K-1 Visa Process

Sometimes, people meet their soul mate while on vacation or when visiting friends/family abroad. As an experienced Denver immigration attorney, I see how online dating has spurred more international relationships with an increase in clients wanting to have their significant other close by. The K1 (Fiance) Visa is therefore an option you might want to investigate.

True Love Matters

When an American citizen proposes to a non-resident, the USCIS does everything it can to make sure that the relationship is legitimate. Therefore, the procedures in requesting a fiancé visa and the USCIS requirements in getting the visa approved are quite stringent and lengthy.

Filing a Petition for Alien Fiancés

US Citizens (petitioner) need to file Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé) and Form G-325A (Biographic Information) to start the visa process. The petitioner would need to send their forms to the designated USCIS Service Center, and in about 2- 4 weeks; they will receive a “Notice of Action” from the agency, advising the petitioner that the visa application is in-process.

If all the documents are in order, the USCIS will send a second “Notice of Action,” accepting the petition, and then, the agency will send the application to National Visa Center, which is the US hub for coordinating will all US Embassies abroad. There, the NVC does background checks on the foreign fiancé (beneficiary), and if approved, the petition is sent to the beneficiary’s embassy for processing.

Obtaining Fiancé Visas

Once the US Embassy receives the approved petition from the US National Visa Center, it notifies the beneficiary of the required documents and forms necessary to obtain the visa. The beneficiary, then, gathers the necessary information and sends it to the US embassy that is processing the visa. Once received, the embassy will schedule a beneficiary interview.

The Interview

The beneficiary interview is perhaps the most crucial part of the visa process. At the interview, an consular officer will either approve or deny the visa. The officer will ask a number of questions to determine if the beneficiary and petitioner are actually in a bona-fide relationship. The officer will also review all the documents before making a decision on the visa.

If the consular officer approves the visa, it will be issued either that same day or within a week. With a visa in hand, the petitioner has up to six months to activate it.

Entering the U.S. and Marriage

The petitioner must enter the United States within six months of its issuance date. After entry, the foreign fiancé must marry the US citizen in the US within 90 days or the applicant will be “Out of Status” and deportable.

After the Marriage

Once married, the petitioner must file an “Adjustment of Status” application to become a permanent resident. This is a different procedure in its own, and it can also take a bit of time to complete. It also usually requires another interview but this time with USCIS.

The K-1 Fiance Visa may not be right for everyone. Reviewing other Visa options to achieve legal residency is strongly advised. Schedule a consultation from the Law Office of Catherine Brown, an experienced Denver immigration lawyer, for more information.