K-1 Visa Requirements

US Visa in Thailand

K-1 Visa Requirements

A K-1 or "fiancé visa" allows a foreign fiancé of an American citizen to travel to the United States for the purpose of marriage and immigrating into the country. Securing a K-1 visa requires the American Citizen to petition the US Government by filing Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative and following the procedures as outlined in the K-1 Visa Process. The petitioner must also meet the following requirements:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Have met your soon-to-be spouse in-person within the last two years
  • Both be free to marry. This means your marriage status is either single, divorced, or widowed. If either the petitioner or fiancé has a pending divorce, the K-1 fiancé visa application cannot be filed until the divorce is complete.
  • Demonstrate that you can financially support your fiancé by meeting the most recent US Poverty Guidelines.
  • Have no major criminal history such as being convicted of a serious crime or more than three drug or alcohol-related offenses. If you have, then a waiver could be required.

Once the K-1 Visa process is approved, the beneficiary must travel to the US within 6 months. Upon entry to the US, the marriage must take place within a period of 90 days. Additionally, an Affidavit of Support will be needed to prove that the US Petitioner can financially support their fiancé.

Affidavit of Support

Immigration officials want to ensure that a K-1 fiancé will not become a public charge (welfare recipient) once he or she enters the United States.

When bringing a fiancé from Thailand, the petitioner must accept legal responsibility for financially supporting the fiancé. The petitioner accepts this responsibility and becomes a K-1 sponsor by completing and signing a document called the I-134 Affidavit of Support. If the petitioner’s income is insufficient, a joint sponsor may complete the form, however doing so may lead to additional delays when the application is processed in Thailand.

Income Requirement

Part of the K-1 Visa requirements is to ensure that the petitioner is able to meet the income eligibility requirement in the Affidavit of Support. The Petitioner must show that their income is 125% of the poverty guideline. The chart below shows the current poverty guidelines along with the calculation necessary to determine if a petitioner's income meets the 125% requirement. The numbers typically increase by a small amount each year.

2024 HHS Poverty Guidelines for Immigrant Visa Processing

Persons in Family or Household 48 Contiguous States and D.C. Alaska Hawaii
1 $15,060 $18,810 $17,310
2 $20,440 $25,540 $23,500
3 $25,820 $32,270 $29,690
4 $31,200 $39,000 $35,880
5 $36,580 $45,730 $42,070
6 $41,960 $52,460 $48,260
7 $47,340 $51,190 $54,450
8 $52,720 $65,920 $60,640
For each additional person, add $5,380 $6,730 $6,190

Petitioner for a K-1 Visa who does not meet the K-1 Visa Income Requirement

The K-1 Visa Affidavit of Support requirements does not have a hard and fast formula for qualifying a person as a sponsor. The most weight will be placed on income from current employment and the income shown on the three most recent tax returns. In most cases, a sponsor who is employed and can demonstrate the ability to earn income at or above 125% of the poverty line for the number of persons who will be supported will be found eligible.

Immigration will look at the "whole picture" with regard to financial status if a petitioner does not have sufficient income to meet the K-1 Visa requirements. USCIS will look at assets such as stocks, bonds, bank account balances, real estate, and any businesses owned by the petitioner. For the K-1, assets such as these are only counted at 1/5th of their current market value after subtraction of any debt, mortgages, or liens. Note that applicants may need to present proof of income and assets during the interview phase.

Assets such as these are only counted at 1/5th of their current market value after subtraction of any debt, mortgages, or liens.

Calculating Assets and Income for K-1 Visa

Let's say a petitioner is single and makes $11,500 per year. He owns a home worth $100,000 with an outstanding mortgage in the amount of $50,000. He also has a bank balance of $5,000. The USCIS will likely compute this situation for the I-134 Affidavit of Support:

  • $100,000 - $50,000 = $50,000/5 = $10,000
  • $5,000/5 = $1,000
  • $10,000 + 1,000 = $11,000

We now take this $11,000 and add it to the petitioner's yearly income of $11,500 ($11,500 + $11,000) = $22,500

It is clear that this amount ($22,500) falls below 125% of the 2024 poverty guidelines ($25,550) as the petitioner's yearly income does not meet the necessary standard for supporting two people at 125% of the poverty guidelines.

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