The fiancé visa or K-1 visa status is intended for individuals who intend to marry within 90 days of admission to the United States. Although this is a nonimmigrant visa classification, it is issued with the understanding that the visa holder intends to marry a United States citizen and then apply for permanent residence.
Individuals applying for this visa must establish that they have the legal capacity to marry in the United States. Thus, if a foreign citizen has been married previously then they must show that their prior marriage was legally terminated through annulment, divorce, death of the prior spouse, or other means for legal termination of the bonds of marriage. When applying for K-1 status the foreign citizen should present the divorce decree, death certificate for the prior spouse, or other proof of termination of the prior marriage.
It should also be noted that the legal capacity to marry applies to the U.S. citizen as well. The U.S. citizen must be eligible to marry and if the individual was previously married they will need to present proof of the termination of the prior marriage.
If the intending immigrant fiancé was never married then if possible they should also secure documentation that they are not presently married. Some jurisdictions will provide a certificate that the individual does not appear in their records as having been previously married and will state that according to their records the individual is eligible to marry.
In addition to proving the legal capacity to marry, the couple must prove that they have met within the two years preceding the issuance of the visa. The government routinely asks for this documentation. Couples should keep trip itineraries, copy passport pages with entry and exit stamps showing the U.S. citizen visited the fiancé in their country or vice versa, photographs, receipts, letters, emails, cards with envelopes bearing a dated postmark, etc.
It is important that any photographs be time and date stamped or the government cannot verify that they were taken within the 2 years preceding the application. In addition, date letters and cards and keep all envelopes being careful not to damage postmarks. Letters and cards can sometimes provide a very valuable source of information when they discuss past or future trips and provide evidence that a relationship is in existence. Emails and phone bills can also provide circumstantial evidence of the existence of a relationship and of the initial meeting and should be kept. Basically, a couple should keep every piece of documentary evidence showing the existence of the relationship and that they have met in person within the two years prior to the issuance of the visa. Keeping good records will make your entire process move along much more smoothly. Remember that the burden is on you to prove that a fiancé visa should be issued.
In addition to the visa issued to the fiancé themselves, minor children are permitted to accompany the fiancé to the U.S..
Individuals should also note that the fiancé visa classification is also adaptable to couples who have already married outside the United States. In the past, couples were required to use the immediate relative immigrant visa process instead of the fiancé process if they had already married outside the United States. The immediate relative process is much more involved and takes a lot longer to process. Congress recognized the lengthy process to get a permanent immigrant visa and decided to allow couples married outside the United States to use the fiancé visa process to allow more rapid travel of the fiancé to the United States. This allows the fiancé to await the processing of their immigration case inside the U.S. as opposed to waiting for the lengthy immigrant visa process outside the U.S..