For Americans who found love abroad, getting your fiancé back home can feel like a daunting task. The United States immigration process can feel Orwellian. However, there is a specific immigration process for Greenbelt, Maryland, residents (and other citizens) engaged to foreigners. It is called the fiancé K-1 nonimmigrant visa.
What is it?
The K-1 Fiancé Visa (as it is known) allows your foreign-citizen fiancé to legally travel to the United States, enter legally and then, marry you within 90 days of arrival. Then, after the marriage, your now-spouse can apply for an adjustment of status to a permanent resident with the United States Department of Homeland Security, Citizenship and Immigration Services (i.e., to get their Green Card). Your fiancé can also bring their children with them as well on K-2 visas.
How to qualify as a fiancé
To qualify as your fiancé, you, the United States citizen must file Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé) with your local USCIS office where you live, and it must be approved. It cannot be filed at USCIS offices abroad, or United States Consulates or Embassies.
You both must legally be allowed to marry, and it must be legal in the state where you want to marry. You must have met, in person, within the prior two years, although USCIS can grant an exception for extreme hardships.
After USCIS approves the Form I-129F petition, the approved form is sent to the National Visa Center. In turn, they give you a case number and send your petition to the local United States Consulate or Embassy where your fiancé lives, so that they can apply for the K-1 visa and prepare for the K-1 interview.
Next, your fiancé will need to complete Form DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application) with their local United States Consulate or Embassy and bring the confirmation page to their K-1 interview. In that interview, your fiancé will need a valid passport (good for at least six months beyond your intended stay in the United States), birth certificate and the divorce or death certificates of any previous spouses.
You will also need police certificates from their present country of residence and all countries where they have lived for six months or more since age 16, medical examination and evidence of financial support (Form I-134). Finally, you will need two 2×2 photographs, evidence of the relationship with your U.S. citizen fiancé and pay your fees. Of course, this is not exhaustive, and a Greenbelt, Maryland, attorney may be needed.