The K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa is a dual-application visa used to bring a foreigner to the United States for the sole purpose of marriage to a U.S. citizen. Both the foreign-born fiancé(e) and the U.S. citizen must apply for the visa; the foreigner is a beneficiary and the citizen is a sponsor. As part of the application process, the U.S. citizen must submit Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, to demonstrate the ability to financially support the beneficiary.
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Affidavit of Support
The fiancé(e) is a non-immigrant visa, meaning that technically, the foreign-born fiancé(e) is coming to the United States temporarily. The marriage must occur in the U.S. within 90 days of the visa's issue date, after which the foreigner's non-immigrant status can be adjusted to conditional immigrant by applying for a green card, or permanent residency. Due to the nature of the temporary visa, the U.S. government requests that the petitioner, or U.S. citizen, provide proof of economic stability by filing Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, with the petition. The government wants to ensure that the beneficiary doesn't become a public charge or use public funds during the visa's 90-day period. The minimum income requirement for the filing is at least 100 per cent of the federal poverty level. The poverty level is set by the federal government and changes annually; current guidelines can be found on Form I-864P, Poverty Guidelines (see Resources).
The U.S. citizen must provide several pieces of evidence to prove his stated income. Bank statements are requested, along with details of accounts, including opening dates, total amount deposited over the course of the previous year and present balances. In addition, the government requests a letter of employment from the citizen's employer, written on letterhead and stating the start date and nature of the job, whether it's permanent or temporary work, and the annual salary. Self-employed petitioners must present a copy of the previous year's income tax filing. If the petitioner has any savings bonds, their serial numbers and amounts must be reported. The government takes into account any real estate, life insurance with cash value, stocks and bonds, valuable personal property and savings that a petitioner has. The government also takes into account any mortgages, other debt and dependents the petitioner is responsible for.
Once married, the spouses may file a petition to change the foreigner's immigration status. When status is adjusted to "conditional immigrant" while waiting for the permanent residency petition to be reviewed, the couple must submit Form I-864 to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Because the foreigner is seeking permanent immigrant status, the government requires the citizen spouse to provide proof of adequate financial support to assure that the immigrant doesn't become a public charge. In this case, minimum income requirements are 125 per cent of the federal poverty level. The petitioner must provide employment information, copies of the most recent year's tax filing and a list of all assets. Financial stability, age, health and education are all taken into account when the government reviews the petition; if it believes it's likely that the immigrant will become a public charge, it will deny the petition.
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