In order for a United States citizen to petition for permanent residency of his or her fiancé(e) abroad, a Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) must be filed with USCIS. After the Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) petition is approved, however, there are certain procedures for the alien fiancé(e) to take before being granted K-1 visa status, in order to enter the United States.
The First Step: Filing Your Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)
- The U.S. Citizen sponsor must file Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) with USCIS (Note: this application cannot be filed at a U.S. Embassy, Consulate or USCIS office abroad.)
- After USCIS approves the petition, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing, and NVC will send it to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where your fiancé(e) will apply for K-1 nonimmigrant visa
The Second Step: Applying for K-1 Visa
Once the United States Embassy or Consulate where the foreign-citizen fiancé(e), will apply receives the petition from NVC, it will provide you with specific instructions, including where to go for the required medical examination. At the time of the K-1 visa interview, digital fingerprint scans will be taken. Some visa applications also require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a USCIS Consular officer.
Eligible children of K-1 visa applicants may apply for K-2 visas. Separate applications must be submitted for each K visa applicant and each K visa applicant must pay the required visa application fee. For expert legal counsel from Los Angeles Immigration lawyers, contact JCS Immigration and Visa for a free initial consultation.
The foreign-citizen fiancé(e) (and eligible children applying for K-2 visas) will be required to bring the following forms and documents to the visa interview:
- Nonimmigrant Visa Applications
- Nonimmigrant Fiance(e) Visa Application
- Application For Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration
If my fiancé(e) is from Canada or Mexico, do we still need to petition for a K-1 visa?
K Visa applicants in Canada and Mexico have different application form requirements. Review information on the U.S. Consulate General Montreal or U.S. Consulate General Ciudad Juarez website to learn which forms are applicable.
- A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the U.S.
- Divorce or death certificate(s) of any previous spouse(s) for both the U.S. citizen and alien fiancé(e)
- Police certificates from alien’s present country of residence and all countries where alien has lived for 6 months or more since age 16 (police certificates are also required for any dependent children above the age of 16)
- Medical examination
- Evidence of financial support (Affidavit of Support, may be requested)
- Two (2) 2x2 passport sixed photographs
- Evidence of relationship with U.S. citizen sponsor
- Payment of fees, as explained
The Consular Officer may ask for additional information, such as photographs and other proof that the relationship with your U.S. citizen fiancé(e) is genuine. Documents in foreign languages, other than the language of the country in which the application takes place, should be translated. Applicants should take to the visa interview clear, legible photocopies of civil documents and translations, such as birth and divorce certificates. Original documents and translations will be returned. For expert legal counsel from Los Angeles Immigration lawyers, contact JCS Immigration and Visa for a free initial consultation.
K-1 Visa Processing Time
For Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), you can visit the USCIS website for the status of your petition.
Once the petition has been approved and received from NVC by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that will process it, the length of time varies on a case-by-case basis according to its circumstances. Some cases are delayed because applicants do not follow instructions carefully or supply all information requested.
After You Receive a K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa
If you are issued a K-1 visa, the Consular Officer will give you your passport containing the K-1 visa and a sealed packet containing the civil documents you provided, plus other documents that were prepared by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. It is important that you do not open the sealed packet. Only the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) immigration official should open this packet when you enter the United States. As the K-1 visa holder, you must enter the U.S. either before or at the same time as any qualifying children holding K-2 visas.
With the K-1 visa, an individual can apply for single admission at a U.S. Port of Entry within the validity of the visa, which will be a maximum of 6 months from the date it was issued. It is very important to note that you must marry your U.S. citizen fiancé(e) within 90 days of your entry into the United States.
Due to the complexity of immigration law, seeking expert legal counsel may be to your benefit. We can offer you dedicated experienced legal counsel at JCS Immigration and Visa. To schedule an initial telephone or an in-person consultation with an experienced citizenship and immigration lawyer, contact us now.