What are the K1 Visa requirements?
Knowledge of K1 visa requirements is necessary,if you are an American thinking of marrying someone who resides abroad. The fiance visa permits foreign individuals into the USA for the purpose of marriage and permanent relocation. Rules and regulations are changing frequently, so it pays to stay knowledgeable and updated. Although many people may dislike these rules and the complexity of the visa process, in many ways it is essential, not only to stop illegal immigration, but also to stop visa fraud and criminal gangs selling mail-order brides. What the process ultimately checks is that a couple has a legitimate relationship and getting married for the right reasons, that the marriage is legal, and that the couple can financially support themselves. To gain a fiance visa, the law in the United States requires a fair few measures which must be met by the applicants.
These eligibility requirements state that both parties must meet several major criteria. The first requirement is that one of the parties must be a recognized American citizen. To acquire a United States citizenship you must have been born in the United States or have completed a citizenship test and is now officially recognized as a U.S. citizen. The next requirement states that both parties must have physically met at least once within 2 years prior to filing the K1 Visa petition. This has to be a face to face meeting. This is to ensure that marriage for the wrong reasons is not taking place, e.g. for money or citizenship instead of love. Lastly, the couple needs to be allowed to marry legally with regards to age and some other minor factors.
Plan your wedding in advance. Fiancé requirements, or rather specifically the K1 visa requirement, states that plans to marry must already be planned out in depth. Before even thinking about issuing a visa, the United States government needs to be shown concrete evidence that the concerned parties are getting married within 90 days of being allowed into the USA. Government officials will usually question where a marriage is taking place, and what sort of a wedding it is, and even more in depth questions. The marriage must usually be overseen by a priest, a judge or a certified American who is allowed to marry people. However, it is crucial to bear in mind that there is absolutely no possible way of telling when the application for the visa is complete, or even when the allocated ninety day period will end. To avoid any problems relating to time, make sure that you talk the wedding details through with a planner, caterer, wedding photographer and anyone else who is helping to make sure that both the marriage and the reception run smoothly. If the date of the marriage has to be moved for any reason, talking to everybody involved will ensure that there is room for maneuver if something unexpected happens, meaning you won’t lose any money if things don’t go as intended.
Petitioner must be a U.S. Citizen. To get a K1 fiancé visa, applicants will have to show that their soon-to-be husband/wife is a recognized United States citizen. The spouse who they are about to marry must give definitive evidence that they: were born in the United States in a recognized American territory; became a certified citizen and passed the citizenship test, or received ‘acquired nationality’ through family links. The official paperwork that needs to be included with the application for a visa includes the following: A U.S. certificate of birth which has both names of the parents printed on it and a certified United States Passport, or an official document to show that they are a citizen. People who are recognized as living in the U.S. permanently with an issued green card will not be able to apply for a K1 fiance visa for a potential husband or wife. However, they will be able to go through a different route, which is signing and completing a petition in order to try and get citizenship for a partner if they have already got married outside of the U.S.
You must have physically met within the last 2 years preceeding the initial filing. This law is intended to stop fraudulent marriages, such as those organized by gangs, or paid for through the internet, such as men paying for mail order brides. This is a huge problem because an American citizenship is very valuable in many countries, and without this rule it would mean that visas could be bought or sold for very large amounts of money. The law is also there to make sure that trafficking does not occur, such as women being forced from their homeland and told to marry an American citizen, and receiving very little incentive to do so other than the threat of harm. This rule therefore states that couples must have had a physical meeting at least once in 24 months, which is incredibly reasonable if you think about it because if it was a true relationship and both partners wanted to marry each other for the sake of love, then meeting up once within 24 months would’ve happened, at the very least. If there is some distance between a couple, all they will have to do is prove that an actual relationship exists. In extremely rare cases, this requirement may possibly be waived if it infringes on cultural or religious beliefs, or if it is extremely hard for a couple to visit each other, due to terminal illness, natural disasters, and so on.
You must be legally free to marry. When applying for a K1 visa, the couple will have to provide solid evidence that the intended marriage between them is completely legal. This is a rule mainly designed to protect underage children from becoming married. However, if one party is in fact under 18, then the requirements will have to be looked at from the perspective of the state in which they are trying to marry and achieve residence and citizenship in. Each state has varying rules regarding what the minimum age for marriage is. Some states will allow a child under 18 to become married if they have the consent and permission of the parents. If either of the applicants have been married in the past, then concrete evidence will need to be provided in order to prove to officials that the marriage is truly over and that the divorce is final.
You must meet the financial requirement. With regards to finances, a person must be able to prove that his or her annual income is at least 100% above the guidelines with regards to poverty. This amount equates to just under $18,500 as of today. Note that this is a joint requirement for you and your wife-to-be. If you have any children or people who depend on you, then you have to add over $4000 for every other person living with you. If you reside in Alaska, or perhaps Hawaii, then the financial requirements may be slightly higher, so it is advisable to be sure of what the poverty guideline is in these states. What the U.S. government really wants to make sure of is that you are earning what you say you are, and that you can support yourself and any family members. Therefore, officials will check what taxes you have paid within the last year in order to make sure that what you are saying is true. What you essentially need to prove is that your fiancé will not become a financial liability to the American taxpayer. If you do not have enough money above the guidelines, then you may count your assets. Your assets must be five times the guideline amount. If you cannot reach the financial requirements, it is legal to use a cosponsor who is willing to guarantee your financial security.
K2 Visa for kids. If there is a child who is over the age of 18 but not over 21, then a legal grey area appears. Sometimes their application may be rejected by an over-zealous official, however this is wrong. Legally, under 21s are allowed into the country, and require a K2 visa. It is best to speak with officials and experts beforehand to make sure that there is a correct ruling.
Written by: Joel Turney