FINALLY!!! You've met your knight in shining armor or your Cinderella and you're ready to get married. The only problem is that you live on opposite sides of the globe. You may have heard of the K-1 fiancée visa, but you don't know where to begin. Or maybe, you managed to complete the I-129F for the K-1 visa and get approved, but wedding bells are still not a reality!
In this article, we will discuss the two steps of the K-1 fiancée process; and how to ensure the fastest processing times. We will also briefly dispel a couple myths regarding 'faster' alternatives to the K-1 fiancée process.
Step 1: A K-1 fiancée visa is filed by a U.S. citizen on behalf of future spouse. The first step requires filing form I-129F. This form is filed within the U.S. at the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). Working with experienced immigration legal counsel is best when submitting the first step I-129F application to understand the approval process and prepare accordingly for the 2nd phase of the fiancée visa process.
Step 2: When an approval is received, the I-129F is then transferred from USCIS to the U.S. Consulate abroad. The U.S. Consulate requires another set of forms and fees to be completed, which can significantly delay the K-1 visa final approval, unless your U.S. immigration lawyer updates you in advance of the following: Any new requirements, fee structure, and any changes in forms required.
Once the Consulate sends the notice to the applicant, the applicants' fiancée must then carefully complete all stages and steps before an interview is scheduled.
The fiancée should work closely with their U.S. Citizen petitioner and their lawyer to gather information and records needed to avoid unnecessary delays in Consulate interview being scheduled. Flush through any possible issues prior to meeting with the Consulate Officer who will make the final decisions on the K-1 fiancée visa. Once a successful interview is completed, a visa should be issued same day.
A Faster Way?
Processing time depends on a number of factors. However, it is important to dispel the following myths:
A) We can just marry abroad, and a spouse visa will be much faster than the K-1 visa process. (i.e. K-3). This is false, as a non-immigrant spouse visa can often take longer, and the path to becoming a U.S. Permanent Resident becomes much more involved and expensive for the couple. Another myth...
B) I know, if we use a different visa, such as a visitor B-1/B-2 it will be faster, and we can marry then. This is also false and may result in a finding of "fraudulent intent" by the U.S. Government when the couple applies for Permanent Resident Status in the United States.
Our attorneys are members of the American Immigration Lawyers' Association ("AILA") and have over 20 years of experience in U.S. Immigration matters. We are standing by to answer questions. We serve clients through the United States and abroad representing K-1 Fiancée visas, U.S. Consulate Representation, K-3 visas for married couple, ESTA, Visa waivers, Adjustment of Status, I-485, I-864 Support Affidavit, Appeals, Motions to Reopen, Motions to Reconsider, I-751, Waivers, VAWA, U visas & Removal of Condition Applications.