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K Visas: Tips for Couples — Part 2, The Fiancé Visa Process

729535_sunset_kiss.jpgOnce the fiancé visa is issued, the fiancé must use it to enter the U.S. within 6 months of issuance. The parties must marry within 90 days and after they marry, they can continue the process of “Adjustment of Status” (getting a green card). People who have K-1 visas are not automatically given permission to work in the U.S. but an immigration lawyer can help the fiancé get employment authorization by filing a petition.

The fiancé, once in U.S. soil, must marry the U.S. citizen who filed the fiancé petition for him or her. The marriage must occur before the expiration of 90 days after entry. In the event that the fiancé does not marry the U.S. Citizen within 90 days, the only option for that fiancé is to return to his or her own home country. The K -1 visa cannot be extended beyond 90 days and it cannot be changed to a different status such a tourist or student. Any violation of these rules may result in deportation and in many cases, the K-1 visa holder will be prevented from entering the U.S. for at least a few years. This is still the case even if the K-1 visa holder later marries another U.S. citizen.

The K-1 visa process is also affected by the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA). IMBRA requires that the petitioner of a K-1 or K-3 visa disclose, as part of the petition, information of any criminal convictions for specific crimes involving domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and neglect, dating violence, and stalking, among others. USCIS has offered guidance that if the petitioner has been convicted of any of the listed crimes, or USCIS later learns of these crimes, he or she will be required to submit certified copies of all court and police records showing the charges and dispositions of every conviction. If the petition is subsequently approved, the U.S. Department of State will disclose this information to the beneficiary during the consular interview.

IMBRA limits the number of petitions a K-1 petitioner can file or have approved. If the petitioner has filed two or more K-1 petitions at any time, or had a K-1 petition approved within two years prior to the filing of the current petition, a waiver is required which requires supporting evidence. The adjudicator has discretion in these types of cases.

Lastly, IMBRA also requires K petitioners to inform USCIS if they have met their fiance or spouse through the services of an international marriage broker and to provide information about the broker. K visa cases that involve international marriage brokers can be more complicated and a careful analysis should be done before filing.


If you or someone you know needs the help of an immigration lawyer to assist with a K visa (fiance or spouse), we have the expertise to help you achieve your goals. Give us a call at (512) 329-2770 to set up a consultation.