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I am a U.S. citizen and my fiancé(e) wants to move to the U.S. What is a fiancé(e) visa? What is the process of applying for a fiancé(e) visa? How long do we have to get married?

By April 2, 2020March 16th, 2021Family Immigration, Immigration

Your fiancé(e) can apply for a fiancé(e) (so called K-1) visa if:

  1. You are a U.S. citizen;
  2. You and your fiancé(e) plan to get married within 90 days after your fiancé(e) enters the U.S. on a K-1 visa;
  3. You and your fiancé(e) are legally free to marry;
  4. You and your fiancé(e) met each other in person at least once within the 2-year period before you file the I-129F Petition with USCIS.
  • Please note that you may request a waiver if:
  1. the meeting would violate your strict and long-established customs of your fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice, or
  2. if it would result in extreme hardship to you.

What is the process of applying for a fiancé(e) visa?

  1. File the I-129F Petition with USCIS

You as the U.S. citizen will first have to file Form I-129F with USCIS. Please note that you are required to submit evidence showing that you and your fiancé(e) plan to get married within 90 days after your fiancé(e) enters the U.S. on a K-1 visa. Please check the Form I-129F instructions to see what other documents you are required to submit with the I-129F Petition.

If USCIS approves the petition, it will send the approved Form I-129F to the National Visa Center (“NVC”) and you will be assigned a case number at the NVC. Please note that the I-129F petition is only valid for 4 months from the date of USCIS approval. However, the Consular officer may extend the validity if it expires before your fiancé(e) gets the K-1 visa.

  1. Your fiancé(e) can then apply for a K-1 fiancé(e) visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad

The National Visa Center will mail you a letter once it sends the approved I-129F Petition to the U.S. Consulate abroad. Your fiancé(e) will then be able to apply for K-1 visa at the Consulate.

What documents will my fiancé(e) have to bring to the interview?

Your fiancé(e) should check the website of the Consulate where he/she will be going for the interview, but generally your fiancé(e) should bring the following documents to the interview:

  • Ds-160 confirmation pages;
  • Passport;
  • Birth Certificate and divorce/death certificate (if applicable) ;
  • Police certificates from his/her present country of residence and all countries where he/she lived for more than 6 months since the age of 16;
  • Medical examination;
  • Evidence of financial support (From I-134) ;
  • 2 photographs;
  • Evidence of your relationship.

Your fiancé(e) will have to schedule an interview at the Consulate and if the visa is approved, the officer will him/her a K-1 visa in your passport. The officer will also give your fiancé(e) a sealed packet containing your civil documents. It is important that your fiancé(e) does not open this packet and have it handy when entering the U.S. and the officer will have to inspect the documents in the packet upon the entry.

  1. My fiancé(e)’s K-1 visa was approved, when does he/she have to enter the U.S.? For how long is the K-1 visa valid?

The K-1 visa is only valid for a single admission to the U.S. and the visa is valid for a maximum of 6 months. This means, that your fiancé(e) has to enter the U.S. within 6 months and if your fiancé(e) leaves the U.S., he/she will not be able to re-enter on the K-1 visa.

  1. My fiancé(e) entered the U.S. on a K-1 visa. When do we have to get married?

Once your fiancé(e) enters the U.S., you will have to get married within 90 days. Thereafter, your fiancé(e) will be able to adjust status in the U.S. and apply for a green card. Please see our blog posts discussing what forms have to be filed for adjustment of status application when you click here.

My fiancé(e) has a child. Can his/her child also get a visa and apply for a green card?

If your fiancé(e) has a child (the child has to be unmarried and under the age of 21), the child may apply for a K-2 visa. When filing the I-129F petition, you will have to include the name of your fiancé(e)’s child on the form. Your fiancé(e)’s child will then be able to apply for a K-2 visa at the Consulate based on the approved form I-129F. After you get married, the child will then be able to adjust status in the U.S. and apply for a green card.

Please also see our blog post discussing other ways how you can get a green card when you marry a U.S. citizen when you click here.

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