The K-1 Fiancé Visa is a temporary nonimmigrant visa that allows a U.S. Citizen petitioner to bring his fiancé to the US for 90 days. Once the foreign fiancé is in the US, the couple must marry within 90 days and are able to file for a green card for the foreign fiancé.
STEP 1 – USCIS filing of I-129F Fiancé visa petition
To file the I-129F Fiance Petition, the following are required:
- Petitioner must show he or she is a U.S. Citizen. Proof of US citizenship may include copies of a US birth certificate, a US naturalization certificate, or an unexpired US passport.
- Proof that the couple is legally free to marry — that any prior marriages were terminated. That means attaching (for both the bride and the groom) divorce decrees, annulment decrees or death certificates.
- The couple must have met in person within 2 years prior to the filing of the I-129F petition. For this, we attach photos of the couple with each other and with family members, friends and other proof of their meeting. If the couple has not met in person, you will have to send in proof that the physical meeting violates strict cultural practices of the couple or would be an extreme hardship on the US petitioner.
- One color passport-style photo of the US petitioner and one of the alien fiancé taken within 30 days of the filing of the I-129F petition
- Evidence of any criminal arrests of convictions for both the Petitioner and the alien fiancé. Certain sex crime convictions make certain US citizen petitioners NOT eligible to file for either a fiancé nor spousal visa and petitions.
- A written love story ending with a statement that the couple intends to marry each other within 90 days after the alien fiance’s entry to the US for the creation of a real family together.
The I-129F Fiance Visa form and supporting evidence is submitted to USCIS and will be processed by USCIS.
Same-sex couples may now file for K-1 Fiancé Visa.
STEP 2 – Interview and visa
Once the I-129F Petition is approved, USCIS sends the file to the National Visa Center, and then to the Department of State Consulate in the country where the alien fiance is living for conducting an interview for issuance of a K-1 Fiancé Visa.
Prior to the K-1 Visa Interview, the US Petitioner must send to the Consulate a filled out Form I-134 Affidavit of Support with proof of his income and assets to avoid a public charge denial (denial of a visa for the petitioner’s inability to support the fiancé).
Children of the alien fiancé under 21 years of age will be able to apply for K-2 dependent visa and come to US with the primary applicant.
Forms and Evidence for the K-1 Fiancé visa interview
- Completed Form DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application for the Fiancé and separate DS-160s for Fiance’s eligible dependent children (children will be getting K-2 visas). The DS-160s must be done online and printed out and brought to the interview.
- Passport valid for travel and Birth Certificates for the K-1 and K-2 applicants.
- Divorces, annulments and/or death certificates for the fiancé.
- Police certificates to show clean criminal history for anyone over 16 years old.
- Medical examination with vaccinations.
- Financial support evidence. Copy of the I-134 Affidavit of Support with proof of US petitioner’s income and assets.
- Two passport-style photos.
- Payment of visa fees at the designated bank or the consulate.
- Evidence of relationship. This could be photos, evidence of money transfers, gifts, correspondence, joint documents such as joint bank accounts, etc.
- Since 2020, the alien fiance must show to the US Consul proof of having health insurance at the time of the interview.
Step 3 – Entry into US, marriage and applying for green card
Once the foreign fiancé receives a K-1 Visa from the Consulate, she will be entering U.S. and joining her US citizen petitioner. Once inside the US, the couple has 90 days to spend time with each other and decide whether to marry. The couple must marry within the 90-day period to be able to file for a green card for the foreign fiancé. Once the couple marries civilly in the US, they may file for a green card for the foreign fiancé.
Filing for a green card includes forms for work authorization and advance parole to allow the K-1 Visa holder to now travel outside of the US as someone in the status of awaiting her green card.
The foreign fiancé will receive a Social Security card shortly after entering the US.
What is the wait time for a K-1 fiancé visa?
The process takes 6-11 months, depending on where the US citizen petitioner lives and where the alien fiancé will be interviewing.
You will need a strong immigration attorney for your fiancé visa process.
What are some issues that specifically require help of an immigration attorney?
- If either the US citizen petitioner or the alien fiancé have arrests and a criminal record.
- If there have been prior US visa applications by the alien fiancé and denials (to avoid inconsistency).
- Foreign fiancé has spent some time in the US before and overstayed their visa or has other US immigration law violations.
- If the alien fiancé had previously immigrated to another country and may have a history of prior marriages and immigration violations.
- Social benefits and risk of Public Charge Ground for Denial – if the US petitioner has low income and not enough assets, or if the foreign fiancé has been out of work for a long time, has medical problems or has received US social benefits in the past, there may be a risk of denial for the K-1 Fiancé Visa.