Steps to Get a K-1 Fiancé Visa

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Steps to Get a K-1 Fiancé Visa

The fiancé or K-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that is issued to the fiancé of a U.S. citizen to enter the U.S. and get married. If the fiancé who obtains and travels to the US with the visa so wishes, they can apply to get lawful permanent residence status (a green card) after they get married by going through what is known as the “adjustment of status” process. At Kriezelman Burton & Associates, we have experienced K-1 visa immigration lawyers who routinely help clients obtain this K1 visa.

Below is a step-by-step overview of the process one must go through to apply for and obtain a K-visa. This overview assumes you have already checked and know or believe you or your fiancé qualifies for the visa. 

Step One: Fiancés’ Personal Meeting

The law requires that the couple engaged to be married must have met in person within two years of the application for the K-1 visa being filed. You should therefore make sure this has happened before you start the K-1 visa application process. Most engaged couples find it easier and more convenient for the U.S. citizen to simply travel and meet the fiancé at a place they find convenient, usually the fiancé’s home country.

However, it may be possible to avoid this physical meeting requirement within two years for cases of religious traditions or extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen but proving this is no easy walk in the park as most cases where the exception is sought are denied.

Step Two: Filing of I-129 Fiancé Petition by U.S. Citizen

The U.S. citizen must then file a petition with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This is accomplished by mail, using Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé. The person filing is referred to as the “petitioner.”

Step Three: Non-Citizen Fiancé Applies to U.S. Embassy or Consulate

Once the fiancé petition is filed, the U.S. embassy or consulate indicated on the petition will contact the non-citizen fiancé and inform them about what is required to complete the process of obtaining a K-1 visa. The non-citizen fiancé will then have to appear before a consular officer for a scheduled interview. 

Step Four: Travel to the United States on K-1 Visa

The non-citizen fiancé will then travel to the US and present the K-1 visa at a U.S. border, airport, or another point of entry. It is important for the K-1 visa holder to know admission is not guaranteed until after inspection at the point of entry to the US.

Step Five: Get Married in the United States

The K-1 visa is only valid for 90 days after entry to the United States; therefore, it is best for the couple to get married as soon as possible after the non-citizen’s entry to the United States. If this happens, the non-citizen can apply for a green card and have it processed in the U.S. Otherwise, the individual must leave the US to complete the green card process if they wish to obtain a green card.

If you wish to obtain a K-1 fiancé visa and are in the Chicago area, contact us today and schedule a consultation. We are based in Chicago but also offer our services in Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan. We handle all types of immigration cases.