Bringing your fiance to the U.S. is an exciting adventure, but before you can get started on your move, your fiance will need a visa. According to statistics provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), around 74% of K-1 visas are approved. This bodes well for those interested in bringing their future spouse to the States.
At first glance, the process of receiving the K-1 visa can seem confusing, intricate, and drawn out. In some ways, this is true. It can take some time to receive your visa. And, if the embassy near your fiance is backed up with interviews, your wait time could be even longer. But to make this process a little easier and give you a better understanding, we’re going to look at some frequently asked questions about the K-1 fiance visa.
What is the K-1 visa?
K-1 visas are issued to foreign persons who are engaged to U.S. citizens and want to marry within a 90-day period. This 90-day period starts as soon as they enter the U.S. If they don’t marry in this time frame, the foreign person will need to leave the U.S. and reenter on a new visa. The sole purpose of this visa is for fiances who want to marry a U.S. citizen, and it does not grant any work privileges and does require a sponsor.
Once the couple has married, the foreign person can then apply for and receive their permanent residence card through marriage. This card is generally referred to as the “green card.”
Who qualifies for the K-1 visa?
There are many instances where it might be better to skip the fiance visa and instead marry first. Then you and your new spouse can apply for their or your green card. But if you are interested in living in the U.S. and you don’t want to wait, then the K-1 visa might be the best option for you. Here are the criteria needed to qualify for this visa:
- The sponsoring fiance must be a U.S. citizen. If you only have a permanent residence card (green card), you will not be able to sponsor your foreign fiance.
- You must be able to prove your relationship is real.
- You must be able to prove that you have met in person at least once in the last two years. There are some exceptions to this rule.
- The couple must sign a document stating they will marry within 90 days. If possible, they’ll also be asked to show things like wedding invitations, venues, etc., that can strengthen your case.
- The U.S. sponsor must meet certain income criteria to be eligible. You will need the adjusted gross minimum on your most recent tax return must completely cover the Federal Poverty Guidelines. If you make less than this amount, you will need to find someone else who can sponsor your fiance.
What do I need for the K-1 visa application?
You’ll first need the U.S. sponsor to file the I-129F form. This is the Petition for Alien Fiance form, and it will need to be filed with the USCIS. This form will be used to prove your relationship is valid. Here are the supporting documents you’ll need to provide:
- A copy of your foreign fiance’s passport
- Proof that you, the sponsoring U.S. citizen, are American. You can do this with a birth certificate, passport, or certification of naturalization.
- Evidence that proves the relationship is real and isn’t just for entry to the U.S. You can do this by showing pictures, letters from people close to you confirming the relationship, itineraries from trips you both took together, emails, text messages between the two of you, etc. Anything that you could prove your relationship with will be appreciated.
- You’ll need to prove that you’ve met within the last two years at least once before submitting the form. This can be done through things like hotel bookings, travel receipts, etc.
- You’ll need to include any previously issued I-94 forms.
- A passport-style photo of each person
- And each partner will need to sign documents showing their sworn statement that shows the nature of their relationship and that they intend to marry within 90 days after the foreign partner enters the U.S.
What are some questions that might be asked in the K-1 visa interview?
The interview for the K-1 visa will happen at an embassy or consulate near your foreign fiance. This is usually scheduled 4-6 weeks after submitting the application. When you go for your interview, they’ll ask you many different questions to verify who you are, the nature of your relationship, and your intentions once you enter the U.S. Here are some questions they are likely to ask you:
- What is your full name?
- When were you born?
- What is your nationality?
- How old are you?
- Do you currently work?
- Were you previously married?
- Have you ever visited the United States before? If so, what was the purpose, and for how long?
- Do you have family who lives in the U.S.?
- Have you ever received a K-1 visa before? If so, when?
- When will you enter the U.S.?
- Have you ever been arrested? If so, for what and when?
- Describe your relationship
- When did your relationship begin?
- What do you plan to do when you enter the U.S.?
These are many of the questions they could ask you during this interview. There isn’t a set list, as it will depend on the consulate officer who gives you your interview. These are entirely subjective. But don’t be worried! Answer all questions truthfully and to the best of your knowledge.
How much does the K-1 visa cost?
The K-1 visa costs around $800 after fees. You’ll typically need to pay for the application forms, visa, and medical exams. Here is a layout of the fees:
- Form I-129F: $535
- Medical exams: $200 (this is a rough estimate and can vary)
- K-1 visa application fee: $265