Question: I am a permanent resident (a green card holder). My girlfriend lives outside the U.S., and we haven’t been able to get married yet. As a permanent resident, can I apply for a K-1 fiancé visa for her?
Answer: No, a permanent resident cannot apply for a K-1 fiancé visa. Only a U.S. citizen can apply for a K-1 fiancé visa. A permanent resident can apply for a spouse to receive an immigrant visa but cannot apply for a fiancé. You could consider either (1) getting married and applying for a marriage immigrant visa or (2) becoming a citizen and applying for a K-1 visa.
What is a K-1 Visa?
A K-1 visa, also called a fiancé visa, is available to the foreign-citizen fiancé of a U.S. citizen. A K-1 visa allows the foreign-citizen fiancé of a U.S. citizen to travel to the U.S. and marry his or her U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arriving in the U.S. After arriving in the U.S., the fiancé must apply for permanent resident status. Eligible children of a K-1 visa applicant may receive a K-2 Visa.
What is a K-2 Visa?
A K-2 visa allows eligible children of a K-1 visa holder to enter the U.S. In order to be eligible for a K-2 visa, the child of a K-1 visa applicant must be under 21 years old and unmarried.
What is a Fiancé?
Under U.S. immigration law, a “fiancé” is an individual who has been issued a K-1 visa to travel to the U.S. to marry a U.S. citizen. In order to be considered a fiancé under U.S immigration law, both the U.S. citizen and the K-1 visa applicant must be legally able to marry at the time of the K-1 visa petition and must remain so thereafter. In addition, the marriage must be legally possible pursuant to the laws of the U.S. state in which the marriage will occur. Also, the foreign-citizen fiancé and U.S. citizen must have met in person at least once within the two years preceding the K-1 visa petition.
Which Relatives can a Permanent Resident Sponsor?
Although a permanent resident cannot apply for a fiancé to receive a green card, a permanent resident can petition to bring certain family members to the U.S. A permanent resident can petition to bring his or her spouse and unmarried children to the U.S.
Which Relatives can a U.S. Citizen Sponsor?
In addition to applying for a K-1 visa for a fiancé, a U.S. citizen can apply for a green card or immigrant visa for his or her spouse, parents, and children.
ImmiFree.Law is The Harrison Law Firm P.C.’s online platform to make the family immigration and naturalization process more efficient, accurate, and affordable. Baya Harrison, Esq. is an attorney licensed in New York, Florida, and California. Attorney Harrison has helped numerous individuals and families navigate the U.S. immigration process, specifically family-based petitions and naturalization.