K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa Processing Times
Most individuals in the process of obtaining a fiancé(e) visa frequently wonder about K-1 processing times. In general K-1 processing times can range anywhere from six to twelve months, depending on the complexity of the case as well as other information requested by USCIS.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Fiancé(e) Visa?
From beginning to end, the K-1 visa process will take between six to nine months. That’s because the approval time for the I-129F by itself takes roughly five months. Premium processing is not available for the K-1 visa petition.
Has the K-1 visa been issued? At this point, the foreign fiancé(e) is able to enter the U.S. and has 90 days from the point of arrival to get married to the U.S. sponsor. From there the foreign-born spouse can prepare for an adjustment of status to permanently work and live in the country.
If for whatever reason you do not get married in the 90-day window, the foreign fiancé(e) must leave the United States. If they stay, they will be in violation of immigration laws and could face removal or deportation.
K-1 Visa Background
Fiancé(e) visas are issued to the fiancé(e) of a citizen in order for them to enter into the country and subsequently get married. In order to establish this classification, the U.S. citizen in the relationship must file an I-129 Petition for Relative or Fiancé(e) with USCIS. Afterward, the U.S. citizen will need to fill out and submit biographic information (Form G-325A) and submit proof of citizenship as well as proof that you’ve seen each other in the last two years. Examples include boarding passes, photos of you and your fiancé(e) together, copies of phone records, letters, emails, etc. Remember that all supporting documents must be in English or translated to English.
The fiancé(e) visa petition once approved is sent to the National Visa Center, then the American embassy or consulate where the non-citizen fiancé(e) can then apply. Once USCIS has taken action, the fiancé(e) visa petition is valid for 4 months.
Financial Requirements for K-1 Visa
In order to bring a fiancé(e) to the U.S. you must demonstrate that you can support your fiancé(e) at 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The specifics can be found on Form I-865P. If you cannot meet these criteria, your other option is to have a relative or friend agree to be the joint sponsor. This essentially is an agreement to share the responsibility for the K-1 beneficiary’s financial support.
Both K-1 and K-2 visa holders can file for employment authorization documents but if they file the application before filing the Adjustment of Status, then then the EAD will expire concurrently with the K-1 visa. For that reason, you should apply afterward.
Family Members of K-1 Beneficiary
Unmarried children (under 21) of K-1 beneficiaries can receive K-2 non-immigrant status from their parents as long as they are included in the petition. Assuming they accompany their parent, a separate petition is not required.
Difference Between Marriage and Fiancé(e) Visa
If you are already married to the immigrant living overseas than you need to consider the marriage visa option. This process can take several months for an i-130 approval and an additional year for an approved immigrant visa. Notice that these processes are in fact very different so you cannot apply for a fiancé(e) visa if you are already married. An immigration attorney can better explain your options if you’re in this situation.
Extend Your K-1 Visa Beyond Four Months
Only a consular officer can revalidate your K-1 visa past the initial four months as long as there is sufficient proof that both parties are able to legally get married and intent to within 90 days of the beneficiary’s admission. If you’re interested in extending your K-1 visa it’s best to seek the aid of a qualified immigration attorney who can send the written request to the Embassy. In the package, the attorney will need to include a written statement of intention to move forward with the marriage.
It’s important to note that marriage fraud carries strict penalties and should be avoided at all costs. USCIS officers are trained to identify a bonafide relationship from one that is out of convenience or a means of deception for citizenship.
Why You Need a K-1 Visa Lawyer
- An experienced K-1 visa lawyer will be able to further explain the process and how to expedite K-1 processing times if possible.
- Our attorneys understand how stressful the process can be for obtaining a K-1 fiancé(e) visa and will do everything in our power to ease the burden.
- Contact us to learn about receiving a free consultation to discuss your case.