The immigration laws provide a nonimmigrant visa classification (“K-1”) for persons coming to the United States to marry American citizens and reside here.
To establish K-1 visa classification for an alien fiancé(e), an American citizen must file a petition with the Regional Service Center of the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) having jurisdiction over the place of the petitioner’s residence in the United States. Such petitions may not be adjudicated abroad. The approved petition will be forwarded by USCIS to the American consular office where the alien fiancé(e) will apply for his/her visa. The visa application procedures and policies followed by U.S. consular posts vary depending on the local conditions and requirements.
After an alien fiancé(e) has obtained a K-1 visa and entered the U.S., the alien fiancé(e) must get married to the U.S. citizen who petitioned for him/her within 90 days of admission. After marriage, the alien fiancé(e) becomes the spouse and may file application for permanent residence in the U.S.
The children of K-1 visa holders will be admitted with K-2 visa, for a same time of their parents or until the day before such children’s 21st birthday or marriage, whichever is shorter. The child of the K-1 beneficiary may acquire K-2 status even after the beneficiary has married the U.S. citizen petitioner and acquired lawful permanent resident status in the U.S. However, the child must apply for a K-2 visa within 1 year from the date of the issuance of the K-1 visa. After 1 year, the filing of an immigrant visa petition would be required for the child.