A fiancé visa application is a type of visa application that allows a foreign national to enter another country for the purpose of marrying a citizen or permanent resident of that country. It is also commonly known as a “K-1 visa” in the United States, as it falls under the K category of nonimmigrant visas.
The main purpose of the fiancé visa is to provide the foreign fiancé with the opportunity to travel to the country where their partner resides, so they can marry within a specific timeframe. After the marriage takes place, the foreign fiancé can then apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) or apply for a different type of visa to remain in the country, depending on the specific immigration laws of that country.
To apply for a fiancé visa, the following general steps are typically involved:
Petition: The U.S. citizen or permanent resident (or their intending spouse) files a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States. This petition establishes the relationship and intention to marry within a certain period.
Processing: Once the petition is approved, it will be sent to the U.S. consulate or embassy in the foreign fiancé’s home country. The foreign fiancé will then undergo a visa application process at the U.S. consulate, which may include an interview and submission of supporting documents.
Background checks and medical examination: The foreign fiancé will undergo background checks and may be required to undergo a medical examination to ensure they meet health and security requirements.
Approval and Visa Issuance: If everything goes well, the fiancé visa will be approved, and the foreign fiancé will be issued the visa, allowing them to travel to the United States.
Marriage and Adjustment of Status: Once in the United States, the couple must marry within 90 days. After marriage, the foreign spouse can apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).
WHO CAN APPLY FOR THE I-129F FIANCÉ VISA?
The I-129F fiancé visa is specifically designed for U.S. citizens who wish to bring their foreign fiancé to the United States for the purpose of getting married. Lawful permanent residents (green card holders) are not eligible to apply for the fiancé visa.
As a lawful permanent resident, if you wish to bring your fiancé to the United States, you will need to follow a different immigration process. You may apply for a family-based immigrant visa for your fiancé under the appropriate category, such as F2A (spouse of a lawful permanent resident) if you are legally married, or a family-based preference category if you plan to marry after your fiancé enters the United States.
It’s important to note that the fiancé visa process is available only to U.S. citizens. Green card holders must follow the immigrant visa process for their fiancés.
If you are a lawful permanent resident and want to bring your fiancé to the United States, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to understand the appropriate steps and requirements for the family-based immigrant visa application. Call (904) 268-7812 to speak with Attorney Susan Pai about your situation. Or, you can email Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org
CAN THE U.S. CITIZEN SPONSOR’S ARREST RECORD AFFECT THE K-1 FIANCÉE VISA APPLICATION?
Having a criminal record, including arrests without convictions (e.g., where the charges were dismissed) and expunged records, can have a serious impact on the fiancé visa application process. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducts background checks on both the petitioner (U.S. citizen or permanent resident) and the foreign fiancé to determine eligibility for the K-1 visa.
If the U.S. citizen petitioner been convicted of an offense against a minor listed in §111(7) of the Adam Walsh Act, the K-1 petition will be denied unless the Department of Homeland Security determines that the U.S. citizen poses no risk to the K-1 beneficiary.
The following are Adam Walsh offenses:
• An offense (unless committed by a parent or guardian) involving kidnapping;
• An offense (unless committed by a parent or guardian) involving false imprisonment;
• Solicitation to engage in sexual conduct;
• Use in a sexual performance;
• Solicitation to practice prostitution;
• Video voyeurism as described in section 1801 of title 18, United States Code;
• Possession, production, or distribution of child pornography;
• Criminal sexual conduct involving a minor, or the use of the Internet to facilitate or attempt such conduct;
• Any conduct that by its nature is a sex offense against a minor.
Additionally, the I-129F fiancé visa application also asks the following:
Have you ever been subject to a temporary or permanent protection or restraining order (either civil or criminal)?
Have you ever been arrested or convicted of any of the following crimes?
an attempt to commit any of these crimes?
Have you ever been arrested or convicted of any of the following crimes?
abusive sexual contact,
unlawful criminal restraint,
false imprisonment, or
an attempt to commit any of these crimes?
The I-129F fiancé visa application also asks if the U.S. citizen sponsor has three or more arrests or convictions, not from a single act, for crimes relating to a controlled substance or alcohol.
If the U.S. citizen sponsor was ever arrested or convicted of any of the specified crimes, the U.S. citizen must submit certified copies of all court and police records showing the charges and disposition for every arrest or conviction.
Lastly, the I-129F fiancé visa application asks a catch all question: “Has the U.S. citizen sponsor EVER been arrested, cited, charged, indicted, convicted, fined or imprisoned, for any law, any ordinance, anytime? This question includes juvenile arrests and arrests that have been expunged from the U.S. citizen’s record.
If you exclude any arrests, your I-129F fiancé visa application will be delayed and may be ultimately denied.
WHAT IS THE I-129F FIANCÉ VISA APPLICATION PROCESS
The fiancé visa application process, also known as the K-1 visa process in the United States, allows a foreign fiancé to enter the country to marry a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Below is an overview of the typical steps involved in the fiancé visa application process:
- Petition Filing: The first step is for the U.S. citizen petitioner (the sponsor) to file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form establishes the relationship and the intention to marry within 90 days of the foreign fiancé’s entry into the United States.
- USCIS Processing: After receiving the petition, the USCIS reviews it and checks the eligibility requirements. If all the necessary information is provided and the application is approved, the USCIS will notify the petitioner and send the approved petition to the appropriate U.S. consulate or embassy in the foreign fiancé’s home country.
- Visa Application: The foreign fiancé applies for the K-1 visa at the U.S. consulate or embassy. This involves submitting various documents, forms, and photographs, as well as attending an interview. The consulate will also conduct background checks and medical examinations.
- Visa Interview: The foreign fiancé attends an interview at the U.S. consulate or embassy. During the interview, the consular officer will ask questions about the relationship, the planned marriage, and other relevant details.
- Visa Approval: If the consular officer is satisfied with the application and interview, the K-1 visa will be approved. The foreign fiancé will receive the visa in their passport, allowing them to travel to the United States.
- Entry into the United States: Once the K-1 visa is issued, the foreign fiancé can enter the United States. It’s important to note that the visa has a limited validity period, usually six months.
- Marriage within 90 days: After entering the United States, the couple must get married within 90 days. Once married, the foreign national should apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).
The fiancé visa application process can be complex, and processing times may vary depending on the workload of the USCIS and the U.S. consulate or embassy. It is essential to ensure that all forms are accurately completed, required documents are submitted, and any interview or medical examination appointments are attended as scheduled. It is also vitally important that the foreign national is well prepared for the immigration medical exam and interview at the U.S. Embassy. In the Philippines, for example, it’s not uncommon to have a chest x-ray positive for TB at the immigration medical even though there is no active TB. Nonetheless, a positive x-ray will delay the fiancé visa approval. Therefore, Attorney Susan Pai recommends Philippine nationals obtain their own clear chest x-ray before the immigration medical is conducted.
WHAT IS THE VALIDITY OF THE I-129-F FIANCÉ VISA?
The validity of a fiancé visa, also known as a K-1 visa in the United States, is typically limited to a single entry and has a validity period of six months. This means that the foreign fiancé who has been granted a K-1 visa must enter the United States within the six-month period from the date the visa was issued.
Once the foreign fiancé enters the United States on the K-1 visa, the foreign national and U.S. citizen have 90 days to marry. After the marriage takes place, the foreign spouse can apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).
If the marriage does not occur within the 90-day period, the foreign fiancé must depart the United States, and the K-1 visa becomes invalid. If the couple still intends to get married and the foreign fiancé wishes to enter the United States, they will need to apply for a new visa.
WHICH IS FASTER? THE CR-1 FOREIGN SPOUSE VISA OR THE K-1 FIANCÉ VISA?
First of all, what is a CR-1 visa? The CR-1 visa is an immigrant visa for a foreign national spouse that allows the foreign spouse of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States as a conditional permanent resident. This means that the marriage is less than two years old at the time of entry. If the couple has been married more than two years at the time the CR-1 visa is issued, the foreign spouse will receive a ten-year non-conditional green card. If the foreign spouse receives the CR-1 before their two-year anniversary, the foreign national spouse receives a conditional green card valid for two years. After two years of being married and living in the U.S., the foreign spouse can apply to remove the conditions on the green card and become a permanent resident with a ten-year non-conditional green card.
The processing times for a CR-1 visa (Conditional Resident Visa) and an I-129F fiancé visa can vary depending on several factors, including the workload of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. Department of State, as well as the specific circumstances of each case.
Generally, the CR-1 visa process tends to take longer compared to the fiancé visa process. Here’s why:
- The CR-1 visa process typically involves multiple steps, including the U.S. citizen spouse filing an I-130 petition (Petition for Alien Relative) with USCIS, followed by processing at the National Visa Center (NVC) and an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in the foreign spouse’s home country.
- Processing times for CR-1 visas can vary, but it generally takes one to two years from the time of filing the I-130 petition until the visa is issued and the foreign spouse can travel to the United States. In some cases, it has been reported that the National Benefits Center has been backlogged 50 months in processing the CR-1 foreign spouse visa.
I-129F Fiancé Visa (K-1 Visa): The I-129F fiancé visa, or K-1 visa, is a nonimmigrant visa that allows the foreign fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States for the purpose of getting married within 90 days of arrival. After marriage, the foreign spouse can then apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).
The fiancé visa process involves the U.S. citizen petitioner filing the I-129F petition with USCIS. Once the petition is approved, it is sent to the appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate in the foreign fiancé’s home country. The foreign fiancé must attend an interview and undergo background checks and medical examinations before receiving the visa.
Processing times for the fiancé visa can also vary, but it generally takes about a year from the time of filing the I-129F petition until the visa is issued and the foreign fiancé(e) can travel to the United States.
Overall, the CR-1 visa process is often considered slower than the fiancé visa process due to the additional steps and the requirement to obtain a conditional green card. However, processing times can fluctuate, and it’s essential to check the most current USCIS and U.S. Department of State processing time estimates for each type of visa.
WHY IS IT WISE TO HAVE AN EXPERIENCED IMMIGRATION LAWYER PREPARE THE FIANCÉ VISA APPLICATION?
Having an experienced immigration lawyer prepare the I-129F fiancé visa application can be highly beneficial for several reasons:
- Expertise in Immigration Laws: Immigration laws and regulations can be complex and constantly changing. An experienced immigration lawyer is well-versed in the latest laws, rules, and procedures related to fiancé visas. They can ensure that the application is prepared correctly and in compliance with all applicable immigration requirements.
- Avoiding Errors and Delays: Immigration applications are often rejected or delayed due to errors or incomplete documentation. A lawyer’s expertise can help avoid such mistakes, reducing the risk of unnecessary delays or denials.
- Personalized Advice: Every immigration case is unique, and a lawyer can provide personalized advice based on the specific circumstances of the petitioner and the foreign fiancé(e). They can assess any potential challenges or issues and offer guidance on how to address them effectively.
- Streamlining the Process: A lawyer can streamline the application process, ensuring that all necessary forms and supporting documents are included. This can save time and help prevent the need for resubmissions or additional requests for evidence.
- Handling Complex Cases: Some fiancé visa cases may involve complicating factors, such as criminal history, previous visa denials, or issues with the relationship’s evidence. An experienced lawyer can handle complex cases with skill and confidence.
- Representation in Difficult Situations: If the case encounters challenges or is subject to further scrutiny, an immigration lawyer can respond to requests for further evidence (RFEs), advocating for their clients’ interests.
- Preparing for Adjustment of Status: After marriage and entry into the U.S., the foreign spouse will need to apply for adjustment of status to become a permanent resident. A knowledgeable lawyer can guide the couple through this subsequent process as well.
In summary, having an experienced immigration lawyer prepare the I-129F fiancé visa application can provide peace of mind, increase the likelihood of a successful outcome, and help ensure that the process goes smoothly from start to finish. It’s essential to choose a reputable lawyer like Susan Pai who has a proven and 15-year long track record in fiancé visas to handle such an important and life-changing process. Call (904) 268-7812 to speak with Attorney Susan Pai today or email her at email@example.com