You don’t control whom you fall in love with, but you can control who you marry. You make a commitment to someone who understands you, shares your values and wants to spend their life with you.
Sometimes, you connect with someone who lives far away, but you still decide that you want to commit to them. When that happens, you have the opportunity as a United States citizen to bring them into the country as your fiance. A K-1 or fiance visa lets engaged couples start their lives together in the United States.
If you have recently proposed to your love interest who lives in another country or if you intend to propose and want to address some of the logistics ahead of time, it’s important to understand two of the restrictions that apply to those seeking K-1 visas.
You typically need to meet in person
The internet has made it easier than ever before in human history to connect with someone from a completely different culture. You don’t even need to speak the same language to develop meaningful rapport over the internet thanks to translation software.
However, while you may know that your emotional connection is real, you need to verify it in person in most cases. Documentation that validates your relationship is crucial to a K-1 visa application. Unless you qualify for a religious or cultural exception because one of you comes from a culture where it is prohibited to see each other before the wedding, you will likely need to travel to see one another at least once in person before you can apply for a K-1 visa.
You need to get married right away after they arrive
Planning a wedding can take more than a year, and you won’t have the luxury of waiting that much time when your fiance enters the country on a K-1 visa. The clock starts ticking as soon as their plane lands, and you will only have 90 days to solemnize your relationship or risk a lengthy separation. You either need to agree to a streamlined wedding ceremony with fewer people attending or plan carefully long before your fiance intends to enter the country.
Understanding the rules that apply to fiance visas can make it easier for couples to connect and get married despite the distance between them.