“Long distance” relationships can be difficult, expensive and frustrating, and even more so when they are conducted internationally. The logistical challenges facing couples, and their families, are further complicated when immigration issues and delays arise. Goel & Anderson is experienced in providing customized plans for couples and families who need to permanently reunite in the U.S. without needless drama.
The K-1 Visa
The K-1 (or “Fiancée Visa”) allows a U.S. citizen planning marriage to a foreign national to invite his/her fiancée to America provided that their marriage must take place within the 90-day period following the fiancée’s entry to the United States. If the marriage does not take place within 90 days, or the fiancée marries someone other than the U.S. citizen who originally filed the K-1 fiancée visa petition, the visa status becomes invalid and the fiancée will be required to leave the United States. The temporary fiancée visa can be converted to a permanent visa (“Green Card”) once marriage occurs in the U.S. (See G&A’s Family-Based Immigration section). The fiancée may enter the United States only one time with a fiancée visa.
The successful K-1 petition requires that the applicant be a U.S. citizen; the parties must have met in person within two years of the date of filing the petition (unless a waiver is granted); a bona fide intention to marry must exist; and the couple must have the legal ability to conclude a valid marriage in the U.S. within 90 days after the fiancée’s arrival.
The minor children of a K-1 principal beneficiary may be accorded K-2 visa status if accompanying or following to join his/her parent.
The K-3 Visa
The K visa category was expanded in 2000 to include the spouse of a U.S. citizen who is abroad waiting for an immigrant visa. The K-3 visa category allows the foreign spouse of a U.S. citizen and his or her children to enter the U.S., reunite with their family here, and apply for adjustment to immigrant status while in the U.S. The K-3 visa is often useful to couples who have already married outside of the U.S.
The foreign spouse’s unmarried children (under the age of 21) can be included in their parent’s petition and receive K-4 visas with the same privileges as the parent’s K-3 visa. One important exception to this rule is that a K-4 applicant child who is above the age of 18 at the time when the marriage between the U.S. citizen and K-3 applicant occurred, cannot obtain a Green Card and become a U.S. immigrant. In such cases, the child's K-4 visa will simply expire after two years or when the child reaches the age of 21, whichever occurs first.
The K-3 applicant must be the spouse of a U.S. citizen and have a pending Alien Relative (I-130) petition already filed on their behalf.