K1 Visa Explained

By Tiara

A few weeks ago, you may have heard some disturbing news. Some people in this country are doing something sneaky that is completely illegal! They are lying to immigration officials to gain entry into America so they can live here as full-time workers or even hire their own employees. It has been reported that these individuals often do not speak English, which makes it much more likely that they would misuse the visa system.

There is a term for this sort of thing — it's called a K1 visa.

Now before we go any further, let us make one important clarification.

The word immigrant does not refer to everyone who lives outside of their home country and comes to America to be our friend. Rather, the term refers only to those who come to the United States legally. People with K1 visas are not immigrants; therefore, using this terminology incorrectly is simply incorrect.

Something similar happened back in 2005 when there was an uproar about Brazilian migrants taking jobs from Americans. At that time, many Brazilians were granted special work permits known as H-1B visas. Many employers used the H-1Bs to pay lower wages than what American citizens are paid, and then fired them once they got too expensive. This resulted in many Brazilian nationals having no job opportunities at all, and many still do today.

Who can apply for a K1 visa?

k1 visa explained

An employment-based immigrant visa is called a K1 visa. This applies to individuals who are seeking work in the United States as an employee, or as a representative/employee of an employer.

On July 14, 1990 Congress passed a law that allows employers to sponsor nonimmigrant (temporary) workers for positions within their company. The new law was known as the Immigration Reform Act of 1990 (IRCA). IRCA allowed each employer to petition for one nonimmigrants per position they have available.

The term “nonimmigrant” means someone who comes to America temporarily for a specific purpose. For example, an English teacher coming to the US for a one year teaching assignment would be considered a non-immigrant under this definition.

However, employees such as Matthew from our article on How To Become A Permanent Resident Of The USA already discussed are not necessarily non-immigrants. They may choose to remain in the country permanently after working here. That being said, most people who obtain permanent resident status do so by applying for citizenship later on.

How can I apply for a K1 visa?

k1 visa explained

If you are ready to live in the United States, then it is time to start gathering all of your documents! Approval of the K1 visa depends on many different factors, so making sure that you have everything ahead of time will help ensure that you do not waste your time waiting for approval after traveling or spending money on application fees.

There are several ways to begin applying for a K1 visa. Some people organize their applications by working through an agency, while others handle some parts themselves and hire professional services to complete the rest. No matter what method you choose, make sure to research your options and determine which one works best for you.

General tips before assembling your K1 visa documentation: Make sure to check your passport expiration date and be aware of when your visa expires. You do not want to wait until months later to find out that you cannot enter America because your visa has expired!

Also, remember to include enough proof that you will stay in America for a reasonable amount of time. It should be verified that you will remain for at least six months, but most employers look more closely into how long employees will be here.

What are the requirements for a K1 visa?

k1 visa explained

The second type of immigrant visa is called a “K-1” visa. This applies to spouses, unmarried partners or fiancé(e)s of an existing US citizen.

On this form, you must prove that your partner was a bona fide relationship with the person they intend to marry. They also have to live in America as a spouse or domestic partner.

The process for obtaining a K-1 visa isn’t easy, however. You will need to provide proof that your loved one has lived with you as a couple both physically and socially for at least two years.

They can’t be married nor living together yet, but they have to hold each other out as being married later on. Because this takes place several months before their wedding, it won’t qualify as adequate proof.

How long does the process take?

k1 visa explained

The process for getting a K-1 visa can take anywhere from a few days to months, depending on how many individuals you have to vouch for you and whether your family is able to help you with expenses while you’re away.

In most cases, USCIS will send you a notification once their office has received your application. At this stage, they may ask you to come in for an interview or confirm some details about yourself and your trip.

From there, it depends on the person reviewing your case as to when you will receive a decision. It could be weeks, months or even years before you hear back.

Some people find that outside factors play a big role in the processing time- something like having the flu might push up the timeline a little.

What are the different types of K1 visas?

The second most popular type of immigrant visa is the F-2 for employment based immigrants or what’s known as a work visa. This visa allows your employer to file an I-129 petition, which asks that you be granted nonimmigrant status so that you can live and work in the United States.

You must still meet the basic requirements for any other immigrant visa (such as having enough money) but once you have been approved for this special employment based visa, you will need to find suitable employment within the United States. Your employers must also verify that they cannot hire someone else instead of you.

This process can take some time. It depends on how fast their business moves, as well as whether there are legal procedures involved. However, we recommend working with professional immigration consultants if you are not able to locate suitable employment yourself. They can help you navigate the process and give you tips on how to prepare for your job interview.

Who can I apply to on a K1 visa?

k1 visa explained

A non-immigrant (or tourist) K1 visa is for individuals who are seeking employment in the United States as an employee or independent contractor.

There are two main types of visas that can be used if you fall under this category: F-visas and B-2/B-3 visas. The most common type of K1 visa is the F-4 visa, which allows for four years of stay in the US.

But before you start looking into job opportunities, there’s something important you should know about working while on a K1 visa.

You will need to prove you have enough money to support yourself and your family back home for the duration of your stay here. This means it’s not okay to work full time as a nurse or accountant if you make only $30,000 per year.

Instead, you could work part time as a hairdresser or barista, but you would still need to ensure you have sufficient funds to live on for at least six months.

What are the different types of relationships?

k1 visa explained

There are two main categories for immigrant visas: employment-based visas and family member visa (or “K”) visas. The former is more common than the latter, but it comes with some limitations.

The K category includes both fiance(e) visas and child visas. An employer can apply on your behalf if they want to bring you into their organization as an employee or spouse/parent of their children. You must still meet the job requirement though!

If you already have dependent status in Canada under another immigration program like IRB or RMP, you do not need to reapply once you receive your permanent resident card (green card). Your PRC gives you automatic dependant status in this case!

Another important thing to note about employment-based visas is that there is no salary threshold. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that employers will only accept immigrants who are paid less than them, but that isn’t always true.

Some companies feel that immigrant workers contribute to their success so they don’t mind paying higher salaries than other candidates.

What is a K-1 visa?

k1 visa explained

A K-1 visa allows your fiancé or spouse to come live with you in the United States for an indefinite amount of time. This can be as little as a few months to a couple years, depending on how long it takes to get employment and find a home together!

There are some conditions that must be met before your fiance or wife can stay in America using this visa. You both must have lived apart for at least six months (this can be backpacking across Europe or living in two different states), she/he must intend to marry you at a future date, and you must believe that they will play a significant role in raising any children you might have.

If all these things are true then your fiancé or spouse can apply for a K-1 visa from here. Read more about the process here.

The thing about a K-1 visa is that it is very hard to reject it. If someone learns that you have one, there are not too many ways to stop your loved one from coming into the country. It is best to be honest when asked if they are married, but don’t say anything else unless you are sure it is allowed.