How Can I Bring My Fiance to the USA
This article will discuss the question I am often asked: How can I bring my fiancé to the USA. It will discuss what is a fiancé, what is a K-1 Visa, the basic requirements of a K-1 visa, the process of obtaining a k1 visa, the costs, and how long you should expect to wait for the k1 visa.
What is a Fiancé(e)?
A foreign citizen fiancé(e) of the US citizen is the recipient of an approved petition for Alien fiancé(e), Form I-129F under US immigration law. This person is issued a non-immigrant K-1 visa for travel to the US to marry his or her US citizen fiancé. Both persons should have been legally free to marry at the time of filing petition and the marriage should be legally possible under the laws of the US state where the marriage will take place. In general, the fiancé and the US citizen sponsor must have met in person within the past two years.
What is K-1 Visa?
K-1 Visa is that visa that you require if you are residing in a foreign country and want to marry your fiancé whose living in the US. This visa allows the foreign citizen fiancé to travel to the United States and get married to the US citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival. Because the fiancé visa permits the holder to travel to the US and get married within some time of their arrival, there are certain requirements that have to be fulfilled. After getting the fiancé visa, the holder can apply for updating the status to permanent resident (LPR). Eligible children of K-1 visa applicants are given K-2 visas.
There are some requirements that have to be fulfilled before you apply for the K-1 visa. These are mentioned below:
- You are a US citizen
- You have met your fiancé in person within a time span of previous two years
- You and your fiancé, both are legally free to marry
- You and your fiancé both sincerely intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé’s arrival in the United States.
- You can meet the minimum income requirement of K-1 visa
Process of obtaining the Visa
There are several steps to follow before you can obtain a K-1 visa for your fiancé. These are discussed in detail below:
First step: Filing the Petition
- The US citizen sponsor must fill form no. I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé with the USCIS office that serves the area where you live. In addition to the personal information of the foreign fiancé, the personal information of the fiancé’s children needs to be listed. You must check Petition for Alien Fiancé for knowing where to file the petition. Also, the form I-129F cannot be filled at a US embassy, Consulate or USCIS office abroad.
- Once you get the approval, the USCIS will forward your petition to the National Visa Center (NVC). NVC then gives a case number and forwards your petition to the US embassy or Consulate of your Fiancé’s country.
Second step: Applying for a Visa
- The NVC will send you a letter when it sends your fiancé’s case to the US embassy or Consulate. Once you receive the letter, you must inform your fiancé to take the actions mentioned below and start preparing for the interview.
- Eligible children of K-1 visa applicants can apply for K-2 visa and each K visa applicant must submit a separate fee for the same.
The foreign citizen fiancé are required to bring the following documents for the visa interview:
- Complete form DS-160
Your fiancé and her children must fill in the form DS-160 completely for K1/K2 visa. You must fill the online application form and get a printout of it for the visa interview.
- A valid passport intended for travel to the United Stated with a validity date of at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the US.
- Divorce or death certificate of any previous spouse(s) for both you and the US citizen sponsor.
- Medical examinations (optional vaccinations)
- Police certificates from your present country of residence or any other country where you have lived for more than 6months or more since age 16. Police certificates ate also required for age 16 or older accompanying children.
- Evidence of financial support (Form I-134, Affidavit of Support may be requested).
- Two (2) 2×2 photographs with the required photo format mentioned in the Photo requirements.
- Evidence of relation with your US citizen fiancé
- Payment of fees, as explained below
It is important to note that documents in other foreign languages must be translated. The Consular Office could ask for additional information like photographs and other proofs to ensure that the relationship with your US citizen fiancé is genuine. Also, the applicants are required to take clear and legible civil documents like divorce and death certificates to the interview. The original certificates are always returned.
Moreover, during the interview, ink-free digital fingerprint scans will be taken. Some visa applicants require further administrative processing which can take more time after the visa applicant’s interview at Consular Office.
Medical Examination and Vaccination Requirements
Before the issuance of an immigrant or K visa, each applicant, regardless of age must go through a medical examination, performed by an authorized panel physician. You will be provided information regarding medical examination and authorized panel physicians at the US embassy or the Consulate where you will apply for the visa. The complete medical examination must be scheduled before the interview date.
K visa applicants are encouraged to get vaccinations required under US immigration law for immigrant visa applications. Although such vaccinations are not required for K visa issuance, they will be required when you update your status to a permanent resident after your marriage. Applicants are therefore, encouraged to get these vaccinations at the time of medical examination.
Proof of Financial Support and Affidavit of Support Forms
At the time of visa interview, the applicant will be required to present evident to the Consular Office that they will not become a public charge in the United States. You must show evidence that you are able to financially support yourself or your US citizen fiancé will provide support. The Consular Office will require your US citizen fiancé to submit Form I-134 or Affidavit of Support.
(Note: The US citizen fiancé will be required to submit form I-864 to the USCIS along with the application for adjustment of status to that of legal permanent resident (LPR) after the marriage in the United States.)
How much is the cost of a K visa?
Fees for the K visa are charged for the following services:
- Filling an Alien Fiancé Petition, Form I-129F
- Non-immigrant visa application processing fee, Form DS-160 (required for each K visa applicant)
- Medical examination (required for each K visa applicant)
- Other costs include fees for getting documents required for visa application like police certificates, passport, translation and photocopying charges and travel expenses to US Embassy or Consulate for interview. Costs may vary from country to country.
- Filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status.
How long will it take to get K visa?
For Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé, you can visit the USCIS website to check the status of your petition.
Once your application has been received by the US Embassy or Consulate that will process it, the length of time varies from case to case depending on your circumstances. Some cases get delayed because the applicants don’t follow instructions strictly or provide incomplete information. It is essential to provide the correct postal address and telephone numbers. Some applications also take additional processing which adds to the time duration after the interview by the Consular Office.
In certain cases there could be a delay or prevention of issuance of K-1 fiancé visa. This is listed below in the order that they seem to occur:
- Failure to convince the Consular Office that a bona fide relationship exists between the couple
- Missing documents
- Incomplete documents
- Documents completed incorrectly
- Inadequate English skills of fiancé
- US citizen cannot meet the minimum income requirement
- Large age difference between the US citizen and the fiancé
All the above, except no.7, can be avoided by hiring an immigration law firm with the experience that they have in handling such situations. Number 7 can be more of a problem with some Consulates than the others, but preparing your fiancé well for interview can adequately reduce the risk of denial due to age difference.
After you receive a K-1 Fiancé visa
If you are issued a K-1 visa, the Consular Office will give you your passport with the K-1 visa and a sealed packet contacting the civil documents you provided along with other documents prepared by the US embassy or Consulate. It is important to note that you should not open the sealed packet, it is meant to be opened by the DHS immigration official when you enter the United States. As the K1 visa holder, you must enter US at the same time or before qualifying children holding K 2 visas.
You must marry your US citizen fiancé within 90 days of arrival in the United States. With your visa, you can apply for a single admission at a US port of entry, which will be a maximum of 6 months from the date of issuance.
Does the US citizen fiancé need to file separate petitions for his/her children?
No. Your eligible children may apply for K-2 visas based on the approval of form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé, which was filed by your US citizen fiancé on your behalf, but your US citizen fiancé must list the number of children on the petition. Separate visa applications must be filled for K2 visa applicants and each applicant should pay separate fee.
After your marriage, your children are required to separately file for adjustment of status to a legal permanent resident. They cannot be included in the same application, as you have filed. More information regarding the application for adjustment of status to a legal permanent resident can be found on the USCIS website.
The important thing to take a note of here is that a child must be unmarried under the US immigration law. In most cases, the K-2 visa holders must be under 21 years of age in order to adjust status following the marriage to your US citizen spouse. You can check the USCIS website for more information.
Entering the United States: Port of Entry
A visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to the US port of entry and ask for permission to enter the United States. The authority to permit or deny rests with the US Customs and Border Protection officials. On entering the port of entry, you should be prepared with your passport containing the visa and the sealed packet of documents to be handed over to the CBP officials. Important information regarding entry requirements should be checked on the CBP website under the section of Travel.
Other General Questions
- If your query concerns the status of your case in progress at a US Embassy or Consulate, you should first contact the US Embassy or Consulate handling your case, for any status information. You can select US Embassy or Consulate on the website to have an overview of your application and its progress.
- Also, it is wise to carefully review the website mentioned above before making an enquiry. Often, the answers to questions are easily found on the website under the frequently asked question section. This also enables us to help other applicants and US sponsors who are in need for any sort of assistance. It must be understood that a very large volume of applications are received almost everyday and it is not practical to revert to all of them. Therefore, to make things easy, answers to most of the applicants’ questions is given in the FAQ section that the applicant can review before making an enquiry. This saves time and gives clarity to the applicant as to what the status of his application would be like.
- Visa Services contact information is also given under the “Contact Us” section, just in case you want to reach them over the phone or e-mail.
Lawrence Gruner is a fiancé visa attorney a fiancé visa lawyer a green card attorney and a green card lawyer with almost 20 years of experience handling simple and complicated fiancé visa cases. He would be happy to talk to you about your case. He handles cases throughout the U.S. and the World. He may be reached at 888-801-6558
This blog article is meant for general information only. Laws can and do change. Please always consult with an experienced immigration attorney before you take any steps to handle an Immigration case.