Let’s discuss the K1 fiancé visa.
When you’re applying for this visa, you likely have fallen in love with someone from another country and you’re really excited about being able to start your lives together.
Congratulations on your relationship! We’re really excited for you and we know how important it is for you to have information about what options are available to you. First, I’d like to talk about what is the K1 fiancé visa and then discuss eligibility requirements and finally, talk about the steps involved in the process.
The K1 fiancé visa is a visa for your fiancé to be able to enter the United States so the two of you can start your lives together. The eligibility requirements for the fiancé visa include that the petitioner that has to be a United States citizen. That’s the first requirement: you have to be a United States citizen.
You also have to show that the two of you are legally free to marry which means that neither of you are currently married. If you had prior marriages, they have ended in divorce and you have proof that that divorce was final. You also have to show that the two of you have met in person within the past two years. Hopefully, you’ve been able to to meet each other.
We know so many people meet online and then they make plans to meet in person. So even if you haven’t met each other, it’s really good for you to have this information so you can know what’s ahead and also know that that will be part of the next step in your journey, to meet in person.
You also have to show that the two of you have a real relationship. Which means a relationship based on love and not just an immigration benefit. Finally, you have to show that once your fiancé enters the United States, both of you plan to get married within 90 days in the United States. Those are the requirements.
Let’s talk about the steps of the fiancé visa process. In our office, we like to think of the fiancé visa process as having three steps. There’s a lot of things that happen in between but the best way to understand and conceptualize exactly what the process is is by thinking of it as three steps.
The first step is filing for a fiancé visa petition, an I-129F petition. That is the form number from USCIS and with that petition, immigration has you fill up a form but they also want to see that you have met in person in the past two years so you’d have to provide proof of that. And also, you meet those other requirements that the petitioner is a United States citizen and also that you have a relationship based on love. What that means is that you would need to provide evidence of your relationship.
We have videos on our YouTube channel going into even more detail about relationship evidence. We also have a free relationship guide on our website.
In general, you need to provide evidence of a relationship or evidence that you’re in love. A few examples would be photos, letters of support from friends and family who know about your relationship, Facebook posts, plane tickets that you’ve gone and visited each other and etc. Those are just a few examples of what would be included in that petition. Once all of that petition is put together, the forms and all of your evidence, that will get sent off to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).
They will review your application and they will let you know that either you’ve been approved or you might have to provide additional evidence and they would send you an explanation of that.
The million dollar question is how long will the process take but wait times vary and you can actually check an estimate of how long that first step takes on the USCIS website. That changes every month depending on how many applications there are. I don’t want to give you an amount of time since that does change monthly.
The second step is the consular processing phase of the case. This is what occurs after that petition is approved.
When that petition is approved, immigration is just saying, “Congratulations your petition is approved! You meet all of those requirements for the fiancé visa and we can see you have a real relationship based on love.”
This next step is the consular interview. This is where your fiancé will attend an interview at a US embassy or consulate in their country of origin. For this step, there’s an online application that has to be filled out with lots of biographic information about your fiancé.
You’ll also have to provide information as the petitioner about your finances. They want to see that your fiancé is self-sufficient, that you will also be able to provide financial support and that they will not become a public charge. After all of that has been submitted, then an interview will be scheduled.
Typically, and with the fiancé visa applications, you will get in onto a portal and be able to see that the US embassy or consulate’s schedule to be able to pick a date for your interview. Now, the petitioner doesn’t actually have to attend that interview. Many US embassies and consulates won’t let anyone else into the building except for the immigrant for security reasons. That’s a big question that people ask, “Do I have to go to my fiancé’s country and attend that interview?”
It’s just for your fiancé to attend. At that interview they’re just going to be doing another check to make sure that you both meet all of those requirements that I discussed earlier. They also just want to make sure that your fiancé is eligible to do a medical exam. They’ll take fingerprints to make sure there’s no serious criminal history or immigration issues.
At that interview, if the officer decides to approve your fiancé, that’s when your fiancé would be receiving a fiancé visa. The approval would occur at the interview and then after they would mail the fiancé visa to be able to enter the United States. That is step two: the consular interview to receive the fiancé visa.
Then step three, that final step, is your fiancé entering the United States and filing the green card application.
With the fiancé visa process, your fiancé is entering on a fiancé visa for the purpose of you getting married. You have 90 days for both of you to get married. Once you’ve married, you need to complete that last step which is the green card application so your fiancé can receive their green card and be able to be a lawful permanent resident and live here in the United States with you.
Your fiancé would enter, you’ll get married and then there’s an application you file again with USCIS for the green card. You can also file for a work permit and the benefit of the work permit is that your fiancé can receive a work permit, a social security number, the ability to work and be integrated into the United States while they’re waiting for the green card interview.
Once the green card interview occurs, that’s when both of you would attend the interview together and the officer would again ask you questions about your relationship. At the end of the interview, if the officer approves you for your fiancé visa case, then your fiancé would receive their green card in the mail after that interview.
So those are the three main steps and that’s an overview of eligibility and what to expect from from this process. The fiancé visa is one path but there is also another path called a spousal visa or a CR1. That’s for individuals who decide to get married and then complete the process. We have separate videos on our YouTube channel about that CR1 spousal visa but we want to let you know that that’s an another path that might be available to you.
We hope that that information was helpful for you and we’re so excited for your relationship and starting out on your immigration journey. Take care.