Question 1: What is a Fiance Visa?
A fiancé(e) visa, also known as a K-1 visa is used to bring a foreign fiance to the United States so that the couple can marry and apply for a green card for the foreign partner.
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Question 2: What are the general steps for obtaining a fiance visa?
The process for bringing a fiance to the United States involves several agencies from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State: (1) United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), (2) the National Visa Center (NVC), (3) the U.S. Department of State/U.S. embassy/consulate (DOS), and (4) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The steps you need to follow are:
- Step 1: File fiance visa petition with USCIS
- Step 2: Once the petition is approved USCIS sends it to the NVC for further processing and submission of additional required documentation. Once processing is completed the NVC forwards the approved visa petition to the U.S. Embassy or consulate where your fiance will apply for issuance of the fiance visa.
- Step 3: The U.S. Embassy or consulate schedules the visa interview for your foreign fiance. At the interview the DOS consular will determine whether your fiance qualifies for the fiance visa. If approved the consular officer will issue the visa.
- Step 4: Your fiance enters the U.S. with their visa. The CBP officer at the port of entry might ask your fiance a few questions: such as where they intend to live in the U.S., some questions relating to the U.S. citizen fiance and the intention to marry within 90 days. The CBP officer will also take your fiance’s fingerprints and sealed documents previously received with the visa issued by the DOS. After the CBP officer finalizes their review, a stamp will be placed in the passport allowing your fiance to stay in the U.S. for 90 days.
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Question 3: Do I have to be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident to file a fiance visa petition for my fiance overseas?
The fiance visa petition must be filed by a U.S. citizen. If you have a green card, you must become a U.S. citizen before you are allowed to file a fiance visa petition.
Question 4: What are the other requirements for filing a fiance visa petition?
You and your fiance must:
- be legally free to marry
- intend to marry within 90 days of your fiance’s admission to the United States, and
- have met each other in person within the two years immediately before you filed the fiance visa petition.
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Question 5: Are there any exceptions to the ‘having met each other in person’ requirement?
Yes, there are some exceptions. You must prove that either:
- The requirement to meet your fiance in person would violate strict and long-established customs of your fiance’s foreign culture or social practice, and that any and all aspects of the traditional arrangements have been or will be met in accordance with the custom or practice; or
- The requirement to meet your fiance in person would result in extreme hardship to you.
Question 6: What documentation can I submit to show that my fiance and i intend to marry within 90 days of their admission to the U.S.?
Some examples of helpful documentation:
- affidavit or letter from clergy/judge who will marry you
- receipts for deposits made toward wedding facilities, clothing, food, flowers, photographs, etc.
- sample invitations
- receipts for engagement ring
- receipts for engagement party
- emails or other correspondence with vendors making wedding arrangements
Question 7: How long does it take for the visa petition to be processed?
The processing times vary, at present it is taking approximately 5.5 to 7.5 months to receive a decision.
Question 8: What happens after USCIS approves the fiance petition?
After the fiance visa petition is approved, it is sent to the National Visa Center, you will need to send additional documentation to the NVC.
Once all required documentation has been received and accepted the NVC completes processing of the visa petition and then forwards it to the U.S. embassy or consulate nearest your fiance’s foreign place of residence.
The embassy or consulate will then set up an interview to determine if the fiance visa should be issued.
Question 9: How long is the visa petition approval valid for?
The fiance visa petition is valid for four months from the date of approval by USCIS.
A consular officer can extend the validity of the petition if it expires before visa processing is completed.
Question 10: What documentation does the NVC require?
Civil documents such as birth certificates, divorce documents for any previous marriages, police certificates confirming the foreign fiance does not have a disqualifying criminal record.
You must also submit form as the sponsor to show you have sufficient income or financial resources to assure that the foreign national you are sponsoring will not become a public charge while in the United States.
Evidence of income and resources,should consist of copies of any of the documents listed below that apply to your situation:
- Statement from an officer of the bank or other financial institutions with deposits, identifying the following details regarding the account:
- Date account opened; Total amount deposited for the past year; and Present balance.
- Statement(s) from your employer on company letterhead showing: date and nature of employment; salary paid; and whether the position is temporary or permanent.
- If self-employed: copy of most recent income tax return filed.
Question 11: Can same-sex partners apply for a fiance Visa?
Yes, as long as the rest of the immigration requirements are met, a same-sex engagement may allow your fiance to enter the US for the purpose of getting married.
Question 12: Does my fiance need to complete a medical exam to be admitted to the U.S.?
Yes, every fiance visa applicant must undergo a medical examination which must be performed by an authorized DOS physician. Fiance visa applicants will be provided instructions regarding medical examinations from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where they will apply for the visa, including information on authorized physicians.
Question 13: Can I accompany my fiance to their visa interview?
Maybe, some embassies/consulates allow it. Please note, procedures vary from consulate to consulate and can change. It is important to review the consulate’s website.
Question 14: How long is the fiance visa valid for?
If the consular officer grants the visa, it is valid for up to 6 months for a single entry.
Question 15: Can my fiance apply for a work permit after they are admitted to the U.S. with their visa?
After being admitted to the U.S. your fiance may immediately apply for permission for work authorization (work permit) by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. In this case, your fiance’s work authorization is valid for only 90 days after his or her entry into the U.S.