When the U.S. citizen is living in the U.S. and the beneficiary (the person the U.S. Citizen will marry) is outside the U.S., the U.S. citizen can file an application for a fiancé(e) visa with USCIS. This is known as the K visa. This takes around 7-10 months to be approved (premium processing is not available, and the timing is an estimate based on current timing). For more information about the K visas, please click here. This blog post will provide information on the procedures after the application is approved by USCIS.
What Happens After my K Visa is Approved by USCIS?
After USCIS approves the application, it will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC is responsible for processing most immigrant visas before they are transferred to the foreign Consulates. According to the I-129F receipt, NVC takes around 2 to 4 weeks after it’s received to process the application. After it’s processed by NVC, the application will be sent to the foreign Consulate in the country the beneficiary is located in. NVC will notify the applicant when the petition has been sent to the Consulate. This NVC notification will include the unique case number that will be assigned to your case. Future contact with NVC or the Consulate should always include this number. After the Consulate receives the package, the wait for the interview depends on the consulate’s workload. Sometimes the wait can be up to a year.
My Approval is Only Valid for Four Months? What Happens If I Need More than Four Months?
You will notice on the approval notice that there is a valid from and to date, usually for a period of four month. This does mean that your approval is only valid for 4 months, however, this validity can be extended. If the application process or interview have not been completed before the end of the validity date, the applicant can contact the Consulate through email and request an extension.
After the Consulate receives your request, the consular officer will review the case again, and if they find the reason for the extension reasonable, they will extend the validity. The extension will usually be for another 4 months, although there have been some cases of an one-year extension due to heavy workload for the Consulate. There is no limit to the number of times you can extend the approval, however, if you extend for too many times for reasons other than slow processing by the Consulate, the officer can question your intention to marry and not approve the extension. If the extension is denied, the K visa approval is no longer valid.
How Long Do I have to Enter the Country and Get Married?
After the interview and the visa has been approved, the applicant will leave their passport with the consular office. The Consulate will process the visa and you will receive the passport back with the visa in around 7 to 10 business days. The visa is usually issued for 6 months and the applicant is required to enter the United States before the visa expires.
The consular officer will also give you a pack of sealed documents. Do not open this packet. You have to give this packet of documents to the border patrol officer the first time you enter. Only they can open this packet. If you open it before that time, your visa will be invalid.
After you enter the country on the visa, you have 90 days to get married and apply for adjustment of status. If you do not get married within the 90 days, you will have to leave the country. If the applicant gets married after the 90 days, the U.S. citizen can still apply for a marriage based green card for the applicant, but the fiancé(e) visa will be invalid.
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