For quite some time, meeting a future spouse online is commonplace. This happens for citizens of the same country, and those of differing ones. For unique situations where a United States citizen meets (or even e-meets) someone from another country, and wishes to bring him or her to the U.S. where they can build a life together, they can do so by petitioning for a K-1 visa for their fiancée. However, you need to make sure you follow the K-1 fiancée visa's two year meeting requirement before you apply for the K-1.

If you are a foreign national who is engaged to be married to a United States citizen, you’ll want to ensure you have met the visa requirements in order to receive a K-1 fiancée visa. This way you will be eligible for lawful permanent residence in the U.S.

An essential criterion is that you and your fiancée must meet in person within two years of applying for the K-1 visa, which is the crux of this article.

K-1 Fiancée Visa Background

In order to receive a K-1 visa, the marriage between a U.S. citizen and a foreign national has to be a valid one. The intention for marriage must be bona fide, meaning to establish a future life together for genuine reasons.

A couple seeking to bring their prospective spouse who is a foreign national to the U.S. to get married, must first file a Petition For Alien Fiancée (Form I-129F). Then, within 90 days of the fiancée entering the U.S. the couple must get married. When all criteria are met, the K-1 visa beneficiary (the foreign spouse) can then apply for lawful permanent residence in the U.S. (a green card).

To recapitulate, the purpose of the union must be authentic and cannot be for immigration benefits.

Two-Year Requirement for K-1 Visas

The two-year meeting requirement for K-1 visa applicants is a strict requirement by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for those seeking the visa. The interviewing USCIS officer (or judge) will need substantial evidence that the couple has physically met in person at least one time before their K-1 visa application. 

Here are some ways the couple can document and prove to the interviewing officer they have met face-to-face:

Passport stamps

  • Visa(s) 
  • Entry
  • Exit

Receipts for transportation

  • Flight itineraries
  • Bus tickets
  • Screenshots of Google Maps trips

Receipts for purchases while together

  • Couples retreats
  • Dining
  • Lodging
  • Plays
  • Sporting events
  • Admission to museums
  • Photo albums
  • Additional receipts for purchases made for the significant other, like jewelry 


  • Pictures taken together, in-person
  • Screenshots of any pictures taken together that have been posted on social media
  • Watermarked pictures with dates and times (taken by cameras or mobile phones)
  • Screenshots of the metadata, which includes the timestamp, on mobile phones
  • Pictures with each others’ family and friends, which further validates the couple’s relationship

For the purposes of the two-year requirement, all evidentiary receipts and pictures must have been obtained within 24 months of the K-1 visa petition.

Another K-1 Visa legal requirement worth mentioning is that the U.S. citizen and their foreign fiancée must both be legally available to get married. Meaning, both people must be of age and not currently married to someone else.

Requesting a Two-Year Meeting Requirement Waiver

Obtaining a waiver of the two-year meeting requirement is only possible in extreme circumstances, but is not without disadvantages. 

Such waivers are available in cases where the following hardships would occur:

  • Extreme illness(es)
  • Absolute inability to travel
  • Extreme physical disability
  • Medical condition(s)
  • Hardship on the U.S. citizen, or the foreign national
    • Emotionally 
    • Physically
    • Financially
  • Violation of the foreigner’s strict customs, culturally or socially, especially involving marriage between two people who have met prior to the day of their wedding

Of course, all claims of hardship or custom violation must be proven through detailed evidentiary documentation.

The major disadvantages of requesting the waiver include:

  • Requesting a waiver based on financial hardship diminishes the foreigner’s eligibility for a K-1 visa
  • Requesting a waiver increases the length of K-1 visa petition processing time 

FAQs About K-1 Fiancée Visa’s Two Year Meeting Requirement

How can I apply for a K-1 visa if we have already gotten married?

If you have already gotten married, or plan to do so outside of the United States, your significant other is now ineligible for a K-1 fiancée visa.

If my foreign fiancée is currently married, can he or she still get a K-1 visa?

No, foreign nationals engaged to get married to a U.S. citizen must be eligible for marriage. If they are still married at the time of the application, your case will be denied.

Can I get a K-1 visa if I currently live in the United States?

No, if you are already living legally in the U.S., you are ineligible for a K-1 fiancée visa.

Conclusion of K-1 Fiancée Visa’s Two Year Meeting Requirement

The K-1 visa is commonly referred to as the fiancée visa. It is a nonimmigrant visa status the U.S. government holds for U.S. citizens seeking marriage with their foreign significant other. There are certain stipulations for obtaining the visa, namely a two-year meeting requirement.

Such a couple must provide documentary evidence with their petition that they have met in person within the last two years (24 months).

Foreign fiancés(es) must currently be living in a country other than the U.S., and must be seeking the visa for reasons none other than to build a bona fide life together with the U.S. national. Their case will be denied if the interviewing officer suspects their intentions are merely for the benefit of immigrating to the U.S.

Extreme circumstances may arise, though, which prevent the couple from physically meeting within 24 months. For this reason, a two-year requirement waiver can be requested. Such justifications include extreme hardships imposed on either the petitioner or the foreign beneficiary. For instance, emotional, physical or financial. Similarly, medical conditions, disabilities or customs violations could also hinder their intentions of meeting in person.

As long as the couple can supply the USCIS officer or judge with sufficient evidence that their relationship is authentic, by way of meeting in person (and documenting it via receipts and photos) then they are on their way to obtaining a K-1 visa, and legal status in the United States. They must simply meet all criteria requirements and be forthright in their genuine motives.