Do you want to visit the United States to connect with family and friends or to do business or just for tourism? There are a couple of options for visitors coming to the US for different purposes.
The number of visitors traveling to the United States for business or pleasure has risen exponentially in the last few years.
The United States offers the B-1 and B-2 visas for nonimmigrants, meaning for a temporary basis. These visas allow visitors to stay in the country for a maximum period of 6 months.
However, if you are traveling for immigration purposes, for example, getting married, then you can apply for the K-1 visa.
K-1 visa or the fiancé(e) visa is for the nonimmigrant fiances of US citizens or lawful permanent residents. This visa allows you to travel to the United States to marry your US citizen within 90 days of arrival.
You can also apply for permanent residency to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) after getting married.
Fiance or fiancee are the general terms used for men and women who are engaged partners.
Generally, you must have met the US citizen in person in the last 2 years to be eligible. However, an exception could be granted by the USCIS if you couldn't meet in person due to reasons like restrictions in the culture of your home country.
However, the USCIS will verify the validity of your relationship to confirm that the marriage is not for the sole purpose of obtaining permanent residency in the United States.
How to Apply for the K-1 Visa?
The first step of applying for the K-1 visa is that your fiance, a US citizen, must submit a Form 1-129F to the USCIS located near their place of residence.
If this petition is approved by the USCIS, then it will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will inform you of your case number and the petition will be sent to the US Embassy or consulate near your residence in your home country.
The next step is the application for the visa. If your children will accompany you, then you must apply for a K-2 visa. The NVC will mail you a letter when the petition is sent to the US Embassy or consulate to attend an interview with the following prepared documents:
- A completed Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160) for you and your eligible children
- A valid passport with an expiration date at least 6 months beyond the period of your intended stay in the US
- Birth Certificate
- Divorce or Death certificate of any previous spouse (this document must be provided by both you and the US citizen sponsor)
- Police certificate issued by your present country of residence and all countries where you have lived for more than 6 months since the age of 16
- Medical examination certificate
- Evidence of Financial assistance
- 2 photographs in the required format
- Proof of relationship with the US citizen
The US Embassy or consulate could ask for additional documents for your K visa interview.
To prove financial support, you could have to submit an Affidavit of Support (Form 1-134) to affirm that you will not require federal assistance.
You must also provide a medical examination report signed by an authorized panel physician.
It is advised that you undertake the vaccinations required by the US immigration law for immigrant visa applicants. This is not necessary for the K visas.
However, it will be useful when applying for the legal permanent resident status after your marriage.
Who Qualifies or is Eligible for the K-1 Visa for the US?
The K-1 fiance visa is a non-immigrant visa (temporary visa) for individuals or family members who wish to enter the US with the intent of marrying a US citizen.
To be eligible for the K-1 visa, applicants should intend on being married within 90 days of the applicant’s arrival into the United States and the US citizen must have been legally free to marry prior to applying and must continue to remain so thereafter.
The US Citizen must have met in person with the person they wish to sponsor within the past two years. An exemption can be granted based on extreme hardship for the US citizen sponsor to personally have met the foreign-citizen fiance(e).
An exemption may also be available if it is against the applicant or US citizen’s culture for a man and woman to meet before the marriage takes place.
Who Qualifies or is Eligible for the B-1 or B-2 Visa?
To be eligible for the B-1 or B-2 visa, applicants must plan to remain in the US for a limited and specified time period, have sufficient funds to support their stay and demonstrate sufficient ties to their home country.
B-1 visa holders must also ensure they will not be paid by a US company during their visit.
What are the B-1 and B-2 Visas?
The B-1 Visa is for individuals to engage in one of the following allowed activities:
- Attend business or professional conferences or conventions
- Consult with business associates
- Negotiate contracts
- Purchase goods or materials
- Appear as a witness in court trials
- Undertake independent research
- Applicants are not permitted to perform productive work or accept paid or unpaid employment
The B2 visa is for individuals who wish to travel in the US or for personal reasons, such as for tourism, pleasure, or to receive medical treatment. It is for tourists from a foreign country who wish to enter the US temporarily.
What is the Duration of the B-1 and B-2 Visas?
Both the B-1 and the B-2 visas allow stays of up to a maximum of 180 days (six months) per entry.