The K-1 Visas are popular family-based visas for foreign national fiancés of U.S. Citizens to obtain legal permanent residence in the United States. The process can be confusing and includes many time-sensitive steps that applicants should understand before beginning the process. Recently, I have had the privilege of assisting several couples from European and Latin American countries through this process, from the filing of the I-129F petition for a K-1 Fiancé Visa to the Adjustment of Status (AOS) to obtain permanent residency.
An overview of the K-1 visa process:
- File the visa petition – including Forms I-129F, G-325A and all documents required by USCIS
- Embassy review – the local embassy will review the file, visa application, and additional supporting documents and conduct the applicant interview
- Approval! – a successful application and interview process should lead to a visa approval which is typically issued within three days to one week of the visa interview.
- Entry to the U.S. – Within a six month period of the visa issue date, the individual must travel to the U.S. where an immigration officer at the port of entry will again review the case and grant legal entry to the visa holder.
Tips for the K-1 visa:
- You must marry within 90 days of the entry to the U.S. and file for AOS
- Start the marriage plans before the foreign national arrives in the U.S. Many states require a waiting period between applying for the marriage license and actually tying the knot.
- If you have not yet received your AOS as a permanent resident, ensure that you have all appropriate documentation in order before traveling outside the U.S.
- The K-1 visa is a one-time entry visa. As part of the adjustment of status, you need to apply for an advance parole document to travel outside of the U.S.