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Fiancee Visa to USA- Fiancé(e) Visa K-1 overview

This visa is for those who have a fiancé(e) who is already a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. You may apply for this temporary visa (K-1) which allows you to live and work temporarily in the United States for a 90-day period on the basis of your engagement to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. It is expected that you will marry your fiancé(e) within that 90-day period. You will then apply for an adjustment of status to conditional "Permanent Residence." If you marry your fiancee outside of the U.S. we can greatly speed up her getting into the U.S. by use of the newly created K3 Visa for foreign brides of U.S. citizens. However, the K3 visa requires more paperwork than a fiancée visa.

If your fiancee is from one of the wealthier "developed" countries of the world (England, Canada, France, Australia, etc.) she can probably get into the U.S. without a K1 fiancee visa. However, for those who intend to marry a United States citizen, the K1 visa is the appropriate visa and it is advisable for several reasons to obtain a fiancee visa before the marriage.

Other types of visas for a Russian fiancee such as tourist, student or business visas are not suitable if your intention is marriage. If you marry your girlfriend visiting you on one of those visas, her legal status in the USA will be questionable, and she may be refused permanent resident status on the basis of visa fraud if the USCIS (former INS) believes her aim of visiting United States was simply for marrying a US Citizen. Having worked in immigration for more than decade we know such cases, as well as cases when women have arrived on student and tourist visas and were turned back by USCIS (former INS) representatives right at the airport. Once a violation of visa regulation is recorded, it will be difficult if not impossible for the person to ever receive a K-1 visa or any other type of visa to the USA.

What are the requirements for a Fiancé(e) Visa K-1?

The K1 visa requirements are simple. You must be a USA citizen. Lawful permanent resident "green card" holders of the United States are not allowed to obtain fiancee visas. Both you and your fiancee must be free to marry. This means that if either of you has been married previously, you are either divorced, widowed or the marriage was annulled. You must have met your fiancee in person within the previous two years. If your fiancee lives in a developing country she cannot legally obtain a visitor visa to meet you in the U.S. This means that you must travel outside the US to meet your fiancee. Finally, there is a minimum income requirement for the fiancee visa petitioner.

You may have heard that 40% of the K1 visa petitions filed never result in a visa being issued. From what other immigration attorneys have told us, we believe this to be true. Notice that we used the words "not approved," and not the word "denied". This is because both the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS", formerly the "INS" - Immigration and Naturalization Service) and the U.S. Consulates rarely turn down a K1 visa petition or application request if the requirements mentioned above are met.

What happens instead is that the USCIS finds some technical error or omission in the paperwork submitted to them. Then, after several months they will send you a form letter telling you what you did wrong. Very often, when you submit the required correction, they will again wait several months and again return the visa forms to you with another cover-sheet informing you of a second minor error or omission.

When (and if) your approved K 1 visa petition reaches the U.S. Consulate at the U.S. Embassy handling the fiancee visa for your fiancee's country, you still are not home free. If the consulate officer who interviews your fiancee can get her to give an answer to one of his or her many questions which is different from the information you submitted in your petition package, the officer can send your entire USCIS-approved petition package back to the USCIS in the U.S. for "investigation". The minimum delay from this action in getting your fiancee's visa issued is six months. Needless to say, if your fiancee does not know all about your background and because she will naturally be nervous during her interview, it is not too difficult to get her to give the wrong answer to one of the questions.

As you can see from the above, neither the USCIS nor the U.S. consular officers want to risk taking the political heat which could result from their turndown of an immigrant petition. However, if they can find an excuse to return it for correction or investigation, they are perfectly within their rights and not subject to criticism. In fact, it is their duty to find problems and return cases.

What usually happens in this situation is that one or both of you will give up. Unfortunately, the usual result of delays is that the fiancee becomes convinced that her American fiance is not serious about marrying her and she ends the engagement. She probably knows of someone whose fiance used our services to obtain a fiancee visa. She knows that the foreign wife received her fiancee visa quickly and efficiently and she wonders why you cannot do the same. Our normal processing timeline from the USCIS receipt date until visa issuance depends on the country of residence of your fiancee and the state in which you reside. When a particular USCIS Service Center or U.S. Consulate gets behind in their work, the K1 visa processing time can increase. When this occurs we will let you know. The bottom line is that however long it takes us to obtain your fiancee visa, we believe it would take you or anyone else much longer.

When your fiancee receives her fiancee visa, she has six months to enter the U.S. After her arrival in the U.S., you have 90 days to marry her or you must send your fiancee back to her home country. There is no legal way to extend the 90 day limit. While she is in the U.S. you are completely responsible for her financially. If for any reason you do not marry her and she departs the U.S. within the 90 days, she will not be precluded from coming to the U.S. in the future on another K1 visa and you will not be precluded from again bringing her or another foreign fiancee to the U.S. on a K1 visa. Although repeated fiancee visa petitions raise the suspicions of the USCIS, we obtain dozens of "second" and even some "third" fiancee visas every year.

How to apply Fiancé(e) Visa K-1?

The first step is initiated by your sponsoring fiancé(e) and the second step is initiated by you. If you marry within 90 days of arrival, you will follow a one-step process to apply for an adjustment of status to conditional permanent residence status.

  • The first step involves applying for a visa petition (I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)) and supporting documents.
  • If the Petition is approved, you will now file a formal application for your K-1 visa with the U.S. consulate in your home country.

    If the Petition is denied, you will can file a Motion to Reopen and submit new evidence or make corrections or you can enter a more formal appeal process.
  • If your marriage takes place within 90 days of your arrival in the U.S., you must file an Application for Adjustment of Status (Form I-485 and supporting documents) that will provide you with conditional permanent residence status. This status is valid for two years. After two years, you can file a joint petition (form I-751) to remove this conditional status and give you permanent residency status.

Your comments:

#1 vipul panchal (australia) at 2008-03-22
i am an Australian permanet residence and my nationality is indian and just before a month got married to us citizen now she went back to us and going to put petions for me for immigraant vissa my question is regrading police certificate that i have to produce police clearance certificate (PCC) only form austrlaia of from india per website they needd pcc from every places where i was living since age of 16. since last 18 months i living in australia as permanent residece and produced pcc while i was migrating to australia.

thanks vipul
Author's answer: Dear Vipul,

I did not face this question before. But I suppose as you have done this kind of certificate while moving to Australia you should make one from Australia and give the previous one from India if it is still valid.
#2 Romklam (India) at 2007-05-25
I am 21 year old guy. Met a girl who is physically challenged from USA on a matrimonial site. We got engaged recently 3 months ago after being in constant touch for 2 years. She has applied for my visa and its almost 2 months that i havent got any notice from the US consul. I have been rejected the US Tourist visa and the Seamanship (C1D Visa) before.
Just want to make sure that is it possible to get the fiance visa this time or no.
how much more time will it take to get the same ?
if not then is there any other way that i can legally get her back to india.

Please let me know that will i be issued the visa this time.
Good Luck & God Bless
Author's answer: Unfortunately, I do not know how long does it take to apply for Visa to the USA from India. The processing time of applying for Fiancee Visa from Russia is about 21-210 days at Immigration and
National Service, 30-90 days at the American Consulate. I think that you need to wait as two months is short period for getting a reply concerning visa.

I wish you good luck with getting your Fiancee Visa.
#3 Manish (Singapore) at 2007-03-03
My sister got k-1 fiance Visa and entered US from chcago, during mid-Feb 2007 to meet her fiance staying in Oregon, portland. When she reached Chicago airport, to her horror she discovered that she "fogot the K-1 Fiance papers" which she had received from US Consulate in India , which were supposed to be "hand carried" and produced at US immigration at the point of entry.

She was interrogated and given 30 "permission to enter" USA with a condition that within 30 days she has to produce all the papers. We had sent all the paapers by courier to her in US and she got married within a week, as someone at Chicago airport immigration told her that she can get married.

Issue- She has appointment with immigration on 15th MArch, but the US attorney is saying that she shouldn't have got married before producing her papaers to immigartion as it will be invalid now.

Our contention is that she has got legal K-1 visa and travelled to US. She forgot the papers at home but received 30 days permission to enter US and receive the courier papers and produce to local US immigration for registration. She has the papers now and appointment on 15th March 2007. The only issue is that she is now scared by the attorney's advice as he told them that now she may be deported, marriage can be null and void and she has to apply for spouse vise. Our contention is that k-1 visa legal paperwork is thre, no wrong intentions and also the legal marriage happened in US last week and they got the marriage certificate. So the papers are with them and they should get the registration.

Please advise urgently.

Mobile- +65 9847 6250
Author's answer: Sorry, but I cannot advise you anything in your situation, as I have not had such an experience in my life and practice.
Having analyzing your problem I think that you are right and I hope that the meeting in the immigration office will be ok and your sister’s marriage will be considered as legal.
#4 Nicolas Puig (USA) at 2007-02-10
Im trying to help my fiancee expedite the process of entering the country from Ecuador. We've known for about 3 years since i happen to be Ecuadorian and I have being going back and forth almost every two weeks to spend at least 4 consecutive days with her. Now I work for a successfull mortgage Bank called Washington Mutual where my income generation is about 7000 montly. QUESTION how long would theprocess take?
Author's answer: Frankly speaking, I do not know how long does it take to apply for Visa to the USA from Ecuador. I can say only about applying for Fiancee Visa from Russia, the processing time is about 21-210 days
at Immigration and National Service, 30-90 days at the American Consulate
#5 James Robinson (America) at 2006-12-15
I am a 54 year old guy who is retired. I am divorced and have 2 grown up children with familys of their own. I have looked at several sites and I must say that your site is the most realistic and informative. A lot of the profiles I look at either don't specify an age that a woman is looking for or they say " Age doesn't matter to me!" What is up with that. Would they indeed be interested in an older man or what. This is really all new to me but I must say I find Russian women very lovely.

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