There are many different kinds of visas that allow non-citizens to enter California. For people who are engaged to marry, the K-1 visa, also called the “fiance visa,” might be the one to use. A non-citizen who is engaged to marry a citizen of the U.S. can enter the country on a K-1 visa, provided the couple gets married within 90 days of the date of entry. Some important factors with the K-1 visa are eligibility, cost and timeline.
K-1 visa eligibility requirements
In order to qualify for a K-1 fiance visa, the sponsoring partner must be a citizen of the U.S.; green card holders cannot bring their fiance into the U.S. this way. Both partners in the couple must be unmarried and intend to get married to each other within 90 days of the date of entry. If either party has been previously married, documentation of the end of that marriage must be provided. USCIS will investigate the legitimacy of the relationship and the couple must usually have met in person at least once during the prior two years.
K-1 visa typical costs
The total expenses for a fiance visa are approximately $1,000, not including legal fees or travel. A Form I-129F is required, along with the $535 filing fee, and the immigrating party must undergo a medical exam. The K-1 visa application fee is $265. Other immigration costs to plan for include legal translations, attorneys’ fees and the costs of obtaining required documents.
K-1 visa timeline
As of the time of this writing, K-1 visa applications take around 6 months to process. After the application is processed, there will be additional wait time prior to the scheduled USCIS interview. The interview wait time varies based on the country the non-citizen is a resident of. A fiance visa is a viable option for many seeking immigration to the U.S., but in some cases it makes more sense to get married first and then apply for admission as the spouse of a citizen.