U.S.citizens and their foreign fiance(e)s frequently use the K-1 fiance(e) visa to bring their loved ones to theU.S.The K-1 visa regulations state specific requirements that must be met before the foreign fiance(e) is permitted to enter theU.S.
Generally, the K-1 application must present evidence of the petitioner’s U.S. citizenship, the development of the couple’s relationship, the fact that they have met within the past two years, their status as two people who are free to marry, and their intention to marry within 90 days of the foreign fiance(e)’s arrival in the U.S.
Processing times at the USCIS (aka, “CIS") and the overseasU.S.consulates are lengthy as the CIS receives thousands of applications daily and theU.S.consulates impose tighter security measures.
In addition, the couple must factor in their time spent gathering personal documents for inclusion in the K-1 application.U.S.citizens will need to submit documents that may be lost or expired. In these cases, they will need to submit requests to otherU.S.federal and local government offices such as the IRS for copies of records.
U.S.citizens can shorten their own preparation time by obtaining the following documents as soon as possible:
Birth certificate.U.S. citizens who are citizens based on birth in theU.S. can prove this by producing a copy of their state birth certificate. This can be obtained by calling or visiting their regional Office of Vital Records in the state in which they were born. Hospital records are not generally accepted.
U.S.Passport. An U.S. citizen can also prove citizenship by including a copy of his U.S. passport in the K-1 application. If one was lost or has expired, thorough instructions are provided on the Department of State website passport page. If the U.S. citizen was naturalized but has misplaced his or her naturalization certificate, s/he can obtain a replacement. Instructions and the form are located at the CIS website.
Divorce papers. If either or both the U.S. citizen and foreign fiance(e) have been previously married, K-1 regulations require submitting proof that the marriage has been dissolved.U.S. citizens can provide a court dissolution decree to show this. To obtain a copy of any of a divorce decree in the United States, write or go to the vital statistics office in the state or area where the divorce occurred.
U.S.income tax returns. The U.S. citizen will need to demonstrate that he or she has the financial resources to support the foreign fiance(e). This can be shown by producing IRS tax returns for the past three years. Contacting one’s accountant is the easiest method. However, if such records are unavailable, past tax returns may be requested from the IRS.
By securing these important documents now, the preparation of the K-1 fiance(e) petition will proceed faster, especially given that additional supporting docs are needed. The K-1 application process requires some homework; taking care of things now facilitates the process and brings the couple one step closer to being together.
This is not legal advice and is general in nature.