Bride / Groom Visa (K-1 Visa)

What visa options will help you come to the United States to visit your loved one?

For foreigners wishing to come to the United States to visit a bride or groom, there are the following options:

Nonimmigrant visa (visitor, student or business visa ) “Unfortunately, many young single women who want to visit their romantic friends in the United States are often denied visas by American consulates. When applying for a nonimmigrant visa, it is very important to show that your visit will be temporary, after which you will return to your home country. Applicants must demonstrate strong family ties (that the child remains at home is not yet considered sufficient proof), social ties, job availability, financial means, past travel experience in Western countries, and a compelling and legitimate reason to travel. Many people use far-fetched pretexts to obtain such visas, and when the fraud is revealed, they may be deported and then be banned from entering the United States.

Immigrant Visa  – You can also get married outside the United States – at home or in a third country. This approach has its advantages and disadvantages:

Benefits

Once you arrive in the United States, you do not need to change your visa status. He or she arrives already as a full-fledged immigrant (conditional or permanent resident, depending on the date of arrival after marriage). To leave the United States or work in the United States, you do not need to obtain permission to leave the country or work in the United States from the Citizenship and Immigration Service (as is required in cases where the wife arrived in the United States on a bride visa and is in the process of changing her visa status in the United States after marriage). US citizenship can also be obtained faster without the step of changing the status.

Disadvantages

Getting married has legal and financial obligations, and it is not really necessary to get married when using a bride visa. The bride’s visa can serve to make people just get to know each other better (although at the time of applying for a visa, there must be an intention to get married). The visa gives 90 days to make a decision – either to marry, or to leave the United States. Processing times for bride visas are usually significantly shorter. Many countries require a waiting period of at least 30 days to get married, with some exceptions. All legal documentation must be drawn up according to the requirements of the country where the marriage is concluded. In addition, if the bride has a child who is at least 18 years old, he is no longer considered a child for immigration purposes.

K-3 visa 

For the purposes of this visa, it is required to be married prior to filing a petition. It was originally designed to speed up the arrival of a spouse / child in the United States without the long wait for an immigrant visa. However, the Immigration Service usually processes I-130 petitions for close relatives and I-129 petitions for a K-3 visa at approximately the same time, and a K-3 visa no longer helps in such cases. Foreign spouses must apply for immigration visas.

Typically, the most suitable visa is the K-1 fiance visa .

Who qualifies for a K-1 bride visa ?

A US citizen can file a petition for his foreign fiancée . Both must be free to be married and intend to marry within 90 days of the bride’s arrival in the United States. In addition, it is required that in the last two years before submitting the application, the couple must see each other at least once (although under some extraordinary circumstances this requirement may be omitted).

If the bride has children.

The bride’s minor child (unmarried and under the age of 21) is automatically eligible for a K-2 visa . If required by a foreign country, the US government may (with some exceptions) request the consent of the child’s father. This point can be quite frustrating and is best taken into account before starting the process.

What documents are required?

You need documents on civil status (birth certificates, decisions on divorce , etc. ), biographical information, as well as proof of the legality of your intentions. After preparing this package, you must fill out the appropriate forms of the Citizenship and Immigration Service and submit them along with the accompanying documentation to the appropriate service center of the Citizenship and Immigration Service.

What’s next?

The Citizenship and Immigration Service Center will either approve the petition and notify the appropriate U.S. Embassy or request additional information. Naturally, it is better to do without such requests, since.they take too much time. After receiving the notification, the Embassy invites the bride for an interview. You will need to prepare another package of forms and related documentation. A sponsor in the United States is required to demonstrate sufficient annual income or substantial funds and provide documents confirming this (tax returns, bank statements, a certificate from the employer). The bride must undergo a medical examination at a specially authorized clinic. The screening includes testing for serious diseases such as tuberculosis, cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, and a pregnancy test.

How is the interview going?

The interview takes place at the Immigrant Visa Section of the US Embassy. The interview itself usually does not take much time, no more than 5-10 minutes. However, if there are serious problems (for example, the bride spent a long time in the United States or the Embassy received a slander on her from her ex-husband or lover), then the interview can last an hour. Visas are usually issued five business days after the interview. Having received a visa, the bride can travel to the United States at any time within the next six months.

What else do you need to know?

The bride enters the United States with nonimmigrant status. The marriage must be contracted within 90 days of arrival and cannot be extended. After the wedding, a petition is filed with the Immigration Service to change the status to a conditional permanent residence. If the wife wants to travel outside the United States or start working before successfully completing a status change interview, she must obtain permission from the Citizenship and Immigration Service. After filing a petition for a change of status, you need to attend an interview at the office of the Citizenship and Immigration Service at the place of residence, during which the authenticity of the marriage is verified (cohabitation, joint bank account, joint ownership of property, photographs, accounts). After successfully passing the interview, the wife becomes a conditional permanent resident of the United States (the green card arrives by mail in a few months). If the marriage has not broken up, the conditionality of the status is removed after two years from the date of obtaining immigration status. If the marriage was dissolved before that moment, in order to receive a permanent Green Card, the spouse will have to prove that the marriage was not fictitious, or meet the requirements of a special exception.

What are the problems with the K-1 visa ?

There are many problems and difficulties associated with the K-1 visa :

  • Overly zealous consular officials question the legality of the relationship and send the approved petition back for revocation. This often happens when there is a significant age difference between the future spouses, when the bride speaks poor English , and the US citizen does not know her language, or if they spent too little time together;
  • If the US citizen has already applied for a K-1 visa in the past;
  • If the US citizen has had clashes with the law;
  • Obtaining the consent of the ex-husband for the immigration of a minor child;
  • If a jealous ex-lover writes an anonymous slander to the Embassy to prevent her from moving to the United States;
  • If the future spouses met through an international marriage agency, additional information must be provided;
  • If the future spouses have not seen each other in person within the past two years, a special exception must be sought.

How will White & Associates help?

White & Associates has been able to help dozens of foreign brides immigrate to the United States – from the K-1 visa processuntil the very moment of naturalization. We helped to deal with a lot of problematic issues: to obtain the consent of the ex-spouse, request a special exception to the requirement for personal meetings, resolve the situation with anonymous letters, prepare an application for an entry permit (when the bride in the past violated the terms of her stay on a visa or had problems with the law), provide legal advice on issues such as financial responsibility (for example, if a US citizen does not receive income, but has funds). While the process itself is usually not very complex, incorrectly prepared documentation can lead to significant delays. Sometimes you need a consultation to help the bride not to worry – after all, she moves to a foreign country and she needs to understand her rights and responsibilities in this regard.etc. We can provide advice or full representation of interests, including K-1 visa , change of status and waiver.

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Igor Smith/ author of the article
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