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Fiancée Visa Basics

What is a Fiancee Visa?

A Fiancee Visa (officially known as a K1 Visa) is a non-immigrant visa that allows the foreign fiancee of a United States Citizen to enter the United States for the sole purpose of getting married. They are generally considered the quickest way to legally bring a foreign fiancée to the U.S. with the intentions of marriage and immigration.

What are the necessary steps to get one?

There are two major steps:
  1. I-129F Petition Filing at USCIS The first step involves the filing of an I-129F Petition by the U.S. Citizen (also known as the “Petitioner”) on behalf of the foreign fiancee (also known as the “Beneficiary”). This petition is filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and must be sent to the appropriate USCIS Service Center, which is based upon the geographic residency of the U.S. Citizen.

  2. US Embassy Processing and Issuance of the Fiancee Visa Once the I-129F Petition has been approved by the USCIS, the second step involves the filing of the foreign k1 visa application, which includes several forms, evidence of a bonafide relationship, a medical examination, police and security clearances, an affidavit of support, other evidence, the foreign fiancee’s interview and the eventual issuance of the K1 Visa at his or her country’s U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

How long does it take to get a Fiancee Visa?

In order to determine how long it takes to get a fiancee visa, you would simply add the estimated time it takes to get the I-129F Petition approved at the USCIS and the estimated time to have the visa issued at the US Embassy abroad. You can learn more about specific times by clicking here: K1 Visa Processing Times.

Once the K1 Visa is issued, how does it work?

The foreign fiancee is free to enter the United States once a valid K1 Visa is issued. Once the foreign fiancee enters the United States., the marriage between the U.S. Citizen and the Foreign Fiancee must take place within 90 days of the foreign fiancee’s entry. If the foriegn fiancee does not marry the U.S. Citizen within 90 days, or if he or she marries someone other than the U.S. Citizen Petitioner, the foreign fiancee must leave the United States after 90 days.

Who is eligible to file an I-129F Petition?

U.S. Citizens who intend to marry a foreign national in the United States may file an I-129F Petition. The U.S. Citizen and foreign Fiancee must be free to marry. This means that they are both unmarried, or that any previous marriages have ended in divorce, death, or annulment. The couple must also have met in person (at least once) within the last two years prior to the filing of the Petition.

Are K1 Fiancee Visas ever issued to couples who have not met in person?

There are extraordinary and extremely limited circumstances in which fiancee visas have been issued to couples who have never met. For example, fiancee visas may be issued under rare instances where a couple have not met in person due to certain religious or other extreme hardship cases.

Can K1 Visas be extended or renewed after the initial 90 days of entry if there is no marriage?

No. The Fiancee must leave the country if he/she does not marry within the 90 day period after U.S. entry. They may not re-enter the U.S. again under the same U.S. fiancee Visa. They may, however, re-enter the U.S. after approval of a completely new K1 Visa by starting the entire process again with the same Petitioner or a new Petitioner.
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