1. Foreign fiance(e) must be a fiance(e) of United States citizen
2. Foreign fiance(e) must enter United States with a sole purpose to conclude a valid marriage with the United States citizen
3. Foreign fiance(e) must marry United States citizen 90 days after entry to the Unites States
STEP 1: Filing the Petition
United States citizen must petition for his/her fiance(e) by filing I-129F petition (Petition for Relative or Fiance(e)) with USCIS office having jurisdiction over the place of the petitioner's residence in the United States. You must provide proof of the following:
1. You and your fiance(e) are both free to marry and any previous marriages must have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment;
2. There is a bona fide intention to marry within 90 days of fiance(e)'s entry;
3. You met each other, in person, at least once within 2 years of filing your petition unless USCIS waives in-person requirement if applicable.
Within 2-3 weeks of receiving the petition after the Service Center receives and processes the I-129F, you will receive 1st Notice Of Action (NOA1) acknowledging that K-1 petition has been opened
STEP 2: Your Petition is approved
- You will receive a 2nd Notice of Action (NOA2) once your K-1 petition is approved within 4-6 months depending on the Service Center.
- Upon approval of Form I-129F, the USCIS will notify the consulate in the country where the marriage took place.
- If there is no visa-issuing post in that country, the visa may be issued by the consular post having jurisdiction to issue visas to nationals of that country.
- Petition is valid for four (4) months but can be extended by the consular officer
- If USCIS denies the petition, you can appeal to USCIS's Administrative Appeals Office using Form I-290B.
STEP 3: Case moving to the U.S. Embassy
- You request American Embassy to open a provisional case file for your fiancee
- Beneficiary receives Packet 3 which needs to be completed
- Your case is further forwarded by your Service Center to the National Visa Center
- After National Visa Center receives your case, it's forwarded to U.S. Embassy in your fiance(e)'s country
- U.S. Embassy will issue Packet 4 to the foreign fiance(e) with a checklist of items and paperwork to be completed and assembled. It will also give further instructions on how to obtain medical exams and to schedule an appointment for a visa interview
- U.S. Embassy issues beneficiary with interview date
STEP 4: The Visa Interview
On the date of appointment your fiance(e) goes to the U.S. Embassy
STEP 5: Traveling to the United States and Adjustment of Status
- Your fiance(e) is admitted to the U.S. for 90 days to marry the petitioner
- Your foreign fiance(e) may now apply for Social Security Number
- To get married you need to obtain marriage certificate
- Upon marriage to the petitioner within 90 days of arrival, the K-1 fiance(e) should apply for adjustment of status to become a conditional permanent resident.
- You should apply for adjustment of status as soon as possible after getting married to make sure you do not become out-of-status
- You may also apply for employment authorization and advance parole which will allow you to travel internationally while your case is being processed
- K-1 nonimmigrant cannot obtain an extension of stay or apply for a change of status.
- The only ground on which the fiance(e) may adjust status is marriage to the petitioner.
- If the marriage does not occur within 90 days, the fiance(e) is supposed to leave the the U.S. Otherwise he or she becomes subject to removal.
BENEFITS OF THE K-1 FIANCE VISA
- The K-1 fiance visa has a shorter waiting period compared to marriage-based immigration visa petitions such as K-3 or IR-1/CR-1
- You can apply for a work permit by filing Form I-765 and engage in employment
- Your children can accompany you to the U.S. on the K-2 dependent visa as long as they are named in the fiance visa petition
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