Employment-based immigration

K1 Visa: A Comprehensive Guide to the Fiance Visa

The K-1 visa, also called the Fiancé(e) visa, is for U.S. citizens intending to bring their foreign fiancé(e) to the United States for marriage. In this comprehensive guide, we  walk you through the K1 visa process, eligibility requirements, types of evidence to prove your relationship, and how to prepare for the K1 visa interview.

Chelsea Spinos, Writer
Simon Craven, Manifest Immigration Lawyer

By:

Chelsea Spinos

Chelsea Spinos is a contributing writer for Manifest Law. She covers all topics related to U.S. visas and green cards. She is passionate about helping people navigate their immigration journey with clarity and confidence.

Reviewer:

Simon Craven, Esq.

Simon Craven is an immigration attorney with 11+ years of experience working on thousands of successful immigration cases. Simon is passionate about US immigration and helping people.

9 min read • May 16, 2024

K1 visa
K1 visa
K1 visa

Key takeaways

With the K1 visa, your fiancé(e) can stay in the U.S. for up to 90 days, during which you must get married.

It’s vital to prove the legitimacy of your relationship with supportive evidence such as records of communication, shared rental agreements, photos from vacations and time together or letters from friends and family confirming your relationship.

It is important that you and your fiance have met in person prior to filing (unless it’s not allowed for religious reasons).

Your case may experience complications if your fiance had prior divorces, visa denials or criminal records. In cases like this it is advisable to contact an attorney to understand your risks of k1 visa denial or k1 visa RFE.

At the end of the K1 interview, the consular officer will let you know if your K1 visa is approved or denied.

It’s possible to transition from a K1 visa to green card through Adjustment of Status under the form i-130, so the foreign fiancé(e) can obtain permanent residency (green card) in the U.S.

If you need help applying for a K1 visa, or transitioning to a green card, Manifest Law can help. Book a free consultation to learn more.

Couple embracinge ach other in home
Couple embracinge ach other in home
Couple embracinge ach other in home

What is a K1 visa?

What is a K1 visa?

The K-1 visa, also known as the Fiancé(e) visa, is a visa designed for U.S. citizens who plan to bring their foreign fiancé(e) to the US for marriage. This visa allows the fiancé(e) to enter the U.S. for up to 90 days for the purposes of getting married. Once married, the foreign spouse can apply for a green card.

What are the benefits of the K1 visa?

What are the benefits of the K1 visa?

The K1 visa is a good option for couples who wish to build a life together in the U.S. and would like to get married in the US and not overseas.


Let’s take a look at some of the key K1 visa benefits:


  • Path to permanent residency: With the K1 visa, the foreign fiancé(e) will receive a conditional green card. After two years, you will need to file a joint petition to remove these conditions, securing a permanent green card upon approval.

  • Temporary visit: The K1 visa allows the fiancé(e) to stay in the U.S. for up to 90 days, during which they can tie the knot.

  • Legal status: The K1 visa also grants the foreign fiancé(e) legal permission to reside in the United States while preparing for marriage and following immigration procedures.

💡 Manifest Tip: In fiscal year 2023, there were 19,825 K1 visas that got approved! According to data from Track My Visa Now, 30% of applications received an RFE and 59.7% of those RFE cases were approved.

Older man and woman high fiving each other
Older man and woman high fiving each other
Older man and woman high fiving each other

K1 visa requirements

K1 visa requirements

If you're considering the K1 fiancé(e) visa, it's important to understand the eligibility requirements. As mentioned, this visa allows a U.S. citizen to sponsor their foreign partner's legal entry into the United States for marriage.


Both you and your fiancé(e) must be ready to tie the knot within 90 days of their arrival in the U.S. And, it's all about genuine commitment – your relationship should be about building a life together, not just for immigration purposes.


Let’s take a look at what you both need to qualify for the K1 visa.

If you're considering the K1 fiancé(e) visa, it's important to understand the eligibility requirements. As mentioned, this visa allows a U.S. citizen to sponsor their foreign partner's legal entry into the United States for marriage.


Both you and your fiancé(e) must be ready to tie the knot within 90 days of their arrival in the U.S. And, it's all about genuine commitment – your relationship should be about building a life together, not just for immigration purposes.


Let’s take a look at what you both need to qualify for the K1 visa.

If you have been asked to assess the work of other people in your field, this might help you qualify for one of the O1 visa criteria. Judging can be in a competitive setting, such as a contest, awards panel, or grants committee. Or, it can be an evaluation of someone’s work, like a scientific paper or presentation, or even a grant application.


The key here is that some organization thought you were the go-to person with ample expertise to assess the work of others. This shows USCIS that you are seen as someone who stands out from others in your work.


If you think you can meet the “judge of others” criteria and at least two other criteria on the list of O1 visa evidence, you could be ready to apply! Reach out to Manifest Law and we can help you put your best case forward.

For the U.S. Citizen Sponsor:

  • Legal Eligibility: The sponsor needs to be a U.S. citizen and legally eligible to marry. That means they can't already be married when filing the petition

  • Financial Ability: The sponsor will need to show that they can financially support the fiancé(e) and make sure they won't rely on public assistance in the U.S. (We’ll cover these requirements in the following section)

  • Intent to Marry: It's essential that there is a genuine intention to marry the fiancé(e) within 90 days of their arrival in the U.S.

  • No Violations: The sponsor must have a clean record – no visa or immigration violations, criminal convictions, or disqualifying factors.

💡 Manifest Tip: Before applying for a K1 visa, make sure you're officially divorced if you've been married before. We've had clients who were surprised to find out during the application process that they were still legally married or that their divorce paperwork wasn't done right. It's best to double-check to avoid any complications later on.

For the Foreign Fiancé(e):

  • Legal Eligibility: The fiancé(e) needs to be legally free to marry, meaning they're not currently married to someone else and have any previous marriages that have ended legally.

  • Health Requirements: The fiancé(e) must pass a medical examination by an approved doctor to make sure they meet the health standards for entering the U.S.

  • Intent to Marry: Just like the sponsor, the fiancé(e) needs to genuinely intend to get married within 90 days of their arrival in the U.S.

  • No Violations: The fiancé(e) shouldn't have any issues that would make them inadmissible to the United States, like a criminal record, health problems, or previous immigration violations.

Form 1065 and Form 1040
Form 1065 and Form 1040
Form 1065 and Form 1040

What is the K1 visa income requirement?

What is the K1 visa income requirement?

While there's no set income amount, the sponsor needs to earn at least 125% of the U.S. Federal Poverty Guidelines for their household size.


In 2024, if you're looking to sponsor your fiancé(e) and you're a household of two (you and your fiancé), you'll typically need to have an income of at least $25,550. However, if you're in the military, you might need to meet a slightly lower income threshold, usually around 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.


Check out the chart below to see the K1 visa income requirements 2024, by household size:

Household Size, # people

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

100% of HHS Poverty Guidelines

Active duty U.S. armed forces

$20,440

$25,820

$31,200

$36,580

$41,960

$47,340

$52,720

+$5,380 for each
additional person

125% of HHS Poverty Guidelines

All other sponsors

$25,550

$32,275

$39,000

$45,725

$52,450

$59,175

$65,900

+$6,725 for each
additional person

If you live in Alaska or Hawaii, where the cost of living is higher, you'll need to meet different income requirements. For a household of two people, it's $31,925 in Alaska and $29,375 in Hawaii. Additionally, for each extra person, you'll need $8,413 in Alaska and $7,738 in Hawaii.


If the sponsor's income is below this level, they might be able to use assets or have a joint sponsor to meet the requirement. Remember, specific income criteria can vary based on your situation, so it's best to check with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the most accurate information.

K1 visa income requirements 2023

In 2023, to sponsor someone on a K1 visa, you would have needed to earn at least 125% of the federal poverty level. For instance, if you're sponsoring just one person and have no other dependents, you should make at least $24,650 a year, assuming you're not on active duty in the military.

Letter spelling "truth" with gavel
Letter spelling "truth" with gavel
Letter spelling "truth" with gavel

Proving your relationship for the K1 visa

Proving your relationship for the K1 visa

Two of the most important requirements of the K1 visa are proving the legitimacy of your relationship and satisfying the “2-year rule”.

What types of evidence can be used for the K1 visa?

First, you'll need to show evidence demonstrating a genuine and committed connection between you and your fiance(e). Evidence can include …


  • Photographs of you as a couple

  • Records of communication like emails, texts, phone calls

  • Screenshots of social media interactions

  • Travel itineraries for trips taken together

  • Letters from friends and family confirming the relationship

  • Joint bank account statements

  • Shared rental agreements or bills

  • Evidence of joint purchases


Next, you’ll need to meet the 2-year rule for a K-1 visa.

What is the 2-year rule for the K1 visa?

The 2-year rule for the K1 visa requires that you and your fiance(e) must have met face-to-face at least once in the two years before applying for the K1 visa.


This rule is designed to ensure that the relationship is genuine and not solely based on virtual communication. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule – for instance, if meeting in person isn't possible due to cultural or religious reasons, or if it would be extremely difficult for you both.


You will need to submit evidence of your meeting, like showing flight bookings, hotel itineraries, pictures, or messages exchanged.

💡 Manifest Tip: You can get a 2-year rule exemption for a K1 visa if your religion or culture prohibits in-person meetings prior to marriage. Contact a Manifest Law attorney to learn more.

K1 visa proof of relationship examples

K1 visa proof of relationship examples

Chelsea Spinos, Writer
Simon Craven, Manifest Immigration Lawyer

Kevin and Sarah

Kevin and Sarah

Kevin, a U.S. citizen, and Sarah, his fiancée from Canada, have been in a long-distance relationship for over two years. To prove the authenticity of their relationship, they include copies of Whatsapp messages exchanged daily – talking about their future plans to get married, providing emotional support, and expressing their love.


They also submit a collection of photos from two of their recent travels together, some including photos of them with each other's parents.

Manifest Law©️. Learn more on www.manifestlaw.com

Chelsea Spinos, Writer
Simon Craven, Manifest Immigration Lawyer

David and Maria

David and Maria

David, a U.S. citizen, and Maria, his fiancée from Spain, met while David was studying abroad in Europe. Despite living in different countries, they have remained in a serious relationship for six years and intend to get married in the U.S.


As evidence of their relationship, they provide letters from their friends and family confirming the genuineness of their relationship. To prove their in-person meetings, they submit flight bookings, hotel itineraries, and images of themselves together. They also include screenshots of their daily Facetime video calls, and photos from their engagement party attended by both families.

Manifest Law©️. Learn more on www.manifestlaw.com

Chelsea Spinos, Writer
Simon Craven, Manifest Immigration Lawyer

Michael and Ling

Michael and Ling

Michael, a U.S. citizen, and Ling, his fiancée from China, have been engaged for over a year. They include WeChat screenshots discussing their plans to get married and travel plans where they met multiple times in-person. Alongside these messages, they submit photos from their engagement photoshoots held in both the U.S. and China.


They also include screenshots of each other’s social media profiles, where many photos of them together are publicly displayed.

Manifest Law©️. Learn more on www.manifestlaw.com

Check boxes
Check boxes
Check boxes

K1 visa approval rate by country

K1 visa approval rate by country

When it comes to getting a K1 visa, the approval rates can differ a lot depending on the country you're applying from. Stronger economies and better social conditions in some countries often mean higher approval rates.


But it's not just about that. Some places see more visa fraud, which can make it tougher to get approved. Plus, how easy it is to provide all the right documents and meet the criteria varies too, depending on where you're from.


According to World Population Review, these are the top 10 countries of K1 visa approvals:


  • United Kingdom

  • Canada

  • Philippines

  • Brazil

  • Nigeria

  • India

  • Mexico

  • Russia

  • Japan

  • Germany

See the complete list of K1 visa approval rate by country in our blog post here, with the latest stats.

K1 visa timeline

K1 visa timeline

Binder on desk with "Immigration Law"
Binder on desk with "Immigration Law"
Binder on desk with "Immigration Law"
Follow these steps
Follow these steps
Follow these steps

Step-by-step: K1 visa process

Step-by-step: K1 visa process

Step 1: File the petition (Form I-129F)

The K1 visa process starts with the U.S. citizen sponsor filing a Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) (Form I-129F) with USCIS. Form I-129F declares your intention to marry your foreign fiancé(e) and bring them to the U.S.

Step 2: Wait for approval

After filing, you wait for USCIS to approve your petition. Once approved, it moves to the National Visa Center (NVC) and eventually to the U.S. embassy or consulate in your fiancé(e)'s country.

Step 3: Fiancé(e) application and K1 visa interview!

Next, the fiancé(e) completes K1 visa application forms and attends an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country, providing necessary documents and undergoing a medical check-up.

Step 4: Get the K1 visa and travel to the U.S.

If approved, the foreign fiancé(e) will receive a K-1 visa in their passport, allowing them to travel to the U.S. Within six months, they must enter the U.S. to begin the process.

Step 5: Tie the knot!

Once in the U.S., you both have 90 days to get married. Remember, this is a crucial step! Failure to marry within this timeframe could result in the foreign fiancé(e) having to leave the country.

Step 6: Apply for adjustment of status

After marriage, your spouse can apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident, or transition from a K1 visa to green card.

Step 7: Conditional residence status (CR1 Green Card)

If your marriage is less than two years old when the green card is issued, your spouse will need to apply to remove conditions on their residency within the 90-day period before their green card expires.

Step 8: Transition from a K1 visa to green card (permanent residence)

After successfully completing the adjustment of status process – including the removal of conditions, if applicable! – the foreign spouse will receive green card status, allowing them to live and work permanently in the U.S.

What to expect during the K1 visa interview

What to expect during the K1 visa interview

Getting ready for your K1 visa interview is one of the most important steps of the process! But don’t stress – we’re going to share what you can expect to happen during the interview and offer some expert tips to prepare for it.

Woman buttoning shirt getting ready
Woman buttoning shirt getting ready
Woman buttoning shirt getting ready

Before the interview

First, you will receive notification of your interview date, time, and location from the U.S. embassy or consulate where the interview will take place.


Once the interview date is confirmed, get your documents together! You will want to make sure that you have all your documents ready for the K1 interview, including:


  • Passports

  • Birth certificates

  • Medical examination results

  • Financial support documents

  • Evidence of your relationship

💡 Manifest Tip: When you arrive at the embassy or consulate for your interview, be there early. You might need to leave certain items outside, so plan accordingly.

Reviewing applications
Reviewing applications
Reviewing applications

During the interview

Typically, the K1 interview takes place at either a desk or window with a consular officer. The officer will first verify your identity, then dive into questions about your relationship with your fiancé(e), your plans for marriage, and your intentions in the U.S.


You will also need to provide evidence of your relationship, like photos, emails, letters, and any other documentation that proves the authenticity of your relationship.


You might also be asked about your ability to support yourself and your fiancé(e) in the United States. Make sure you have documentation to prove that you meet the K1 visa financial requirement.


How long is the K1 visa interview? On average, the K1 interview typically lasts around 15 to 30 minutes.


Some interviews might be quick and straightforward, while others might take a bit longer depending on your situation. But no matter how long it takes, staying calm, collected, and confident during the interview is your best bet for making a good impression and boosting your chances of getting the K1 visa approved.


And, if English isn't your first language, make sure to prepare yourself and practice your responses beforehand. The interview will likely be in English, and you will need to be able to communicate effectively with the consular officer.

💡 Manifest Tip: Remember to remain calm and composed during the interview, and answer all questions truthfully and to the best of your ability. Preparation and organization are key!

Approved form
Approved form
Approved form

After the interview

At the end of the interview, the officer will let you know if your K1 visa is approved or denied.


If it's approved, you'll get instructions on what to do next. You'll likely need to submit more paperwork and attend another appointment before you can get your K1 visa and travel to the U.S.

Interviewing
Interviewing
Interviewing

K1 visa interview questions

K1 visa interview questions

The questions asked during a K1 visa interview are designed to assess the genuineness of your relationship and your intention to get married in the U.S.

Make sure to answer them truthfully and have any supportive documentation that can support your answers.


Let’s take a look at some of the most common K1 visa interview questions:

The questions asked during a K1 visa interview are designed to assess the genuineness of your relationship and your intention to get married in the U.S.


Make sure to answer them truthfully and have any supportive documentation that can support your answers.


Let’s take a look at some of the most common K1 visa interview questions:

The questions asked during a K1 visa interview are designed to assess the genuineness of your relationship and your intention to get married in the U.S.


Make sure to answer them truthfully and have any supportive documentation that can support your answers.


Let’s take a look at some of the most common K1 visa interview questions:

How did you and your fiancé(e) meet?

When and where did you first meet in person?

Can you describe your relationship history and how it has developed?

How long have you been in a relationship with your fiancé(e)?

Have you met each other's families? If yes, can you provide details?

Can you describe your fiancé(e)'s personality and interests?

What are your plans for your wedding ceremony?

Where do you intend to live in the United States after marriage?

Can you provide details about your fiancé(e)'s previous marriages, if any?

How do you communicate with your fiancé(e) when you are apart?

Have you ever lived together? If not, do you have plans to live together before marriage?

Can you describe your fiancé(e)'s daily routine and habits?

What are your fiancé(e)'s career aspirations and employment history?

Have you discussed any cultural or religious differences between you and your fiancé(e)?

How do you plan to support yourselves financially in the United States?

K1 visa checklist
K1 visa checklist
K1 visa checklist

K1 visa interview checklist

K1 visa interview checklist

Getting ready for the K1 interview soon? We've put together this checklist to help you feel prepared and confident for your big day. Download the PDF and print it out.

K1 visa processing time 2024

K1 visa processing time 2024

As of April 28, 2024, it takes around 7 months for a K1 visa application (Form I-129F) to be processed.


After USCIS approves Form I-129F, your case will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC), which usually takes about four to six weeks.


It's important to remember that these timelines can vary based on your specific situation and how busy USCIS and the NVC are at the time. To stay updated, check the official USCIS and Department of State websites regularly.

How much? on a calculator
How much? on a calculator
How much? on a calculator

How much is a K1 visa?

How much is a K1 visa?

Government fees to apply for a K1 visa are $675, and the cost to get a green card after you are married can be up to $3,000.


It’s important to know there are multiple fees associated with your K1 visa application:


  • K1 visa lawyer fees

  • K1 visa cost

  • Additional costs

K1 visa lawyer fees

Lawyer fees for a K1 visa can vary significantly depending on which lawyer you choose. If you’re looking for a more individualized approach, we recommend going with a smaller law firm that specializes in K1 visa cases (like us!).


Here at Manifest Law, our K1 visa lawyer fees start at $3,500 and come with "Visa Approved or Money Back" guarantee (terms apply).

K1 visa cost

Below is a breakdown of the fees associated with the K1 visa:

Government fee

Form I-129F

DOS Visa Fee

Cost

$675

$265

Manifest Law©️. Learn more on www.manifestlaw.com

The government's fee for Form I-129F is $675, payable by money order, cashier's or personal check, or credit card using Form G-1450 if filing at a USCIS lockbox facility.

💡 Manifest Tip: If you file Form I-129F online, you qualify for a $50 discount!

The K-1 visa application fee (DOS visa fee) is $265, usually paid at the interview. Specific payment instructions will be provided in the embassy's interview notice, which can vary by home country.

Additional costs

In addition to the government fees, there are other costs involved with the K1 visa to consider. These include a medical exam fee, which typically costs $200 – although it varies by provider.


There are also fees related to translating and photocopying documents, such as your birth certificate or passport.

Question mark images held in hand
Question mark images held in hand
Question mark images held in hand

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

Can I work with a K1 visa?

Unfortunately not – with a K1 visa, you can’t start working in the U.S. right away.


After you arrive and get married in the U.S., you'll need to apply for a work permit. Once you have this permit, you can work legally in the U.S. while waiting for your permanent residency application to be processed.


If you have any questions about working with a K1 visa, it's a good idea to talk to an immigration lawyer. Our team at Manifest Law can help answer any questions you may have.

Can I extend my K1 visa?

No – once your K-1 visa expires, you can't extend it.


The K1 visa allows you to come to the U.S. once and stay for about 6 months. During that time, you have to get married to your fiancé(e) who is a U.S. citizen within 90 days. If you need more time in the U.S., you might have to look into other visa options, like a tourist visa extension.


If you want to extend your stay in the U.S., reach out to our team at Manifest Law. You can schedule a free consultation with us, where we'll listen to your situation, discuss your legal options, and explain how Manifest Law can assist you.

How can I transition from K1 visa to green card?

When you marry your U.S. citizen partner with a K1 visa, you'll get a conditional green card that's valid for two years. To obtain a permanent green card, you both need to fill out Form I-751 together and show proof that your marriage is still going strong.


Once the conditions are cleared, you'll get a permanent green card, giving you the freedom to live and work in the U.S. without any time limits.

Take the First Step:

Schedule your free consultation!

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Review of visa options available for you

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General information about timelines, fees, requirements for various visa options

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Information on Manifest fees, terms and process

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Full clarity and transparency every step along the way

Picture of Avi Goldenburg, principal attorney at Manifest law, smiling in eye glasses and a blue button up shirt in his office.

Avi Goldenberg

Principal attorney at Manifest Law

Take the First Step:

Schedule your free consultation!

Check mark in a circle icon

Review of visa options available for you

Check mark in a circle icon

General information about timelines, fees, requirements for various visa options

Check mark in a circle icon

Information on Manifest fees, terms and process

Check mark in a circle icon

Full clarity and transparency every step along the way

Picture of Avi Goldenburg, principal attorney at Manifest law, smiling in eye glasses and a blue button up shirt in his office.

Avi Goldenberg

Principal attorney at Manifest Law

Take the First Step:

Schedule your free consultation!

Check mark in a circle icon

Review of visa options available for you

Check mark in a circle icon

General information about timelines, fees, requirements for various visa options

Check mark in a circle icon

Information on Manifest fees, terms and process

Check mark in a circle icon

Full clarity and transparency every step along the way

Picture of Avi Goldenburg, principal attorney at Manifest law, smiling in eye glasses and a blue button up shirt in his office.

Avi Goldenberg

Principal attorney at Manifest Law

Attorney Advertising. This website is intended for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and is no substitute for consulting a licensed attorney. Only an attorney can provide you with legal advice, and only after considering your specific facts and circumstances. You should not act on any information on this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney. manifestlaw.com is a product of Manifest Law PLLC. Manifest Law PLLC is a law firm operating as a New York Professional Corporation. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

2024 Manifest Copyright. All Rights Reserved.

Attorney Advertising. This website is intended for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and is no substitute for consulting a licensed attorney. Only an attorney can provide you with legal advice, and only after considering your specific facts and circumstances. You should not act on any information on this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney. manifestlaw.com is a product of Manifest Law PLLC. Manifest Law PLLC is a law firm operating as a New York Professional Corporation. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

2024 Manifest Copyright. All Rights Reserved.

Attorney Advertising. This website is intended for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and is no substitute for consulting a licensed attorney. Only an attorney can provide you with legal advice, and only after considering your specific facts and circumstances. You should not act on any information on this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney. manifestlaw.com is a product of Manifest Law PLLC. Manifest Law PLLC is a law firm operating as a New York Professional Corporation. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

2024 Manifest Copyright. All Rights Reserved.