K1 Fiancé Visa Process: Do You Need an Attorney?

As a U.S. Citizen, you have the right to apply for your foreign fiancé to come to the United States. This process is called the K1 nonimmigrant visa application process (I-129F). (Note the differences from U.S. family visas, which are covered by a different form, I-130 Petition for Alien Relative.)

The K1 visa permits the foreign fiancé to enter the United States and marry their U.S. Citizen Sponsor within 90 days of their arrival. Once the marriage has taken place, the couple is able to file for adjustment of status to a permanent resident on behalf of the foreign national. 

Steps & process

The first step is to file an I-129F Petition for Fiancé(e) with the USCIS office that serves the area where you live. This application cannot be filed at a U.S. Embassy, Consulate, or USCIS office abroad. Once USCIS has approved the petition, it will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing. The NVC will give you a case number and send your petition to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where your fiancé(e) lives.

The second step of the process is the NVC mailing you a letter when it sends your fiancé(e) case to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Once you receive this letter, you should inform your fiancé(e) to take the below listed actions to apply for a K-1 visa and prepare for the interview.

Eligible children of K-1 visa applicants may apply for K-2 visas to accompany their parent. Separate applications must be submitted for each K visa applicant, and each K visa applicant must pay the visa application fee.

Required documents 

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 at the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate:

  • Completed Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. You (and any eligible children applying for K-2 visas) must: (1) complete Form DS-160 and (2) print the DS-160 confirmation page to bring to your interview
  • A valid passport for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond the intended period of stay in the U.S. 
  • Birth certificate (translated to English)
  • Divorce or death certificate(s) of any previous spouse(s) for both you and the U.S. citizen sponsor 
  • Police certificates from your present country of residence and all countries where you have lived for six months or more since age 16 (Police certificates are also required for accompanying children age 16 or older)
  • Medical examination 
  • Evidence of financial support (Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, may be requested)
  • Two (2) 2×2 photographs
  • Evidence of bona fide relationship with your U.S. citizen fiancé(e) such as photographs, evidence of joint travel, joint accounts, proof of communication (emails, social media messaging) etc.
  • Payment of fees

Once the visa is issued and the foreign national has arrived on a K-1 visa, he or she can remain in the United States for ninety days, which cannot be extended. The alien must marry during that period or leave the United States.

Once the marriage has taken place, the couple should apply for their adjustment status to a permanent resident by filing Form I-485. Normally, the foreign national will first obtain a two-year conditional residency and would have to file additional paperwork later to have the conditions lifted. If the marriage however is older than 2 years at the time the I-485 adjustment of status application is approved, the foreign national will be issued a 10-year permanent resident card, instead of the conditional 2-year green card.

Regardless of your personal situation, we are happy to help you assess the next steps and the requirements you need to meet. 

Please contact us for further information and assistance with your particular matter at immigration [at] tomgallagherlaw.com

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