The K-1 visa, also known as the fiancé(e) visa, is a nonimmigrant visa that permits a US citizen’s foreign-born fiancé(e) to enter the United States and marry their partner. To get a K-1 visa, the U.S. citizen fiancé must file a Form I-129F in addition to other steps that we will discuss later. Your U.S. citizen fiancé is the petitioner (person filing the petition) and you (the person getting the K-1 visa) are the beneficiary (person benefiting from the petition).
Getting a K-1 visa can be a complicated process. You must meet specific eligibility requirements, and you must follow precise steps. If you fail to file paperwork correctly or complete the necessary steps, your case may face huge delays or, even worse, be denied.
K-1 Visa Eligibility Criteria
To get the K-1 visa, you must fulfill the following criteria:
⦁ Be engaged to a US citizen.
⦁ Have the intention to marry within 90 days of entering the US.
⦁ Have proof of your relationship before the engagement.
⦁ Get married according to US laws while you are in the United States on the K-1 visa.
⦁ You and the US citizen must have met in person at least once in the past two years.
⦁ Exceptions to this requirement will be granted if you can prove that the US citizen faced extreme hardship to come and visit the foreign citizen’s fiancé. Extreme hardship can be proved to conditions of culture, customs, or other factors.
⦁ Any previous marriages that either of you have had are legally terminated.
What Are the Documents Required for a K-1 Visa Application?
Here are the documents that you should submit when applying for a K-1 visa:
⦁ Valid passport for more than 6 months after your intended stay in the US.
⦁ Two recent US visa photographs.
⦁ Form DS-160 confirmation page and confirmation code.
⦁ Interview schedule letter.
⦁ Approved Form I-129F.
⦁ Criminal background documents.
⦁ Divorce or death certificates in case of a previous marriage.
⦁ Evidence of the relationship with the US citizen.
⦁ Medical examination documents.
⦁ Proof of payments of fees.
How to Apply for the K-1 Visa?
The fiancé visa application has a few steps that both fiancés must follow. The US citizen must first obtain permission from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to bring and sponsor their foreign citizen fiancé to the US. If USCIS grants this permission, the foreign citizen’s fiancé must apply for the K-1 visa stamp at an embassy or consulate abroad.
To get a petition approved from USCIS, you must go through these steps:
1.File Form I-129F.
The US citizen will first need permission from USCIS for the foreign citizen’s fiancé to visit the US. This permission is obtained by filing Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé, to USCIS.
2.Process through USCIS.
When the petition arrives at USCIS, the officials will go through it and review the evidence of the relationship, whether the parties intend to get married, and whether they fulfill the eligibility criteria. If both the US citizen and the foreign citizen’s fiancé fulfill the requirements, then USCIS will approve the petition and send it to the National Visa Center (NVC).
3.Wait for an answer from the NVC.
The NVC will then inform the couple and forward the documents to the US Embassy or Consulate where the foreign national will apply for the K-1 visa. It is important to note that the foreign national cannot apply for the K-1 visa without obtaining the approval of Form I-129F.
K-1 Visa Application Process
After the approval of Form I-129F, you can start your K-1 visa application process.
This portion must be completed by the foreign citizen at a US Embassy or Consulate in their country of residence, by following these steps:
1.Complete Form DS-160.
2. Schedule the visa interview.
3. Complete medical examinations.
4. Compile your document file.
5. Attend visa interview.
Complete Form DS-160
Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, is used for US nonimmigrant visas and, in this case, for the K-1 visa. The form will inquire about your personal information and why you plan to go to the US. When you submit it, you will get a confirmation page and code.
Schedule the US Fiancé visa interview
Your visa interview will be conducted if you are between 14 and 79 years old. You will receive an interview appointment confirmation once you schedule the appointment.
Complete medical examinations
If you are traveling to the US, and especially planning to apply for a US immigrant visa in the future, you must have a licensed physician conduct the necessary medical examination. The doctor must write a report stating your current health conditions. Since the fiancé will get married soon and apply for permanent residence, it is also advisable to get the necessary US required vaccination to complete those requirements in advance.
Compile your document file
When you go in for your interview at the US Embassy, you must present the required K-1 visa documents.
Attend visa interview
During the interview, you will have to show your documents and answer any questions the interview officials will have regarding your case. The interviewer will ask questions about your relationship with the US citizen and other details about your background.
Why Does a K-1 Visa Application Get Rejected?
There are various reasons that this could happen, and some of them might be:
⦁ Involvement in criminal activities in the past (ex. drug trafficking).
⦁ You have submitted falsified documents.
⦁ You have overstayed in the US on a previous visa or broken other visa rules.
K-1 Visa Processing Time
The overall time it will take for your K-1 visa to process will depend on many factors, including current USCIS processing times and how busy the consulate or embassy is. It will most likely take several months, so plan ahead for any delays if you are planning the wedding in the US.
What are the Documents Required to get a K-1 Visa?
The required documents will vary depending on your particular situation and the evidence that you have available. If you are submitting documents that are written in a foreign language, you should include certified English translations of these documents.
Below is a general list of some documents that may be required at the Form I-129F stage. Please keep in mind that this is a general list. You should review your case with an experienced immigration lawyer like myself before determining the documents you should include with your petition.
Required Documentation When Filing Form I-129F
⦁ Photo identification
⦁ Final divorce decrees and any other evidence that you or your fiancé have legally terminated all previous marriages (if applicable)
⦁ Passport photos
⦁ Evidence of legal name change (if applicable)
⦁ Photos of you and your fiancé together
⦁ Flight tickets, itinerary, and passport stamps showing travel to see fiancé
⦁ A signed statement from the K-1 visa beneficiary and the U.S. citizen petitioner expressing each person’s intent to marry the other within 90 days of the K-1 visa beneficiary’s entry to the U.S.
⦁ Phone call logs or text message threads showing regular communication with each other
⦁ Signed statements from friends and family attesting to the relationship between both parties.
K-1 Visa Form
Multiple forms are required throughout the K-1 visa process. Here is a quick overview of some of the forms:
⦁ Form G-28
⦁ Form I-129F
⦁ Form DS-160
⦁ Form I-765
⦁ Form I-485
Form G-28: The Form G-28 is the Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative. This will allow your attorney to submit applications/petitions on your behalf; represent you before USCIS; and send and receive correspondence with USCIS on your behalf.
Form I-129F: Form I-129f is called the “Petition for Alien Fiancé(e).” This is the initial form that the U.S. citizen petitioner files with USCIS. This form is filed along with several documents establishing that the petitioner is a U.S. citizen, that both parties intend to get married within 90 days of the K-1 visa beneficiary’s entry to the U.S., and that both parties have met within the last 2 years before filing the petition.
Form DS-160: The Form DS-160 is the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. You must complete this form and submit it online to apply for your K-1 visa.
Form I-765: Form I-765 is called the “Application for Employment Authorization.” This form can be filed at 2 separate times throughout the K1 visa process. You may file this form upon entry to the U.S. on a K1 visa to get work authorization before marrying your U.S. citizen fiancé, or when filing Form I-485.
Form I-485: This form I-485 is the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This form must be filed to go from nonimmigrant status to permanent resident status (green card). You file this form after you marry your U.S. citizen fiancé.
K-1 Visa Interview Questions
There are many potential questions that you may be asked during your K-1 visa interview. Here are just some potential questions that you may be asked.
Background questions about you:
⦁ What is your name?
⦁ What is your date of birth?
⦁ Where were you born?
⦁ How old are you?
⦁ What is your nationality?
⦁ What languages do you speak?
⦁ Do you have any children?
⦁ Were you previously married? If so, when?
⦁ If you were previously married, is that marriage now officially over?
⦁ Have you been to the United States before? Under what status?
⦁ Do you have family in the United States?
⦁ Have you ever been arrested?
⦁ Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
⦁ What is your profession?
Questions about the U.S. Citizen Petitioner (Your Fiancé):
⦁ What is your fiancé’s full name?
⦁ When is your fiancé’s date of birth?
⦁ Where was your fiancé born?
⦁ Where does your fiancé live?
⦁ What does your fiancé do for work?
⦁ Has your fiancé been married before? If so, is the prior marriage now over?
⦁ Does your fiancé have children? If so, how many?
Questions About your Relationship with your Fiancé:
⦁ When did you meet your fiancé?
⦁ How did you meet your fiancé?
⦁ Have you ever visited your fiancé in the U.S.?
⦁ Has your fiancé ever visited you in your home country?
⦁ When did you and your fiancé get engaged?
⦁ Did you have an engagement party?
⦁ How did your fiancé propose to you?
⦁ Have you already planned your wedding?
⦁ How many times have you and your fiancé met in person?
⦁ How often do you speak to your fiancé?
Making sure you are prepared for the interview is very important and will make the difference of whether your K-1 visa is approved or not.
The K-1 visa is a special visa that allows the fiancé of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States, get married to their U.S. citizen fiancé, and adjust their status in the U.S. to get their green card. You should now have a much stronger understanding of the various aspects of the K-1 visa, including the K-1 visa benefits, K-1 visa requirements, and the K-1 visa process.
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