Our world is more interconnected than it ever used to be, and as such, people are forming relationships far outside their usual sphere. If you are one of these people, you may want to bring a spouse or fiancé to live with you in the United States. There is a visa process by which you are able to do so without having to spend months or years apart.
The K Visa Process
If you marry your fiancé(e) outside the United States, you do not need to file for a K-visa; you would simply complete an I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, as spouses fall under this category for processing purposes. However, if you plan to marry once in the country, you would have to apply for a K visa for your fiancé(e)—he or she does not apply, but merely contributes any relevant documents to your application on his or her behalf.
Your application is completed on the form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), and you must be able to show four specific criteria before the petition may be granted. These include (1) proof of your U.S. citizenship; (2) proof that you and your fiancé(e) are both free to marry (not still married, in other words); (3) you intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s entry to the United States; and (4) you have met face-to-face at least once within two years of filing your petition. (There are waivers available for this requirement if you are part of a religion where this would be contrary to custom, or if meeting would constitute extreme hardship to you and you can prove this.)
After the Visa is Granted
After the visa is granted, it is imperative to understand that you must marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s entry into the country. If you do not, then his or her status will expire (since fiancé(e) status is not extendable), which means he or she will begin to accrue unlawful presence. Unlawful presence accumulates on one’s immigration record, and it can later lead to three or 10 year bars to immigration, for which waivers are very difficult to obtain.
If you do marry within the 90 days, your spouse can then apply to adjust status to permanent resident as well as apply for work authorization. One can apply for work authorization immediately, but you should be aware that the authorization will only be valid for 90 days from the date of issuance. Your spouse may apply for a longer authorization at the same time that he or she applies to adjust status; however, one may come before the other, depending on processing times at the relevant United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and/or Department of Labor (DoL) offices.
An Immigration Attorney Can Help
Bringing the person you have chosen to share your life with to the United States should be exciting. Yet it can often be a difficult process. However, contacting a knowledgeable immigration attorney can help to head off many problems before they happen. The skilled Chicago immigration lawyers at Mevorah Law Offices LLC are happy to assist with your fiancé(e) visa. Contact us today to set up an initial appointment.
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