K1 Visa: Everything You Need to Know
A K1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows a U.S. citizen's fiancé to enter the United States for up to 90 days.8 min read
If you wish to sponsor a fiancé and are a US citizen, there are several requirements that you must meet in order for them to be allowed into the country. One of the requirements is the minimum income requirement. This lets the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) know that you have the means to take care of yourself and foreign national when they are not able to work due to their legal requirements.
What Is a K-1 Visa?
The K-1 visa is a type of visa that is issued to the fiancé or fiancée of a United States citizen. If you have fallen in love with a citizen from another country and wish to get married to them in the US, this is the type of visa to apply for.
The K-1 visa allows the foreign national to move to the United States and wed their US citizen sponsor within 90 days of arriving in the United States. After the marriage, the foreign national can apply for a green card to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States. It cuts down the time the spouse-to-be would have spent trying to get a green card through marriage or an immigrant visa to stay in the country permanently. Eligible children usually receive K-2 visas.
Sources of Income to Include
There are several sources of income that are eligible for inclusion during the application for the K-1 visa. The sponsor must have an income level of at least 100% of the set HHS federal poverty guidelines. Here are some sources that are eligible when filing Form 1-129F (The Petition for Alien Finance).
- Taxable interest
- Salary, hourly wages, and tips
- Ordinary dividends
- Welfare benefits
- Any type of business income
- Alimony or any child support payments
- Capital gains from investments
- Cash from all types of rental properties
- Taxable IRA pensions, retirement benefits, distributions, and annuities
- Workers' disability and compensation
- Unemployment compensation
- Taxable Social Security SSI benefits
Do not include public benefits such as Medicaid, unemployment benefits, SSL, CHIP, and food stamps in the list of income sources.
What if I Can't Meet the Minimum Income Requirements?
If your income is not stable earnings, you may be able to get a co-signer to help you qualify for the requirement. A co-signer is a person who agrees to be responsible for maintaining your foreign fiancé if you are unable to pay their debts before they are legally allowed to work in the country. Having a co-signer may increase your chances of being approved for this step, especially if much of your income does not pass the stability clause.
On the other hand, if you have some non-traditional sources of income, such as cryptocurrency and undeclared wealth, that can be accessed, you will need to contact an experienced immigration attorney to give some advice. Here are a few eligible options.
Using Your Assets
To assist you in achieving the minimum income requirement, you may add the cash value of the household's possessions. However, the assets must be valued at least three times the difference between your household's real income and the minimum amount required.
For instance, if your household has four people, and you live in Florida, your required minimum annual income is $34,687. You would need to make up a gap of $9,687 if the total household income was $25,000. As a result, in order to utilize your assets, their cash value must be at least $29,061, or three times this amount of $9,687.
The list of approved assets includes the property's net value (such as your home, boat, or car), cash in a savings account, bonds, shares in a company, and stocks. You just need to list enough to plug the gap left by the mainstream sources of income and business deductions. Otherwise, you can list as much as you wish to show your financial capabilities.
Having a Joint Sponsor
Another approach to satisfy the K-1 Visa Income Requirements is to have a joint sponsor. Any qualified individual who is willing to take on the "legal obligation" to accept the financial responsibility of joint sponsorship of your future spouse is a joint sponsor. The individual must fulfill the same criteria as you, including achieving the 125% income level. However, it should be noted that it is not a must that the joint sponsor should be a family member.
This can be helpful for people who are ineligible for whatever reason, such as those who are enrolled in college or who are unemployed for another cause and unable to find full-time employment.
How to File K-1 Visa Income Requirements
To file K-1 Visa Income Requirements, you need to compile your income information for the past year and submit it to the USCIS. You will need to provide your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) as well as your total income. The USCIS will use this information to determine if you meet the K-1 Visa Income Requirements.
The US citizen fiancé often submits two copies of the income statements to meet the K-1 visa's income requirement. Its first copy is submitted during the consular process when bringing the engaged person to the United States and the next during the K-1 adjustment process.
Here are the two forms submitted in the fiancé visa process.
I-134 Support Affidavit
The first income document required for entry into the US of a beneficiary fiancé or future spouse from another nation is the I-134 Affidavit of Support. This shows that the fiancée will not become a public charge when they come to the United States.
I-864, Affidavit of Support
Once the foreign fiancé is in the US, they need to file an adjustment of status. At this point, they will be asked to file another affidavit of support. This requires form 1-864. It is used to show that the sponsor is able to support the alien fiancé once they become a permanent resident. The threshold for this is higher than that of the 1-134 as it should show that the stable earnings are 25% more than the HHS Federal Poverty guidelines. A joint sponsorship is accepted to fulfill the requirements. An immigration attorney can help check your earnings.
Once you sign the affidavit, you accept legal responsibility for the financial welfare of the spouse until they are granted citizenship or get 40 quarters of social security coverage. You do not escape the obligation, even if you divorce them before attaining the status.
Which Income Counts as "Stable Income"?
While discussing the necessary income to sponsor a K-1 visa, you've certainly observed that the word "steady" is frequently used. Stable means that you have sufficient income can be relied upon to provide financial support to the fiancé. The majority of the revenue sources given are recurring in nature.
Reoccurring inflow is regarded as stable gross earnings because of the frequency of payments can be predicted. It is not a one-time fee for a task. However, it might be prudent to speak with a marriage lawyer if you want to use the revenue that cannot be regarded as stable during the application process.
Fiancé Visa Denials
The K-1 category used to be one of the easiest nonimmigrant visas to obtain. Immigration agents are now carefully investigating K-1 visa applications due to the present administration's recent revisions to immigration law and cases of suspected misuse.
The approval rate for fiancée visas was over 99% up until 2015, but it began to decline sharply to 80% in 2016. It was reduced to 66% by 2018. The latest recent data for 2022, however, indicate a 41% approval rate. This requires the two parties to work together to guarantee compliance when the petition is filed. Some leading reasons for a K-1 visa denial include the following:
- Any conviction for either of the parties
- Failure to show sufficient proof of meeting the K-1 Visa Income Requirements and other financial reasons, such as lack of stable gross earnings
- Any past violation of immigration laws
- Having filed two K-1 visas in the past. The law limits K-1 visa applications to just two
- Where the beneficiary has a contagious disease that is likely to threaten public health
- Prove that one or more of the previous marriages were not legally terminated
- Falsifying any supporting evidence. You could get prosecuted in addition to a denial for this
- If you fail to comply with the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act, where applicable
Current Income Rates for Eligibility
The minimum yearly stable income thresholds for K-1 visa applicants fluctuate. The following are the minimum requirements for a fiancé visa as of 2021:
- A family of two or more must make $17,240 annually
- A family of three or more must make $21,720 per year
- A family of four or more must make $26,200 per year
Your required annual income will increase by $4,480 for each additional person. Keep in mind that the standards are different for people who are in the military earning retirement benefits and for individuals who reside in Alaska or Hawaii. Please check the Department of Social Services website for the most current information.
How to Prove Income Requirements Are Met
If you claim that you satisfy the K-1 Visa Income Requirements, you must prove it with documentary evidence. You must file Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, for your application to be approved. This form's purpose is to show that the K-1 recipient won't need government assistance to support themselves while they are in the country.
To achieve the K-1 income standards, some citizens rely on their family members. You may choose a close friend or household member to co-sponsor you if you don't meet the requirements. This person must consent to support your foreign-born fiancé financially until they are able to maintain themselves.
Here is a set of documents required when filing a K-1 Visa in the US and a foreign country.
- Complete the online nonimmigrant visa application form (DS-160). To bring to your interview, you must: (1) finish Form DS-160; and (2) print the DS-160 confirmation page
- A passport credible for travel to the United States and has a validity date of not less than six months longer than the length of time you plan to spend there (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions)
- Certificate of birth
- Divorce or death certificates for you and the US citizen sponsoring fiancé former spouses (or proof that you were not legally married to them)
- Police clearances from the nation where you currently reside as well as any other nation you have called home for at least six months since you were 16 (Police certificates are also required for accompanying children age 16 or older)
- A body inspection of the applicant
- Proof of financial assistance (Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, ) (Can include benefits such as VA benefits)
- income tax return
- Two photographs (they must meet
- Proof of relationship with the fiancé (Both parties may be asked to provide proof)
The consular officer may ask for any other evidence as it may require to meet the requirements of income eligibility or any other relating to any of the parties. The embassy or consular office has the power to deny any applicant a K-1 visa for any reason beyond the income requirement. Consult an experienced immigration lawyer on the process and filing of the above documents.
You will find more information on the process, documents, and related information about income eligibility for K-1 applicants and visa sponsors from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the local consular office. You can also access the information from their respective websites. Consider hiring a lawyer to guide you through the process, as the rates of rejections have gone up in the recent past. Take a look at our page for immigration attorney fees for this type of services. You can also find lots of other information, such as HHS poverty guidelines, on the internet among the related government agencies.
K-1 Visa FAQs
Who is eligible for a K-1 visa?
The k-1 visa is offered to foreign fiancés of American citizens to enable them to get married in the country. They must marry within not more than 90 days of coming to the US and apply for a green card marriage.
What are some sources of income that you list when applying for a K-1 visa?
Taxable interest, salary, hourly wages, tips, ordinary dividends, and any type of business income. You can also include alimony or any child support payments, capital gains from investments, income from all types of rental properties, and taxable IRA pensions, distributions, and annuities.