This article will break down the fiance visa timeline. This is the timeline you should expect if you file your case in 2018. If you handle your case correctly, and your fiance is not from a country that is considered to have high fraud, then the total wait should be between 7 to 9 months in 2018. The majority of our cases are being completed in about 8 months. Prior to 2018 the fiance visa timeline was closer to 6 months. This fiance visa timeline can change. This blog article will explain, in detail, about the fiance visa timeline.
The most important thing you can do is file a quality fiance visa petition with USCIS. If you are missing evidence or have other mistakes in your case it is likely that your case will take longer than average. This is why it makes sense to at least consult with an experienced immigration attorney about your situation. The attorney will review you case and point out weak areas or areas which may cause your case to be delayed or denied. You can then take the steps to fix those areas prior to filing your case.
You will file your case with USCIS.
A Notice of Action will be sent to you from USCIS in a few weeks. The notice of action is meant to let you know that USCIS has received your packet and that the case is being processed. After this your case will go quiet. You really should not hear anything for the next 5 to 7 months. (This wait is quite a bit longer than the wait time just a couple of years ago)
If all is well with your case you will receive USCIS approval at this point. Unfortunately, this does not mean that your case has been approved (if only it were that easy). It just means that you have passed the first of three hurdles. Your case will now be sent to National Visa Center. At the National Visa Center level your case will be assigned a new Department of State case number. After the National Visa Center assigns a new case number your case will be sent to the local American embassy or consulate. They will process the remaining part of the fiance visa case.
The interview should take place sometime within the next month 2 to 3 months. The wait time will primarily be based on the number of cases being processed at the time your case is there. At this stage your fiance will have her very important interview, have her medical examination done, and be told about obtaining other documents to finalize her case. She needs to make sure that she complies with everything that is requested of her at this point in the process.
The interview is very important. This will probably be the most important interview in your fiance’s life. If it goes well then she will be able to start her life with you in the United States in a short amount of time. If it does not go well you may have to refile the whole case and start over. This could take an additional 8 months or longer.
The key thing is that she know about you and your life. She should know you very well in order to have a successful interview. She should know about your life in the United States. She should know where you live, what kind of work you do, and all about your family . If you have a criminal past she should know about this and not find out about it at the interview. In addition, she should know about any past marriages. You may wish to read our article about the fiance visa interview process. This includes the fiance visa interview questions.
Assuming all goes well at the consulate the fiance visa will be granted. Congratulations! Approval generally happens in about a week to 10 days. You are then eligible to enter the United States with your k-1 fiance visa.
You will receive a sealed packet that must not be opened until you come to your port of entry. You can read about the sealed packet and other information about what you should do after your interview on the U.S. State Department’s website.
The fiance visa is valid for 6 months and is a one time entry. I have had potential clients ask if they can get married in the United States and then immediately go to Mexico or another country for their honeymoon. As the fiance visa is a one time entry visa I have had to tell them that unfortunately they will not be able to honeymoon in Mexico right after their wedding. Instead they will need to get married within 90 days and then file for their fiance’s green card via adjustment of status. Once they file for adjustment of status there will be a 3-6 month wait to receive a work/ travel card. (Btw: there is no rhyme or reason as to why some clients receive this card in 3 months and some receive it closer to 6 months. The results really seem to be random. This is a lot different than even a couple of years ago when everyone seemed to receive this card about 3 months after their adjustment of status case was filed with USCIS.) They can use this travel card (advance parole) in order to travel outside of the United States for their honeymoon. Thankfully, many of our clients are in California and there are plenty of places to go for their honeymoon in California. Once the travel card is issued, assuming that they entered on a K-1 fiance visa, they can then go out of the country for a trip.
If you are considering doing a fiance visa case please obtain our free fiance visa e-book or read our very popular blog post: Ten Things You Should Know About the Fiance Visa Process.
I hope you enjoyed this blog article about the fiance visa timeline. Just a reminder that this timeline is just an estimate and can, and probably will, change over time. You can make sure the case moves as quickly as possible by filing a quality petition with USCIS and timely responding and turning in requested evidence when requested.
Lawrence Gruner is a Sacramento Immigration Lawyer with almost 25 years of experience handling immigration cases. His office handles cases in California, the United States and the World. You can email him at email@example.com or call him at 916-760-7270 or 888-801-6558. He would be very happy to talk to you about your potential fiance visa case.
This article is general in nature and is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to take the place of legal advice with an immigration attorney. Every immigration case is different and, as such, should be reviewed , by an experienced immigration attorney, (not a notario, paralegal or immigration consultant) prior to moving forward. Please always consult with an immigration attorney prior to filing any documents with USCIS.