K Visa FAQ - K1 Fiance Visa, K3 Spousal Visa and other Marriage Based Immigration Questions
A Complete guide for obtaining a K1 and K3 (plus derivitive) Visa, immigrating, and becoming a US Citizen.
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Section 4.0...THE K1/K2 VISA
APPLICATION PROCESS completed by the Fiance(e)
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Frequently Asked Questions:
4.1)...How long after the approval of the I-129F petition
does the fiance(e) wait to get the paperwork?
4.2)...Can the foreign consulate be notified any faster???
4.3)...Exactly what type of paperwork does the fiance(e)
receive from the Consulate?
4.3.1)...What does the fiance(e) do with all these papers?
4.3.2)...Can my fiance(e) start gathering documents and
information right away to "speed things along?"
4.3.3)...Do I need documents translated into english for
the K1 application?
4.3.4)...Are the photographs supposed to be
made the same way as the ones we sent in for the I-129F?
4.3.5)...What vaccinations are required and
is it better to have had these done prior to the interview at the embassy?
4.3.6)...What should I bring with me to the interview?
4.4)...When is the K1 visa actually given to my fiance(e)?
4.4.1)...Must the K2 child attend the interview at the
4.4.2)...My child did not move with me to the United States,
but now he wants to move here. He was listed on the I-129F petition. Can
he still get a K2 visa?
4.4.3)...Are K2 children required to have their own passports?
4.5)...Just what is inside that sealed envelope anyway?
4.6)...Can my fiance(e) come to the US to visit me once the
visa process is started?
4.7)...Is an extract from the records (short
form) a valid birth certificate, I know it is for UK stuff, but how about
the K1 process ?
4.8).. I am adopted and don't have a birth certificate -
what do I do?
4.9)...How often are the K1 visas denied?
4.10)...I'm getting conflicting reports on what is required
for a plane ticket to the U.S. I was told that you need to have a round
trip ticket. Is that true?
4.11)...My alien fiancee has been issued a K-1
visa. Can we get married abroad and then come back together to the US
with the K-1?
4.12)...Does the government, for visa purposes,
distinguish between religious and civil weddings?
4.1)...How long after the approval of the I-129F
petition does the fiance(e) wait to get the paperwork?
A..This can take awhile...The USCIS (INS) Service Centers send the
approved petition information to the NVC (National Visa Center) for processing and
from there it is sent to the Consulates. It typically takes about a month from the NOA2 date
(I-129f approval) until the package arrives at the embassy.
4.2)...Can the foreign consulate be notified any
A...In the past you could request (with a fee) that the Service Center "cable"
the approval to the embassy to speed things along. This is no longer an option despite what
you may hear.
4.3)...What type of paperwork does the fiance(e)
receive from the Consulate?
A...Exactly what gets sent will vary depending on the Consulate, but
the first packet to arrive will most likely contain the following:
In December, 2001, the State Department announced a change in the name
of Packets 3 and 4, which were the instructions, forms and appointment
information. They are now referred to as "Instruction Package" and "Appointment
Package". Some of the forms are renamed slightly as well, so if the exact
form numbers are different, just follow the instructions.
- DS-2001 (or OF-169 or UK/85) -- This is your main set of instructions.
It is also a checklist of items required for the interview.
- OF-167 -- information sheet about financial responsibility. You
may also receive an I-134 Affidavit of Support form.
- DS-230 or OF-230 Part 1 -- biographical data sheet.
- DS-156 -- Nonimmigrant visa application form
- DS-156K -- Nonimmigrant fiance(e) visa application
- DS-157 -- Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application (for all males
between ages of 16 and 45)
- You may, at this time, receive medical exam information, and a list
of required immunizations.
- DSL-1083 -- An information sheet about police certificates, military
records and more.
the Consulate may forget to send extra copies of these application forms
for the children for whom a K2 visa is intended. If so, contact the
Consulate to obtain the forms.
does the fiance(e) do with all these papers?
A..The process is not exactly the same for all countries, but works
generally like this:
- Read the instructions on the checklist and look over all the forms.
- Fill out and sign the DS-230 (OF-230) Part 1 biographical data sheet
and send it back to the Consulate, one for the fiance(e) and one for
each K2 child. This allows the Consulate to begin actual processing
of your case.
- Look over the DS-2001 (or UK/85 or OF-169) checklist, which contains
a list of items for you to gather for the interview. It will list
items such as (but not limited to):
- Birth Certificate
- Divorce decree
- Police Certificate
- Evidence of Support (use the I-134 from the US Citizen)
- Military Records
- Any requirements for translations of foreign language documents.
- When you have gathered all the required items from the OF-169 (or
UK/85) checklist, you will sign it and send the checklist to the Consulate.
Do NOT send any of the listed items.....keep them for the interview.
Hang on to the DS-156 and 156K application forms. Fill them out but
do NOT sign them until the interview itself, as the signatures must
be witnessed by the Consular official.
- You will receive an information sheet about financial support (OF-167).
The US Citizen NEEDS TO KNOW if the Consulate requires any special
documentation with the I-134 (i.e. 3 years of income tax returns instead
of just one). The I-134 Affidavit is filled out by the US Citizen
when used for K1 visa applications. The US Citizen should send the
completed I-134 Affidavit to the fiance(e). Although the fiance(e)
will get an I-134 Affidavit with the OF-167, the US Citizen should
already have it completed by this stage. If there are K2 children
involved, a separate I-134 affidavit is not required for them, as
the K2 children are listed on the I-134 along with the foreign fiance(e).
Some Consulates (Vancouver and ?) require the submission of a simple
form called the "Sponsors Financial Responsibility under the Social
Security Act", signed by the US Citizen. This form is apparently not
available for download anywhere, but there is a GIF file available
This form may also be available on a few personal websites, so ask
- After the Consulate receives the signed DS-2001 (UK/85 or OF-169)
checklist, and the background checks have been completed, they will
send out another packet to the fiance(e). This will set the date for
the interview, and give information regarding the physical exam, including
a list of "approved physicians". Also included will be the OF-157,
the medical exam instructions (if not already received with the first
This info will be sent out anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks prior to the
interview. Waiting for the interview date is usually the most "stressful"
time for the fiance(e).
- The "timing" of the medical exam varies, depending on the Consulate.
Refer questions regarding the medical to the newsgroup.
fiance(e) start gathering documents and information right away to "speed
A..You don't have to wait for the packet to arrive to begin gathering
the birth certificate, divorce or death decrees, photographs, military
records, and medical information from your doctor about which immunizations
you have had. You might not be able to request the police clearance
without the actual checklist from the Consulate as "proof" that you
need it. You can download the various forms and use them for "practice".
Refer questions to the forums, as there is a LOT of specific information
that can save you weeks of time, depending on what country you are filing
from. The fiance(e) also needs a passport, valid for at least 6
months from the time the visa is issued.
4.3.3)...Do I need documents translated into English
for the K1 application?
A..On the checklist the K-1 fiance/e receives it states
that English or the native language where the consulate is located
is acceptable. If the Consulate *must* have English translations, it
will be stated on the checklist.
A..While the translation of documents may not be required
for the K-1 visa, the translation of foreign language documents WILL
be required for adjustment of status. If your language is different
from English, I would tactfully suggest that the foreign fiance get
translations *prior* to entering the US on the k-1 visa. See this
note on translations.
4.3.4)...Are the photographs supposed
to be made the same way as the ones we sent in for the I-129F?
A...In the past, this seemed to vary per Consulate, with some using
the ADIT type and some requiring "passport" type (full frontal color).
Efforts to standardize this have been made since October 1999. All consulates are now requiring passport style photo's.
Your checklist will describe the required photo. As a note, in August
2004 the USCIS also began requiring "passport" style photo's.
4.3.5)...What vaccinations are required
and is it better to have had these done prior to the interview at the
A...The actual list of vaccinations given to the fiance(e) is rather
long, and US government agencies publish these lists, however, depending
on your age and previous history, you may only need a few of them, perhaps
none at all.
A....When you go for your medical exam, the doctor there
can help you determine what vaccinations (if any) you will require.
You can opt to have them there, (at additional cost) or you can get
them at a later date from your own doctor or clinic. You will have to
have them by the time your adjustment of status is complete so you can
even get them in the US if that is more convenient for you.
4.3.6)...What should I bring with me to the interview?
A...You need everything from the checklist, of course, but you also
need originals of everything that was originally submitted as a copy,
even with the I-129F petition (except the US Citizens passport and the
original I-797 approval notice). Original birth certificates, divorce
or death decrees, and originals of any documents to support the I-134
fall into this category. The Consulate has the right to ask for the
original of any document, so best be prepared.
4.4)...When is the K1 visa actually given to my
A..This will vary wildly according to the individual consulate. Some
will issue the visa immediately, but many will not. In 2002, additional
security checks were causing great heartache and inconvenience to applicants
in Russia and China, whereas Stockholm and London would issue the visa
the same day. In the Philippines, procedures in 2002 changed, with visas
sent by mail.
Ask the newsgroup about latest developments.
The visa is given along with a sealed envelope of documents which must
be given to the USCIS (INS) officer when entering the US. The visa must
be used within 6 months of being issued. The fiance(e) is allowed to
enter the US once with the visa, with the purpose of getting married,
which must happen within 90 days. The fiance(e) is not allowed to travel
freely into and out of the US with the visa, it is good for one entry
only. If there is a K2 visa involved, the K2 may enter up to a year
after the K1. The K2 cannot enter the US before the K1.
4.4.1)...Must the K2 child attend the interview
at the Consulate?
A...Generally, yes. The Consulate sets the requirements. Some do not
require the child to attend if they are under 14, and some will require
the child to attend even if they are not going to move to the United
States with the parent, but will "follow to join" later.
4.4.2)...My child did not move with me to the
United States, but now he wants to move here. He was listed on the I-129F
petition. Can he still get a K2 visa?
A..I included my Ukrainian fiance's 18 year son on the
I-129f form. My fiancee went for her interview alone on Jan 27th, 1998.
She immediately came to the US and we were married on Feb 21st. I called
the US Embassy in Warsaw in July and explained that my Stepson was ready
for his interview. He had 1 year to come the US on the k-2 visa. They
set an appointment for him in 30 days. They mailed him the same forms
as they did for my wife. He had to get the same documentation as my
wife had to for her interview. As soon as he arrived in the US we applied
for his change of status and work card.
(FAQ note: the son moved to the US in Sept 98, and even had the visa
interview delayed a month due to problems obtaining an international
passport. He was not even required to have a new I-134 affidavit, Although
his step dad sent one to him.)
4.4.3)...Are K2 children required to have their
A...In general, a separate passport is not required if the child is
under 16. If the Consulate requires the child to have a passport, it
will be listed on the OF-169 (or UK85). Many countries will permit young
children to be listed on a parents passport, but at least consider getting
a passport for your young child. You can avoid any problems dealing
with INS upon entry, the young person can travel independently (if required),
and the passport provides an identification document if you are ever
separated for some reason. Besides, it will make a cool addition to
the scrapbook collection when the child is an adult.
4.5)...Just what is inside that sealed envelope
A.. Someone had asked me about the contents of the envelope
from the consulate. It contained all the original I-129F documents,
the K-1 forms which I completed for the consulate, our photos, birth
and divorce certificates, my medical report, and the affidavit of support.
A.. Just thought in case anyone is interested the mysterious
brown envelope is all the documents that the US Citizen submitted for
the K-1 and all of the K-1's physical and approval from the embassy.
Ours was not sealed so we had to take a peek at it.
4.6)...Can my fiance(e) come to the US to visit
me once the visa process is started?
This may actually be the most common question in the newsgroup, asked
on a near daily basis.
A..I wrote to the Embassy in London and I was given this
reply: "If you wish to make a temporary visit to the US while your application
for a Fiance(e) visa is being processed, you will require a visitor's
visa (B-1/B-2) or, if you meet the conditions, travel visa-free. However,
all travelers to the US are subject to inspection at the port of entry
by an immigration officer who has the right to deny admissions. As the
beneficiary of an approved Fiance(e) visa (petition) you may have difficulty
convincing the officer that you are not an intending immigrant."
A.. If the fiance(e)..."Has a residence in a foreign country which
the alien does not intend to abandon", and if the fiance(e) is "An alien
coming to meet the alien's fiance(e)'s family (to become engaged; to
make arrangements for a wedding; or to renew a relationship with the
prospective spouse)", then they can enter the US on a B2 visa. (Quotes
from the USCIS (INS) Inspectors Field Manual). This does not specifically
address an alien with a "K1 visa application pending". Proving an intention
to return home might mean showing...
This question does not have a good answer. Many people visit the US during
the Process, but some newsgroupers have reported that once the initial
background check is done by the Consulate, subsequent visits to the US
required an additional FBI check done by the Consulate, which resulted
in a delay in the visa application process. Refer questions regarding
experiences to the newsgroup.
- Current enrollment in school
- Employment in the home country
- Strong family ties to the home country
an extract from the records (short form) a valid birth certificate,
I know it is for UK stuff, but how about the K1 process ?
A..It has to be a full Certificate (long form), i.e. showing
parents names etc...not the short form one. A Certified Copy (ie on
official paper, would be considered an original).
A.. it is very easy to get copies of the BC in the UK..
just call the records officer controlling the district where you was
born. I searched for the number on the net, called and got the address
and cost (£6 pound each). Send a letter with a cheque and 4 days later
got 4 original copies.
4.8.. I am adopted and don't have a birth certificate
- what do I do?
A..USCIS (INS) will accept a full adoption certificate. Showing
adopting parents names and the same information shown on a birth certificate.
The address of where to get these can be obtained from the local Registrar
of Births Marriages and Deaths (in England)
4.9...How often are the K1 visa applications denied?
A..In reading posts from the newsgroup, not often. The K1/K2 visa application
process is handled by the US State Department through the US Consulates.
USCIS (INS) is not involved at this stage. It is assumed the fiance(e)
meets the requirements for medical test, police records, etc. The newsgroup
has experienced denials based on failure to disclose a prior minor criminal
offense, and failure to disclose a visa overstay during a previous visit
to the US. It wasn't the necessarily the minor crime or the overstay
that caused the denial, but in both cases, the applicants did not admit
If you have some sort of past problem, you will have a better chance
at getting the K1 visa if you are honest and forthright. In early 1999,
a UK man received a K1 despite past minor criminal problems, and he
attributed his success to his total honesty. Depending on the particular
reason for denial, a waiver may be available.
4.10..I'm getting conflicting reports
on what is required for a plane ticket to the U.S. I was told that you
need to have a round trip ticket. Is that true?
A...This subject has been discussed in the newsgroup at
great length. The plane ticket is irrelevant! Go for what ever fits
your budget. (Note: this means it is not required to have a round trip
ticket when entering on a K1 visa)
4.11)...My alien fiancee has been issued
a K-1 visa. Can we get married abroad and then come back together to
the US with the K-1?
A...No. The alien must NOT be married when s/he enters the
US on a K-1 visa. Also, if using the K-1, the couple must marry in the
US within 90 days of the alien entering on the K-1.
(FAQ Note: Some couples arrange to have a non legal ceremony
prior to the fiance(e) leaving their home country, in order to satisfy
the wishes of family, or to have a celebration if the family is unable
to travel to the US for a wedding.
4.12)...Does the government, for visa
purposes, distinguish between religious and civil marriages?
A...The government distinguishes between legal and non legal marriages.
If the marriage is legal in the country in which it is performed, the
US will consider it a legal marriage. It doesn't matter if it is a civil
or religious marriage.
This FAQ is located at http://www.visajourney.com/faq/k1faq.htm