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A K-1 Visa permits the fiancé/fiancée of a U.S. citizen to enter the United States for the purpose of marrying their U.S. citizens spouse within 90 days of their entry. After the marriage, the foreign national applies for adjustment of status (I-485) to become a Legal Permanent Resident.

The Process: I-29F and USCIS

The U.S. citizen files form I-129F, a petition for his/her foreign fiancé to enter the country with the intent to be married within 90 days. This form is intended to prove: (1) that both parties are free to marry (1) it is a legitimate relationship (3) the intent to marry within 90 days and (4) the parties have met at least once in two years except in the occasion that this requirement is contrary to “long-established” cultural standards or if it would require extreme hardship to fulfill this requirement.

After the I-29F is filed, USCIS conducts a criminal background check for both the U.S. citizen (petitioner) and his/her fiancé/fiancée (beneficiary). If the form is approved, it is then sent to the DOS (Department of States) National Visa Center (NVC) and, then forwarded to an embassy or consulate in the home country of the beneficiary. Note that an approved I-129F does not grant entry into the US, nor does it grant a K-1 Visa, it simply recognizes the relationship as stipulated in the requirements above.


The Fiancé/Fiancée, DOS (Department of State) and the K-1

After the approval of the K-1 petition by USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services), the foreign fiancé/fiancée is able to apply for the K-1 visa at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Similar to the process mentioned above, the beneficiary provides valid IDs and proof of the relationship. Additionally, he or she must pass a medical exam completed by an approved physician, undergo a criminal background check and attend an interview with a DOS consular officer. The DOS officer, then, determines if any grounds of inadmissibility exist and whether or not the beneficiary is eligible for a waiver. If the consular officer finds the relationship to be fraudulent, he/she will refuse the K-1 visa and it will be sent back to USCIS.

The ultimate decision issuing a K-1 visa is at the discretion of the DOS consular officer. The K-1 visa is valid for 6 months.


Let Us Know if You Need Help with Your K-1 Application

Like all immigration applications, it is important that a K-1 application is done right the first time. Little mistakes can lead to costly delays and sometimes even denials of a petition or visa. If there is any unusual issue in your case, it is particularly important to seek the advice of a skilled immigration attorney. We handle K-1 visa petitions frequently and make sure the process is as smooth as possible. Call us today to schedule a consultation at (303) 872-6985.



Photo Credit: MACIEJ WOJCIECHOWSKI Flickr via Compfight cc

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