Did you Know?
- You must get married within 90 days of entering theUnited States on a K-1 fiance visa.– Absent real hardship, you must have met with your fiancee in the past two years.
- You should consider applying for work authorization.
- You must meet minimum financial requirements.– You need to allow time for a police check in each jurisdiction you have ever lived.
- There are issues of foreign law that may impact your ability to apply for a K-1 fiance visa.
- Once married you have to apply for a conditional “green card”.
The most common mistake with a K-1 visa is failing to properly evidence the validity of your relationship. An experienced immigration lawyer will be able to give you some guidance in this area.
Requirements for a K-1 Visa:
There are a number of requirements in order to apply for a K1 visa for your fiancé(e):
- You must be a U.S. citizen;
- You must have met your fiancée within the past 2 years;
- You and your fiancée must be legally free to marry (i.e. single or divorced);
- You and your fiancée must have a serious intention to marry within 90 days of your fiancée’s arrival in the U.S.; and
- You must meet minimum financial requirements.
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If you handle your case correctly, and your fiancée is not from a country that is considered to have high fraud, then the total wait should be between 7 to 9 months in 2018. The majority of our cases are being completed in about 8 months. Prior to Trump taking office, the fiancée visa timeline was closer to 6 months. This fiancée visa timeline can change. This blog article will explain, in detail, about the fiancée visa timeline.
The most important thing you can do is file a quality fiancée visa petition with USCIS. If you are missing evidence or have other mistakes in your case it is likely that your case will take longer than average. This is why it makes sense to at least consult with an experienced immigration attorney about your situation. The attorney will review you case and point out weak areas or areas which may cause your case to be delayed or denied. You can then take the steps to fix those areas prior to filing your case.
You will file your case with USCIS.
A Notice of Action will be sent to you from USCIS in a few weeks. The notice of action is meant to let you know that USCIS has received your packet and that the case is being processed. After this your case will go quiet. You really should not hear anything for the next 5 to 7 months. (This wait is quite a bit longer than the wait time just a couple of years ago)
If all is well with your case you will receive USCIS approval at this point. Unfortunately, this does not mean that your case has been approved (if only it were that easy). It just means that you have passed the first of three hurdles. Your case will now be sent to National Visa Center. At the National Visa Center level your case will be assigned a new Department of State case number. After the National Visa Center assigns a new case number your case will be sent to the local American embassy or consulate. They will process the remaining part of the fiancée visa case.
The interview should take place sometime within the next month 2 to 3 months. The wait time will primarily be based on the number of cases being processed at the time your case is there. At this stage your fiancée will have her very important interview, have her medical examination done, and be told about obtaining other documents to finalize her case. She needs to make sure that she complies with everything that is requested of her at this point in the process.
The interview is very important. This will probably be the most important interview in your fiancé’s life. If it goes well then she will be able to start her life with you in the United States in a short amount of time. If it does not go well you may have to refile the whole case and start over. This could take an additional 8 months or longer.
The key thing is that she know about you and your life. She should know you very well in order to have a successful interview. She should know about your life in the United States. She should know where you live, what kind of work you do, and all about your family . If you have a criminal past she should know about this and not find out about it at the interview. In addition, she should know about any past marriages. You may wish to read our article about the fiancée visa interview process. This includes the fiancée visa interview questions.
Assuming all goes well at the consulate the fiancée visa will be granted. Congratulations! Approval generally happens in about a week to 10 days. You are then eligible to enter the United States with your fiancée visa.
You will receive a sealed packet that must not be opened until you come to your port of entry. The fiancée visa is valid for 6 months and is a one time entry. I have had potential clients ask if they can get married in the United States and then immediately go to Mexico or another country for their honeymoon. As the fiancée visa is a one time entry visa I have had to tell them that unfortunately they will not be able to honeymoon in Mexico right after their wedding. Instead they will need to get married within 90 days and then file for their fiancée’s green card via adjustment of status. Once they file for adjustment of status there will be a 3-6 month wait to receive a work/travel card. (Btw: there is no rhyme or reason as to why some clients receive this card in 3 months and some receive it closer to 6 months. The results really seem to be random. This is a lot different than even a couple of years ago when everyone seemed to receive this card about 3 months after their adjustment of status case was filed with USCIS.) They can use this travel card (advance parole) in order to travel outside of the United States for their honeymoon. Thankfully, many of our clients are in California and there are plenty of places to go for their honeymoon in California. Once the travel card is issued, assuming that they entered on a fiancée visa, they can then go out of the country for a trip.
I hope you enjoyed this blog article about the fiancée visa timeline. Just a reminder that this timeline is just an estimate and can, and probably will, change over time. You can make sure the case moves as quickly as possible by filing a quality petition with USCIS and timely responding and turning in requested evidence when requested.
To discuss the specifics of your case, call us at 678.324-8511 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org today to learn more.