A fiancé(e) visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows a foreign fiancé(e) to enter the United States to marry a U.S. citizen. After the couple has married, the immigrating spouse may then file for permanent residency (green card).
The process to get a fiancé(e) visa
The U.S. citizen needs to petition for the foreign fiancé(e) by filing Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), with the USCIS. The petition is to establish that a valid relationship exists between the U.S. citizen and his/her foreign fiancé(e). The USCIS will send an approval notice once it has approved Form I-129F.
After approval, USCIS hands the case to the National Visa Center (NVC) which assigns a case number and sends it to the U.S. embassy or consulate in the foreign fiancé’s country. The embassy or consulate in turn will send an interview notice to the foreign fiancé. The U.S. citizen too will receive a letter from the NVC.
The foreign fiancé then needs to file DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, which is the application for the K-1 visa. Once the application has been filed online, the applicant needs to print and retain the confirmation page. He/she will also need to gather all the required documents.
The visa interview will be scheduled at the closest embassy or consulate. The foreign fiancé will have to appear for the interview with all the supporting documents. The required documents include:
- DS-160 confirmation page
- Valid passport
- Birth certificate
- Police clearance certificates (from the country of residence and also from other countries where the foreign fiancé has lived for 6 months or more since age 16
- The sealed medical examination report
- 2 passport style photographs
- Any divorce or death certificates, if applicable, for both the U.S. citizen and the fiancé
- Affidavit of support from the foreign citizen to show financial support
- Copy of notice of approval for I-129F
At the interview, the officer will review the documents and may decide on the application either that day itself or within a few days. The officer may request more documents if required. If so, the documents need to be sent to the consulate at the earliest.
If the visa application is approved, the K-1 visa is issued. The fiancé needs to go to the U.S. within 6 months from the date of approval of Form I-129F.
The U.S. citizen and the foreign fiancé need to get married within 90 days of the fiancé’s arrival in the U.S. If the marriage doesn’t take place within 90 days, the foreign fiancé will have to leave the country. There is no possibility of changing the K visa to any other visa.
After the marriage has taken place, the foreign spouse can apply for an adjustment of status to permanent resident status. Also known commonly as getting a green card.
If the foreign fiancé has children, they need to file separate visa applications and pay the filing fees too. They will have to appear for the interview along with the K-1 visa applicant with the supporting documents and fees. If approved, they will be granted K-2 visas.