Process for Fiancé(e)s of American Citizens Living Abroad K-1 Nonimmigrant Visa

What defines a “Fiancé(e)”?

Under United States Federal Immigration Law, a Foreign-Citizen fiancé(e) of a United States Citizen is the recipient of an approved Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), Form I-129F, who has been issued a K-1 Nonimmigrant Visa for travel to the United States in order to marry his or her US Citizen fiancé(e). Both the US Citizen and the K-1 Nonimmigrant Visa applicant must have been legally free to marry at the time the petition was filed and must have remained so thereafter. The marriage must be legally possible according to laws of the US State in which the marriage will take place.

In general, the Foreign-Citizen fiancé(e) and US Citizen sponsor must have met in person within the past two years. USCIS may grant an exception to this requirement, based on extreme hardship for the US Citizen sponsor to personally meet the Foreign-Citizen fiancé(e), or, for example, if it is contrary in the US Citizen sponsor’s or Foreign-Citizen fiancé(e)’s culture for a man and woman to meet before marriage.

The First Step: Filing the Petition

The US Citizen sponsor and the fiancé(e) must filed Form I-129F, Petition for Alien fiancé(e) , with USCIS office that serves the area where you live. See the “Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129F, Petition for Alien fiancé(e)” for information on where to file the petition. Applicants should note that Form I-129F cannot be filed at a United States Embassy, Consulate or USCIS Office abroad. After USCIS approves the petition, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing and NVC will send it to the US Embassy or Consulate where the fiancé(e) will apply for a K-1Nonimmigrant Visa in order to enter the United States.

The Second Step: Applying for a K-1 Nonimmigrant Visa

Once the United States Embassy or Consulate where the Foreign-Citizen fiancé(e) will apply  receives the petition from the National Visa Center, it will provide the applicant with specific instructions, including where to go for the required medical examination. During the fiancé(e) visa interview, ink-free, digital fingerprint scans will be taken. Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a Consular Officer.

Eligible children of a K-1 Nonimmigrant Visa applicant may apply for K-2 Nonimmigrant Dependent Visas. Separate applications must be submitted for each K Visa applicant, and each K Visa applicant must pay the visa application fee.

After Receiving a K-1 Nonimmigrant Fiancé(e) Visa

Once issued a K-1 Visa, the Consular Officer will give the fiancé(e) beneficiary a K-1 Visa in his or her passport and a sealed packet containing the civil documents that must be provided, plus other documents prepared by the US Embassy or Consulate. It is important that the beneficiary does not open the sealed packet. Only the Department of Homeland Security Immigration Official should open this packet when the beneficiary enters the United States. As the K-1 Visa holder, the beneficiary must enter the US either before or at the same time as any qualifying children holding K-2 Visas.

With the K-1 Nonimmigrant Visa, the beneficiary can apply for a single admission at a US Port of Entry within the validity of the visa, which will be a maximum of 6 months from the date of issuance. The beneficiary must then marry the US Citizen fiancé(e) within 90 days of entry into the United States.

Editor: Graham Post

For more information and advice on K-1 Visa Issues?

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One comment

  1. With regards to fiancee fee its important for the marriage to take place within the 90 days after the fiance(e)enters US. Else fiance(e) needs to leave US. The K-1 visa cannot be extended nor changed according to strict US laws.

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