One of the most common questions that are asked of us during consultations is “What exactly is a K visa?” The K visa can be extremely useful tool if you are planning on filing for a loved one with whom you are not yet married to. It is commonly known as a fiancé visa. One of the advantages of a K-1 visa is that they are processed relatively quickly and will allow you and your future spouse to be reunited in the United States sooner than if you were to file a consular case for him/her. However, there are certain criteria that must be strictly followed in order to qualify for the K1 visa. According to INA 101(a)(15)(K)(i), the person being petitioned for must, of course, be a fiancé(e) of a US Citizen. Therefore, if you are already married to the person, he or she will not qualify for a K-1 visa. Additionally, the person must seek to enter the United States solely to conclude a valid marriage with the petitioner and the parties must marry within 90 days after the applicant’s entry.
The K-1 visa should not be confused with the K-3 visa, which is an entirely different visa. The K3 is reserved for individuals who are already married to US Citizens and have I-130s pending for them that were filed by their US Citizen spouses. The K3 visa allows the spouse of a US Citizen to enter the United States to await the approval of their I-130 Petition for Alien Relative.
Although simple in theory, the actual process of filing for and securing either a K-1 fiancé or K-3 spouse visa for your loved one can be a complicated procedure. Obviously, if all the criteria are not satisfied, the application will be denied, which may in turn, affect future filings for that individual. Additionally, there have been recent changes to regulatory procedure as late as February of 2010 that may affect the eligibility of your loved one to pursue a K visa.
For more information on K1 and K3 visas, contact our office in Edison, New Jersey. Our attorneys have each been practicing immigration law for more than thirteen years and handle these types of matters on a daily basis.