What is a Fiancé Visa?

Deciding to get married is a big step. But for couples who are citizens of different countries, it can be an even more complicated process. In the U.S., US citizens can bring a non-citizen fiancé to the United States to live. Once in the U.S., a non-citizen also has certain rights with the fiancé visa.

What is a Fiancé Visa?

K-1 visa, also known as a fiancé visa, allows the engaged partner of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States as long as they get married within 90 days. The US citizen can also petition for K-2 visas for the fiance’s unmarried children who are under 21.

Once in the U.S. on the K-1 visa, the US citizen and the fiancé marry, and the fiancé can then apply for permanent U.S. residence status, also known as a green card, based on marriage. The K-2 children can also apply for green cards once the US citizen and the K-1 parent marry.

Rights with a K-1 Visa

Immigrants are often more vulnerable when they come to the U.S. They may not speak English well or at all; they may have left their entire family and friend support system behind in another country, and they may not understand the U.S. legal system well. As a result, it can be challenging for an immigrant fiancé to report domestic violence or ask for help. But all U.S. residents, regardless of their citizenship status, are entitled to basic protections under civil and criminal laws. You have the right:

  • To obtain a protection order for you and your children;
  • To legal separation or divorce without the consent of your spouse;
  • To share certain marital property, shared assets, or jointly owned property. If you get divorced, a court will divide marital assets; and
  • The right to ask for custody of shared children and financial support.

Parents of children under 21 are required to pay child support for any child not living with them.

Additionally, the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005 (MBRA) is a U.S. law that assists foreign fiancé and spouses. IMBRA mandates that the U.S. give immigrating foreign fiancés and spouses information and tools to protect them from domestic violence from partners sponsoring their visas.

If you and your partner are beginning the green card process as an affianced couple or as a married couple, you should discuss your situation with an experienced immigration attorney. I’ve helped hundreds of couples traverse the complicated immigration and citizenship process. I would love to help you as well. Call 617-714-4375 or email ellen@ellensullivanlaw.com to get in touch.