It is common for people in California who are U.S. citizens to fall in love with and plan to marry people who are not American citizens. When the person who is not a citizen is currently residing outside of the U.S., it can create logistical problems if the couple intends to wed in America. However, fiancés and fiancées of U.S. citizens may be eligible for a K-1 nonimmigrant visa, which would allow them to come to the U.S.
In general, K-1 visas allow U.S. citizens’ fiancés or fiancées to enter the U.S. of 90 days prior to getting married, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. In order to qualify for this type of visa, there are several eligibility requirements. This includes providing proof that the petitioner is a U.S. citizen, that the couple will be married within 90 days of the fiancé or fiancée entering the country, and that both people are legally able to marry. Additionally, they must also show that they have met their fiancé or fiancée in person at least one time within two years of petitioning for a K-1 visa.
After 90 days, fiancé visas automatically expire. There is no option for extending these types of visas. As such, if a couple does not marry within that time frame, the non-citizen could be found in violation of the law if he or she remains in the country. This could impact his or her future immigration eligibility, as well as result in deportation.
Like other immigration visa petitions, K-1 visas take time to process and must be approved. This post has provided an overview of fiancé visas, however, it should be considered only general information and not be taken as professional legal advice.