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When Do You Need a Family Visa?

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    1. 1. What is a Family Visa?
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Being away from family is a stressful experience that a person can go through – even more so when living on another side of the world. When people plan to visit or migrate to the United States to visit family, they could try a visitor visa. But before that, there are certain immigration laws and requirements that the person must follow before applying for one.

Going through the U.S. immigration system alone can be tough; fortunately, there are lawyers for immigration that can help you ensure a smoother transfer to the U.S. Aside from that, they will also help you choose which visas you are eligible to apply for.

For example, K1 family visas are essential for a person entering the United States to marry their partner. If the couple also plans to settle permanently in the U.S. after marriage, permanent residence is also made possible by applying for this visa.

You will need a family visa if you have an immediate family member – or a partner, in most cases – working or living in a foreign country. Family visas are useful if you want to become reunited with a family member and are also long-term visas that can change depending on which member is sponsoring your application. 

1. What is a Family Visa?

A family visa refers to a document that is provided for the purpose of family reunification in another country. To qualify for this visa, you would typically need a spouse, family member, sibling, child, or parent already settled in the U.S., and you wish to join them there. One example of this is the K1 family visa. 

1.1 K1 Visa

K1 visas, also called fiance(e) visas, are non-immigrant visas that permit people overseas to visit the United States for marriage with a fiance(e). To apply for a K1 visa, you must be a fiance or fiancee of a U.S. resident or citizen. 

Also, within 90 days of arriving in the country, which is the period the visa is valid for, the person must marry their fiance(e), who is a U.S. resident or citizen. 

Moreover, should the person decide to permanently live in the U.S. after marriage, they can apply for permanent residence or LPR adjustment status. 

1.2 How do you apply for a K1 Visa?

Before securing your K1 visa, there are steps that you and your US-based fiance(e) must take. Here are the steps you must follow when submitting your application for a K1 visa.

  • The US-based fiance(e), the sponsor, must first file Form I-129F or Petition For Alien Fiance(e). This is done at the office of USCIS in their place. 
  • Once USCIS approves the petition, the form will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). You will then receive a case number and send it to the U.S. embassy or consulate where the applicant lives.
  • The sponsor will receive a letter after the U.S. embassy or the consulate where you live receives the case. Only when the sponsor has confirmed the receipt can the applicant start arranging for the application process for the K1 visa. 

1.3 What are the qualifications for the K1 visa?

The K1 visa permits a US-based citizen or resident to sponsor their overseas fiance(e) so that they can come to the U.S. for marriage and eventually settle down together. 

But first, to secure a K1 visa, the sponsor and the applicant must meet the qualifications. To find out whether or not you are qualified for a K1 visa application, here are the qualifications that you need to meet:

  • The US-based citizen or sponsor must be able to meet the financial requirement. The gross income on their latest tax return must be at least 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines to prove that they can support the applicant’s stay in the U.S. However, sponsors who cannot meet this requirement can ask for joint financial sponsorships for help through supplemental affidavits of support.
  • The sponsor must be a US-based citizen or resident. Permanent residents will not be eligible to sponsor a K1 visa application.
  • The sponsor must be willing to hand in a signed statement that within 90 days, the marriage will take place. If the wedding is already planned, you can also provide evidence through invitation forms, reception venue bookings, etc.
  • The applicant and the sponsor must be both unmarried and eligible for marriage. Previous marriages must be proved to have ended through either divorce, annulment, or death certificates. 
  • The sponsor and the applicant must have proof of meeting at least once in the last two years before applying for the K1 visa. This can be proved through dated photos and flight bookings.
  • Both the sponsor and the applicant must be in a relationship that will need to be proven with evidence. 

1.4 K1 Visa Requirements

When submitting your application for a K1 visa, you will need to include several important documents and supporting evidence. You mustn’t forget any of these documents to avoid delays or, worse, application rejection.

To ensure a smooth and safe process of your K1 visa application, make sure to prepare and bring these documents for the visa interview:

  • Birth certificate
  • Form DS-160. This must be completed and printed off. 
  • Divorce papers or death certificates of previous marriages.
  • Medical examination.
  • Two by two (2×2) photographs.
  • Police certificate from the country that you live in.
  • Valid passport. Must be valid until the end of your stay in the U.S.
  • Proof that the relationship with the fiance(e) is genuine.
  • Form I-134. This proves that you meet the established financial requirements.

Last Updated on December 19, 2023 by Sathi Chakraborty


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