The K1 visa can be a great way for a foreign national to enter the United States for the purpose of marrying a United States citizen and obtaining a green card. Navigating the process of getting a K1 visa and ensuring that the timetable is correct can complicate already intricate wedding plans, so it is important that the couple do it right. Follow a detailed checklist to ensure that nothing is missed as you compile your K1 visa application and plan for your wedding in the United States.
What Getting a K1 Visa Means
A K1 visa is not the same as a green card. Acquiring a K1 does not grant permission for a foreign national to enter and live in the United States; in fact, the stipulations for when and how to use a K1 are very specific.
The visa may be used only once; therefore, planning the wedding and arranging travel must involve a strategic timeline and attention to detail. A K1 visa is what allows the foreign fiancé(e) to enter the United States to marry, but additional immigration action must be taken after that to secure legal permanent residence.
The Checklist for a Successful Visa
In order to streamline the K1 visa process and ensure that nothing is missed, it is important for the United States citizen, who is sponsoring their foreign partner, to gather all of the required documents and information.
Be sure to review the following steps and evaluate your petition for any errors or omissions prior to submitting it; otherwise, you may find the application delayed while you receive requests for evidence, or it may be denied outright.
1. Before Filing, Build Up a Reliable History
Before even thinking about filing for the K1 visa application, first gather documents that will help prove your relationship. For example, time-stamped photos of the couple together, and with each other’s family, can be used to prove that the relationship is legitimate, which is always a concern for the immigration officers reviewing a K1 petition.
Boarding passes from trips together, receipts from restaurants and stores visited as a couple and other evidence that the two of you have been in an amicable relationship outside of the context of immigration are necessary to prove that you are not seeking marriage for the sole purpose of acquiring legal permanent residence.
2. Thoroughly Complete the Application
Once you have collected sufficient information to demonstrate your relationship history, you may now complete the K1 visa petition form.
Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) will be required, as well as a processing fee of $535, which needs to be sent with the petition.
In addition to these forms and proof of the relationship history, the application will also benefit from a cover letter. The cover letter should explain what you have provided and describe your evidence.
The couple may also need to provide a variety of other documents such as previous divorce certificates, proof of US citizenship, passport photos and any court convictions. To understand the exact information that you need, an experienced immigration attorney can offer guidance.
3. Approval of K1 Visa
Once the USCIS approves your K1 visa, USCIS will send your approved K1 visa petition to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will give you a case number and then send your case to the US embassy or consulate where you live.
You will then have to fill out a non-immigrant visa application online, as well as do a medical examination and gather additional documents, and schedule a K1 visa interview with the US embassy or consulate. If your interview is successful, the K1 visa will be issued.
4. Perform K1 Visa Travel and Marriage Correctly
Once you have secured a K1 visa, it is important to understand that it is only valid for six months. However, it grants access to the United States for only one time, and once that entry has occurred, you have 90 days to get legally married It is critical to plan carefully for this stage of the process or the visa may become useless.
Enter the United States and marry within 90 days, allowing you the time to file for an adjustment of status, which will secure legal permanent residence for the foreign spouse after the marriage.
Work with an Experienced Immigration Law Firm for Help
If you are considering a K1 visa as the means for establishing a marriage between a United States citizen and a foreign individual, be certain that you understand all of the timelines and requirements.
Working with skilled immigration attorneys, such as those at Johnson & Masumi, PC , can guide you quickly through the application and planning.
Reach out to schedule a consultation to discuss the specific needs of your case.