Getting married is one of the biggest events in a person’s life. Michigan residents who are engaged to someone in another country and want to bring them into the United States with a visa may have many questions about qualifying and getting the visa. The K-1 nonimmigrant visa is also known as the fiancé visa and is what must be obtained to bring a fiancé into the country.
Basic qualifications to apply for the fiancé visa
Before delving into the process, it is important to make sure you meet the qualifications to apply for a fiancé visa. You must be a U.S. citizen yourself, and you and your fiancé must both be legally available for marriage. This means that neither of you are already married, and any prior marriages were terminated through divorce, annulment or death.
What many people may not realize is there are also requirements surrounding in-person meetings to qualify for a fiancé visa. You and your fiancé must have met each other in-person at least one time within 2 years before you file for the fiancé visa.
There are some exceptions to the in-person meeting rule. Your fiancé may come from a country where the in-person meeting may violate the country’s cultural norms or social practices, which may relieve you of this requirement. You can also skip this requirement by showing the in-person meeting would result in extreme hardship to you. The extreme hardship exception applies only to you as the U.S. citizen, not your fiancé.
The fiancé visa process
The first step in the process is filing a petition for alien fiancé form. Next, you must show that you and your fiancé intend to marry within 90 days of their arrival, and your marriage must be valid. A valid marriage is one involving two people who demonstrate a bona fide intent to establish a life together, and who are not marrying only for the purpose of receiving a visa for the non-citizen.
If a valid marriage is established, and you marry within the required 90-day period, your new spouse may then apply for their green card, which will qualify them as a lawful permanent resident.
Providing evidence for things such as showing a valid marriage, or to prove that you qualify under the extreme hardship exception for the in-person meeting rule, can be challenging. Experienced immigration attorneys know how to tackle these challenges.