NOTE: For an overview of the entire K-1 Fiance Visa process, please see the K-1 Fiance Visa Flowchart.
What is a K-1 Fiance Visa?
A K-1 Visa (also known as a Fiance Visa) is a nonimmigrant visa Visa issued to the fiancé(e) of a United States citizen. The K-1 Visa allows the visa holder to enter the United States for up to 90 days during which time they may get married and file for Adjustment of Status (to obtain a "green card" and become a Legal Permanent Resident of the US). After filing for Adjustment of Status they may reside in the US beyond the 90 day K-1 Visa validity while their Adjustment of Status application is processed. While the K-1 Visa is legally classified as a non-immigrant visa, it usually leads to important immigration benefits and is therefore often processed by the Immigrant Visa section of United States Embassies and Consulates worldwide. If the non US Citizen fiancé(e) has a child (under 21 and unmarried), a K-2 non-immigrant visa may be available to him or her. Be sure to include the names of the children on the I-129F petition.
Who is Eligible to File?
U.S. citizens who will be getting married to a foreign national in the United States may petition for a fiancé(e) classification (K-1) for their fiancé(e). You and your fiancé(e) must be free to marry. This means that both of you are unmarried, or that any previous marriages have ended through divorce, annulment or death. You must also have met with your fiancé(e) in person within the last two years prior beginning the K-1 Visa petition process (filing the I-129F). This requirement can be waived only if meeting the non US Citizen's fiancé(e) in person would violate long-established customs, or if it would create extreme hardship on the US Citizen.
Forms Needed to File for a K-1 Fiance Visa:
2. G-1145 (optional)
The above forms can be filled out on your computer and printed. Make sure you sign and date them as required. Anything you cannot fit by typing, you can handwrite (very neatly) in black ink in the blank instead. You should always verify the current forms at www.uscis.gov.
Assembling the I-129F Package: Checklist
Forms and Documents (follow these assembly instructions. All supporting documents must be in English or be translated as noted here.):
Documentary Proof of Having Met in Person in the Past Two Years and an Ongoing Relationship:
Use as many of these items are possible. There is no minimum, but the more you can provide the less likely you are that you will receive an RFE. Additionally, please note that providing proof of your ongoing and genuine relationship in this package may benefit you by allowing the consulate to have access to this information prior to them formally contacting the non US Citizen fiance. Many high risk consulates approach cases with a skeptical eye and providing this information early on in the original I-129F package will help them in their preliminary review of your case.
Attach "E-Notification" Form (Optional)
Clip a completed G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance, to the first page of your application (on top of the cover page). By completing this form and attaching it, USCIS will send you an email and/or text message to alert you when your application was received.
Mail the I-129F Package to the USCIS
You should mail the completed form(s) to the USCIS Dallas Lockbox. Mail the package with return receipt requested / delivery confirmation. Send via USPS.
Make TWO copies of the entire package before you send it in. This includes the money orders too. You want to have a perfect replica of the package you are sending in. All Forms that you submit must be originals with original signatures. Supporting Evidence that you submit may be photocopies. Retain ALL original supporting Evidence since the USCIS has the right to check them by issuing an RFE (Request For Evidence). If you receive an RFE, follow the direction exactly, and make two copies of what you sent back. During any future interviews the USCIS may also want to examine the original supporting evidence.
Create a VJ Timeline
|Estimate processing time and approval date: Creating a VJ Timeline will allow you to track your case and will generate an estimated approval date for your petition. You can always gain access to many other tools to help you plan how long your Visa Journey will take!|
What to send to your fiance once the I-129F is approved (Receive NOA2):
NOTE: Tip Regarding Vaccination Records
The K-1/2 beneficiary will be required by the embassy to have a "medical" done prior to the visa interview. Part of this interview will require that previous vaccinations are documented and potentially additional required vaccinations performed. Once this is complete the doctor will note this on a DS-3025 form that will be sent to the embassy. During the medical appointment request an official copy of the vaccination records from the physician (or a copy of the completed DS-3025 if they will give it to you) as this will be helpful to have on hand in the future (specifically it can be helpful when filing for Adjustment of Status if your DS-3025 form is not available).
After the K-1 Fiance Visa is Approved:
Upon entering the US on a K-1 Visa, the visa holder must get married to the original I-129F sponsor (for the K-1 Visa) within 90 days. If the marriage does not take place within 90 days or the K-1 Visa holder marries someone other than the original US Citizen who petitioned for them, the K-1 Visa holder will be required to leave the United States. Until the marriage takes place, the K-1 visa holder is considered a non-immigrant. A non-immigrant is a foreign national seeking to temporarily enter the United States for a specific purpose. A K-1 Visa holder can not obtain an extension of the 90-day time limit.
If the K-1 Visa holder intends to live and work permanently in the United States they should apply to become a permanent resident after the marriage. Please note, K-1 Visa holder will receive a "green card" and conditional permanent residence status for two years. Conditional permanent residency is granted when the marriage is less than two years old at the time the Adjustment of Status application is processed.
Note: A K-1 Visa holder can enter the United States only one time with this visa. Upon entry, the K-1 visa is cancelled, and an Electronic I-94 is issued upon entry and becomes the controlling document. If the K-1 entrant leaves the U.S. before marriage to the original petitioner, re-entry into the U.S. might not be allowed without a new visa. Also, if the K-1 entrant has applied for and is waiting on approval of an Adjustment of Status petition, the K-1 entrant should not leave the U.S. without also having applied for and received approved Advance Parole -- doing so could result in the inability to re-enter the U.S., and it indicates abandonment of the petition for Adjustment of Status. (Note that even approved Advance Parole does not guarantee re-entry into the U.S.)
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NOTE: The above information does not address the specific requirements for any given case and is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.