Fiancé Visa USA (Eligibility & Requirements)
If you are planning to marry your US national fiancé(e) in the United States, you will need to secure a Fiancé Visa USA. Below we look at frequently asked questions in relation to this type of visa, from what this is to how much it costs.
What is a Fiancé Visa USA?
A Fiancé Visa USA, known officially as the K-1 visa, is a nonimmigrant visa that allows the fiancé(e) of a US citizen to enter the United States for up to 90 days for the purpose of getting married.
Thereafter, the spouse of the US citizen is then able to apply to adjust his/her status to that of a lawful permanent resident of the United States. In other words, s/he can apply for a green card.
What does a Fiancé Visa USA allow?
Under the K-1 visa you can come to the United States for a period of up to 90 days in order to marry your US fiancé(e).
Thereafter, having got married, you can apply for a green card to enable you to lawfully live and work in the US on a permanent basis.
In the event that you have any unmarried children under the age of 21, the Fiance Visa USA will also allow you to make an application on their behalf for their own visa to accompany you to the United States. The child of a K-1 visa holder will need to apply for a K-2 visa.
In respect of employment, if you are thinking about working in the United States before you get married, under a K-1 visa you will be eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), although this may not be processed within the 90-day time limit.
Once you have got married, you can apply to adjust your status to become a lawful permanent resident. However, you will also need to apply for a new employment authorisation after the marriage.
You must renew your EAD to be able to work until you become a permanent resident, at which time your green card will be proof of eligibility to work.
What does a Fiancé Visa USA not allow?
In the event that the wedding is delayed beyond 90 days, your Fiance Visa USA will automatically expire. Unfortunately, this type of visa cannot be extended and, as such, you may be required to leave the country.
You will need to ensure, therefore, that any wedding plans are firm, and that you get married within the permitted timeframe.
In the event that you decide not to get married, you will be required to leave the country. You also must marry the K-1 petitioner and no one else in order to remain in the United States.
Who is eligible for a Fiancé Visa USA?
To be eligible for a Fiance Visa USA you must meet the following requirements:
- Your fiancé(e) is a US citizen.
- You and your fiancé(e) intend to marry one another within 90 days of your admission to the United States.
- You and your fiancé(e) are both legally free to marry, ie; any previous marriages have been terminated by divorce, death or annulment.
- You and your fiancé(e) have met each other in person at least once within the two year period immediately prior to any petition being filed on your behalf, unless meeting in person would either result in extreme hardship or would violate strict customs of your foreign culture.
Further, you must have a bona fide intent to establish a life with your US fiancé(e), whereby the marriage must not be for the sole purpose of being able to obtain a green card.
What is the petition process for a Fiance Visa USA?
To apply for a Fiance Visa USA your US fiancé(e) will first need to file a petition on your behalf with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) using Form I-129F (Petition For Alien Fiancé(e)), together with the relevant fee.
The petition will also need to be supported by various documents to prove your eligibility for a Fiance Visa USA.
The documentation in support will need to include evidence of the US citizenship of your fiancé(e), termination of any previous marriages, your intention to marry in 90 days of entry and any in-person meetings. Your fiancé(e) will also need to provide a colour passport-style photograph of each of you.
What is the application process for a Fiancé Visa USA?
Once the petition is approved, you will need to submit your application for a Fiance Visa USA online using Form DS-160, together with the relevant fee. You will also need to schedule an interview appointment with the US Embassy or consulate where you reside.
You will need to take a number of documents with you to your interview, including but not limited to the confirmation page of your Form DS-160 and your passport valid for travel for at least six months, as well as evidence that your relationship with your US fiancé(e) is genuine.
The interviewing consular officer will ask you various questions relating to the nature of your relationship, including how you met and how the relationship has subsequently progressed. You will also be asked what your intentions are when you travel to the United States, in particular, whether you intend to live a life together with your new spouse.
Needless to say, if you do not intend to set up home together, the consular officer will almost certainly draw the conclusion that the marriage is not bona fide.
How long does an application for a Fiancé Visa USA take?
Once the petition is submitted, your fiancé(e) will be issued with Form I-797 Notice of Action acknowledging receipt of the petition. Thereafter, it could take several weeks if not months to process.
The processing times for Form I-129F will also vary depending on where the petition has been filed. By way of example, the current processing times for forms filed in Nebraska is 10.5 months.
Unfortunately, as with some visa categories, you cannot pay extra to expedite your petition being approved through premium processing.
In the event that the application and documentation in support satisfy the case officer that you are eligible for a Fiance Visa USA, the approved petition will be forwarded to your local US Embassy or consulate. Your US fiancé(e) will receive an approval notice to indicate that the petition has been approved.
The processing times for your visa can also vary depending on any backlog with the Embassy in your country of residence.
For how long is a Fiancé Visa USA valid?
If your application for a Fiancé Visa USA is successful, this will remain valid for a period of up to six months for a single entry to the United States.
During this time you will need to make the necessary travel arrangements, not to mention your wedding arrangements, as you will need to get married within just 90 days of entering the United States.
It is also worth remembering that once the petition for a Fiance Visa USA has been filed, this also has a short expiry date, in that it will only remain valid for a period of four months. Once granted, you will therefore need to ensure that you act quickly to file your application for your Fiance Visa USA.
How much does a Fiancé Visa USA cost?
The fee for filing the petition using Form I-129F is $535. The fee for filing your online application form for a Fiance Visa USA is $265.
In the event that you decide to stay in the United States after you have got married, rather than returning to your home country to start married life with your new spouse there, you will also need to pay a fee of $1,225 for Form I-485 to adjust your status to that of a lawful permanent residence.
This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.