If you are a United States citizen, and if you want your international fiancé or fiancée to join you here in the U.S., an experienced Las Vegas immigration visa attorney can offer the sound legal advice and the reliable legal services you need.
What visa is required for a fiancé or fiancée to enter the U.S.? How long will it take to get a visa application approved and to bring your fiancé or fiancée to the United States? What else will you need to know?
It’s a fact. Helping your fiancé or fiancée enter the U.S. can be a confusing process. The visa that your spouse-to-be will need is the K-1 visa.
HOW LONG DOES IT USUALLY TAKE TO ACQUIRE A K-1 VISA?
It takes patience and time – for most couples, it takes about nine to twelve months to obtain a K-1 visa – so you’ll want to begin the process and seek the legal advice you need as early as possible.
You begin the process of bringing your fiancé or fiancée to the United States by submitting Form I-129F, “Petition for Alien Fiancé(e),” to USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services).
Have an immigration lawyer assist you with the I-129F. It’s a difficult, thirteen-page-long application form with fifteen pages of instructions.
WHAT DOES FORM I-129F REQUIRE?
You will need to provide proof of your own citizenship (your birth certificate or passport, for example), passport-style photos of yourself and your fiancé or fiancée taken within the last thirty days, and a $535 (as of 2018) application and processing fee.
You will also need to provide background and biographical information about yourself.
Within a few weeks, you should receive a Form I-797 Notice of Action from USCIS acknowledging their receipt of your petition.
HOW IS YOUR FORM I-129F PROCESSED?
The average wait time for approval of an I-129F petition is about seven months (as of mid-2018), but for you, the wait time could be somewhat longer or shorter depending on the current backlog.
USCIS then sends your petition to the National Visa Center, which conducts background checks and requires your fiancé orfiancée to answer some more questions and complete even more paperwork.
When the background checks are complete, and after your fiancéor fiancée has completed the additional forms, the petition goes to a U.S. consulate or embassy in the fiancé’s or fiancée’s home nation.
Even more documents and photos, a medical exam, and a face-to-face interview at the consulate or embassy may is required.
If all of the paperwork is accurate and complete, if the interview goes smoothly, if all other immigration requirements are satisfied, and if there is no suspicion of marriage fraud, the petitioner and the fiancé or fiancée may then receive a K-1 visa.
WHAT IF YOUR I-129F PETITION IS DENIED?
However, a denial of the I-129F petition might be issued by USCIS for a number of reasons. Many petitioners simply forget to sign the forms or to include all of the required documentation. It’s one reason why you should have your attorney thoroughly prepare your I-129F prior to filing.
But if your I-129F petition is denied for a more serious reason – for example, if your fiancé or fiancée is inadmissible to enter the United States, or if the authorities suspect the possibility of marriage fraud – you must have an experienced immigration attorney’s guidance and advice.
Denials, however, are few. Most denials happen at the consulate level. Yet, almost 90% of all I-129F petitions are approved.
WHAT DOES A K-1 VISA REQUIRE?
According to regulations, to acquire a K-1 visa, you and your fiancé or fiancée must intend to marry within ninety days of your fiancé or fiancée entering the U.S. with a K-1 visa. The additional requirements that must be met to qualify someone for a K-1 visa are:
1. The U.S.-based petitioner must be a U.S. citizen, not a lawful permanent resident.
2. Both parties must be single and otherwise legally eligible to marry.
3. The parties must have met in person within the last two years.
The impending marriage must be “valid” and not conducted merely to obtain an immigration benefit. At any point in the process, if the immigration authorities suspect marriage fraud, the process will be delayed, and it will become imperative to obtain an immigration attorney’s help.
IS THERE ANY WAY TO SPEED UP THE K-1 PROCESS?
For some visas, applicants willing to pay an additional fee can obtain expedited processing, but expedited (or “premium”) processing is not available for K-1 visa petitions. A consulate or embassy may need about three months for processing, depending on its own current backlog.
The K-1 visa remains valid for six months, but once the fiancé orfiancée enters the U.S., the marriage ceremony must happen within ninety days.
The K-1 visa allows a fiancé or fiancée ninety days to marry the petitioning U.S. citizen and to file for adjustment of status to legal permanent resident status (green card status) in the immediate relative category. It is important to understand that marrying someone else while in the US on a K-1 visa is a violation of such visa terms and will be considered a problem for obtaining any future US immigration benefits.
WHAT IF YOUR FIANCÉ OR FIANCÉE IS A PARENT?
If your fiancé or fiancée is the parent of a child who is unmarried and below age 21, the child may qualify to enter the U.S. with a K-2 visa. Include the names of the child or children on the I-129F petition if you and your fiancé or fiancée intend to bring a child or children to the U.S.
Planning to marry a U.S. citizen does not “entitle” anyone to a K-1 visa. If you’ve read this far, you understand how long and complicated the process actually is. Any simple, inadvertent mistake – like forgetting to sign a form – can substantially delay the entire procedure.
HOW WILL AN IMMIGRATION LAWYER HELP YOU?
An experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney can guide you and your fiancé or fiancée through the K-1 visa process from start to finish and help you avoid the mistakes that the couples who seek K-1 visas most frequently make.
Your attorney will explain how immigration law applies in your own situation, will protect your legal rights, and will ensure that all of your application forms and other immigration documents are accurate and complete.
As mentioned previously, most I-129F petitions and K-1 visa applications are approved, and in most cases, the process can be completed in nine to twelve months. Also as mentioned previously, any misunderstanding or mistake could mean a significant delay. Do not let that happen.
Let an experienced immigration lawyer help you and your fiancé or fiancée acquire a K-1 visa and begin your new lives. Having a good attorney’s help is your right.