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US Marriage and Fiancee Visas : US Visas
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US Visas

US Marriage and Fiancee Visas

The K class and IR visas are for foreign nationals who are
1) wed to a US citizen or
2) engaged to be wed to a US citizen and are seeking permanent residence within the United States as a spouse.
The K class visa also covers unmarried dependents under the age of 21 who wish to reside with their parent in the US.
  • The K-1 visa provides a means of entry into the US for the fiancée of a US citizen in order for the wedding ceremony to be held in the US. Once married, the K-1 status individual must apply for conditional residency in order to remain in the US with their new spouse.
  • The K-3 visa is a non-immigrant spouse visa which allows the holder to enter the US on temporary, non-immigrant status. Once here, it is expected that K-3 visa holder will seek permanent residency.
  • The IR visa is for foreign nationals who are the spouse of a US citizen who wishes to enter the US under immigrant status.
Please note: Originally, the K-3 foreign spouse visa process was a faster means of entry into the US; however, this no longer applies. Both K-3 and IR applications generally take between eight to 12 months. With the K-3, you enter the US as a non-immigrant and therefore will be subject to adjustment hearings. With IR status, you enter as an immigrant and therefore the process for obtaining a green card can be much quicker.

K-1 Visa, Fiancée of a US Citizen

A foreign national wishing to wed a US citizen may apply for a K-1 visa. Both parties must be free to be lawfully married; i.e.,
1) they are both of legal age and
2) neither one is married to each other or anyone else.
As of this writing, same-sex partners are not eligible for K-1 visas, even if the US citizen member of the couple resides in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. Additional requirements include:
  • Applicants have met in person at least once within the two years prior to filing the petition.
  • Applicants can demonstrate financial well-being and the ability to support themselves without having to rely on public funds.
  • Applicants can show sufficient sincerity of intent to be married and remain married.
  • Adequate supporting documentation can be provided. This includes birth certificates, ID cards, divorce decrees, annulment records, etc. Specific documentation requirements are set by the US Embassy in the foreign petitioner’s home country.
Please note: because the K-1 fiancée visa allows the holder the opportunity to gain immigration status, it is considered highly fraudulent and is treated accordingly by US Immigration officials. Because of this, the K-1 also carries a two-year conditional period in which the K-1 holder and fiancée/spouse must prove honest intent. Divorce or annulment of the marriage within those two years may lead to removal of residence status and deportation.

K-2 Visa, Children of Fiancée

Unmarried children under the age of 21 years are eligible to immigrate with their parent under the K-2 visa. Under K-2, these children (known as derivative children) may accompany their parent immediately or wait to join them for up to one year after the issue of the K-1 visa.

K-3 and K-4, Spouse of a US Citizen and Children

The K-3 is a non-immigrant visa which allows the foreign spouse of a US citizen the opportunity to come to the US under non-immigrant status. Once in the US, the K-3 holder may then change their status to immigrant. The K-4 is the derivative visa issued to the children of a K-3 holder.

IR Visa, Spouse of a US Citizen

The IR is similar to the K-2, with the exception that the holder receives immediate immigration status.

According to US Immigration law, a spouse is a legally-wedded husband or wife. (Currently, the law does not recognize same-sex partnerships as legal marriage.) Common-law spouses living in countries which recognize common-law marriage may qualify, but this is not necessarily the case. In cases of polygamy, only the first spouse is eligible for IR immigration. In order to bring a foreign spouse into the US, the US citizen must file a Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) with the USCIS field office that serves the area in which you live. Once approved, the petitioner can then apply for an IR visa.

There is no minimum age requirement for IR immigration; however there is a housing requirement. All US petitioners must provide a Form I-864 Affidavit of Support which requires that they have a domicile (residence) in the US.


Specific documentation varies based upon the type of visa being applied for, but here are some examples of things you may be asked to provide. Clear photocopies are acceptable in some cases, in others, the original will be required:
  • A valid passport with an expiration date no less than six months beyond the intended date of entry into the US.
  • A birth certificate for each applicant.
  • Divorce, annulment, or death certificate of any previous spouse(s).
  • A marriage certificate.
  • Police certification from every residence lived in since 16 years of age.
  • A medical examination report.
  • Evidence of financial ability.
  • Application for immigrant visa and alien registration.
  • Two identical photographs meeting visa specifications for each applicant.
  • Proof of marriage and/or relationship.
  • Payment of fees.
Additional Information
  • When applying for the K class or IR Visa, it is important that you submit thorough documentation and follow instructions carefully. Because these visas result in residency status, US Immigration treats every application as a potential for fraud; therefore, the process is time-consuming and stringent. In every case, honesty is the best policy.
  • Separate immigration petitions must be filed for every applicant, including each child who will be accompanying the spouse or fiancée.


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US Marriage and Fiancee Visas : US Visas