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 fiance who is a U.S. citizen, you could benefit from this type of visa.
With K-1 and K-2 visas, families can come and stay together. Here at the Florida Immigration Law Counsel, we know that 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 and K-2 Visas?
K-1 visas are for the fiances of U.S. citizens. If the foreigner has no current immigration status, they can ask their fiance 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 the beneficiary of the visa wants to stay in the country, the K-1 visa holder and the U.S. citizen must marry within 30 days of the visa holder entering the U.S. Failing to do so makes the visa holder an unlawful immigrant.
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 fiance has convictions for sexual abuse, the family may not eligible for a K-1 visa. The only exceptions are for certain offenses or for 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 In the event that the citizen dies or withdraws the petition, the petition is no longer valid.
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 30 days of entry to the U.S.
You need to convince immigration officials that you plan on marrying within 30 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, immigrations services will deny a petition of 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 fiance 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 a lawful permanent resident.
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.
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 fiance 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.