by the end of the Vietnam War, there were no non-immigrant visas available to any alien fiancée of a citizen. Another issue was that after the Vietnam War, theU.S.required that foreign Vietnamese nationals obtain an exit visa as well as an immigration visa from the U.S.Embassy before they could enter the United States. The process often took too long, and soldiers would be required to return to the U.S.before their fiancée received clearance or approval, which caused even more problems because then they couldn’t even get permission to travel to the U.S. to visit their fiancé.
After several soldiers wrote to their congressional representatives, Public Law 91–225 was passed on April 7, 1970, and not only amended the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, but it also established the K visa category preference to allow U.S. citizens to bring their alien fiancée as well as eligible children (21 and unmarried) through the I-129F petition.
Working with a Family Visa Attorney
The process of applying for a K1 and K2 visa can be overwhelming. One mistake could prevent you and your fiancée from being together. For that reason, you should take all of the necessary precautions to prevent a bad outcome. This means working with an attorney.
Here at the Florida Immigration Law Counsel, we’ve helped many individuals with their immigration needs. We know what it takes to have a successful petition, and we’ll work hard to get you the best possible outcome. Contact us today to learn more.