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K-1 Visa Lawyer in Tampa

Helping U.S. Clients and Their Foreign National Partners with the Legal Process of Applying for Fiancé Visas

When a United States citizen plans to get married to a foreign national, they may be able to sponsor their future spouse for immigration to the US. In such scenarios, foreign nationals can receive a K-1 visa that will allow them to enter the United States legally. However, there are many requirements and sometimes long processing times for those applying for this type of visa. In order to ensure that you meet all of the eligibility criteria as both a U.S. citizen and a foreign national fiancée, it is highly recommended that you speak with a fiancé visa attorney in your area.

Our immigration law firm, led by attorney Ernesto Buitrago, has years of experience dedicated to the practice of immigration law. We are passionate about helping partners and family members be united in the US by legal means. Immigration lawyer Ernesto Buitrago works closely with his clients to ensure that they are informed and that their immigration goals are being met. In addition to K-1 visas, our law office also has experience in a number of other visa application categories. To learn more about our legal services, contact our South Florida law firm to schedule your free initial consultation today.

What is a K-1 Visa?

A K-1 visa is a type of marriage visa that allows unmarried couples to unite in the US with the intention of holding a marriage ceremony and becoming lawfully wedded. Typically, the K-1 fiancé visa is a faster alternative than other types of spousal visas, and they allow the foreign national’s fiancé to enter the United States with the intention of marrying their US citizen fiancé within 90 days of entrance. The K-1 visa also grants future spouses the chance to live together before the marriage ceremony without the obligation to proceed with the marriage if things do not work out. However, if the marriage is canceled, the foreign national must leave the country before their K-1 visa expires.

Those who are already in the United States on temporary work visas or student visas do not have to apply for a K-1 visa. These fiancé visas are typically only set aside for those who do not currently reside in the United States.

Foreign nationals may need a K-1 visa if they:

  • Plan on living in the US with their future spouse after the marriage.
  • The foreign national is not a green card holder.
  • You plan on having the marriage ceremony in the United States.

Even if the foreign-born spouse does not need a K-1 visa, they may still need to apply for legal permanent residence so that they can become green card holders after the marriage.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements for a Fiancé Visa?

In order to qualify for fiancé visas in the United States, both U.S. citizens and foreign fiancées must meet certain eligibility requirements.

Eligibility requirements for the US citizen petitioner include:

  • Must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Both parties must be legally able to marry. If one spouse has any previous marriages, they must be legally terminated beforehand.
  • The US petitioner must intend to marry their foreign fiancé within 90 days of their entrance into the US.
  • The US petitioner must meet the minimum income requirements. In cases where the petitioner does not meet those requirements, a cosponsor may be an option.

Eligibility criteria for the foreign fiancé(e) include:

  • Must reside outside of the US at the time of filing the petition and K-1 visa application.
  • The foreign fiancé must intend to marry the US citizen petitioner.
  • Foreign fiancé must intend to immigrate to the US.
  • There must be a bona fide intention to establish a life together as a married couple.
  • The foreign national fiancé must be legally admissible to the US. Certain health issues, criminal charges, and other grounds of inadmissibility may affect eligibility.

What is the Process for Obtaining Fiancé Visas?

Several steps and considerations must be taken into account when applying for a K-1 visa, but there are two major steps.

The first step is the filing of Form I-129F. The petitioner files this form on behalf of their foreign fiancé (also known as the beneficiary). The petition is filed with the USCIS.

Once the USCIS has approved the I-129F petition, the next step is to file a foreign K-1 visa application. This application includes several documents, including evidence of a genuine relationship, a medical exam, security clearances, and an affidavit of support.

How Long Does It Take Before You Get Your Fiancé Visa?

Processing times for K-1 visas are inconsistent. Various factors can affect when your application is processed, including the USCIS service center that is handling the documents.

However, even with the widely varying processing times for K-1 fiancé visas, the process is still considered much faster than filing for IR1 or CR1 marriage visas.

What Required Documents Are Asked for by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)?

Documents required to complete the K-1 visa application include, but are not exclusive to, the following:

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship.
  • Proof that you can support yourself and your foreign spouse financially.
  • Proof of a bona fide relationship.
  • Photographs together.
  • Proof of intent to marry.
  • Criminal records, if any.
  • Police clearance certificates from the foreign fiancé’s home country.

What May Cause Potential Delays?

It is possible for delays to add several months to a year to the processing time for a K-1 visa.

Possible delays include:

  • Missing documents.
  • Failure to convince the USCIS of a bona fide relationship.
  • Incorrect forms filed.
  • Inadequate English skills.
  • Documents and forms were completed incorrectly.

To avoid these costly delays, it is highly recommended that you work with an experienced immigration lawyer.

Is a Fiancé Visa Ever Issued to Couples Who Have Not Had an In-Person Meeting?

Usually, the fiancés must meet in person in order to successfully obtain a K-1 visa. There are, however, extraordinary circumstances that may prevent this. If you can prove issues of extreme hardship or certain religious restrictions that have prevented the fiancés from meeting, you may be able to skip this requirement.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with an Experienced Immigration Attorney Today

K-1 visa lawyers in Tampa can help you realize your dream of uniting with your foreign fiancé in the United States. Our immigration law firm, led by attorney Ernesto Buitrago, has extensive experience helping clients obtain K-1 visas and, later, green cards.

To discuss your case in more detail, please get in touch with our law offices to schedule your free case review today. You may reach us at 866-519-3545.