Many U.S. citizens meet a likely mate while traveling overseas. The natural reaction is to bring the potential spouse to the United States with the intent of getting married. Among its many forms and procedures, the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service has a form for this exact situation: it is called a “fiancé(e) visa, although its formal term is K-1 visa. The process for obtaining a K-1 visa was intended to be simple, but it can become maddeningly complex. This post is intended to describe the basic steps necessary to obtain a K-1 visa.
Start with Form l-129F
The first step is for the partner who is a U.S. citizen must file Form l-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e). In order to obtain this form, you and your fiancé must declare that you intend to marry within 90 days after the alien person reaches the United States. The form may be filed by mail or parcel delivery in several places. The UCIS charges a $535 fee for filing the form. The fee may be paid by money order, personal check or a cashier’s check. The U.S. citizen who is filing the form and his or her fiancé must provide information that is intended to demonstrate the form will have a valid use and will not be used simply to obtain entry into the United States for the foreign resident. If the marriage in fact takes place within the required 90-day period, the foreign citizen will then be allowed to apply for lawful permanent residence in the United State.
Conditions of eligibility
In order for a couple to be eligible to marry in the United States, both must be lawfully able to marry in both countries. The engaged couple must also declare that they have met each other in person during the previous two years before filing the petition. After Form l-129F is filed, it will be reviewed for compliance with existing regulations and then forwarded to the National Visa Center. If the form is approved, the National Visa Center will send the form to the U.S. Embassy or consulate whether the foreign fiancé lives.
While the Form l129F is traveling through the immigration bureaucracy, the fiancé must file his or her own application, and a Department of State consular officer will interview the person and determine whether the person is eligible for a non-immigrant visa. If the decision is affirmative, the finance’ will be allowed to travel to the United States. The couple will then have 90 days after the finance’s arrival to finalize their marriage.
As may be inferred from the foregoing discussion, the finance’ immigration process is filled with several steps, and missing any of them derail a couple’s happy dreams. In order to avoid this outcome, the finance’ living in the United States should retain an experienced immigration attorney to help untangle any snags in the process.