Applying for a K-1 visa, also known as a fiancé(e) visa, is a multi-step process that allows a U.S. citizen to bring their foreign fiancé(e) to the United States for the purpose of getting married. Here’s a general overview of the steps involved:
- You must be a U.S. citizen to apply for a K-1 visa. Lawful permanent residents (green card holders) are not eligible.
- Both you and your fiancé(e) must be legally free to marry and intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the U.S.
- File Form I-129F:
- You, the U.S. citizen petitioner, must file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Include supporting documents such as proof of your U.S. citizenship, proof of your intent to marry within 90 days, and any required translations and fees.
- USCIS will review your petition, and if approved, they will forward it to the U.S. embassy or consulate in your fiancé(e)’s home country.
- Wait for USCIS Approval:
- USCIS processing times vary, but it typically takes several months to receive a decision on your petition.
- Case Forwarded to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate:
- Once USCIS approves your petition, it will be forwarded to the U.S. embassy or consulate in your fiancé(e)’s home country.
- The embassy or consulate will notify your fiancé(e) about the next steps in the process.
- Fiancé(e) Applies for a K-1 Visa:
- Your fiancé(e) will need to apply for the K-1 visa by following the instructions provided by the U.S. embassy or consulate. This usually involves submitting visa application forms, supporting documents, and attending an interview.
- Attend the Visa Interview:
- Your fiancé(e) will be required to attend an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate. They should be prepared to answer questions about their relationship with you and their intent to marry.
- Visa Approval:
- If the visa is approved, your fiancé(e) will receive the K-1 visa in their passport, allowing them to travel to the United States.
- Entry into the U.S.:
- Your fiancé(e) must enter the United States within the validity period of the K-1 visa, which is usually six months.
- Marriage and Adjustment of Status:
- After your fiancé(e) arrives in the U.S., you must get married within 90 days.
- After the marriage, your fiancé(e) can apply for Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).
- Conditional Green Card:
- If your fiancé(e) successfully adjusts status, they will initially receive a conditional green card that is valid for two years. After two years, you can jointly apply to remove the conditions and obtain a permanent green card.
Who needs to file Form I-130A?
Form I-130A, officially known as the “Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary,” is typically filed by the petitioner along with Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, when sponsoring their spouse for a family-based immigrant visa. Form I-130 is used to establish the qualifying relationship between the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident petitioner and the foreign national beneficiary (spouse, child, parent, etc.) who wishes to immigrate to the United States.
Form I-130A is a supplementary form that provides additional information about the beneficiary (spouse) and is meant to support the Form I-130 petition. The following scenarios typically require the filing of Form I-130A:
- Sponsoring a Spouse:
- U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (green card holders) who are sponsoring their foreign national spouse for a family-based immigrant visa (e.g., CR-1 or IR-1) should file Form I-130A to provide detailed information about the spouse beneficiary.
- Sponsoring a Spouse Inside the U.S.:
- If the foreign national spouse is already inside the United States and eligible to adjust status to that of a lawful permanent resident (green card holder), the petitioner filing Form I-130 for the spouse should also include Form I-130A.
Form I-130A is used to gather additional biographical and background information about the beneficiary spouse, such as their address history, employment history, and other personal details. It helps U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in verifying the beneficiary’s identity and eligibility for the immigration benefit.