The K-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows the foreign fiancé of an American citizen to travel to the United States in order to get married. But you may be wondering, “What are the requirements for a K-1 visa?”. 

This article will provide clear assistance on filing the I-129F, Petition for Alien fiancé; the DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application; and, the G-1145, Electronic Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance. 

Of course, when in doubt, it’s best to consult a legal professional. If you require additional assistance, you can post a new job on UpCounsel to get legal help

K-1 Visa documents checklist

A K1 visa, also known as the fiancé visa, is required for the fiancé of a U.S. citizen to enter the country. If approved, both parties must get married within 90 days of receiving the K-1 visa. Afterwards, the spouse of the U.S. citizen can apply for a marriage green card. 

So what are the requirements for a fiancé visa? Below, we’ve listed the key K1 visa requirements.

It’s important for you to prepare the following mandatory documents and complete this K-1 visa checklist. 

  • Passports for both parties
  • One passport-style photo for the U.S. citizen
  • Two passport-style photos for the sponsored fiancé
  • Proof of United States citizenship for the U.S. citizen
  • Birth certificate for the sponsored fiancé
  • Evidence that both parties met within two years of applying for the K-1 visa
  • Intent of marriage statements from both parties
  • Police clearance for the sponsored fiancé
  • Sealed medical exam for the sponsored fiancé
  • Tax returns of the U.S. citizen fiancé
  • Affidavit of Support (Form I-134), submitted by the U.S. citizen fiancé
  • Form I-94, also known as the Arrival/Departure Record (This is issued by the Department of Homeland Security to people who are admitted to the United States, adjusting status while in the United States, and for an extension to stay in the country)

Below is an additional K-1 visa documents checklist that some applicable applicants may be required to present. It’s up to the applicant to assess whether the below documents are required: 

What is considered valid proof of a relationship?

During the process, you’ll likely be asked to submit proof of your relationship. The following items are considered valid:

Documentation Examples
Photos that show the two of you together Instagram photos of date nights, pictures of outings
Testaments from family and friends Signed letters that confirm the relationship, the contact information of associated acquaintances
Constant and consistent communications with one another Chat logs, text messages, emails

K1 processing times

There are a few factors that can affect K1 processing times, such as whether you’ve submitted enough information and your country’s individual embassy.

Regardless, here’s what you can typically expect for how long it will take for your K1 visa to be processed:

Country Average wait time
Canada 8 months
China 3 months
India 5 months
Philippines 16 months
Russia 6 months
Ukraine 3 months
United Kingdom 6 months

Still wondering how long your application will take—particularly if you’ve applied for a K3 visa? We’ve covered spouse visa processing times.

Additionally, check out our article for information on fiancé visa costs.

Petition for Alien Fiancé (Form I-129F checklist)

The U.S. fiancé must also go through the process of filing form I-129F, also known as the Petition for Alien fiancé.

In order to file form I-129F, you will need to provide the following:

  • Photographs
  • Proof of your U.S. citizenship
  • Proof of intent to marry from both parties
  • Proof of divorce from both parties
  • Proof that both parties have met in person within two years before filing form I-129F
  • Completed form G-28 (only if you are represented by a lawyer or an accredited representative)
  • Certified English translations of any non-English documents

Going through this process involves the following:

  1. Submitting the I-129F form to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form cannot be filed with the U.S. Embassy, Consulate, or a USCIS office abroad.
  2. After form I-129F has been approved, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC), where you will be provided with a case number. 
  3. The NVC will then send your petition to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where your foreign fiancé lives. 

Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160 checklist)

Form DS-160, also known as the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, is the form you’ll use to apply for a temporary visa to visit the United States when you apply for the K-1 visa. 

You must complete this form if you file for a K-1 visa. Any person accompanying the foreign fiancé to the United States must also file their own DS-160. 

This form is only filed online. You can save and return to working on the form online, as many times as you need to. 

In order to complete this form successfully, the foreign fiancé will be required to provide the following information: 

  • Personal information (name, date of birth, marital status, current address, phone number, and email address)
  • Passport or national identification number
  • U.S. Social Security Number or taxpayer ID number
  • Travel plans, including the date of your arrival and departure, and the U.S. address you’re staying at
  • Details of any people traveling with you to the United States (each person traveling with you will also need their own DS-160 form)
  • Any previous travel dates to the United States, as well as the purpose of your travel
  • The contact information of your U.S. fiancé
  • Basic details about your father and mother
  • Occupational experience (current employment, educational background, employment history over the past five years)
  • 25 questions answered related to your security and background
  • A photo to confirm your identity 

Some things to keep in mind when filing this form include the following:

  1. After you’ve provided this information, you’ll be asked to review your application and sign to confirm that all information is accurate to the best of your ability
  2. It’s recommended to print and safely file your confirmation page for your records
  3. There is no fee associated with filing the DS-160 form

Affidavit of Support (Form I-134 checklist)

The U.S. citizen fiancé may also be requested to submit form I-134. 

This form is available on the USCIS website. 

The sponsor is required to submit two or more of the following documents to complete form I-134:

  • Copies of the sponsor’s federal income tax return
  • Statement from the sponsor’s employer showing salary and length of employment
  • The sponsor’s bank statements, along with the date the account was opened and the current balance
  • Any other adequate evidence to establish the financial ability to carry out the sponsor’s undertaking toward the applicant for what might be an indefinite period of time

Form I-134 is to be submitted on the day of the interview. 

Electronic notification (Form G-1145 checklist)

Although the G-1145 form is optional, you should file this if you want the USCIS to notify you electronically that they’ve received your application for immigration. This not only speeds up the rate at which you’re notified, but avoids paper waste and communications getting lost in the mail.

To successfully complete form G-1145, you must provide the following information:

  1. Personal check or money order for $410 (to be sent to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security)
  2. Two passport-style photos (no older than six months)
  3. Original I-765 form signed with a wet ink signature 
  4. Photocopy of the I-765 from the ISSS
  5. Photocopies of previously issues I-20s
  6. Passport copy
  7. Copy of F-1 visa stamp

K-1 Visa Interview checklist and requirements

Wondering what to bring to a K-1 visa interview? 

When you attend your scheduled interview, you must bring the following documents and forms to adhere to the K1 visa rules: 

  • DS-160 form confirmation
  • Form I129F, Petition for Alien fiancé 
  • Form I-797, Notice of Action (petition approval notice)
  • Passport
  • Medical examination
  • Form I-134, Affidavit of Support
  • Two passport-style photos in color
  • Birth certificate
  • Divorce certificate of any previous spouse (if applicable)
  • Police certificate from your country of residence 
  • Evidence of valid relationship with the sponsor, which includes a statement of your intent to marry

If you need help with applying for a K-1 visa, you can post a job on UpCounsel's marketplace and hire a marriage visa lawyer. We work with the top 5% of lawyers, who come from prestigious law schools like Harvard Law and Yale Law, having worked with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.

For more related information and the next steps, you can review UpCounsel’s green card marriage guide.

FAQs about K-1 visa requirements

How much income is needed for a K-1 visa?

In terms of K1 visa requirements, the U.S. citizen fiancé is required to make a minimum of $22,887 for a household of two. There can be additional income requirements, and applicants are encouraged to review the USCIS website. 

How long can you stay on a K-1 visa?

Once the K-1 visa is approved, the foreign fiancé may stay in the United States with the purpose of getting married.

K-1 Visa processing time - how long does it take for a fiancé visa to be approved?

It takes approximately eight months to one year to process a fiancé visa in the United States. You may also be wondering what documents are needed for a fiancé visa. Check out our K-1 interview checklist and our guide to requirements for a K-1 visa interview.

How long do you have to be in a relationship for a K-1 visa?

To apply for a K-1 visa, both parties must have met at least once in the two years of applying for the K-1 visa. There are few exceptions to this rule, such as extreme hardship. This exception is granted on a case-by-case basis. 

How much money do you need in the bank for a K-1 visa?

There are no specific K-1 visa requirements in 2022 for money in a bank account. However, the U.S. citizen fiancé is required to make a minimum of $22,887 for a household of two.

Why do K-1 visas get denied?

The most common reason for K-1 visas being denied is not providing enough proof of relationship for your K-1 visa application. Another possible reason is if you’ve previously been petitioned by another U.S. citizen. 

Does USCIS check social media for K-1 visas?

It’s possible that your social media accounts may be searched for evidence of marriage fraud during the investigation and interview phase. 

Do you need proof of income for a K-1 visa?

Yes. You’ll need to provide bank statements in order to demonstrate that you, the U.S. citizen fiancé, make a minimum of $22,887 for a two-person household. 

What affidavit of support do you need for a K-1 visa?

The U.S. citizen fiancé must provide Form I-134, also known as the Affidavit of Support, as part of the K-1 visa process. 

How long does a K-1 visa interview take?

Interviews conducted by the U.S. Embassy for the purposes of obtaining a K-1 visa typically take an hour and a half to complete. 

Does the petitioner get interviewed for a K-1 visa?

Typically, the U.S. petitioner is not required to attend the interview. 

What should I not bring to a US visa interview?

Individuals should not bring anything outside of the K-1 interview checklist. It’s crucial to especially not bring anything that could compromise your status, such as cigarettes, cigars, matchboxes, lighters, sharp objects, knives, nail files, weapons, or explosive items. 

You should bring for your K-1 visa, evidence of relationship, which should include a statement of your intent to marry. Other items to bring are listed in this article, and can include your passport, medical examination, and so on.

What can be used as proof of relationship?

K-1 visa applicants are encouraged to use pictures, travel itineraries of trips taken during the relationship, letters from family and friends confirming the relationship, and emails or text messages between the two parties to prove the relationship is real. 

What is a K-2 visa?

K-2 visas are linked to K-1 visas, allowing the engaged partner of a U.S. citizen to bring their child to the United States. 

How many K-1 visas end in divorce?

Just under 25% of people who are married through the K-1 visa get divorced before reaching 15 years of marriage. 

How soon can you work after a K-1 visa is approved?

Once the K-1 visa is approved, you’ll need to submit an adjustment of status. It’ll then take approximately one to three months to obtain a work permit. 

What happens if a K-1 Visa expires?

If the K-1 visa expires, then the foreign finance must leave the United States immediately. There’s the possibility that the foreign fiancé may be barred from entering the United States in the future. There are no extensions granted for the K-1 visa. 

Can you apply for a K-1 Visa while in the US?

The foreign fiancé must live outside of the United States when applying for the K-1 visa. 

Can a green card holder file for a fiancé visa?

U.S. green holders cannot apply for a fiancé visa.