The K-1 visa regulations stem back to 1970. This is a process where a US citizen can become engaged to a foreign national and sponsor them to enter the US as a fiancée. The catch? The couple must marry within 90 days or the foreign national must leave the US.
So, is real-life like television? For the most part, the answer is yes. Many couples, especially now, meet each other online at different dating sites. During the pandemic while the entire world was isolated, these couples learned a lot about each other while zooming, texting and online chatting. There still exists a requirement that the couple must meet in person within two years prior to filing the application so that remains a hindrance as the world reopens. However, there is an extreme hardship waiver of this requirement in certain limited circumstances.
Are there any other criteria which may make visa issuance unlikely? The US citizen must be able to prove that they can support the foreign national. The criteria for the K-1 visa remains lower for this than the actual adjustment of status requirement so this is a slippery area. The couple must be able to prove that the US citizen makes at least 125% of poverty guidelines or that the couple has three times that amount in liquid investments available to them at the adjustment of status filing phase of the process after the marriage.
Why do people file for fiancée visas rather than marriage visas? This visa permits a couple time to get to know each other and live together prior to making a quick, life changing decision of marriage. Many of our clients over the past 30 years have used this visa successfully and have had long-term, successful marriages.