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What does love mean for couples who are in long-distance relationships halfway around the globe?

For couples in long-distance relationships, love usually means one of them moves to the United States to take the relationship to the next level. This move is made possible through the K visa, which allows a U.S. citizen (USC) to petition for his or her fiancé(e) or spouse, the fiancé(e)’s the unmarried minor child (K-2), and the spouse’s unmarried minor child (K-4) to enter the United States.

The K-1 visa permits the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) to travel to the United States and marry his or her U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival. The foreign-citizen will then apply for adjustment of status to a permanent resident (LPR) with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Because a fiancé(e) visa permits the holder to immigrate to the U.S. and marry a U.S. citizen shortly after arrival in the United States, the fiancé(e) must meet some of the requirements of an immigrant visa. Eligible children of K-1 visa applicants receive K-2 visas.

However, processing a K visa petition requires mental acuity and endless patience. There are many documents to complete and varing waiting periods for the completion and approval of the steps toward obtaining the visa. Throughout the whole process, both the petitioner and beneficiary must demonstrate that they have a bona fide romantic relationship.

The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA) amended and supplemented Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires that petitioner of a K-1 or K-3 visa disclose, as part of this petition, information of any criminal convictions for specific crimes. The USCIS guidance provides that if the petitioner has been convicted of any of the specific crimes listed on the INA, or if the USCIS learns of the petitioner’s convictions, he or she is required to submit certified copies of all court and police records showing the charges and dispositions of every conviction. If the petition is approved, the U.S. Department of State will disclose this information to the beneficiary during the consular interview.

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