Useful tips delivered to your inbox.
We will send you information only that's proven to be useful.
Planning a wedding across borders is challenging, especially if your fiancé is still in their home country and you are stuck in the U.S. Is it possible for your fiancé from abroad to join you in the U.S.? What steps can you follow to get them here?
Below we take a look at how a fiancé visa works and how it can make your wedding planning so much easier!
Table of Contents
Unfortunately, foreign fiancés of U.S. citizens can’t file a petition to become a permanent resident in the U.S. like spouses can. They need to apply for a visa. A K1 visa specifically grants foreigners the right of entry into America to marry a U.S. citizen.
A K1 visa is valid for 90 days after the visa holder has entered the U.S. The wedding date obviously then needs to be within 90 days of your foreign fiancé entering America. If you did not marry within the 90-day period, the K1 visa will expire and the foreign fiancé needs to leave the U.S.
A marriage Green Card is for a foreigner (non-permanent resident) who is already married to a U.S. citizen. If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you can be in the U.S. or in a foreign country to apply for a marriage Green Card. The K1 visa, on the other hand, is for someone who wants entry to the U.S. before they are married to a U.S. citizen. A K1 visa doesn’t grant you permanent residency in the U.S. like a Green Card does.
Like any U.S. visa, there are a few eligibility criteria that need to be fulfilled before you qualify. Here is a short list of the requirements you’ll have to meet.
K1 visa eligibility criteria:
Essentially you will need to provide proof that the engagement is real and not fabricated in order for the foreign fiance to obtain entry to the U.S.
Once you have established your eligibility for a K1 visa, you can go ahead and start the process of applying. Here are the steps you will need to follow.
You need to file a Form I-129F which is called a Petition for Alien Fiancé.
Attach the following documents to the completed Form I-129F:
The processing fee for a K1 visa is $535. The processing time can take up to 9 months and even more. If the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) sends a Request for Evidence (RFE), you will need to supply more information. The USCIS will notify you once the petition is approved.
The foreign fiancé will receive a notice from the U.S. embassy in their country of residency providing an interview date, interview location, and list of required documents. The foreign fiancé needs can then complete the online DS-160 form (which is the actual K1 visa application).
Print the confirmation page when the submission has been completed. The foreign fiancé will have an interview scheduled within the following 4 to 6 weeks.
You will need to submit the following in order for the application to proceed:
U.S. Citizen Fiancé
The visa interview will be at the closest U.S. consulate or embassy of the foreign fiancé’s residence. A fee of $265 needs to be paid for the interview. A notice will define the payment details and methods acceptable. The officer conducting the interview will decide the visa approval either on the day of or just after, the interview.
Once a form I-129F is approved, the sponsored fiancé has 4 months to travel to the U.S. for the marriage. The Customs and Border Protection officer is the last person to decide whether the sponsored fiancé is allowed to enter. They must present their K1 visa at the port of entry.
The 90 day period of the K1 visa will start on the day of the sponsored fiancé’s entry to the U.S. During this time you can plan the last few details, exchange your vows and get married.
Please note that a K1 visa is only for the purpose of marrying the sponsor fiancé. The sponsored fiancé must leave the U.S. if at any time the engagement is broken off. They can’t marry another U.S. citizen.
After getting married, the next step is to get permanent residency through a marriage Green Card. Here are the steps you can follow to adjust your status.
The adjustment of the status process needs payments of $1,140 for the filing fee and $85 for the biometric scanning process.
There are multiple deadlines and grace periods in the process of getting a fiancé visa. You can, however, expect the visa process to take at least up to 7 months. It may even take longer. Once the marriage has been confirmed in the U.S. it may take another 6 months to get a marriage, Green Card. So, typically the whole process will take up to 13 months, but as with any immigration case, it may take longer.
You can build a future with the love of your life in America, even if they are a foreign resident. Follow the steps above to file your fiancé visa application (and your application for a Green Card too). Once your fiancé is with you in the U.S. all you will need to worry about is planning the wedding and saying the “I Do’s”.
Car dealerships are notorious for trying to convince customers that they need extras and add-ons for their car. Dealerships will...