K-1 Visa- Petition for a Fiancé of a U.S. Citizen
If you have ever watched the program 90-day fiancé you may know that a K-1 visa is a non-immigrant (temporary) visa that permits the fiancée or fiancé of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States to get married. A K-1 visa is different from a marriage-based immigrant visa. The K-1 visa is an excellent option for a foreign national whose U.S. citizen fiancé(e) wishes to travel to the United States to get married.
K-1 Processing Time
After submitting the I-129F form, known as Petition for Alien Fiancé, it usually takes 6 to 9 months to obtain a K-1 visa. Several factors could contribute to the processing time, especially in terms of the preparedness and compliance of the couple seeking the visa. An ill-prepared I-129F application will undoubtedly increase the waiting time. Errors, omissions, and insufficient evidence can lead to significant delays or even denials.
K-1 Visa Documents Checklist
The following forms and documents must be submitted for the interview:
- Form DS-160, online visa application for non-immigrants
- A valid passport to travel to the United States and valid for at least six months.
- Birth certificate
- Certificate of divorce or death of any previous spouse, if any.
- Police certificates from the current country of residence and from all countries where you have lived for more than six months or since the age of 16
- Medical examination result
- Proof of financial support may be required.
- Proof of your relationship with your U.S citizen fiancé(e)
NOTE: It is worth noting that visa application is treated on a case-by-case basis. As such, some case-specific evidence may be required. It is important that you strictly follow the guidelines given by the embassy in charge of your visa application.
The Step-By-Step Process for K-1 Visa
1. USCIS Filling
The U.S. citizen sponsor submits the K-1 visa application to the USCIS by submitting the entire I-129F petition and payment to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
2. Notice of Action 1 (NOA1)
Two to three weeks after sending your order, you will receive a notice of action, indicating that USCIS has received your order.
3. Notice of Action 2 (NOA2)
Usually, 5 to 7 months after filing the visa, you will receive another notice of action, indicating that USCIS has approved, refused, or requested additional evidence for your application. If approved, do nothing at this stage. In the event that your K-1 visa application is denied or more evidence is required, it is best to contact an immigration lawyer on the best possible way to address the issue.
4. NVC Process
The immigration office that processed your application will then refer your case to the State Department National Visa Center (NVC). This will occur within two weeks of your approval. A security check would be run on the foreign fiancé(e) seeking to enter the U.S.
5. NVC to Embassy
If the check comes back clean, the approved K-1 visa application will be sent to the Consular Affairs Office. The Consular Office will send the file to the U.S. Embassy in your fiancé(e) country via DHL.
6. Letter from the Embassy
After receiving the visa application, the U.S. Embassy (usually in the country of origin) sends the fiancé(e) a letter with instructions to schedule their immigration medical examination and visa interview. The U.S. Embassy will also request that the foreign fiancé(e) submit some documents within a specific timeframe.
7. Medical Examination
The foreign fiancé(e) will undergo a medical examination at a designated center recommended by the embassy. After the examination, a parcel containing the result of the medical examination will be sent to the embassy.
8. K-1 Visa Interview at the Embassy
The foreign fiancé(e) must be present for an interview at the U.S. embassy on the scheduled date and time. The U.S. citizen is not required to participate in the interview. If the interview goes successfully, the visa application would be approved. The actual K-1 visa fiancé(e) visa will be issued on the foreign fiancé’s (e)’s passport.
9. Travel to the United States of America
The foreign fiancé(e) has six months to use the visa to enter the United States. Keep in mind that a visa is only a travel document – it doesn’t guarantee entry into the United States. The foreign fiancé(e) will have to seek entry permission at the border or airport through the officials of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The couple must get married within 90 days of the foreign fiancé’s (e)’s entry into the United States. The 90-day clock starts when you enter the United States, which is usually stamped on your passport.