This post was most recently updated on August 26th, 2018
When you have just gotten engaged, a few things happen. Sure the thrill of officially being in a couple is quite overwhelming, but you will soon realize that the next few months are going to be an unwinding road to married life. Worse, if your other half lives abroad. This is where a K-1 visa (Fiance Visa) comes to play
If you’re looking to get married to your fiancé in the US and you are neither a US citizen or resident; what you should be both be looking to acquire is a K1 visa (fiance visa).
What is a K-1 Visa (Fiance Visa)?
A K-1 Visa is a known as a Fiancé visa and is issued to the fiancé or fiancée of a US citizen or resident; it permits them to travel to the United States to marry their intending partner.
While engagement to a U.S. citizen does not automatically guarantee the foreign fiancé/fiancée to a K1 visa; a petition filed by the U.S. sponsor (citizen or resident) will be considered provided the partners meet all the requirements.
Provisions of the K-1 Visa (Fiance VIsa)
The K-1 visa permits the holder to enter the U.S and marry their U.S. citizen/resident partner within 90 days. Subsequently, the couple may file an Adjustment of Status claim to stay in the country; beyond the validity of the K-1 visa. More often, the visa applicant will get a two-year conditional green card. This gives them conditional permanent resident status. And if the marriage remains viable after two years; then they may request a 10-year nonconditional Green Card. In the long run – US citizenship
Who is Eligible for a K-1 Visa?
A person who is engaged to be married to the United States Citizen or resident, and intend to solemnize their union within 90 days of entrance into the U.S.
This means that the couple must both be unmarried, or have any previous marriages annulled by divorce or death. Unless restricted by long-established customs; the couple must also have met in the last two years before beginning the process of filing for the K-1visa.
The K-1 Visa Process
Step 1: Filing The Petition
The Fiancé K1 Visa process begins with submitting a request to the USCIS to recognize a foreign individual as their intending spouse. In this case, the U.S. citizen or resident makes a claim.(The US Citizenship and Immigration Services).
To make this petition, the petitioner files the Form I-129F found on the USCIS website and produces proof of his/her relationship including verification that they have met with their fiancé/fiancée in the last two years.
After confirmation of the relationship, the USCIS forwards the approved Form I-129F DOS National Visa Center (NVC), which sends it to the embassy or consulate where the foreign fiancé/fiancée will apply for the K-1 visa, this is usually the consulate or embassy in the country that the person lives.
Step 2: Visa Application
The National Visa Center notifies the U.S. citizen/resident to inform the fiancé/fiancée to apply for the K-1 visa.
The applicant should submit documents to validate their application, including identity and civil documents proof of relationship and medical examinations, and the fiancé is will be invited to a consular interview in the US embassy in their country. If the relationship is bonafide, the K-I visa will be issued the applicant with a six month validity period and single entry limit.
How Long Until I Receive My K-1 Visa?
Unlike other visa categories, the pace of processing K-1 cannot be influenced by additional payment – like the other ‘premium’ options available when processing various visa categories.
However, the entire process spanning the initial filing of the petition with the USCIS to the transfer of the file to the consulate or embassy often takes an estimated six months. This does not include the process the application will undergo after arriving at the NVC.
To get exact information, peculiar to your location, use latest processing times at the Service Center serving your jurisdiction on the “USCIS Processing Time Information” page of the
Entry & Solemnization
After obtaining the K-1 visa, the foreign fiancé can enter the United States and marry the U.S. citizen who filed the I-129F petition. After the fiancé enters the United States, the marriage must take place within 90 days from the time of entry. However, if you plan to apply for a green card; so your solemnization early. So that you’ll have an opportunity to get the official marriage certificate; and also prepare your other paperwork for Adjustment of Status before the K-1 visa runs out.
A few More Tips To Improve Your Chances
The most critical part of processing a fiancé K-1 visa is perhaps the interview. The Interviewer may be the make or break point of acquiring the K-1; just remember not to try too hard
Also bear in mind that, whether or not it appears formal, the immigration officer is likely to ask you personal questions, but mostly about your relationship. You may also get a few questions concerning your intending spouse thrown at you; to test your knowledge of them and questions about what you have in common as a couple.
Overall, if you feel too overwhelmed at the prospect of navigating such a slow legal system; consider hiring an attorney – if you can afford it.