FIANCE(E) VISA: K1

This visa is available to unmarried couples where the foreign-born partner lives abroad, and allows the K-1 visa holder to travel to the US to marry and adjust status.

AVA offers both Attorney Guided and Reviewed, and Full Service Representation. This guarantees:

  • Attorney access and review throughout the entire application process
  • Privacy Protected: You sign a lawyer agreement, giving you attorney-client confidentiality, protecting you and your data
  • Easy-to-use software, guided by your dedicated attorney
  • K-2 Visas can be provided for an additional fee

 

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How It Works:

 

  1. Answer Simple Questions:  Complete our online questionnaire at your convenience. We’ll begin working on your application the moment you finish your questionnaire, starting with an attorney’s thorough review of your answers.
  2. Get a Personalized Document Checklist:  Based on the information you provide, we’ll email you a personalized list of all the supporting documents you will need for your application and login information to access your personal client portal.
  3. Fill It Out and Upload: Once you’ve completed the questionnaires via our online software and uploaded all required documents, our licensed attorneys will review them to ensure they meet Government requirements and standards. They will work directly with you if there are any issues or missing documents.    
  4. Legal Review by Our Licensed Attorneys: Our experienced, licensed attorneys will review the entire application to ensure it meets Government standards and requirements. If there are any flags the attorney needs addressed, they will send you easy-to-follow instructions through the software to allow you to update, revise, and ensure your application is error-free and in the best possible state for filing.
  5. Your Application is Printed and Shipped to You:  We print, organize, and assemble your application for USCIS review. We will then mail your completed application to you for signing and filing, with clear instructions on the next steps.
  6. Embassy Stage Guidance and Interview Preparation: Once your application is mailed, our attorneys will disengage from the case. AVA offers low-cost consults with our clients throughout the process, so if you need further assistance, we can still assist with many issues on a case-by-case basis. Once your I-129F is approved through USCIS, we offer an interview preparation service to help you prepare for the embassy interview. 

K-1 VISA PROCESS AND PROCEDURE

Information about wait times, cost, and requirements for a fiance(e) visa.

A K-1 fiancé visa allows the unmarried partner of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States. The couple must then marry no more than 90 days after that entry. After marriage, the K-1 visa holder will be eligible to apply for permanent residence (a “green card”).

The K-1 visa may not be right for everyone. Getting married first and applying for a spousal visa might be a better choice than applying for a fiancé visa. The decision depends on your living situation, the amount of time you are comfortable being apart from your partner, and several other factors.      

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It takes 6 – 8 months on average for US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process Form I-129F, the petition required to apply for this visa, and an additional 4-6 weeks to receive instructions from the National Visa Center (NVC) to continue the process.

The USCIS filing fee for Form I-129F is $535. A petitioner may pay with a money order, cashier’s check, or personal check. If you are filing at a USCIS lockbox facility, you can pay by credit card using Form G-1450. All checks must be made payable to the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Before the interview at the US Embassy, the engaged partner of the US citizen must have a medical exam. The cost for the exam varies, but $200 is typical.

Finally, before the interview at the embassy, the applicant will be required to pay a “visa fee.” The fee for the consular K-1 visa application is $265. You will be provided with specific instructions on when and where to pay this fee.

The K-1 visa allows a US citizen to sponsor their fiancé to come to the US. Both partners must have the intention to get married within 90-days after the sponsored fiancé arrives in the US from abroad.

 

Requirements include:

  • K-1 visa holders must be sponsored by a US citizen. Legal Permanent Residents are not eligible to sponsor this visa. 
  • The couple must be legally able to marry, and provide all divorce decrees, death certificates, and/or annulments from prior marriages.
  • The intending immigrant must obtain a police clearance certificate, per the requirements set out by the Department of State.
  • K-1 visas are available to same-sex partners, regardless of whether the laws in the sponsored fiancé’s home country allow for sex-same marriage.
  • The couple must show through evidence that they have met in person within the two (2) years prior to applying.
  • Each partner must show that they are ready, willing and able to marry within 90-days of the sponsored fiancé’s arrival in the US.
wedding rings

GUIDE FOR K-1 VISAS

K-1 Visa Eligibility

 

A U.S. citizen can sponsor their fiancée’s entry into the United States with a K-1 visa. Both partners must intend to get married within 90 days of the foreign fiancé’s arrival in the U.S.

Requirements include:

 

  • K-1 visa holders must be sponsored by a US citizen. Legal Permanent Residents are not eligible to sponsor this visa.
  • The couple must be legally able to marry, and provide all divorce decrees, death certificates, and/or annulments from prior marriages.
  • The intending immigrant must obtain a police clearance certificate, per the requirements set out by the Department of State.
  • K-1 visas are available to same-sex partners, regardless of whether the laws in the sponsored fiancé’s home country allow for sex-same marriage.
  • The couple must show evidence that they have met in person within the two years prior to applying.
  • Each partner must show that they are ready, willing and able to marry within 90 days of the sponsored fiancé’s arrival in the United States.

Our attorneys are happy to walk you through this process.

 

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K-1 VISA: HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?

K-1 Visa Costs Are Broken Down as Follows

The USCIS filing fee for Form I-129F is $535. A petitioner may pay with a personal check, money order, or cashier’s check. USCIS lockbox facilities accept credit card payments using Form G-1450. All checks must be made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

 

Before the interview at the US Embassy, the engaged partner of the U.S. citizen must have a medical exam. The exam typically costs $200 but can vary depending on the provider.

 

Finally, before the interview at the embassy, the applicant will be required to pay a “visa fee.” The fee for the consular K-1 visa application is $265. You will receive specific instructions on when and where to pay this fee.

K-1 Visa Processing Time

It takes 6 – 8 months on average for US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process Form I-129F, the petition required to apply for this visa, and an additional 4-6 weeks to receive instructions from the National Visa Center (NVC) to continue the process.

K-1 VISA PROCESS

First, USCIS requires that the U.S. citizen fiancé file Form I-129F to establish the authenticity of the relationship.

 

Form I-129F requires the following supporting documents:

  • US citizen fiancé’s proof of citizenship (copy of passport, naturalization certificate, citizenship certificate, or birth certificate)
  • Copy of the sponsored fiancé’s passport
  • One passport-style photo each of the sponsored fiancé and the US citizen fiancé
  • Photos, correspondence, and sworn statements from friends and colleagues to demonstrate the credibility of the relationship.
  • Evidence of meeting in person at least once in the two years prior to filing (photos, correspondence, flight itineraries, hotel receipts, etc.)
  • Sworn personal statements, written and signed by each partner, describing the relationship and the intent to marry within 90 days of the sponsored fiancé’s arrival in the United States.

When the form and supporting documents are submitted to the appropriate address, USCIS will send a receipt notice, usually within 30 days. If more information is needed, you may also be sent a Request for Evidence (RFE). USCIS will send an approval notice once Form I-129F has been approved.    

Following this, USCIS transfers the case to the Department of State. Within about 60 days (but usually closer to 30), the sponsored fiancé will receive a notice from the US embassy in their home country, which includes detailed instructions on the steps ahead: form DS-160, the medical exam, interview, and any other required evidence.

 

DS-160

The sponsored fiancé must then complete the State Department’s online DS-160 form called the “Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application.”  Printing the confirmation page once the form has been submitted online is very important because this is the actual K-1 visa application.      

 

The State Department then requests the following materials:

 

SPONSORED FIANCÉ DOCUMENTS

  • Birth certificate
  • Two passport-style photos
  • An unexpired, valid passport
  • Police clearance from all countries in which you have lived for at least six months since the age of 16
  • Sealed medical exam form (obtained from a physician authorized by the State Department)           

US CITIZEN FIANCÉ DOCUMENTS

  • Affidavit of support (Form I-134)
  • Most recent tax returns
  • I-129F Approval Notice
  • Birth Certificate/US Passport (While the original document is preferred, a copy will also suffice).

K-1 VISA INTERVIEW

Visa interviews are conducted at the nearest US embassy or consulate in the sponsored fiancé’s home country, typically within 4–6 weeks of receiving the embassy’s notice.

 

In most cases, the interviewing officer will make a decision during or shortly after the interview. If additional documentation is needed, they will ask for it to be submitted directly to the US consulate.

The sponsored fiancé has a total of six months to travel to the United States after the K-1 visa is approved.

 

Once in the US, the couple must get married within 90 days, or the sponsored fiancé will need to depart the US. The sponsored fiancé must leave the country immediately if the couple decides not to marry.

 

The K-1 visa cannot be changed into another temporary visa (F-1, B-2, etc.). One also cannot “adjust status” to a green card based on marriage to anyone other than the original U.S. citizen sponsor. The purpose of the K-1 visa is to unite the couple in the US, get married within 90 days, and adjust status to a green card holder.

 

After getting married, the final step is to apply for an adjustment of status to a legal permanent resident, initiated by the United States citizen spouse who sponsored the original K-1 fiancé visa.

 

From start to finish, AVA attorneys work hard to ensure your K-1 journey is smooth and your questions are answered. Start your journey today!

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FAQ

If you wish to work, you will need to file Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization). This employment authorization is only valid for 90 days from the date you arrive in the U.S., the same duration as your visa.

 

Work permission can also be applied for with Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status). The work authorization lasts one year, renewable until USCIS issues a decision.

Yes, you will need to show Form I-134  (Affidavit of Support) to receive your K-1 visa at the embassy interview.

K-1 visa holders who marry their partner within 90 days of entering the country may adjust their status to legal permanent residents.

 

The first step toward getting a green card is to file Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), along with other forms that make up an adjustment of the status application package.

The K-1 visa automatically expires after 90 days, and cannot be extended.

The K-1 visa is only available to the fiancés of U.S. citizens. If your partner is a green card holder, they will only be able to petition for a spousal visa.

There is only one major difference: your relationship status at the time of filing. Fiancés of U.S. citizens can apply for a K-1 visa. If you are the spouse of a US citizen, you can apply for a K-3 visa. Both these visas are only available to partners of U.S. citizens.

USCIS has authorized consular posts to prioritize K visas. For the latest information, check the website of your nearest US Embassy or Consulate.

 

Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)) can be extended if the petition is about to expire. This will allow you to avoid having to file a new petition.

Meeting in person is one of the hard requirements for a K-1 visa. If you haven’t met in person yet, you can still get a headstart on the process:

 

  1. Understand the requirements – Before you apply, you should read up on the K-1 Fiancé Visa process to learn what is required of you. Understanding the government’s requirements can help avoid delays or common pitfalls when filing.
  2. Gather evidence of your relationship – Proof of your relationship is important when applying for a K-1 visa because it demonstrates to the government that the relationship is real and that the couple plans to get married within 90 days. Try to paint a picture of your relationship by taking lots of pictures together, keeping receipts from activities, and showing proof of communication. The highly-trained attorneys at AVA will provide you with more personalized examples of relationship evidence when you work with us on your K-1 visa application.
  3. Make plans to meet in person: buy plane tickets, plan your trip, whatever it takes to meet in person.

If you and your fiancé(e) have not yet been married, and one of you lives outside of the US, you may be wondering which visa is best for you. Couples in this situation generally have two visa options: K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa or CR-1 Spousal Visa. The benefits and disadvantages of each differ, including the time it takes for the government to process your application, the overall cost, and so on. To determine which visa is right for you, check out the comparison chart below.

K1

11-17 months

$2025 in total fees (including green card application)

Work and Travel: 4-6 months after filing green card application

CR1

12-18 months

$1200 in total fees

Work and Travel: Immediately after arriving in the U.S.

In order to obtain a K-1 visa, one must conduct extensive research and pay close attention to detail when filling out the government forms and collecting supporting documents. It can be an expensive and time-consuming process, and if there are any roadblocks in the application, it can set the applicant back months, if not years, and cost thousands more than expected.

 

An applicant would want to prevent wasting time and money by submitting successfully the first time, and not risk a Request for Evidence or rejection. Similar to government tasks like filing taxes, organizing finances, etc., many people turn to a specific company for help.

 

Our immigration partners at AVA will assist you from start to finish, helping you avoid rejection, delays, and costly mistakes. So you can file with confidence the first time, our team prepares your application and completes several rounds of anti-rejection reviews (including a review by an independent immigration attorney).    

With AVA on your side, you can get seamless support on your next step of immigration – getting a green card. We will prepare your green card application and file it as soon as you’re married. With AVA, you never need to start from scratch when preparing your green card application because we safely store your information and supporting documents. We help K-1 visa holders take the important steps towards independence in the United States by ensuring green card applications are submitted in a timely manner.

 

We understand that our K-1 clients are eager to travel abroad and work in the U.S. – steps requiring special approval from the government. You can count on our team to assist you with the application and get you on your way to obtaining work and travel authorization as soon as possible.

 

With AVA as your trusted partner throughout your immigration journey, you can rest assured that your applications will be handled with care. Green card applications that follow K-1s usually take longer and are more complex, with higher financial risks. Because of this, applying for a green card alone can be difficult. We provide you with helpful information about the green card interview, help you respond to government requests, and support you every step of the way until you receive your green card.

Yes! AVA offers low-cost consultations with our attorneys to help you decide the right immigration path for your unique situation! You can schedule a 30 minute consultation with one of our attorneys here

Follow this link to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced immigration attorneys to check your eligibility and get started.