Thanks to the popularity of the 90-Day Fiancé universe of TV programs, the U.S. fiancé visa program has become a popular topic. Indeed, the television show, along with the plethora of spin-offs, has normalized the practice of falling in-love with those outside the U.S.
What is the fiancé visa program?
The program is called the K-1 nonimmigrant visa. Viewers of those TV shows are extremely familiar with as it is the primary method of bringing one’s foreign national fiancé home.
Prior to the filing for a visa
Before the spouses can file for the K-1 nonimmigrant visa, they must have met at least once within the 2-years prior to filing the K-1 petition. Presumably, it is to help prove that the relationship is a bona fide relationship. Though, this in-person requirement can be waived. But, proof must be provided to show that meeting in person would violate a “strict and long-established custom” of the fiancé’s social practice or culture. Alternatively, the U.S. resident can show that the in-person meeting would result in an extreme hardship.
The filing process
The form to initiate the K-1 nonimmigrant visa process is the Form I-129F, Petition For Alien Fiancé. However, to file this form, both the U.S. citizen and foreign national need to intend to marry within 90 days of the fiancé entering the U.S. This 90-day rule is where the TV show gets its name. In addition, the marriage that is used as the basis of the visa must be valid in the U.S. state where it is completed. And, both the U.S. citizen and foreign national fiancé must actually intend (bona fide intent) to maintain the marriage and live their lives together. In other words, both the U.S. citizen and foreign national fiancé cannot be utilizing the K-1 visa as simply a means of immigrating to the U.S.
After the marriage
The marriage is just the first step on the path to U.S. citizenship. After the marriage, the foreign national fiancé, now a K-1 nonimmigrant fiancé, must apply for lawful permanent residency status. This is otherwise known as a Green Card. Please note that for those that were already married outside the U.S. or where the fiancé is already legally residing in the U.S., the K-1 visa is not available. Though, the main takeaway for our Tampa, Florida, readers with a foreign national fiancé is that there is a pathway to bring them here.