Congratulations on your engagement to be married! First comes love and then comes the visa to bring your loved one to the US. Many, who are planning their marriage in the US to a US citizen, have important questions and concerns they would like addressed such as:
What do I need to do to prepare and consider for a successful outcome for our case?
You must have personally met within the last 2 years and you must show substantial evidence of this. Save your boarding passes, hotel receipts, events, phone bills, emails, chats, cards, letters, photos and as much evidence as possible to demonstrate you have met, and are carrying on your relationship.
The petitioner must be a US Citizen.
Neither party can be married at the time of filing the K1 fiance visa case.
You must have final divorce decrees signed by the judge or the court if you were married previously.
Tentatively plan your wedding, shop for rings and get appraisals, look at wedding reception halls, talk to your church and get documentation of this. Find a wedding planner, etc., but DON’T set a concrete date for the wedding otherwise you will be depending on the government to process your case in time for the wedding! That could pose as a problem if the visa doesn’t arrive on time! The best course of action is to tentatively plan on a wedding to take place within a year. You will need as much of this evidence as possible to demonstrate you are truly planning a wedding in the US.
Be sure you can support your fiance in the US through the affidavit of support agreement you will sign. This is a document the US Citizen signs telling the government that your fiance will not become a ward of the state, i.e., your foreign national fiance cannot obtain US government assistance. Therefore, you must demonstrate you can support your fiance through work verification letters, tax returns, bank statements, assets etc. If you cannot demonstrate this you will need to find a joint sponsor to join your affidavit to demonstrate the support will be available if needed.
Your fiance cannot wait in the US for the visa they must wait abroad in the country they reside in. It is highly suggested they do not come on a tourist visa or visa waiver to wait for the fiance visa and then return home. The US consulate abroad could deny the case if this takes place.
If you, or your fiance has any arrest records or court convictions this could pose as a problem for a successful outcome on obtaining the K1 fiance visa. You should seek immigration counsel to determine whether your record will affect filing the case.
The consulate will ask you a series of questions about your relationship and you must be prepared to discuss your relationship with the consulate. Always tell the truth. If you have overstayed on a visa in the US or have filed for any other visa previously and were denied or you have ever entered the US illegally, you must be prepared to discuss this with the consulate. You should seek immigration counsel to discuss these matters if any of these situations apply to you, before you file for any visa.
How does the process work?
There are three steps with this process and three government entities involved:
Step 1 Citizenship and Immigration Services
A petition is signed by the US Citizen sponsor and is filed along with the correct evidence and supporting documentation, with the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).
The petition is approved and moves forward to the National Visa Center.
Step 2 The National Visa Center
The approved fiance petition has been forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). The National Visa Center assigns the case a consular number and may begin preparation for the consular interview. This depends on the consulate.
The case is forwarded to the consulate for a scheduled interview appointment.
Step 3 Consular Processing
The applicant attends the interview with a well prepared updated file and new evidence submitted. The applicant knows the file and is prepared for the interview.
The fiance visa holder has 6 months to enter the US and once in the US has 90 days to marry their US Citizen fiance. Your foreign national fiance should then begin to adjust their status for residency in the US after being married.
How long does the process take?
The government wait times are generally 8 months but this depends on the regional center in the US where the petition will be filed and the consulate abroad. Each regional center and consulate have different wait times but generally the most you will wait is 8 months.
How much does it cost?
The filing fees change periodically regarding the petition. You should check the USCIS website for current filing fees. As of January, 2009 the fiance filing fees are $455.00 The consulate fees will vary depending on the consulate, police clearances, medical exams and consular forms will need to be obtained and filed which all have fees. Generally, the fees are $300 to $500 at the consulate.
It is an important step to take when deciding to get married, and even more importantly to make sure your foreign national fiance can come to the US without any delays or denials. This article serves to give you some useful information but is not a guarantee for a 100% successful outcome. This should be a jubilant time when planning to be married! Be sure you plan accordingly for your wedding celebration and remember first comes love, then comes the fiance visa.
If you would like to have any other questions or concerns answered by our law firm, please check out our K1K3 website and send us an email for a free consultation. We answer all emails with detail and prompt replies. We aim to please and our firm charges fair legal fees so that you can afford professional legal service with expertise and efficiency. We dedicate ourselves and take pride and pleasure in representing you to unite with your loved one in the USA. We look forward to hearing from you at your convenience!
Congratulations once again on your engagement to be married!