Fiancé Visa

Process for a K-1 Fiancé Visa

  • The U.S. citizen files a Petition for Alien Fiancée (K-1 petition) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

 

  • USCIS forwards the approved petition to the State Department's National Visa Center (NVC) for processing.

 

  • U.S. Department of State National Visa Center asks for confirmation that the applicant has gathered certain paperwork and documents, is prepared for an interview.

 

  • NVC forwards the file to the U.S. consulate where the foreign fiancé lives.

 

  • The fiancé applies for admission to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspector at a port of entry.

 

  • To qualify for a green card, within 90 days of entering in K-1 status, the couple must marry.

 

  • The foreign spouse (and each K-2 child) must file with USCIS a Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status.

K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa

• If you are not married yet but plan to be married in the U.S.

K-3 Marriage Visa

• If you have already been married, or plan to be married in your loved one's native country.

Immigrant Visa Based Upon a Marriage

• Immigrant Visa based upon marriage is submitted if you are already married and wish to save money but can live with a longer waiting time to be together in the United States.

Advantages of a K-1 Fiancé Visa

• Typically approved faster than Immigrant Visas or K-3 Marriage Visas total time is less. It is estimated: 7-9 months, depending on the workload at USCIS and NVC, and U.S. consulate in the home country.

• You will be getting married in the U.S. if that is important to you.

• Allows you and your partner to spend more time together in the U.S. before being legally bound. Couples get a 90-day courtship window before the wedding must take place, during which the foreign partner can live in the U.S. This uninterrupted time together can help solidify a couple's commitment and provide a strong base for the upcoming marriage.

• Requires only a single petition for the family. Children come as derivatives called K-2, without a separate petition, as long as the children are named in the petition. A separate petition is not required if the children accompany or follow to join within one year from the date of issuance of the K-1 visa.

• It might be easier to get married in the U.S and prove your marriage is legal.

• The income requirement for a K-1 is less strict than that of an Immigrant Visa. Immigrants are required to show that their petitioner earns 125 percent of the federal poverty guideline minimum income requirement from their most recent tax return. Applicants for a K-1 present Form I-134 rather than Form I-864 and will need to show only that their U.S. sponsor's income is 100 percent of the federal poverty guidelines

• Once the K-1 applicant arrives in the U.S. and has employment authorization, their income can be included in the Adjustment of Status process where an I-864 must be submitted, with its higher income requirements.

• If the K-1 applicant has a child they are eligible to come with you as a derivative K-2, even if the marriage will not take place until after they are 18 years of age (but must be less than 21 years of age).

Disadvantages of a K-1 Fiancé Visa

• You will have to work harder to prove your relationship to the foreign U.S. consulate interviewing officer.

• If you or your partner do not convince the Consulate that it is a real relationship (insufficiency of evidence or something said at an interview makes them mistrust you or your fiancé) a K-1 petition is not subject to review by USCIS; it simply expires and that's the end of it.

• An Application for Permanent Residency must be submitted in the United States and there is another interview with USCIS before being granted residency. Therefore, attorney fees are increased, because additional forms and applications must be submitted and scrutiny is done once overseas and once again in the United States.

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Process for a K-3 marriage Visa

  • The U.S. citizen marries their fiancé in their home country.

 

  • The U.S. citizen files Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative with USCIS in the United States.

 

  • Upon USCIS issuance of the receipt notice for the I-130, as soon as the U.S. citizen receives the notice the citizen files a Fiancé(e) Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), with the same USCIS office.

 

  • Ordinarily, USCIS holds and adjudicates the I-130 and I-129F at approximately the same amount of time, then forwards them to the National Visa Center. If the NVC receives the approved I-130 before it completes processing of the I-129F, the K-3 visa application will be "administratively closed" and the NVC will process just the immigrant visa application. Only in uncommon cases does the NVC complete processing of the K-3 visa application and forward it to the Consulate.

 

  • The spouse applies for a K-3 visa at the Consulate in their home country. If the I-130 has been approved and received at the Consulate, the K-3 visa will not be issued. Instead, the post will adjudicate the immigrant visa application.

 

  • The spouse applies for admission to a CBP inspector at the port of entry and is admitted in K-3 status valid for two (2) years.

 

  • The spouse applies for permanent resident status by completing the immigrant visa application at the Consulate or by filing Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, with USCIS.

 

  • The applicants are called for an interview at their local USCIS field office.

Disadvantages of a K-3 Fiancé Visa

• Unless there is an unusually long wait for I-130 approvals, this method is not faster than a marriage-based immigrant visa.

• If the I-130 gets to NVC before the K-1 or the I-129F, the K-3 request will be canceled.

• The U.S. partner must be granted permission by the foreign country to get married there, and marriage laws between the U.S. and other countries are not always compatible.

• An Application for Permanent Residency must be submitted in the U.S. and there is another interview with USCIS before being granted. Therefore, attorney fees are increased, because additional forms and applications must be submitted in scrutiny and done once overseas and once in the U.S.

advantages of a K-3 Visa

• You won't have to work as hard to prove your relationship to the foreign U.S. consulate interviewing officer. (However, you will still have to work hard to some degree anyway)

• The K-3 grants the foreign partner an immediate 2-year travel visa so the foreign partner is permitted to freely travel back and forth between the U.S. and their native country.

• The K-3 applicant can immediately apply for employment authorization upon entry to the United States.

• If the K-3 applicant has a child, they are eligible to come with you as a derivative K-4, even if the marriage does not take place until after they are 18 years of age (but must be less than 21 years of age).

• The income requirement for a K-3 applicant is less strict than that of an Immigrant Visa. Immigrants are required to show that their petitioner earns 125 percent of the federal poverty guideline minimum income requirement from their most recent tax return. Applicants for a K-3 present Form I-134 rather than Form I-864 and will need to show only that their U.S. sponsor's income is 100 percent of the federal poverty guideline.

• Once they arrive in the U.S. and are authorized for employment, you can include their income in the Adjustment of  Status process where an I-764 must be submitted, with its higher income requirements.

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Process for a Marriage-Based Immigrant Visa

  • The U.S. citizen marries the foreign fiancé in another country.

 

  • The U.S. citizen files Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with USCIS or in exceptional cases with a U.S. Consulate abroad.

 

  • The approved petition is forwarded to the National Visa Center for processing and gathering relevant documents from the petitioner and spouse.

 

  • A Department of State application is submitted online; visa fees are submitted online.

 

  • The spouse applies for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad, bringing evidence of the bona fide relationship.

 

  • The spouse applies for admission to a CBP inspector at a port of entry. The spouse becomes a Permanent Resident upon being admitted.

advantages of a Marriage-Based Visa

• You won't have to work as hard to prove your relationship to the foreign U.S. consulate interviewing officer. (However, you will still have to work hard to some degree anyway)

• You can work upon arrival in the U.S. an immigrant visa holder becomes a permanent resident eligible to work in the U.S upon being admitted by CBP at the port of entry. A K-1 or K-3 is required to apply for an employment authorization card, which takes approximately 60 days.

• When you arrive in the U.S. there are no more filings required, and therefore, this process is less expensive than a fiancé(e) visa option. It will be much less expensive because you will have obtained a Permanent Residency (Green Card) when you arrive in the U.S. and you will go through no further processing at that time.

Disadvantages of a Marriage-Based Visa

• Separation from your loved one is longer than the K-1 or K-3 option, although only by several months. The applicant might have problems entering as a visitor during that time period.

• If you have children, they each are required to have a separate petition filed on their behalf in order to immigrate with you.

• If you have children, the U.S. citizen step-parent may only petition them if the marriage to their parent took place before their 18th birthday. They must also be under the age of 21.