When you file form I-129f Petition for Alien Fiancé with USCIS, how do you know it is going to be approved? Here are the things you need to have in order to get a K-1 Visa:
You must have a fiancé (or fianceé) who is a US Citizen and who resides in the United States
Green card holders cannot sponsor fiancés for entry visas. The documents you need to submit to prove that your fiancé is a citizen are things like copies of his or her birth certificate, passport, or naturalization certificate.
You must have met your fiancé in person in the past two years.
Usually, this is accomplished by the US Citizen travelling to the home country of the foreign fiancé. Make sure to keep copies of all of your travel receipts, itineraries, tickets, boarding passes, etc.
Sometimes, it is impossible for the couple to meet in person for medical or cultural reasons. If this is the case for you, you should contact an experienced immigration attorney in order to obtain a waiver. The “met in person” requirement can be waived but only for very serious circumstances.
In order to prove you have met in person in the past two years, you should submit copies of things like photographs of you together, social media posts, travel documents, tickets, hotel receipts, and itineraries.
You must be legally eligible to marry
This means that, if you’ve ever been married before, you must prove your prior marriage has been dissolved by divorce, annulment, or death. The way to prove this is to submit divorce decrees or the death certificate of your former spouse. Remember that all documents submitted to USCIS in a language other than English need to be translated and certified by a professional translator.
Your US Citizen fiancé must meet the income requirement
US Citizens must prove that they have an income of at least 125% of the ‘federal poverty level’ in order to sponsor someone for a fiancé visa. Members of the military only have to prove that they earn at 100% of the poverty level. There are different income requirements for Alaska and Hawaii. All of the income requirements are published each year on form I-864P which is available at the USCIS website.
In order to prove that the US Citizen spouse meets the income requirement, the visa application should be submitted with copies of the Citizen’s last three years’ tax returns. Sometimes, a tax transcript is preferable and can be requested with six week’s notice from the IRS.
If your fiancé does not meet the income requirement, talk to an experienced immigration attorney about submitting paperwork for an appropriate joint sponsor, or using assets to meet the requirements instead.
You must come to the US with the sole purpose of marriage
In order for USCIS to approve the petition, you need to prove that your relationship is bona fide and that you intend to marry within 90 days. Documents submitted in support of this requirement include things like receipts for your engagement ring, a Statement of Intent to Marry from the couple, and Affidavits from friends and family which can be drafted with the help of your attorney.
You should also start stockpiling messages and letters between you and your fiancé that prove you are in a romantic relationship. Nothing graphic, just little love notes will do!
Clean criminal histories
The foreign fiancé should have a clean criminal history which you will provide evidence of to the consular officers at your interview. Speak to an immigration attorney about how and when to obtain a ‘police clearance certificate’ to present to the embassy or consulate abroad before entering the United States. The US Citizen spouse will also need a fairly clean record free of crimes of domestic violence and related offenses. If the US Citizen has ever been convicted of crimes such as rape, murder, manslaughter, human trafficking, domestic abuse or assault, etc, the petition can be denied.
The US Citizen must disclose all convictions, and even arrests for which there were no convictions, to US Citizenship and Immigration Services in the initial petition. All offenses must be addressed even if expunged. The Department of State will disclose all of this information to the intending immigrant during his or her interview. The consular officers will also give the intending immigrant information on domestic violence laws, and how abused spouses can make use of public services in the United States.
If you or your fiancé have been convicted of any crimes, you should speak with an experienced immigration attorney about whether your K1 Petition can be approved. An arrest or conviction is not an absolute bar to approval, and there are many cases in which a good attorney can help you succeed.
If you don’t have all of the correct paperwork together, you will receive a ‘Request for Evidence’ after you file your petition. Sometimes, USCIS will send you a ‘Request for Evidence’ even if you’ve sent them everything they need! Don’t worry, and hire an experienced immigration attorney to help you respond. Immigration law is complex and the system is difficult to navigate on your own. If you hire a competent lawyer, you’ll stop worrying and be glad you did!
After your visa interview, the Department of State will issue your visa, so that you can make your travel plans, and wedding plans! Remember, after you get married in the United States, you will need to file paperwork to ‘adjust status’ and get your green card! Make sure you stay on track by talking to a good immigration lawyer, who can help you step by step all the way to citizenship!