Long-distance dating is difficult enough. U.S. immigration law doesn’t provide a way for a foreign national to come to the United States for an extended period of time while the couple dates. Instead, the foreign national must be a fiancé of a U.S. citizen with the intent to marry. The couple has just 90 days to get married once the foreign fiancé enters the U.S. The 90 Day Fiancé television series provides an inside look at the stress that the time line and cultural differences create.
Obtaining a K-1 Visa
A U.S. citizen can petition on behalf of a foreign fiancé to obtain a K-1 visa by filing Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Also known as a fiancé visa, the K-1 is used so that the foreign fiancé can enter the United States for the purposes of marriage to the U.S. citizen. The rules of a K-1 visa require that the foreign fiancé marry the U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days of entering the United States. If a marriage does not happen within 90 days, the foreign national must depart the United States. Thus, this expedited time line has been termed 90 day fiancé.
RECOMMENDED: Overview of the K-1 Visa Process
Failure to Marry
If they couple decides not to marry, there is no visa violation (as long as the intent was marriage). However, the foreign national must depart the United States before the 90-day period ends. The foreign visitor is at risk of deportation if he or she does not leave the U.S.
Green Card for 90 Day Fiancé
If the couple marries, the foreign national may also apply for a green card (permanent residence) in a process known as adjustment of status. The foreign national files Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, on the basis of entry to the U.S. on a K-1 visa and subsequent marriage to the U.S. citizen petitioner. As a green card holder, the foreign national may accept employment and reside permanently inside the United States.
RECOMMENDED: Adjustment of Status Through a K-1 Visa Entry