Can a Green Card Holder Invite a Fiance to the U.S.? What You Need To Know About The K-1 Visa

Can a Green Card Holder Invite a Fiance to the U.S.? What You Need To Know About The K-1 Visa

Getting married and starting a life together in the United States requires navigating the fiance visa process if one partner is a U.S. citizen and the other is a foreign national. A K-1 fiance visa ensures your arrival and marriage in the U.S. goes smoothly.

We are often asked, “Can a green card holder petition for a fiance visa?” Unfortunately, the answer is no. 

Only U.S. citizens can petition for K-1 fiance visas for their foreign fiances.

However, we can discuss your options and guide you through the fiance visa process. With the correct information and legal support, you and your fiance can obtain a green card and live together in the U.S.

K-1 Visa Fiance Application

What Is a Fiance Green Card?

A fiance green card, also called a fiance visa or legally a K-1 visa, allows the foreign fiance of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States to get married.

The K-1 visa itself is temporary, but once married, the foreign fiance can apply to adjust status and obtain a two-year conditional green card. The K-1 fiance visa is only given to fiances living outside the United States.

The process has two main steps:

  1. The U.S. citizen petitioner files for a K-1 fiance visa. Once approved, the foreign fiance can enter the U.S.
  2. After marrying (within 90 days of arriving in the U.S.), the foreign fiance applies for permanent residence. After two years of conditional status, they can apply to have conditions removed and obtain a 10-year green card.

Eligibility Requirements

In addition to one of you being a U.S. Citizen and getting married within 90 days of arriving in the U.S., the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has other eligibility requirements for the K-1 visa. For the sake of clarity, the requirements will be listed from the viewpoint of the U.S. citizen petitioning for their foreign national fiance:

  • Neither you nor your fiance is currently married. Both you and your fiance must be single. If either of you were previously married, you must present evidence that you are legally separated from the previous partner. This evidence could be divorce documentation, death certificate, or annulment papers.
  • You and your fiance have met in person during the two years since filing your petition. USCIS does make exceptions for religious, social, or cultural practices or in cases of extreme hardship.
  • You can legally marry in the United States.

You must also prove that your relationship and engagement are bona fide, which translates to “good faith.” To prove your relationship is authentic and that you will get married in the first 90 days of arrival, you can present documents such as:

  • Photos, videos, or visual documents proving your relationship
  • Proof of correspondence
  • Written testimonies from people in your lives
  • Receipts for a wedding venue and wedding plans
  • Invitations
  • Documentation of wedding plans

Although these documents are not all required, they may help strengthen your petition.


To get a K-1 green card, you need to file Form I-129F. The petition will allow you to marry your fiance and obtain the official fiance visa green card. The costs of the process are as follows:

Form / ServiceFee
Form I-129F$535
Form DS-160 for temporary travel and K-1 visas$265
Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust StatusTypically $1,140
Biometrics fee, if applicable$85
TotalMinimum $2,025

A marriage-based visa costs $1760 if your spouse lives in the U.S. or $1200 if they live overseas. However, a marriage-based visa often has a longer processing time.

At this time, the average wait time is about 21 months for form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, which is the first step for getting your spouse a green card. In contrast, for Form I-129F, the average wait time is 13.4 months.

However, this will vary depending on your processing center. For example, at the Texas Service Center, Form I-129F has a 17-month waiting period, and Form I-130 has a 14-month waiting period. You can check current processing times with the USCIS Processing Times Calculator.

Additionally, you’ll have to consider where you want to have your wedding. The benefit of Form I-129F is you can have your wedding in the U.S. If you plan to file a Form I-130, your spouse will need a different visa for the U.S., or you will have to have the wedding elsewhere.

Here’s an additional breakdown of the differences between a fiance visa and a spouse visa:

Fiance VisaMarriage Visa
For fiances of U.S. citizensFor spouses of U.S. citizens or permanent residents
Must marry within 90 daysAlready married
On average, shorter processing timeOn average, longer processing time
Lower costHigher cost
2-year conditional green cardPermanent 10-year green card

Our team at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. can help determine the best option for you and your fiance based on your circumstances, preferences, and financial situation.

The K-1 Nonimmigrant Visa Process

If you and your fiance decide the K-1 visa is the best route, here is an overview of the process:

  1. File Form I-129F with USCIS. Form I-129F is the fiance visa petition.
  2. Once approved, your fiance can apply for a K-1 visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. They will need to complete Form DS-160 and have an interview.
  3. Upon approval of the K-1 visa, your fiance can enter the U.S.
  4. You must get married within 90 days of your fiance’s arrival.
  5. After marrying, file Form I-485 to adjust your fiance’s status to permanent resident. Your fiance will receive a 2-year conditional green card.
  6. Before the conditional green card expires, file Form I-751 to remove conditions and obtain a permanent 10-year green card.

Can a Green Card Holder Invite a Fiance Here in the U.S.?

The only way to petition for a fiance visa is if one partner is a U.S. citizen and the other is a foreign national. You need to be a U.S. citizen and not a U.S. permanent resident. However, if your fiance is a green card holder currently petitioning for citizenship, you have more options. But you must wait until the lawful permanent resident partner obtains their citizenship before moving forward with the fiance visa.

No visas currently allow a foreign national engaged to a lawful permanent resident to petition for a fiance visa.

What to Do If You Are a Permanent Resident Marrying a Foreigner

If neither you nor your fiance are U.S. citizens, and one of you is a lawful permanent resident (green card holder), you have limited options for getting married in the United States.

There are three main options:

  1. Wait until the permanent resident obtains U.S. citizenship, then apply for a K-1 fiance visa. This is the most straightforward path.
  2. Get married outside the U.S., then the permanent resident petitions for their spouse by filing Form I-130. The spouse must wait abroad for a visa to become available.
  3. Marry in the U.S. while the foreign fiance is on a tourist visa, then depart the U.S. before the visa expires. However, this option carries risks, as immigration officials could suspect immigration fraud.

The laws limit a permanent resident’s ability to petition for a foreign fiance. Each case is unique, so it’s best to consult an immigration attorney to understand the options and risks of your particular situation.

Contact an Immigration Attorney Today

The experienced immigration attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. are here to support you through the process of obtaining your fiance visa. Engagement and marriage are exciting times in life, and we want to make your transition to the United States as seamless as possible. Contact us at 312-444-1940 or fill out an online form today.

For questions and/or to arrange a consultation with one of our attorneys contact us now

We're looking forward to hearing from you!