K-1 Non-Immigrant (Fiancé) Visa Route
By Jennifer Behm, U.S. Immigration Attorney
The K-1, also known as the fiancé visa, is utilized by U.S. citizens who want to bring their foreign national fiancé to the U.S. to get married. Upon entry to the U.S., you and your fiancé must marry within 90 days, and your marriage must be valid, meaning both you and your fiancé have a bona fide intent to establish a life together and the marriage is not for the sole purpose of obtaining an immigration benefit.
You may qualify to bring your fiancé to the U.S. on a K-1 visa if:
- You are a U.S. citizen;
- You intend to marry your fiancé within 90 days of your fiancé’s admission to the U.S. on a K-1 visa;
- You and your fiancé are both legally free to marry in the U.S.; and
- You and your fiancé have met in person at least once within the 2-years preceding filing your petition. (Note: this requirement can be waived in certain instances).
Step 1: File Form I-129F with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This involves assembling a detailed application proving to the government that your relationship to your fiancé is bona fide.
Step 2: Following approval of Form I-129F, your foreign national fiancé must attend an in-person interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to obtain a K-1 visa.
Step 3: Once a K-1 visa is issued, your foreign national fiancé must then enter the U.S. before the visa expires, which is typically six months.
Step 4: Upon entry to the U.S. you and your fiancé will have 90 days to get married and file an adjustment of status application with USCIS. Adjustment of status is the process that your fiancé must use to apply for lawful permanent resident status (Aka applying for a green card). This is a detailed application that requires both the U.S. citizen sponsor and the foreign national fiancé to submit extensive documentation about their personal life and financial resources.
Step 5: You and your fiancé will attend an in-person interview at a USCIS Field Office closest to your residential address. Following a successful interview, your fiancé will receive his or her green card in the mail, typically within a few weeks.
Your fiancé’s unmarried children under the age of 21 may be admitted to the U.S. in K-2 status. They must continue to be unmarried and under 21 to be admitted to the U.S. as K-2 nonimmigrants and enter with or after your fiancé. The children are then included as dependents on your fiancé’s adjustment of status application.
It typically takes 5–7 months for USCIS to process Form I-129F. It can then take another 1–2 months for your fiancé to obtain the K-1 visa and enter the U.S. Upon entry, you and your fiancé will have 90 days to get married and file an adjustment of status application, which typically adds an additional 6–18+ months to the process.
From start to finish, it takes roughly 12–18+ months to obtain a green card through the K-1 fiancé visa process. Processing times change constantly, so please check with your contact at our office to get the most current processing times.
The government currently charges $535.00 USD to file Form I-129F and an additional $1,225 USD to file an adjustment of status application. In addition, there are also fees that must be paid to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to obtain the K-1 visa. These fees vary by locations but are typically around $250 USD.
Connect with Jennifer to discuss your immigration options and gain more insight on living in the United States.
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