The K-1 nonimmigrant visa allows for the fiancé(e) of a United States citizen to travel to the United States to marry. Once the K-1 visa is granted, the fiancé(e) and the U.S. citizen will have 90 days to get married.


To apply for a K-1 visa, the petitioner must file Form I-129F on behalf of their fiancé(e). The petitioner for a K-1 visa must be a U.S. citizen. Both parties involved in the marriage must be of the age of consent according to U.S. laws. When the form is filled out, it must be submitted to the USCIS, where it will be subject to approval. If approved, the USCIS will send it to the National Visa Center, which will process the application. Upon processing, the National Visa Center will then send the info to the American Consulate or Embassy that the fiancé(e) will apply for their own visa.

Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé(e))

Form I-129F – $340

When applying for the visa, the fiancé(e) will need these documents*:

  • A photograph that meets USCIS photo requirements
  • Birth certificate
  • Death or divorce certificate from any prior spouse
  • Legal certification of all places fiancé(e) has lived since the age of 16
  • Evidence of steady income (and the ability to get more income upon entry into U.S.)
  • Evidence of 2+ year relationship with original petitioner
  • Medical examination results
  • Valid passport
  • Proof that the petitioner and the fiancé(e) are marrying for reasons besides obtaining a green card. The petitioner and fiancé(e) can prove this by showing wedding plans, possible venues, or proving what type of ceremony they intend to have. They can show a history of visiting and communicating with each other.

Fiancé(e) Visa Processing Times

5 months if submitting to the Texas Service Center (subject to change).  

How Can a Fiancé(e) Visa Application Get Rejected?

A fiancé(e) visa application could be rejected if the fiancé(e) has:

  • Inability to maintain self-dependence
  • A contagious disease
  • Committed acts of violence or morally conflicting crimes such as prostitution or distribution of drugs
  • Mental or physical disorder
  • Drug addiction
  • Entered the U.S. before illegally
  • If former foreign exchange visitor, proof of 2+ year foreign residency post-visit

If any of the above are violated, then a USCIS officer will decide if a waiver is applicable and necessary.

What Happens After Receiving the Visa?

After the marriage is official, the fiancé(e) can apply for an adjustment of status in the U.S. If you and your fiancé(e) do not marry within 90 days, then the fiancé(e) must leave the U.S. They will not be able to apply for permanent residence when the K-1 visa expires. If the fiancé(e) and applicant have married, but the fiancé(e) does not wish to remain in the U.S., the fiancé(e) must leave within the 90-day window originally established by the terms of the visa.If the fiancé(e) leaves the U.S. for any reason, they must re-file for a new visa, as the K-1 visa only allows for one entry. After marriage and filing for adjustment of status, if a spouse leaves the U.S. for any reason, they may need to file for advance parole to return to the U.S.

Social Security Number

A fiancé(e) visa holder can get their social security number when they provide an unexpired and valid I-94, which shows the record of departure and arrival to the U.S. Most I-94s these days are issued electronically. You can find your most recent I-94 at this website: It is recommended to apply for a social security number 2 weeks after arriving in the U.S. This will give enough time to the Social Security Administration to approve the request. To get your social security number, you must:

  • Have a work permit
  • Provide your marriage certificate

Fiancé(e) Visa and Work Permit

Once the fiancé(e) is accepted into the U.S., they can apply for a work permit via Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization). This application should be filled out along with the green card application.However, if the work visa is filed and approved before the adjustment of status, the work visa will expire within the 90 days established by the fiancé(e) visa.  

Spouses and Children

If the fiancé(e) has children, include that information on the I-129F form. The children will need a K-2 visa to enter the U.S. as well. Also, if the U.S. citizen and alien are already married, the U.S. citizen will need to get a K-3 visa for their spouse to come over to the U.S. If they have children together, they will need to get a K-4 visa for the child.

Need a Fiancé(e) Visa in San Antonio?

The immigration attorneys at Salmon-Haas have helped many people immigrating to America work towards obtaining a fiancé(e) visa. If you currently or want to live in the greater San Antonio area, contact Salmon-Haas.

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