Fiancé Visa Requirements and Process
What is a Fiancé Visa and What Privileges Does it Give?
Fiancé visas enable U.S. citizens to immigrate a foreign partner from overseas without marrying them first. An individual may do this so that he or she may marry the foreigner in the United States thereby giving the foreign partner the ability to apply for a permanent resident green card based on a marriage in the U.S.
An approved fiancé visa is valid for 6 months. A foreigner may enter the U.S. through a U.S. port of entry on a K1 fiancé visa anytime in that 6-month period. Once in the United States, the individual has 90 days to marry the U.S. citizen fiancé. After marriage, the foreigner may apply to adjust status to become a U.S. permanent resident based on that marriage.
What are the Requirements to Apply for a Fiancé Visa?
A U.S. citizen must file a petition to begin the application process for a fiancé visa.
The U.S. petitioner cannot be a permanent resident, green card holder or a work visa holder. In addition, both partners must have met in person within the last two years.
The relationship must be genuine and both partners must be willing and able to marry; all prior marriages must be terminated. Furthermore, the U.S. citizen must meet certain income requirements to prove that the foreign fiancé who enters the United States is unlikely to collect welfare or certain other government benefits.
The Minimum Level of Income
The income requirements for the U.S. citizen petitioner vary depending on how many people are immigrating into the United States and when the fiancé visa interview takes place. Minimum income requirements are equal to 100% of poverty guidelines published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The minimum income amounts increase each year by about the 3rd week of January. When processing, it helps to look ahead because the determination of whether or not a petitioner can satisfy income requirements is determined at the end of K1 visa processing.
Stable U.S. Earnings
The petitioner may establish stable earnings by possessing a pattern of revenue that meets the income minimum. The government will often conduct a background investigation of the petitioner to see whether he or she has maintained a stable job in the U.S. for at least an entire tax year or has otherwise been able to generate consistent income. The petitioner’s tax return may be examined for substantiation in this regard.
As a general matter, the government looks at two requirements. The first requirement is that you file tax returns and pay your taxes. The U.S. government will not consider immigration applications of those citizens who are opposed to filing tax returns. The second requirement is that you have stable earnings over the minimum. Stability is key. Someone may meet the minimum income, but if the job does not seem stable, the fiancé visa can be denied for fear that the foreigner will come to the US and become a public charge. So, meeting the income guidelines includes stability on the job, not just getting over the minimum. Assets are not considered for meeting the minimum guidelines for K1 visa processing, but they can help in showing stable earnings.
Our Immigration Law Practice
Consider a licensed, professional immigration legal representative before proceeding. Immigration law is large and diverse, covering many types of immigration. Government agencies have become increasingly adversarial. It helps to have our team on your side to prevent avoidable and unnecessary delays, anticipate problems, and effectively navigate your matter toward successful completion. We provide a free initial consultation for those interested in possibly working with us on case processing, and we’re happy to answer your questions.