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Fiancé(e) (K-1) and Spousal (K-3) visas

Spouse – If you are an American citizen you have two ways to bring your foreign spouse (husband or wife) to the United States to live. They are:

  • Immigrant visa for a Spouse of a U.S. Citizen (IR1 or CR1) – An immigrant Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130 is required.
  • Nonimmigrant visa for spouse (K-3) – Two petitions are required:
    • Petition for Alien Relative, Form 1-130; and
    • Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), Form I-129F

The first step is to file a Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130 for your spouse (husband or wife) to immigrate to the United States.

Sometimes a U.S. citizen living abroad can file an immigrant visa petition at an U.S. embassy or consulate (post).

After a Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ office in the United States approves the petition, it sends the petition to the National Visa Center (N.V.C.) to convert the case for Consulate Processing.

If you have been married for less than two years when your spouse enters the United States on an immigrant visa, the permanent resident status is considered “conditional.” The immigrant visa is a CR ( conditional resident ) visa, not an IR ( immediate relative ) visa. You and your spouse must apply together to the U.S. C.I.S. to remove the “condition” within the ninety days before the two year anniversary of your spouse’s entry into the United States on an immigrant visa.

K-3 Spouses of U.S. citizens

Spouses of U.S. citizens, and the spouse’s children, can come to the United States on nonimmigrant visas (K-3 and K-4) and wait in the United States to complete the immigration process. Before a K-4 visa can be issued to a child, the parent must have a K-3 visa or be in K-3 status.

It is important to note that application for the nonimmigrant visa for spouse (K-3) who married a U.S. citizen must be made and the visa issued in the country where the marriage took place. After visa processing, and the visa is issued, the spouse can travel to the United States to wait for the processing of the immigrant visa case.

You must first file an immigrant Petition for Alien Relative, form I-130 for your spouse with the U.S. C.I.S. Office that serves the area where you live. You next file Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), form I-129F for your spouse and children. K-3/K-4 visa holders cannot change status in the United States to another non-immigrant visa category.

Nonimmigrant visa for Fiancé(e) (K-1)

Fiancé(e) – If you are an American citizen, you may bring your fiancé(e) to the United States to marry and live here.

  • Nonimmigrant visa for Fiancé(e) (K-1) – To travel to the United States for marriage. An I-129F fiancé(e) petition is required.

A Fiancé(e) is a person who is engaged or contracted to be married. The marriage must be legally possible according to laws of the state in the United States where the marriage will take place.

In general, the two people must have met in person within the past two years. The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants some exceptions to this requirement. For example, it may be contrary in some traditions for a man and woman to meet before marriage.

Sometimes the U.S. C.I.S. considers a person a “Fiancé(e)” even though a marriage contract has been concluded. In such cases, the American citizen petitioner and his/her spouse have not met, and they have not consummated the marriage.

The I-129F petition is valid for four months from the date of approval from USCIS. Consular officers can extend the validity of the petition (revalidate the petition) if it expires before the processing of the visa application is completed.

After getting the Fiancé(e) visa, your fiancé(e) enters the U.S. through a U.S immigration port-of-entry. You must get married within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s entry into the United States.

After marriage, your spouse must file Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status with the U.S. C.I.S. office that serves the area where you live in the United States.