The K1 visa process is a five-step process that allows the fiance of a U.S. citizen to permanently relocate to the U.S.
This article provides a summary of each step of the K1 visa process. It is very important that the evidence submitted with a K1 fiance visa petition is accurate and reliable. Our law firm will provide you with a list of required evidence and will work with you to ensure it is the best possible evidence.
The K-1 visa lawyer at Porter Law Office, LLC has in depth experience with the K1 visa process and is available to answer all of your fiance visa questions.
What is the K-1 visa?
The K-1 is a temporary (nonimmigrant) visa that permits a foreign national fiance of a U.S. citizen to travel to the United States to marry the U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of admission to the country.
What is the process for obtaining a K-1 visa?
The K1 visa process involves three agencies under the Department of Homeland Security: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), the U.S. Department of State (“DOS”), and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”).
Step 1: Filing the Petition with USCIS
The first step involves the U.S. citizen (also known as the petitioner) filing Form I-129F to ask that USCIS recognize a foreign citizen (the beneficiary) as the person’s fiancé or fiancée. The petitioner needs to prove that the foreign national is their fiance. This is done by submitting evidence showing that the couple has met in person within two years of filing the petition, the couple is free to marry (meaning that they are not currently married), and that they intend to marry within 90 days of entering the U.S.
During the process, USCIS will conduct a background check for national security, criminal records, and other information on both the petitioner and beneficiary. If you submit relevant, probative evidence, then USCIS may approve the I-129F. The approval of the I-129F establishes that USCIS recognizes the fiance relationship and provides the foreign national the right to apply for a visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. It does not, however, permit the foreign national to travel to the U.S., nor guarantee that the K-1 visa will be issued.
The approved I-129F will be sent by USCIS to the DOS, the next agency involved in the process. The DOS National Visa Center (“NVC”) will then forward the case to the embassy or consulate where the foreign fiance will apply for the K-1 visa.
Step 2: Apply for K1 Visa with DOS Consulate
The second step involves applying for the actual K1 visa with the foreign embassy or consulate where the foreign national resides. The NVC (again, the National Visa Center, which is the department that received the approved I-129F from USCIS) will notify the petitioner when it is time for the foreign fiance to apply for the visa.
The foreign fiance will apply for the K-1 visa at the U.S. Embassy or consulate indicated on the Form I-129F. Each consulate has a checklist of information needed to obtain the K1 visa. Generally speaking, foreign fiance will submit identity and civil documents, proof of the relationship (again), as well as a medical exam completed by an approved physician.
Porter Law Office, LLC will provide the foreign fiance with a packet of information to take to their K-1 visa appointment. This packet will contain all evidence needed to obtain the actual K-1 visa. It is extremely helpful to have this packet as it takes the guesswork out of the process.
Next, a consular interview is conducted with the applicant. At that time, the applicant will provide the K1 visa packet.
The DOS will conduct background checks on the foreign fiance. If, after the interview, the DOS consular officer finds that the relationship is bona fide, and all other requirements are met, then the K-1 visa will be granted. K-1 visas are valid for up to 6 months and a single entry. It is not a multi-entry visa (like a visitor visa).
But, the approved K-1 visa does not guarantee admission to the United States.
Step 3: Inspection at a Port of Entry – CBP
Your fiance now has a K-1 visa stamp in their passport. They must travel to the United States and seek admission at a port of entry within the validity period indicated on the visa. When your fiance travel through customs, they will be inspected by a CBP agent. The inspection at the port of entry includes obtaining fingerprints (biometrics) and all relevant systems queries for national security, criminal, and immigration information, verification of identity and travel documents, and an interview.
Once admitted, your fiance has 90 days to marry the same U.S. citizen who filed the Form I-129F with USCIS.
Step 4: Adjustment of Status – USCIS
This leads to step four: filing for adjustment of status (Form I-485) with USCIS. Once admitted to the U.S. you and your fiance must marry within 90 days of entry. After the marriage, the K-1 nonimmigrant may apply for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident by filing Form I-485 with USCIS.
If married for less than two years at the time the Form I-485 is approved, the applicant will be granted conditional permanent resident status and issued a Permanent Resident Card (commonly known as a Green Card) valid for two years.
Step 5: Removal of Conditions – USCIS
If you obtain a conditional green card, you must file for a petition to remove conditions within the two year validity period. A two-year conditional green card cannot be renewed. And, if you fail to file you will lose your permanent resident status and be subject to removal from the United States.
To remove conditions, you must file Form I-751 with USCIS within 90 days prior to the end of the two-year conditional permanent resident period. You generally file jointly with your spouse to remove conditions. During the adjudication process, USCIS conducts another background check and a fingerprint check on the foreign spouse, and may interview both spouses.
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Porter Law Office, LLC is a full-service immigration law firm that has in depth experience with the K1 visa process. We are a top rated law firm selected to Rising Stars in 2017 and 2018 by Superlawyers and rated Superb (10/10) by Avvo.
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