The Fiancée Visa USA Process, A Path to Marriage and US Citizenship
The fiancée visa USA, also known as the K-1 fiancée nonimmigrant visa, is designed for U.S. citizens who want to bring a foreign national fiancée to the USA, so that they can be married and live in the United States. The fiancée visa process is a multi-step, complex one.
What are the steps in obtaining a fiancée visa USA?
1) In order to obtain a fiancée visa, the U.S. citizen is required to first file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the USCIS. The U.S. citizen filing the petition must also be 18 years of age or older and must have residence in the United States.
Note: U.S. Citizens living outside the U.S. do have the option for filing Form I-130 marriage visa with the U.S. Embassy.
The process for a fiancée visa depends on two factors.
- The U.S. Citizen petitioner filing Form I-130 with USCIS; and
- The physical location for the foreign national spouse.
If the foreign national spouse is already in the United States, Form I-130 marriage visa can be filed concurrently with the application for adjustment of status, Form I-485.
If the foreign national spouse is outside the U.S., the marriage visa (Form I-130) is filed separately.
2) Once the fiancée visa petition is approved by the USCIS, the case is then transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC reviews the fiancé visa filed and may request further documentation for verification of the relationship between the U.S. citizen and the foreign national fiancé.
Once all the National Visa Center requested documentation is submitted and received, the fiancée visa is sent to the local U.S. Embassy having authority over the foreign national spouse place of residence. The foreign national fiancée will be required to attend a consulate interview at the Embassy. If he or she has nay children under the age of 21, they too must attend the interview. Once the fiancée visa USA is approved, the foreign national can then travel to the United States.
3) After arriving in the United States, the marriage must take place within 90 days of the fiancée entering the United States. If the marriage does not occur between the U.S. citizen petitioner and the fiancée within 90 days, the fiancée must the leave the U.S.
Note: The fiancée visa USA allows a fiancée to enter the U.S. only once. If he or she leaves the U.S. after entering, they cannot use the same fiancée visa to re-enter and must obtain a new visa.
4) After marriage, the U.S. citizen and new spouse should file Form I-485 in order for the Adjustment of Status. Once approved, the new spouse obtains Conditional Permanent Residency, which is good for two years.
Note: If the new spouse does not want to become a permanent resident after marriage, then they have to must leave the U.S. within 90 days from when they first entered the U.S.
5) Removal of the Conditions from the Permanent Residence Status. Ninety days before the conditional permanent residence expires, the new spouse must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence, with the USCIS in order to obtain a permanent Green Card, which has to be renewed every 10 years.
Below is a graph that schematically summarizes the steps of the fiancée visa USA, also known as a K1 visa. It also includes the steps in case the fiancée has children and they would obtain a K2 visa in order to enter the United States.