Family-Based Immigrant Visas and the K1 Visa

Canadians who wish to immigrate to the U.S. and have a close relative who is a U.S. Citizen may also obtain an immigrant visa or a K1 visa. The most common types of visas in this category of immigrant visa applications made by U.S. Citizen spouses of Canadians, parents of Canadian minor children, adult children of Canadians and fiances of U.S. Citizens.

Applications for these types of visas are initially filed by the U.S. citizen’s petition with the USCIS in the United States. With the exception of the K1 fiance visa, the application is then sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) which prepares the case for its ultimate adjudication by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Canada.

K1 visa petitions are for U.S. Citizens who have a foreign national fiance who they have met in person in the last two years. The K1 visa is a non-immigrant visa which allows the Canadian fiance to enter the U.S. for a period of 90 days for the purpose of marrying the U.S. Citizen. Once the K1 visa holder enters the U.S. he or she must marry the U.S. Citizen petition within 90 days and then apply to Adjust his or her status to that of a lawful permanent resident. The K1 visa is an attractive option for some couples because it is often processed faster than an immigrant visa based on marriage and allows the couple to marry in the United States if that is desired. The K1 also does not have to go through NVC processing which further shortens processing times.