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Applying for a K-1 Fiance Visa

Posted by attorney Lisa Battan


I understand there may be a visa available for fiancés, is that true and how does it work?


K-1 visas allow U.S. citizens to bring a foreign national fiancé(e) to the U.S. in order to marry.

The fiancé(e) visa process includes three steps.

1. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): The U.S. citizen files a visa petition for his or her fiancé(e) with USCIS in the United States. The petition must be approved.

2. The U.S. Embassy/Consulate: After the U.S. embassy or consulate in the fiancé’s home country receives the approved fiancé petition, the consulate will send the fiancé a packet of forms and instructions, and schedules the fiancé for an in-person interview. The consular officer conducting the interview will decide whether the K-1 visa should be issued. The process at the consulate can take several months, although processing times vary greatly. If the consular officer approves the K-1 visa application, the consulate will issue a visa will be valid for six months. A K-1 visa is valid for a single entry into the U.S.

3. Applying for permanent residence (commonly called a “green card") Within 90 days of the fiancé’s entry to the U.S., the two of you must marry. After you marry, you can file the foreign national’s permanent residence application with USCIS. Within three months after we file the applications, USCIS will issue the Beneficiary a work authorization card which will allow him or her to work in the U.S. The Beneficiary may also apply for a travel document, called "advance parole," which will allow him or her to travel outside U.S. while the permanent residence application is pending.

As the last step in the permanent residency process, you may both be required to attend a personal interview at your local USCIS office. At this time you will be asked to present evidence showing that you are married and residing together.

The fiancé process is complex and requires several steps of paperwork and processing. Many applicants will seek the help of a qualified immigration attorney to assist them through the process.

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