Obtaining a fiancé visa in the United States, formally known as the K-1 visa, is a process that allows an engaged partner of a U.S. citizen to enter the country for the purpose of getting married. Understanding and carefully following each step of this process is crucial for a smooth and successful visa application.
Errors or omissions can result in a denial of the application. Obtaining legal guidance throughout the process can greatly benefit a citizen who wants to bring their future spouse into the U.S.
Filing the petition and providing the required proof
The first step for a fiancé visa involves the U.S. citizen partner filing a petition with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) using Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e).
This form requires proof of the relationship, including evidence that the couple has met in person at least once within two years of filing the petition. Exceptions are made if the meeting violates strict and long-established customs or results in extreme hardship to U.S. citizens.
To establish the relationship’s legitimacy, it’s essential to provide thorough and accurate documentation, including photos, correspondence and travel itineraries.
After USCIS approval and background checks
Once USCIS approves the I-129F petition, the case is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC), which sends it to the U.S. embassy or consulate in the fiancé’s country. The foreign fiancé will then be instructed to apply for the K-1 visa and prepare for the visa interview.
They must complete the Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, and gather necessary documents such as:
- Birth certificate
- Divorce or death certificate of any previous spouse
- Police certificates from the fiancé’s current country of residence and all countries where they’ve lived since age 16
- Medical examination
They also must provide proof of financial support for when they come into the U.S.
The visa interview and preparation
The visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate is a crucial step in the process. The foreign fiancé must attend this interview, where an officer will assess the relationship’s authenticity and eligibility for the visa.
After the K-1 visa is granted, the fiancé can travel to the U.S. However, the couple must marry within 90 days of the fiancé’s arrival in the U.S. Failing to marry within this period can result in the fiancé having to leave the United States.