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What is the K-1 visa process?

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2024 | Blog, Family Immigration

Known as the fiancé visa, the K-1 visa permits a foreign-citizen fiancé to travel to the United States to marry their U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival. After the marriage, the foreign citizen can apply for adjustment of status to a permanent resident (green card holder). This visa bridges provides a legal pathway for couples to start their lives in the United States.

The process involves several stages, each necessary for proving the legitimacy of the relationship and ensuring compliance with U.S. immigration laws.

Filing the petition

The first step in the K-1 visa process is for the U.S. citizen sponsor to file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. This form establishes the relationship between the U.S. citizen and their foreign-citizen fiancé. The sponsor must include proof of their intention to marry within 90 days of the fiancé’s arrival in the U.S., evidence of a genuine engagement and documentation that both individuals are legally free to marry.

Visa application and interview

Once USCIS approves the petition, it forwards the case to the National Visa Center, which then sends it to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where the fiancé will apply for the K-1 visa. The fiancé must complete the visa application, submit the required documentation and attend a medical examination. Following these steps, the fiancé attends an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, during which a consular officer determines their eligibility for the visa.

Final steps

After the successful interview and visa approval, the foreign-citizen fiancé can travel to the United States. The couple must marry within 90 days of the fiancé’s arrival. After the marriage, the foreign citizen applies for an adjustment of status to become a permanent resident of the United States. This final step involves more paperwork and, in some cases, another interview, but it culminates in the couple starting their new life together in the United States.

The K-1 visa process is a detailed and meticulous journey that leads to a significant milestone in a couple’s life. It symbolizes the start of a new chapter, where distance no longer separates two individuals ready to build a future together.