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Settling Down in Manchester as a Nigerian

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US K-1 Visa – Join Your Fiance In The States

You can easily become a US permanent resident if your fiance or fiancee is a US citizen or permanent resident. To achieve this, you can apply for a US K-1 Visa. It’s a non-immigrant visa and one of the most valuable US visa routes for getting a green card.

In this WorldTravelPride post, you’ll find all the information you need to apply for and obtain this visa. Read on.

What Is The K-1 Visa?

The US K-1 nonimmigrant visa is issued to a foreign-born fiancé(e) of a US citizen so that they may travel to the US to marry their partner. If you are a citizen of the United States, you can legally marry your foreign spouse and bring them to the country to live with you permanently. 

Your fiancé or fiancée must enter the United States no later than 90 days before the wedding. When you are married, your fiancé or fiancée – now husband or wife – can change their status to that of a lawful permanent resident.

The K-1 visa is only available to US residents; green card holders cannot apply for or utilize this visa. It’s also for people who are engaged but not yet married and planning to tie the knot in the United States within the next three months.

No one should apply for a US K-1 visa if they are already married or plan to be married outside of the United States. The visa is issued to non-immigrants and is, therefore, only valid for a short period. But after that, it’s easy to become a permanent resident and even a citizen. 

The US K-1 visa application process involves multiple steps that both partners must complete. The foreign fiancé(e) will be able to visit the US only after their visa application is approved.

The foreign spouse may have to leave the United States if they don’t get married within 90 days of arrival. The K-1 visa becomes invalid and is not renewable after 90 days.

US K-1 Visa Eligibility Requirements

The first requirement of the K-1 visa is for the petitioner to be a US citizen. Hence, if you’re the one filing the petition to bring your fiance(e) to the United States, you’ll need to show proof of citizenship. A passport, birth certificate, or other documents that show you’re a US citizen is acceptable.

The USCIS demands more eligibility requirements for the foreign-born fiance. Importantly, each person in the relationship must qualify as a “fiancé(e)” under U.S. immigration law.

The US citizen and their foreign partner must be free to get married under their respective countries’ laws to get a US K-1 visa. Both couples must prove that no past marriages exist between them, either by death, divorce, or annulment.

It’s also important that the state’s laws allow for marriages between two people of different genders to take place there. Partners should have met face-to-face during the last two years. Nonetheless, USCIS may make an exception to this rule if the couple can show that great poverty or cultural barriers prohibited them from meeting in person. 

K-1 Visa Income Requirements

The United States government requires U.S. citizens to prove that they earn more than enough money to provide for themselves and their fiance’s basic living expenses. It’s to ensure that you and your partner can maintain a living standard above the poverty line with your current income.

An Affidavit of Support, Form I-134, must be submitted, and the USCIS will use the information on the form data to verify eligibility. It’s similar to the Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) submitted with a green card application based on a family relationship. The income requirement for the I-864 is 125% of the federal poverty line, but the requirement for the I-134 is 100%.

Required Documents For US K-1 Visa Application

You and your fiancé must submit paperwork to the U.S. consulate handling your case. Be sure to comply with the embassy’s notice’s precise instructions for submitting these papers. Notably, the documents required are different for the petitioner and beneficiary.

Documents Required for the U.S. Citizen 

  • Form I-134, Affidavit of Support. The Affidavit of Support is legally binding and states that U.S. citizen will use their wealth to help their foreign fiancé avoid future reliance on government handouts. 
  • Tax reports filed in the most recent tax year. Although only your most recent return is required, including returns for the prior three years is strongly recommended. 
  • Paper trail of your engagement to a foreigner. You must submit a copy of the initial Form I-129F application accepted by the USCIS. 

Documents Required for the Foreign Fiance

  • A pair of passport-sized photographs 
  • Proof of your legitimate birth, as shown on your birth certificate 
  • Copies of police clearance forms from every country you’ve lived in for more than six months since you turned 16 
  • A medical history and examination report, if mandatory for your country. The doctor who conducts your immigration medical checkup will give you this report.

US K-1 Visa Application Fees

You pay different fees for your US K-1 visa application. The fees include:

  • Form I-129F application fee: $535
  • Consulate processing fee (at the embassy or consulate): $265
  • Form I-485: $1,140

If you need to submit biometrics, you’ll pay an $85 fee. In addition, you may have to pay extra fees for your medical exam.

How To Apply for the US K-1 Visa

There are five stages to complete when applying for the US K-1 visa, beginning with the petition and ending with permanent residency. The procedure starts with the US citizen petitioning for a K-1 visa through the USCIS.

They must submit Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) on Form I-129F to the local USCIS service center inside the US. The point is to prove that you and your fiance are serious about getting married.

To verify the authenticity of your relationship, you will provide the necessary documentation mentioned previously. When USCIS approves your I-129F application, it will send the paperwork to the National Visa Center (NVC). 

Once the NVC receives your approved petition, they will inform your fiance to submit a visa application. Additionally, your fiance must schedule an appointment with a consular officer at the US embassy or consulate in their country of residence.

The US K-1 visa can take anywhere from weeks to months to process. There is no hard and fast rule on how long it takes to process. If you’re having the wedding in the United States, you should allow a few extra months to prepare for potential delays.

You will receive a sealed visa packet once your K-1 visa application is approved. Please do not rip open this package, as the border control officers conducting your inspection at the border will require it. You may be unable to enter the US if the package is open.

K-1 Visa Interview 

The National Visa Center will notify you of the specific U.S. consulate or embassy where you will have your visa interview. With an approved petition, the interview should be quick and easy.

Typically, the consular officer who interviews you for a visa will decide the same day you meet with them. After the interview, you may need to submit further documentation, depending on the circumstances.

US K-1 Visa Validity

The first K-1 visa is valid for four months, with an additional two months available for extension. Despite the K-1 visa’s potential validity, you must get married within 90 days of your fiance entering the United States.

You will lose your K-1 visa status if you do not. It’s best to return to your country immediately if you don’t plan to marry rather than stay in the US until the visa expires.

Except for a green card through marriage, you cannot switch your immigration status from a K-1 visa to any other category. Additionally, you cannot use your K-1 visa to marry anybody other than the U.S. citizen with whom you filed Form I-129F.

Following the wedding, the foreign spouse can apply for permanent residency or adjustment of status by filing Form I-485 and the necessary supporting documentation.

Can You Work on a US K-1 Visa? 

Yes. Filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (EAD), can get you authorized to work in the United States as soon as you arrive on a K-1 visa.  You should expect a processing time of 1-2 months from USCIS, and your work visa will only be valid within the first 90 days after you arrive in the country.

You can only get a lengthier work authorization after you get married. To do so, you can apply for the same Form I-765 or apply for Form I-485 to become a permanent resident.

Can You Bring Your Family to the US on a K-1 Visa? 

Yes. If your children are under 21 and unmarried, they are welcome to join you in the United States. You can include them on Form I-129F, and if they meet the requirements, they will be issued K-2 visas simultaneously with your K-1 visa.

For your children to be eligible for admission to the United States as K-2 nonimmigrants with you, they must remain unmarried and under the age of 21. Your kids can come in with you or afterward, but they can’t enter the country beforehand.

Once you have married your U.S. citizen fiance while on a K-1 visa, your parents and siblings can join you in applying for permanent residency.

Which Is Better – K-1 Visa or Spouse Visa?

The US spouse visa, also known as the marriage-based green card, is similar to the K-1 visa. A Marriage-Based Green Card allows a person from a foreign country who is married to a U.S. citizen or Green card holder to move to the United States, live, and work anywhere in the United States.

The green card holder will have “permanent resident” status and can apply for U.S. citizenship, for which they will be eligible after three years. Hence, both K-1 and Spouse visas lead to permanent residency.

The difference is that the K-1 visa is for non-married partners who want to marry in the US. On the other hand, the Spouse visa is for married partners. In comparison, settling in the US on a Spouse visa is easier.

Why Do K-1 Visas Get Denied?

The USCIS will tell you why your US K-1 Visa application was unsuccessful. From their reasons, you can decide on what to do next. However, a petition for a K-1 visa could be denied for a variety of reasons, including:

  • The petitioner does not have the required qualifications.
  • The r foreign national does not meet the requirements.
  • Some questionable or deceptive activity exists in the relationship.
  • The American citizen’s annual salary is below the threshold for eligibility.
  • The partners have not seen one other in over two years

The U.S. citizen and foreign national must be single and in good standing with USCIS (USCIS) for an application to be successful.

Another reason the petition can be unsuccessful is if the consular officer suspects the foreign person is using marriage to illegally enter the country or get permanent residency. Both parties must have sufficient income, and they must have had a face-to-face meeting during the previous two years.

Bottom Line

Let us know in the comments section if you have any questions or further inquiries about applying for the US K-1 Visa,

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UK Global Talent Visa – Route For Career Professionals

The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa has been replaced by the UK Global Talent Visa. This is a way for scientists, researchers, and other qualified foreigners to live and work in the UK.

The route makes it faster to become a permanent resident, making it an attractive visa for eligible professionals. Find out what you need to know about the visa in this post.

What is a UK Global Talent Visa?

The UK Global Talent Visa is an exclusive immigrant visa for leaders or potential leaders in specific professional fields. These fields include digital technology, arts and culture, and academia or research.

You usually need to get an endorsement from an approved UK endorsing body to apply for this visa. You can only apply without an endorsement if you have an eligible award.

The procedure for applying for a UK Global Talent Visa is slightly different for the different eligible professional fields.

In many ways, the Global Talent Visa is one of the best routes to settling in the UK as a foreigner. The visa lasts for five years, after which you can apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Indefinite leave to remain is how you become a permanent resident in the UK. You may even be able to apply after residing three years in the country on a Global Talent visa. It depends on your professional field.

Eligibility Requirements for the UK Global Talent Visa

You can apply for the Global Talent Visa if you get an endorsement from an approved endorsing body or have an eligible award. The eligibility requirements depend on your professional field.

Academia or research

You can get an endorsement for the Global Talent Visa if you’re an academic or research leader in:

  • science
  • medicine
  • engineering
  • humanities

Furthermore, you must have an eligible job offer to work in your field or be part of an individual fellowship. In addition, you’re eligible if you have a grant worth £30,000 approved by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

You can check the list of eligible awards without any of the above. You can apply if you possess any award in the field.

Arts and Culture

The arts and culture category is the broadest of all. It accommodates a long list of arts and cultural fields, but the major ones include:

  • combined arts, dance, literature, music, theatre, or visual arts
  • architecture
  • fashion design
  • film and television, including animation, post-production, and visual effects

To qualify as an arts and culture leader, you must have been active for the past five years. You must have works performed, sold, or published internationally – in at least two countries. 

Also, your works must have an “outstanding” rating by the UK Arts Council England judges, RIBA, British Fashion Council judges, or Producers’ Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT) – depending on your field.

Alternatively, you can apply if you own any award in the Global Talent: arts and culture prize list.

Digital Technology

The digital technology field has four categories, and they include:

  • financial technology (‘fintech’)
  • gaming
  • cyber security
  • artificial intelligence

You are eligible for endorsement via the digital technology field even if you have no job offer. Also, you qualify with a technical or business background.

You can check the list of tech roles eligible for the UK Global Talent Visa. Like the other fields, you can apply directly, without endorsement, if you have an eligible award.

However, the digital technology field accommodates only two awards – the ACM Prize in Computing Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Turing Award.

Global Talent Visa Required Documents

As you’d expect, the UK Global Talent Visa requires detailed documentation. The documents you need will depend on your field. Nevertheless, here’s a rundown of the essential documents you need:

  • An international passport or any other valid travel document to prove your nationality and identity.
  • Written permission from the awarding body if you apply directly with an award.
  • Proof of your work as a leader or potential leader in your professional field.
  • A letter from your employer if you need an eligible job offer.
  • Fellowship award letter if you’re applying with an individual fellowship membership.
  • Proof of grant worth £30,000 if you’re applying with UK Research and Innovation endorsement.
  • Three letters of recommendation if you’re applying as a leader in arts and culture or digital technology.
  • Up to ten pieces of evidence to prove your talent or promise if you’re applying as a leader in arts and culture.
  • Your CV if you’re applying as a leader in digital technology.

As mentioned, the above is a rundown of the documents you’ll need to present. Due to the intricacy of the UK Global Talent Visa, most of the documents you’ll submit are subjective to your circumstance.

As a result, the UKVI may request more documents than what’s listed above. When applying for such a visa, you can hire the services of a skilled UK immigration lawyer to help you prepare your documentation. 

Global Talent Visa Application Fees

The UK Global Talent Visa has two application stages. First, you apply for endorsement, and second, you apply for the visa itself. As a result, you pay two processing fees.

Application for endorsement costs £456 while applying for the visa itself costs £167. In total, you pay £623.

You have to pay the complete £623 if you’re applying with an eligible award, even though you won’t be applying for endorsement.

The processing fee is the same for any dependent you bring to the UK. Each person must pay £623 for their application.

Nevertheless, the UK Global Talent Visa doesn’t demand that you meet specific financial requirements before entering the UK.

The other fee you’ll pay for the visa is the healthcare surcharge. You and your dependents must pay £624 per year as long as you stay in the UK under the Global Talent Visa.

The healthcare surcharge is mandatory because you can’t access most public benefits like public funds in the UK. You only stop paying the surcharge when you become a UK permanent resident.

How To Apply For The UK Global Talent Visa

The Global Talent Visa application has two stages. The first stage is the application for endorsement, while the second is the application for the visa itself.

Application For Endorsement

How you apply for endorsement will depend on your professional field. Generally, you’ll apply with the UK Home Office, and they will send your application to the endorsing body for review.

It takes around two weeks for the endorsing body to review your application and give you a decision. The two weeks turnaround time is a fast track. It’s only available for applicants with a position in academia or research or if you have received a fellowship or a grant for your own research.

If not, you will have to wait for around five weeks as your application will be peer-reviewed. You can only proceed to apply for the Global Visa if you have a positive verdict on your endorsement application. Otherwise, your visa application will be void by default.

Application For The Visa

You can apply for the UK Global Talent visa within three months after receiving your endorsement. In addition, the organization endorsing you must not have withdrawn its approval.

The Global Talent Visa application is online, and you must have all your documents ready. You can apply for the visa even if you’re not in your home country. The UK Home Office will process your visa if you have legal permission to reside for at least six months in the country you’re applying from.

It’s also possible to apply for the Global Talent Visa at a visa application center. However, you must first check that the visa application center close to you accepts such applications – not all do.

If you’re in the UK, you’ll need to apply for a visa switch rather than a fresh visa application. Application for switching to a UK Global Talent Visa is the same as extending your visa validity upon expiring.

At the start of your application, you must prove your identity. You can submit your fingerprints and photograph (biometrics) or scan your ID with the UK Immigration ID Check app.

How you verify your identity will determine how you get your residence permit. For example, you get a biometric residence permit if you submit your fingerprints and photograph at a visa application center.

After completing the online application, you may need to attend an appointment. The visa application center (Embassy or Consulate) will retain your documents during this process. Not to worry, you’ll get them all back when the processing is completed.

You’ll get a verdict on your Global Talent Visa within three weeks after submitting your application. Sometimes, your application may take longer, especially if the visa application center needs to verify some of your supporting documents.

Furthermore, you may need to attend an interview where you’ll answer questions about your stance as a leader in your field. Ultimately, you’ll get a physical letter or an email about the verdict of your application. You’ll get instructions on what to do next in the letter or email. 

Duration of the Global Talent Visa

The UK Global Talent Visa lasts for up to five years. Interestingly, it doesn’t have any stay limit, which means you can stay as long as you want in the UK on a Global Talent Visa. You only need to apply for an extension when it expires. 

You apply for an extension of 1 – 5 years – depending on what you want. However, you may not need to apply for an extension when your visa expires. The Global Talent Visa counts as residency, so you can simply apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Depending on your professional field, you can apply after three or five years.

UK Global Talent Visa Extension

You can usually apply to extend your stay in the UK if your endorsement or award is still valid. You must be able to provide proof, such as payslips, that you earned money in your professional field during your time in the United Kingdom.

To extend a Global Talent visa from within or outside the United Kingdom, you must pay a £623 processing fee. The UK Global Talent Visa extension application takes around eight weeks to process. You can get a faster decision if you pay for priority or super-priority processing.

Dependents

If they are eligible, your partner and children can apply to join you or to remain in the UK as your dependants. The following family members are eligible:

  • Your spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner
  • Your child under the age of 18
  • Your child over the age of 18 who is currently residing in the UK as your dependent

When applying, you will be required to provide evidence of your relationship. For your partner, you must be able to provide proof that you either: are in a recognized civil partnership or marriage or have lived together for at least two years.

If your child is older than 16, you must prove that they reside with you, are not married, in a civil partnership, or supporting any children. 

Each dependent must pay the £623 application fee and healthcare surcharge. They can apply from outside or inside the UK. If they apply from inside the UK, they’ll be switching visa status.

Your dependents can also extend their stay with you when their visa expires.

Bottom Line

The UK Global Talent Visa is undoubtedly ideal for non-British nationals who want to immigrate to the UK to work or find employment in particular industries. Hopefully, this guide will make your application easier.