How Long Does a Fiancé Visa Take?
Processing times for a K-1 fiancé visa currently average six months. This timeline does not include the period from approval of your application to the date of the interview. This will differ significantly depending on the country you are applying from.
Today’s guide highlights the K-1 fiancé visa timeline so you can more confidently plan ahead.
What's in This Guide
- Process for Obtaining a K-1 Fiancé Visa
- How Long Will It Take to Obtain a K-1 Visa?
- Adjustment of Status Via a Fiancé Visa Entry
Process for Obtaining a K-1 Fiancé Visa
A foreign fiancé of a US citizen may be eligible for a K-1 fiancé visa. This visa allows the foreign national to enter the United States in order to marry their partner (which must take place within 90 days of the time of entry).
When the fiancé arrives in the United States, they can marry the US citizen as planned. Subsequently, the foreign national can apply for an immigrant visa, also known as a green card, through adjustment of status – see below.
The process for obtaining a K-1 visa begins with the filing of Form I-129F by the US citizen with the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services). It is imperative to complete this form accurately to avoid delays in the visa issuing process.
Upon approval, your case will move to the National Visa Center for liaison with the US consulate or embassy in the foreign national’s country of residence.
Next, the fiancé will apply for the K-1 visa document itself with the consulate.
The final step of the process is the visa interview at the US consulate.
Assuming that the Petition for Alien Fiancé (Form I-129F) is properly filed, you will receive a notice confirming receipt of your petition from the USCIS. This is known as a Notice of Action (Form I-797C). This will typically arrive two or three weeks after filing.
The purpose of the I-129F Petition for Alien Relative is to:
- Determine that the relationship between the US citizen and the foreign fiancé qualifies.
- Pre-screen the fiancé for any criminal background.
- Establish whether any other issues would conflict with the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act.
If the application is successful, the US citizen will receive another Notice of Action from USCIS, this time an Approval Notice (Form I-797).
Once the case transitions to the US Department of State’s NVC (National Visa Center), the applicant will be contacted for payment of consular fees and any additional processing requirements and forms – submitting Form DS-160 (Non-immigrant Visa Application), for instance.
The embassy will then review the case and subsequently mail a letter to the foreign fiancé. This correspondence will include details of the interview and medical exam required. The applicant then needs to submit some items immediately and prepare other items for the visa interview.
Anywhere from two to eight weeks after the applicant submits embassy documents, they will need to attend a K-1 fiancé visa interview. If any children are joining as K-2 visa holders, they must also attend the interview. Although the US citizen is encouraged to attend the interview, this is not mandatory.
The foreign fiancé should take documents to the interview that prove the relationship. They should also take proof of the medical exam. With proper preparation, the interview should go smoothly and the foreign national should get a decision when the interview concludes.
The visa is typically issued by the consulate or embassy within two weeks.
How Long Will It Take to Obtain a K-1 Visa?
The processing times for K-1 fiancé visas vary significantly. Many applicants find they can successfully enter the United States within six to nine months.
The process involves many steps and multiple agencies, including:
- National Visa Center
- Department of State
- Consulate in Foreign Country
Submitting a properly prepared I-129F petition is central to a swift application process. Unless this form is accurately completed and all supporting documents are included, you could experience substantial delays. If you are unsure about how to prepare this document, consult an experienced K-1 visa attorney.
Adjustment of Status Via a Fiancé Visa Entry
When a US citizen marries a foreign national, the marriage will not automatically lead to a green card granting legal immigration status in the US.
The foreign national needs to complete an adjustment of status application for permanent residence in the form of a green card.
This process involves completing multiple forms and following a series of steps. Expect the process to take several months. During the waiting period, applicants may get travel authorization and work authorization.
Here at Chicago Immigration Lawyers, we can help you or a foreign fiancé to apply for the K-1 visa. With the right representation and proper preparation, you can initiate a process which should take roughly six months before you are issued a K-1 fiancé visa.
Contact us now by calling (312) 704-8000 or online for a free case evaluation.