K-1 visa application process
The K-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows the fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States for the purpose of getting married within 90 days of arrival. After getting married, the foreign fiancé(e) can apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder). Here’s an overview of the K-1 visa application process:
- Eligibility: The U.S. citizen petitioner must be eligible to sponsor a foreign fiancé(e), and the couple must have met in person within the last two years before filing the petition, with certain exceptions.
- File the Petition (Form I-129F): The U.S. citizen must file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form establishes the intent to marry and demonstrates that the relationship is genuine. Along with the form, you will need to provide supporting documents, including evidence of your relationship and intent to marry.
- USCIS Processing: Once USCIS receives the petition, they will review it and may request additional evidence or information. Processing times can vary, but typically it takes several months.
- USCIS Approval: If USCIS approves the petition, they will send an approval notice to the petitioner. The approved petition will then be forwarded to the U.S. consulate or embassy in the foreign fiancé(e)’s home country.
- Consulate Processing: The foreign fiancé(e) will need to apply for a K-1 visa at the U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country. They will be required to submit various forms, supporting documents, and undergo a medical examination. They will also attend an interview at the consulate.
- Visa Issuance: If the visa is approved, the foreign fiancé(e) will receive the K-1 visa in their passport, allowing them to travel to the United States.
- Entry into the U.S.: The foreign fiancé(e) can travel to the U.S. within the validity period of the visa (usually 6 months). Upon entry, they will go through customs and border protection.
- Marriage within 90 Days: After entering the U.S., the couple must get married within 90 days. If they fail to marry within this period, the foreign fiancé(e) will need to leave the country.
- Adjustment of Status: After the marriage, the foreign spouse can apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder). This involves filing Form I-485 and providing additional supporting documents. The couple will need to attend an interview at a USCIS office.
- Green Card Process: If the adjustment of status application is approved, the foreign spouse will receive a conditional green card. After two years of marriage, they can apply to remove the conditions and obtain a permanent green card.
Remember that immigration processes can change over time, so it’s essential to consult the official USCIS website or seek legal advice to ensure you have the most up-to-date and accurate information for your specific situation.
How to fill out Form I-129F?
Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), is used by U.S. citizens to petition for a K-1 visa for their foreign fiancé(e). The form can be complex, so it’s important to carefully follow the instructions and provide accurate and complete information. Keep in mind that the instructions and requirements may change over time, so always refer to the most recent version of the form and instructions on the official USCIS website. Here’s a general overview of how to fill out Form I-129F:
- Download the Form: Download the most current version of Form I-129F and the corresponding instructions from the USCIS website.
- Part 1 – Information About You (Petitioner): Provide your personal information, including your full name, mailing address, date of birth, and contact details.
- Part 2 – Information About Beneficiary: Provide the foreign fiancé(e)’s personal information, including full name, date of birth, country of birth, and current address. Also, indicate whether the beneficiary has previously been in the United States.
- Part 3 – Additional Information About Beneficiary: Provide details about the beneficiary’s marital history, if applicable. This includes information about any previous marriages and divorces.
- Part 4 – Information About the Relationship: This section requires you to describe how you and your fiancé(e) met, how your relationship developed, and your plans for getting married. Provide detailed information and be honest in your responses.
- Part 5 – Information About Your Intent to Marry: Explain your intentions and plans to marry your fiancé(e) within 90 days of their entry into the United States on a K-1 visa.
- Part 6 – Fiancé(e) Visa Processing Information: Provide information about any previous petitions you’ve filed for a K visa, if applicable.
- Part 7 – Information About Your Employment: Provide details about your current employment, including your employer’s name and address. If you’re self-employed, provide information about your business.
- Part 8 – Statement of How You Met: Write a detailed statement describing how you and your fiancé(e) met, including the circumstances of your initial meeting and subsequent interactions.
- Part 9 – Statement of Your Intent to Marry: Write a statement describing your intentions and plans to marry your fiancé(e) within 90 days of their entry into the United States.
- Part 10 – Additional Information: Use this section to provide any additional information that you believe is relevant to the petition.
- Part 11 – Certification: Read the certification statement carefully, and sign and date the form as required.
- Filing Fee: Check the USCIS website for the current filing fee amount and payment instructions. Include the payment with your application.
- Supporting Documents: Include all required supporting documents, such as evidence of your relationship, proof of meeting in person, and any other documents as specified in the instructions.
- Checklist: Review the USCIS instructions and checklist to ensure you’ve completed all required sections and included all necessary documents.
- Filing: Mail the completed Form I-129F, along with the filing fee and supporting documents, to the address provided in the instructions.
It’s crucial to fill out the form accurately and honestly, as providing false information could lead to delays or even denial of the visa petition. If you’re unsure about any part of the form or the process, consider seeking legal advice or assistance to ensure that your application is properly prepared.
K-1 visa filing fee
The filing fee for Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), was $535. However, please note that USCIS fees can change, and it’s important to check the official USCIS website or consult the latest USCIS fee schedule for the most up-to-date information on filing fees.
Additionally, USCIS may also require other fees for related processes, such as the visa application fee at the U.S. consulate or embassy and the adjustment of status fee for the green card application after marriage.
Since fees and processes can change over time, I recommend visiting the official USCIS website to find accurate and current information about filing fees associated with the K-1 visa process.
K-1 visa checklist of required documents
The required documents for a K-1 visa application can vary depending on individual circumstances and changes in regulations. However, here’s a general checklist of documents that are commonly required for a K-1 visa application:
- Form I-129F: A completed and signed Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e).
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship: Copies of documents proving the U.S. citizen petitioner’s citizenship, such as a U.S. passport, birth certificate, or naturalization certificate.
- Passport Photos: Passport-sized photos of both the U.S. citizen petitioner and the foreign fiancé(e), adhering to the USCIS photo requirements.
- Proof of Meeting in Person: Evidence demonstrating that the petitioner and the fiancé(e) have met in person at least once within the two years before filing the petition. This can include photos, flight itineraries, hotel reservations, etc.
- Evidence of Relationship: Documents providing evidence of the genuine nature of your relationship, such as correspondence, photos, phone records, emails, chat logs, etc.
- Proof of Intent to Marry: Documents showing your intent to marry within 90 days of the foreign fiancé(e)’s arrival in the U.S. This can include wedding plans, venue reservations, invitations, etc.
- Divorce or Death Certificates (if applicable): If either the U.S. citizen petitioner or the foreign fiancé(e) was previously married, provide divorce decrees or death certificates as applicable.
- Fiancé(e) Biographical Information: The foreign fiancé(e)’s biographical information, including their full name, date of birth, country of birth, passport information, and contact details.
- Police Clearance and Medical Examination: The foreign fiancé(e) may need to undergo a police clearance from their home country and a medical examination from an approved panel physician.
- Form DS-160: The foreign fiancé(e) needs to complete Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, and print the confirmation page.
- Proof of Financial Support: The U.S. citizen petitioner may need to provide evidence of their ability to financially support the foreign fiancé(e), such as tax returns, pay stubs, employment verification, or an Affidavit of Support (Form I-134).
- Proof of Termination of Prior Visa: If the foreign fiancé(e) previously had a U.S. visa, they may need to provide documentation showing the termination of that visa (such as Form I-94).
- Application Fee Payment Receipt: A receipt showing payment of the visa application fee.
- Passport: A valid passport for the foreign fiancé(e).
- Relationship History: A detailed statement or letter describing how you met, developed your relationship, and decided to get married.
Remember that this list is not exhaustive and the requirements can vary. Always check the official USCIS website and the website of the U.S. consulate or embassy where the visa will be processed for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding required documents for a K-1 visa application.
What to do after a K-1 visa is issued?
After the K-1 visa is issued and the foreign fiancé(e) receives the visa stamp in their passport, there are several important steps to follow:
- Travel to the U.S.: The foreign fiancé(e) can travel to the United States using the K-1 visa. The visa allows them to enter the U.S. one time and is typically valid for a period of six months from the date of issuance.
- Entry Inspection: Upon arrival in the U.S., the foreign fiancé(e) will go through customs and border protection. They should present their passport with the K-1 visa and other required documents.
- Marriage Within 90 Days: The primary purpose of the K-1 visa is to allow the foreign fiancé(e) and the U.S. citizen petitioner to get married within 90 days of the foreign fiancé(e)’s entry into the U.S. Failing to do so could result in the foreign fiancé(e) having to leave the U.S.
- Apply for Adjustment of Status: After getting married, the foreign fiancé(e) should apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder). This involves filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and submitting supporting documents. This step allows the foreign spouse to obtain a green card.
- Biometrics Appointment: After filing Form I-485, the foreign spouse will receive a notice for a biometrics appointment, where fingerprints and photographs will be taken for background checks.
- Attend Adjustment of Status Interview: USCIS may schedule an adjustment of status interview to assess the authenticity of the marriage and eligibility for a green card. Both spouses will need to attend the interview and provide additional evidence if requested.
- Conditional Green Card: If the adjustment of status application is approved, the foreign spouse will typically receive a conditional green card, which is valid for two years. This is subject to removal of conditions within the 90-day period before the card’s expiration.
- Remove Conditions: Within the 90-day period before the conditional green card’s expiration, the couple should jointly file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. This form is used to demonstrate that the marriage is still genuine and ongoing. Once approved, the conditional status will be removed, and the foreign spouse will receive a 10-year green card.
- Further Immigration Steps: After obtaining the green card, the foreign spouse can live and work in the U.S. as a permanent resident. They can also pursue naturalization to become a U.S. citizen in the future, following the eligibility criteria and application process.
It’s important to stay informed about the specific requirements and procedures associated with the adjustment of status process, as they can change. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, refer to the official USCIS website and consult with legal professionals if needed.