K1 Visa Application Process: Step-by-Step Explanation
Through the K1 visa process, the fiancé of a U.S. citizen can come to the U.S. and apply for a green card. The K1 visa is a very powerful visa option, however, the K1 visa process has many steps that must be carefully followed. Failure to follow the steps can result in delay of your case or even a denial.
In this guide, I will discuss the K1 visa process, step-by-step. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer, and I would be happy to help you.
- Make Sure You’re Eligible for a K1 Visa
- U.S. Citizen Petitioner Files Form I-129f
- Foreign Fiancé Files DS-160
- Police Clearance and Medical Examination
- K1 Visa Interview
- Admission to U.S. on K1 Visa
- Adjustment of Status
- Adjustment of Status Interview
1. Make Sure You’re Eligible for a K1 Visa
The first step in the K1 visa process is to make sure that you are eligible for a K1 visa. There are 4 main K1 visa requirements:
- Petitioner must be a U.S. citizen
- Both the U.S. citizen and the foreign fiancé must be free to marry
- Both the U.S. citizen and the foreign fiancé must have met each other in person within the last 2 years
- Both the U.S. citizen and the foreign fiancé must have the intent to get married within 90 days of the foreign fiancé’s admission to the U.S.
Out of these 4 requirements, there are 2 that you should pay particular attention to:
- Both parties must be free to marry: Make sure that all previous marriages (if any) are terminated and you have an official divorce decree
- Physical meeting within 2 years: Make sure that you and your fiancé have met in person within the last 2 years. If you have not met in person, make sure that you qualify for an exception to this rule. There are 2 exceptions: the extreme hardship exception and the established custom exception. To determine if you qualify for either of these exceptions, feel free to message me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com.
2. U.S. Citizen Petitioner Files Form I-129f
The second step of the K1 visa process is for the U.S. citizen petitioner to file the Form I-129f. The Form I-129f is the “Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)” and is the initial petition that is filed with USCIS.
Along with the Form I-129f you are supposed to submit multiple documents proving that you satisfy the K1 visa requirements.
Such documents include:
- U.S. citizen petitioner’s passport copy
- Signed statements from both people stating that they intend to marry each other within 90 days
- Photographs together
- Travel Itinerary, flight tickets, hotel reservations, to prove physical meeting
- Any previous divorce documents
3. Foreign Fiancé Files DS-160
After the Form I-129f is approved by USCIS, the next step is for the foreign fiancé to file a Form DS-160. The DS-160 is the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. The form is submitted electronically with the Department of State.
4. Police Clearance and Medical Examination
After filing the DS-160 and before attending the fiancé visa interview, the foreign fiancé must undergo a medical exam from an Embassy approved doctor. In addition to the medical exam, the foreign fiancé must get a police clearance from every country that they have lived in for at least 6 months.
5. K1 Visa Interview
The next step in the K1 visa process is for the foreign fiancé to attend a visa interview at a US consulate or embassy in their home country.
At the visa interview, you will be asked various questions about yourself, your fiancé, and your relationship with your fiancé.
Here are some sample questions:
- How did you meet your fiancé?
- When did you and your fiancé get engaged?
- Has your fiancé ever visited you in your home country?
- How did your fiancé propose to you?
- How often do you speak to your fiancé?
6. Admission to U.S. on K1 Visa
Following a successful K1 visa interview, the foreign fiancé should receive a K1 visa stamped in their passport. The next step is for the foreign fiancé to use their k1 visa to enter the United States. Upon entry to the U.S., Customs and Border Protection will ask the foreign fiancé questions about the reason for their travel to the U.S. It is important that these questions are answered correctly. Feel free to contact me directly to discuss at Michael@AshooriLaw.com.
Once the foreign fiancé is admitted to the United States with the K1 visa, the next step is for the engaged couple to get married. You and your fiancé must get married within 90 days of the foreign fiancé’s arrival to the United States.
8. Adjustment of Status
After getting married to the U.S. citizen fiancé, the next step is for the foreign fiancé to apply for an adjustment of status. The adjustment of status is the process of going from non-immigrant status to permanent resident status (green card). To apply for an adjustment of status you are required to file a Form I-485 with USCIS. The Form I-485 Is the “Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.”
- You must be physically present in the U.S. when applying for an adjustment of status
- You cannot be inadmissible for immigration. Certain criminal issues, health issues, etc. can make you inadmissible.
- You must have entered the U.S. lawfully (with inspection).
9. Adjustment of Status Interview
Several months after the adjustment of status application is filed, you will likely have to attend an adjustment of status interview. The adjustment of status interview will be held at a USCIS office before a USCIS officer. At the interview, the USCIS officer will ask various questions to determine whether the marriage is a bona-fide marriage rather than a marriage just for immigration benefits.
Following a successful adjustment of status interview, the foreign fiancé should receive their green card within a few weeks.
The K1 visa is a great option for a U.S. citizen to bring their fiancé to the U.S. and apply for their green card. The K1 visa process has many steps involved. It is very important that these steps are handled correctly. You should now have a much better understanding of the steps and the process.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. I’m very responsive via email and I would be happy to help you!
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Michael Ashoori, Esq.
U.S. Immigration Lawyer
I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer and I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.
Since starting my law firm, I’ve helped hundreds of people from all over the world with their immigration needs. I’m very passionate, hard-working, and committed to my clients.
Got a question? Send me an email.