Home » Fiancé(e) Visas Made Simple: Completing Form I-129F with Confidence

Fiancé(e) Visas Made Simple: Completing Form I-129F with Confidence

by sophiajames

A Fiancé(e) visa, often referred to as a K-1 visa in the United States, is a type of nonimmigrant visa that allows a U.S. citizen to bring their foreign fiancé(e) to the United States for the purpose of getting married. The primary purpose of the K-1 visa is to enable the couple to be together in the United States and marry within 90 days of the foreign fiancé(e) entering the country.

Here are the key steps and requirements typically associated with the K-1 visa process in the United States:

  • Eligibility: To apply for a K-1 visa, the petitioner (U.S. citizen) must be legally eligible to marry, and both the petitioner and the foreign fiancé(e) must be free to marry (i.e., not already married to someone else). Additionally, they must have met each other in person at least once within the two years preceding the visa application, with certain exceptions allowed for extreme hardship or cultural reasons.

  • Filing the Petition: The U.S. citizen petitioner must file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once the petition is approved, it is forwarded to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the foreign fiancé(e)’s home country.

  • Visa Application: After receiving the approved petition, the foreign fiancé(e) can apply for the K-1 visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country. They will need to complete a visa application, attend an interview, and provide required documentation.

  • Medical Examination and Background Checks: The foreign fiancé(e) is typically required to undergo a medical examination and background checks as part of the visa application process.

  • Visa Approval: If the visa is approved, it is typically valid for a single entry into the United States.

  • Entry and Marriage: Once the foreign fiancé(e) enters the United States on a K-1 visa, they must marry the U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days of their arrival. After marriage, the foreign spouse can apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).

How to apply for a K-1 visa?

Applying for a K-1 visa in the United States involves several steps. Here’s a general overview of the application process:

  • Eligibility: Ensure that you and your fiancé(e) meet the eligibility criteria for the K-1 visa:

    • You must be a U.S. citizen.

    • You and your fiancé(e) must be legally free to marry (not currently married to someone else).

    • You must have met your fiancé(e) in person at least once within the two years before filing the petition, with some exceptions allowed for extreme hardship or cultural reasons.

  • File Form I-129F: As the U.S. citizen petitioner, you need to file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form can be downloaded from the USCIS website, and the filing fee must be paid.

  • Gather Required Documents: Along with the I-129F petition, you’ll need to provide supporting documentation, including:

    • Evidence of your U.S. citizenship (e.g., a copy of your U.S. passport or birth certificate).

    • Proof of your relationship, such as photographs of you and your fiancé(e) together, travel itineraries, or other documents showing that you have met in person.

    • A statement of your intent to marry your fiancé(e) within 90 days of their arrival in the United States.

  • Submit the Petition: Mail the completed Form I-129F and supporting documents to the appropriate USCIS service center. USCIS will review your petition and, if approved, forward it to the U.S. Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC).

  • NVC Processing: The NVC will send your approved petition to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your fiancé(e)’s home country. The embassy or consulate will provide instructions for your fiancé(e) on how to apply for the K-1 visa.

  • Visa Application: Your fiancé(e) will need to complete a visa application, pay the visa application fee, undergo a medical examination, and attend a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

  • Background Checks: Your fiancé(e) will also undergo background checks as part of the visa application process.

  • Visa Approval: If the visa is approved, your fiancé(e) will receive a K-1 visa in their passport, which allows them to travel to the United States.

  • Travel to the U.S.: Your fiancé(e) should travel to the United States on the K-1 visa within the validity period (usually six months). Remember that they must marry you within 90 days of their arrival.

  • Adjustment of Status: After marriage, your fiancé(e) can apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) in the United States.

Adjustment of Status for Fiancé(e)s

After a foreign fiancé(e) enters the United States on a K-1 visa and marries their U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days of arrival, they can apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder). Here are the key steps involved in the adjustment of status for K-1 visa holders:

  • Marriage: The foreign fiancé(e) must marry the U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days of their entry into the United States. This marriage must be legally valid and genuine.

  • Gather Required Documents: Before applying for adjustment of status, the couple should gather the necessary documents to support their application. This typically includes:

    • Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (available on the USCIS website).

    • Proof of the bona fide marriage, such as a marriage certificate, joint financial documents, photographs, and affidavits from friends and family.

    • Evidence of the foreign spouse’s lawful entry with a K-1 visa and their visa-related documents.

    • Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, completed by a USCIS-approved civil surgeon.

    • Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, from the U.S. citizen petitioner to demonstrate that the foreign spouse will have adequate financial support.

    • Biometrics (fingerprint) appointment notice, if applicable.

  • Complete Form I-485: Fill out Form I-485 accurately and completely. Pay the required filing fee and any additional fees, if applicable. Check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date fees and filing instructions.

  • Mail the Application: Mail the Form I-485 application package, along with supporting documents and fees, to the USCIS Lockbox facility designated for your jurisdiction. USCIS will issue a receipt notice to confirm they have received your application.

  • Biometrics Appointment: USCIS will schedule a biometrics appointment for the foreign spouse to provide fingerprints, photographs, and signature.

  • Interview: USCIS may schedule an adjustment of status interview for the couple to assess the bona fide nature of the marriage and verify the information provided in the application.

  • Wait for Decision: After the interview and background checks, USCIS will review the application and supporting documents. If approved, the foreign spouse will receive an approval notice.

  • Conditional Green Card: If the foreign spouse’s green card is approved within two years of the marriage, they will receive a conditional green card that is valid for two years.

  • Removal of Conditions: Before the conditional green card expires, the couple must jointly file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, to convert the conditional green card into a permanent (10-year) green card. This process involves providing additional evidence of the bona fide marriage.

  • Permanent Green Card: Upon approval of the I-751 petition, the foreign spouse will receive a permanent (10-year) green card.

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