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How to get fiancé visa (K-1) | homeis

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A Fiancé of a US citizen is eligible for a non-immigrant visa conditioned on the conclusion of the marriage within 90 days. In this guide we will outline what is a K-1 Visa, what are the eligibility criteria to apply for one and the steps to apply for the visa.


What is a K-1 Visa?


A K-1 Visa – which is also called the Fiancé Visa is a visa that allows a United States Citizen to call their Fiancé here in the USA with the intent to marry within 90 days. After marriage, the spouse can then apply for permanent residence or green card based on marriage.


Eligibility for a K-1 Visa / K1 Visa Requirements:


You may be eligible to bring your fiancé to the United States on a fiancé visa if you meet the following requirements:

  • You are a U.S. citizen;
  • You and your fiancé intend to marry one another within 90 days of your fiancé ’s admission to the United States on a K-1 non-immigrant visa;
  • You and your fiancé are both legally free to marry (this means you both are legally able to marry in the United States and any previous marriages have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment); and
  • You and your fiancé met each other in person at least once within the 2-year period before you file your petition. You may request a waiver of this in-person meeting requirement if you can show that meeting in person would:
  • Violate strict and long-established customs of your fiancé ’s foreign culture or social practice; or
  • Result in extreme hardship to you, the U.S. citizen petitioner.

Both partners have to provide a signed statement showing that they intend to marry within 90 days of the sponsored fiancé’s arrival in the United States. If concrete wedding plans have been made, it’s also a good idea to submit evidence such as wedding invitations, receipts of deposits on a venue, etc.

The U.S. citizen fiancé must meet certain income requirements. Specifically, the adjusted gross income on their most recent tax return must be equal at least 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. If they are unable to meet this requirement alone, a joint financial sponsor must file a supplemental “affidavit of support.”


Additional information on eligibility:

K-1 visas are available to same-sex partners, regardless of whether the laws in the sponsored fiancé’s home country allow for sex-same marriage.


K-1 Visa Process:


The process for bringing your fiancé to the United States involves USCIS, the U.S. Department of State (DOS), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). At each stage in the process, background and security checks may be conducted on both you and your fiancé. This may include checks in various databases for national security, criminal history, and other information about you and your fiancé. These checks are conducted using fingerprints, names, or other biographic or biometric information.


Step 1: Petition for Fiancé – USCIS; Filling the Form I-129F:

The first step for an eligible couple is for the U.S. citizen fiancé to file Form I-129F (technically called the “Petition for Alien Fiancé”) with U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The primary purpose of this form is to prove the validity of the relationship.

 

The following supporting documents should be attached to the completed form as evidence:

 

  • Proof of citizenship for the U.S. citizen fiancé (copy of a passport, certificate of naturalization, or birth certificate)
  • Copy of the sponsored fiancé’s passport
  • Proof of the legitimacy of the relationship (photos, correspondence, sworn statements from friends and colleagues, etc.)
  • Proof of having met in person at least one time within the two years prior to filing the form (flight itineraries, hotel itineraries, photos, correspondence, etc.)
  • Sworn statements, written by and signed by each partner, with a brief description of the nature of the relationship and an intent to marry within 90 days of the sponsored fiancé’s arrival in the United States. It’s generally best to provide the original signed statements and keep copies for your records.
  • A copy of any Form I-94 arrival-departure record previously issued to the sponsored fiancé.
  • One passport-style photo of the U.S. citizen fiancé and one passport-style photo of the sponsored fiancé.


The government’s required fee for Form I-129F is $535. After the form and supporting documents are filed at the appropriate address, USCIS will typically send a receipt notice within 30 days.


Step 2: Form Ds-160 and Interview


In this step, after the USCIS has approved the request, it then goes to the Department of State (DOS). Within the next 30 days, the sponsored fiancé will receive a notice from the U.S embassy of their home country that will include the date and location of their visa interview. The notice will also include the list of documents required for the interview.


DS-160


Next, the sponsored fiancé must complete the State Department’s online DS-160 form (technically called the “Online Non-immigrant Visa Application”). This is the actual K-1 visa application, and it’s very important to print the confirmation page once the form has been submitted online.

 

The State Department then requires the following documents:


SPONSORED FIANCÉ DOCUMENTS:

  • Two passport-style photos
  •  Birth certificate
  • Valid, unexpired passport
  • Police clearance obtained from all countries of residence of more than six months since the age of 16
  • Sealed medical exam form (obtained through physician abroad who is authorized by the State Department)


U.S. CITIZEN FIANCÉ DOCUMENTS


  • Affidavit of support (Form I-134)
  • Most recent tax returns
  • Proof of relationship (copy of the approved I-129F package originally filed with USCIS)


INTERVIEW


The visa interview takes place at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in the sponsored fiancé’s home country, usually about 4–6 weeks after the embassy’s initial notice. The visa fee of $265 is usually paid at the interview—but it’s important to review specific instructions regarding time and place of payment, included in the embassy’s interview notice, which can vary by home country.

The interviewing officer will typically decide on the case either the same day of the interview or shortly afterward. If they need additional evidence, they will request that it be submitted directly to the U.S. consulate.


Step 3: Inspection at a Port of Entry – CBP


If DOS issues a K-1 non-immigrant visa, your fiancé travels to the United States and seeks admission at a port of entry while the K-1 non-immigrant visa is valid. As with any visa, a K-1 non-immigrant visa does not guarantee admission to the United States. A CBP officer at the port of entry will make the ultimate decision about whether to admit your fiancé.


Step 4: Marriage


If your fiancé is admitted as a K-1 non-immigrant, you and your fiancé have 90 days to marry each other.


Step 5: Adjustment of Status


If you marry within the 90 days, the sponsored fiancé (now spouse) can apply for permanent residence in the United States by filling the form I-485.


If your sponsored Fiancé has Children:


If your fiancé has a child who is under 21 and unmarried, the child may be eligible to come to the United States on a K-2 non-immigrant visa. You must include the names of your fiancé ’s children on the Form I-129F if you wish to bring them to the United States. The children must continue to be unmarried and under 21 in order to be admitted to the United States as K-2 non-immigrants. They may travel with your fiancé or later, but they cannot travel to the U.S. before your fiancé.

 

If you and your fiancé married within 90 days of your fiancé ’s admission into the U.S., your fiancé ’s children who were admitted as K-2 non-immigrants may also apply for a Green Card by filing Form I-485 with USCIS. However, K-2 non-immigrant children must remain unmarried in order to be eligible for a Green Card. K-2 non-immigrant children should apply for a Green Card at the same time or after your fiancé.


Common Questions:


Q) How long does it take for a fiancé visa to be approved?

A) Depending on which USCIS service centre is handling the case, the processing times can take around 6–9 months (7 months on average). During that time, USCIS may send a Request for Evidence (RFE), if they need more information. Once the Form I-129F is approved, USCIS will send an approval notice.


How much does it cost to get a fiancé visa?


The government’s required fee for Form I-129F is $535. After the form and supporting documents are filed at the appropriate address, USCIS will typically send a receipt notice within 30 days.

You are also required to pay a visa fee of $265 at the interview.


Can you be denied a fiancé visa?


There are several options available to you if your K1 Fiancé Visa has been denied. But, before deciding upon a course of action, you must first determine if the denial was made at the USCIS stage or at the Consular level (Embassy).

If your K1 Fiancé Visa has been denied by USCIS, you have the right to an appeal. You must file your appeal with USCIS within 30 days of the date that your petition was denied. You will have to submit your appeal on form I-290B with the filing fee. The other option is to withdraw your first petition with a “letter of withdraw” and then file again. For many reasons, costs being one of them, this is a good option.

If your K1 Fiancé Visa was denied at the Consular level, you can immediately ask for a Consulate General review of the decision. Check the Embassy website for the procedures for such a review. This option is available to you until the Embassy returns your case to USCIS for further processing.

If your case has already been returned to USCIS for further processing, you can USCIS to reaffirm their original approval and resubmit your application to the Embassy for a second time. Keep in mind, this process can take a very long time and for that reason, you may be best to simply withdraw your petition and then re-file.


Related Links:

Time to Get a Marriage Based Green Card

Marriage Green Cards, Explained

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