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How K Visas Work

If you met your fiancé abroad and want to marry in the United States, you must follow a special process. While spouses of United States citizens can usually obtain permanent residency — also called a Green Card — this usually cannot occur until after the marriage actually takes place. If your fiancé wishes to enter the country prior to the wedding or prior to receiving a Green Card, he or she must usually obtain the appropriate type of K visa.

In order to obtain a K-1 fiancé visa, the petitioner must be a United States citizen and must file Form I-129F on behalf of his or her fiancé. Both parties must be legally free to marry and must intend to marry within 90 days of the alien fiancé entering the country. To prevent fraud, the parties must have also met in person at least once within two years of the date of application unless certain exceptions apply. Unmarried children under 21 years old of a K-1-eligible alien can also qualify for entry under a K-2 visa.

If you are married to a foreign national who currently has a pending application for permanent residency, he or she can legally enter the United States pending issuance of a Green Card by obtaining a K-3 visa. The process is similar to that of applying for a K-1 visa except that the application must be filed while a Green Card application is pending and must include a copy of Form I-797 to prove it. Also similarly, unmarried children under 21 years of age of a K-3 eligible spouse may obtain a K-4 visa to legally enter the country.

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