What are the requirements for approval of the fiancé visa?
You must be a US citizen; fiancés of permanent residents are not eligible for the K-1 fiancé visa. You and your fiancé must be legally able to marry. You must really intend to marry within 90 days of the time your fiancé comes to the US. You must not have any disqualifying conditions such as criminal records or communicable diseases. You must have personally met your fiancé within the last two years Note: there are some exceptions such as physical disabilities or cultural prohibitions to personally meeting prior to marriage. However, these exceptions are very hard to get and most requests for an exception to these rules are denied.
What if we don't have pictures from when we met?
Pictures are great proof that you have met your fiancé in person. However, the law doesn't absolutely require them. Other things you can use as proof include passport stamps showing entry to and exit from your fiancé's country, airline boarding passes, hotel receipts and receipts of other types. You can also get affidavits from individuals who will attest to your visit. Just note that it may seem suspicious to a consulate that you traveled to a foreign country to meet the love of your life and forgot to bring a camera. You will need to over-compensate with your other evidence.
Do we qualify for a fiancé visa?
You must be a U.S. citizen to request a K-1 fiancé Visa petition. In your petition, you must show that:
1. You are a U.S. citizen
2. You and your fiancé intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé entering the United States
3. You are both free to marry
4. You have met each other in person within two years before you file this petition.
How long does it take to complete my K-1 Visa Petition?
Using our streamlined process, you could easily complete the entire application in about an hour. However, most people find they need to do a little research to find information like your fiancé's mother's date of birth. With RapidVisa, you can answer the questions you know and then save your work and come back later when you have the missing information.
So how do I get my fiancé here?
A U.S. citizen who wishes to marry a non-U.S. citizen can help their fiancé obtain permanent residence in different ways. The fastest way to apply for a fiancé visa if your fiancé is overseas and you want to marry in the United States. This is called the K-1 visa and lets your fiancé enter the United States for 90 days so that your marriage ceremony can take place in the United States. Once you marry, your spouse can apply for permanent residence and remain in the United States while you apply to adjust her/his status. After your initial fiancé visa petition is approved, it is sent to the National Visa Center, which will process and forward it to the U.S. Embassy or consulate nearest your fiancé’s foreign place of residence. The embassy or consulate will then invite him or her to an interview before issuing the actual fiancé visa.
Can my fiancé enter with a tourist visa, marry me, & adjust her status to get legal?
Entering the United States on a tourist visa with the intent of staying is visa fraud. This can and often does lead to deportation and a bar from reentering the United States. For an example of how this can go terribly wrong, read the decision of the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office below. In this case, a Philippine woman married an American and tried to enter the Untied States on a tourist visa. Not only was she unsuccessful in staying in the U.S., later when she tried to enter the U.S. the legal way, they denied her because of her previous attempt to misuse the tourist visa. She appealed and her appeal was denied. She is now barred from entering the United States.
Note however, that your fiancé can come here on a tourist visa and marry you. But she will have to leave before her tourist visa expires and apply for a spousal visa from outside the United States. It is the intent to stay that is illegal, not the marriage. A person who enters the U.S. with no intent to get married and stay who, while visiting, spontaneously decides to marry and attempt to stay may be able to do so. However, you must convince the government that this was not your intent all along.
Do you help us with the interview?
We will answer any questions you have about the interview and give you some general tips. However, you should be very wary about any service that offers to coach you on the interview process. According to the U.S. Department of State, "The end result is that every client from a particular consultant sounds exactly like one another. This diminishes credibility among those who memorize the 'correct' answers and cannot hold free-flowing conversations with the visa officers."
Can my fiancé work after she arrives on her K-1 Visa?
Yes, but she will first need to obtain an Employment Authorization Document. You apply for this document (which is actually a card, Form I-766) using form I-765 after you are married. You can't start this process until after your fiancé arrives. It typically takes about 2 months to get the EAD and she will not be able to work during that period. She will not be able to work before you are married because you can't get the EAD until you are married.
Does it matter where we get married?
It does not matter where you get married, but you must not get married before you come to the United States on your K-1 visa. Once you are in the U.S. you can get married anywhere. You do not have to get married in the state where the U.S. citizen sponsor lives.
Once my fiancé has her K-1 Visa, when should she travel to the United States?
She can travel immediately upon receiving her K-1 Visa, even on the same day. The K-1 Visa is valid for 6 months, so she needs to travel to the United States before the end of 6 months. The K-3 visa is valid for two years.
My visa was denied. Can I reapply?
Yes. If you have new information or your situation has changed you can reapply using the same process you used the first time.
Should I use a lawyer to prepare my K-1 Visa?
Probably not but it depends on your situation. Obtaining a U.S. visa is an administrative and not a legal process. This is simply a benefit request from your government, kind of like getting a driver's license. No attorney has any type of special access to the process or can in any way give you an advantage if you are otherwise qualified. You will either qualify or you will not and no attorney or anybody else can change the facts of your situation. There is no judge or court involved, just a bunch of forms you send to a government office (USCIS).
For a more detailed discussion of this topic see our Do I need a K-1 Visa Attorney Page.
Will I get my visa application fees back if I am denied?
No. All visa application fees are non-refundable.
Can we get married at the U.S. Embassy?
No, American consular officers are not permitted to perform marriages (Title 22, Code of Federal Regulations 52.1). Additionally, marriages are not allowed on embassy grounds.
How long is my K-1 Visa good for?
The K1 visa is good for 6 months and allows you to enter the United States only one time. The K1 approval from the USCIS is good for 4 months, which means the visa must be issued within 4 months of your USCIS approval. However, the consular officer can extend the USCIS approval for another 4 months and will routinely do this if it is not the applicant's fault the visa could not be issued within the 4 months. Once the fiancé arrives in the U.S., the couple must get married within 90 days. This 90 day period cannot be extended.
What does the K in K-1 Visa stand for?
The "K" doesn't actually stand for anything (not a word or phrase). K non immigrant visa applicants are a class defined by sub-paragraph (K) of section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The "K" simply refers to the sub-paragraph of this section of the act. Most K visas are K-1's.
What do I do if something goes wrong with my case?
Most petitions go through with no problems at all. However, if you run into serious problems that require an attorney we recommend you contact an immigration attorney.
Once I have my visa, are there certain places I must enter the U.S.?
No. You can enter the United States at any U.S. port of entry. Any commercial airline flight to the U.S. will work.
What will my visa look like?
The actual visa is a decal that is attached to a page in your passport. It is about the size of one passport page.
Can my fiancé enter under the visa waiver program, marry me, & adjust her status to get legal?
Yes and No. A person admitted under the Visa Waiver Program cannot get an extension of the 90 day visit. You can marry your fiancé while she is in the U.S., but she will need to return to her country before her visa expires. You can then file for a spousal visa.
Here is an article from the New York Times from May 14, 2010, discussing a man who was jailed and faces deportation for entering the U.S. on the visa waiver program and trying to apply for a green card.
However, many people have successfully came to the U.S. on the Visa Waiver Program and adjusted their status to permanent resident after marriage to a U.S. citizen. The key point is intent. If you intend to come on the VWP and try to get a green card through marriage, you have probably committed visa fraud since your implied intent was to just vist. But a person who intends to visit but at some point after arrival decides to marry an stay may be allowed to do so.
My K-1 petition was denied. Can I appeal?
Yes. The denial letter you received will tell you how to appeal. Unless otherwise instructed, you will file your appeal on USCIS Form I-290B. You will normally have 33 days from the time you receive your denial to get your appeal to the USCIS. The appeal must be sent to the same office that denied your petition. Appeals are handled by the Administrative Appeals Unit in Washington, DC.
I entered the U.S. on a K-1 visa, but would like to marry somebody else. Is this possible?
No. You can only marry the person who petitioned you. You must leave the United States before your 90 day stay is up. Your new fiancé can then file a new K-1 petition to bring you back.
Can a person who is HIV positive get a U.S. visa?
Yes. HIV was removed as an inadmissible condition on January 4, 2010. HIV testing is no longer required in the medical exam. Although forms DS-160, DS-230 and DS-156 still ask about HIV, a person who is infected can legally answer "NO" to this question.
When will USCIS cash my check?
The USCIS will scan your check and electronically withdraw the fee from your account within 24 hours of receipt. They will destroy the original check and therefore it will not come back to you.
What happens when I enter the U.S. on my K-1 Visa?
The big envelope you were given at the interview and told not to open will be opened. Your passport will be stamped and the I-94 attached to a page of your passport. The I-94 is an important document that you will need later so make sure it never comes out of your passport. You may be asked a few questions by the immigration officer. That's it, welcome to America!
I brought my previous fiancé to the United States on a K-1 Visa, but we didn't get married and she returned to her country. Can I apply for another K-1 Visa?
You can only apply for a K-1 fiancé visa one time in a 2-year period, and only two times total. So if it has been more than 2 years you are okay. If it has been less than 2 years you will need a waiver. In this situation, it may be easier just to get married and file a spousal visa instead of hoping for a waiver that may not be granted.
You can only file two K-1 visa petitions in your lifetime without getting a waiver. In this situation it would probably be easier to get married and file a CR-1 spousal visa petition. No such limitation applies to the spousal visa.
What if I discover a mistake after I print my K-1 fiancé package?
This is where RapidVisa really shines! Errors or typos are no problem. Our program catches most mistakes as you make them. However, if you do find you have made a mistake or left something out all you do is correct the information and reprint your K-1 fiancé package. You can change, print and reprint your package as many times as you like all for the same low price.
What documents do I need to translate?
One of the many ways immigration attorneys and others try to gouge you is by selling you translations. What they don't want you to know is that anybody can translate your documents for you, including you, your spouse, your fiancé or any random stranger. All the USCIS requires is that whoever translates the documents writes the following on the bottom of the translation:
"I certify that I am competent to translate (language name here) to English, and that this is a complete and correct translation."
They then sign their name to the translation. There is actually no such thing as a certified translation service recognized by the USCIS. You should never pay for a translation.
How does the K-2 visa work to bring children over?
To qualify for a K-2 visa, an applicant must be the minor, unmarried child under 21 years of age of a qualified K-1 applicant. The U.S. citizen who filed an I-129F petition for his or her fiancé does not have to file a separate I-129F petition for the child of that fiancé. These children must, however, be listed on the I-129F petition of the fiancé.
Must children attend the embassy interview?
Yes, if they are included in the petition and seeking a K-2 visa, they must attend the interview with you. This includes newborns. They will also be required to have the medical exam.
Does the child of a K-1 recipient have to travel to the U.S. with the parent?
No. The K-2 visa holder child can travel to the U.S. up to one year after the K-1 parent.
Must my newborn baby have his eyes open in his passport photo?
What if my fiancé's country does not have a U.S. Embassy?
If your fiancé's country does not have a U.S. embassy, or if the embassy there does not issue visas, the National Visa Center will send the petition to the embassy or consulate that normally handles visas for that country. For example, if your fiancé is in Iran the petition will be handled in Turkey.
Can I get the U.S. embassy to translate documents?
No. However, you don't need any type of "official" translation. Anybody can do the translation for you.
If I leave the USA before getting married on my K-1 Visa, can I come back?
If a K-1 visa, valid for a single entry and a 6-month period, has already been used for admission into the United States and the foreign fiancé has returned abroad before getting married, the consular officer may issue a new K-1 visa, provided that the period of validity does not exceed the 90th day after the date of initial admission of the beneficiary on the original K visa and provided also that the petitioner and beneficiary still intend and are free to marry. The foreign partner’s return to the United States and marriage to the sponsor must take place within 90 days from the date of the original admission into the U.S. in K-1 status. Because the K1 is a single-entry visa, you cannot leave the country and re-enter on a K1.
Can I get a K-1 fiancée visa if we have not met in person?
Probably not. Although there are rare cases where the USCIS has granted a waiver for religious or health reasons, this almost never happens.
Meeting online does not count. You must physically meet in person and that meeting can't have been more than 24 months ago. The meeting can be anywhere in the world and doesn't have to be in your fiancée's country. So you can't use the excuse that her country is not safe. Your inability to get a passport or leave the USA will also not work as an excuse since your fiancé can simply meet you here in the USA.
You will not fool the USCIS. Many people try to come up with an excuse for not meeting. They have heard every excuse and reject nearly all of them. Unless your justification is 100% legitimate you will not succeed. And even if you do succeed in getting a waiver of the meeting requirement, you will spend thousands of dollars and it will take up to 2 years to make it happen. Don't even think about creating false evidence such as photo-shopped pictures of you with your fiancée. Many people have already tried this. Immigration fraud is a serious crime which can and does land people in jail and can get your fiancée a permanent bar from ever entering the USA. You will not think up an excuse that the USCIS has not already heard and rejected.
Under no circumstances will they accept financial hardship as a reason not to travel to see your fiancée.