How Long Does a Fiancé Visa Take?

2022-09-20 in Blog, Family-Based Immigration
fiance visa application

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

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.

What to Expect at Your Spousal Visa Interview?

2022-09-20 in Blog, Family-Based Immigration
spouse visa interview

What to Expect at Your Spousal Visa Interview?

The process for a marriage green card is lengthy and involved. The final step is the spousal visa interview, so what should you expect?

The officer conducting the interview has one main goal: to determine whether the marriage is authentic or in “good faith”. To establish this, the interviewing officer will ask questions focusing on:

  • The history of your relationship.
  • Your daily activities as husband and wife.
  • The comingling of assets and income.
  • Any future plans you have as a couple.

Assuming the interviewing officer is convinced that your marriage is legitimate, they will approve your spouse for a spousal visa, also known as a green card.

What's in This Guide

Preparing for a Spousal Visa Interview

The application process for a marriage green card is lengthy and involved. The interview is the final obstacle between your spouse and an immigrant visa, but it can also be the most stressful and overwhelming element if you are not properly prepared.

Knowing what to expect at your spousal visa interview and making sure you assemble an organized file of documents can streamline the process considerably and reduce stress.

All green card interviews within the US are conducted by USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services).

All immigrant visa interviews outside the US are conducted by the US Department of State.

Most of the evidence mentioned below would likely have been provided already, but here are some easy actions to prepare yourself for a smoother and less stressful spousal visa interview:

  • Gather original documentation: Prepare the following original documents – birth certificates, passports, marriage certificates, any prior divorce documents, court records, and photos or other supporting evidence that illustrates the authenticity of your marriage. The officer will want to compare the originals to the copies you previously submitted.  Note: you should not submit originals of these documents in your application.
  • Provide new documents: The following evidence should be updated prior to the interview; even though you may have already submitted them, you will want to get updated ones from the time of your application to the time of the interview, which can be up to a year – joint bank account statements, joint income tax returns, joint insurance documents, joint property documents, g., lease or deed, recent photos of you together. All of these documents help to prove the authenticity of your marriage.
  • Refresh your memory of key details: Sit down with your spouse or schedule a video call in the week leading up to the green card interview. Go over all key events and dates and refresh your memory of your relationship history.
  • Organize all documentation: Place all photos in an album and put them in chronological order to save fussing around on the day. Ensure that all documents are in place, too.

Questions Concerning the Spouse

On the day of the interview, you can expect the interviewing officer to ask the following questions concerning your spouse:

  1. When is your spouse’s birthday?
  2. Where was your spouse born?
  3. Where do they currently live?
  4. Where do their parents live?
  5. If your spouse has any brothers or sisters, where do they live?
  6. What is your spouse’s profession?
  7. Where do they work?
  8. Describe your spouse’s educational background.
  9. What is the religious background of your spouse?
  10. Is your spouse able to speak and understand English?
  11. Do you speak your spouse’s native language?
  12. What does your spouse do for fun?
  13. What do you most like about your spouse?
  14. Has your spouse ever been divorced?
  15. If so, where did this occur and why did the marriage end in divorce?
  16. If you have met your spouse’s parents or other family members, outline the circumstances of the meeting.
  17. How and when did you first meet your spouse?
  18. When did you first have the occasion to meet in person? Describe this occasion.
  19. Before this interview, when did you last see you spouse?
  20. How often do you communicate with your spouse?

Questions Concerning the Relationship

The following questions form the bulk of the green card interview. The interviewing officer will ask a series of questions about your relationship with your spouse. These are some common examples used in spousal visa interview in the United States:

  1. Have you ever been on vacation with your spouse?
  2. Who deals with the finances?
  3. When is your anniversary?
  4. Do you intend to have children?
  5. Do you or your spouse have children from previous marriages?
  6. Do you currently live together? If not, do you plan to live together?
  7. What mutual hobbies do you enjoy?
  8. Who cleans the house?
  9. Who cooks?
  10. Who does the laundry?
  11. Who does the grocery shopping?
  12. What cars do you each drive?
  13. What do you do together in your free time?
  14. What is your spouse’s favorite food?
  15. Does your spouse take any medications?
  16. What size is the bed in your house?
  17. When is designated garbage day?
  18. Does your spouse drink coffee?
  19. How many rooms are there in your home?
  20. How many bathrooms does your home have?
  21. What is in your yard?
  22. Which side of the bed do you sleep on and which side does your spouse sleep on?
  23. Do you sleep at the same time?
  24. How does your spouse unwind before bed?
  25. Does your spouse prefer taking a bath or a shower?
  26. Do you file your taxes jointly?
  27. Which shows do you watch together on TV?
  28. Does your spouse have any scars or tattoos?
  29. Did you come to this interview together?
  30. What did your spouse have for breakfast today?
  31. Does your spouse play sports? If so, what is their favorite team?
  32. Do you have curtains or blinds in your house?
  33. Do you and your spouse share a closet?
  34. Do you have a gas or electric grill?
  35. Do you attend church with your spouse?

Questions Concerning the Applicant

Finally, in addition to some of the questions above, expect any of the following questions to be directed at the visa applicant (your spouse):

  1. Have you previously visited the United States?
  2. If so, what type of visa were you awarded?
  3. Have you previously been refused a visa?
  4. Have you previously overstayed in the U.S. on a visa?
  5. Have you been arrested?
  6. Does your spouse have any brothers or sisters?
  7. When did you last see your spouse?
  8. Have you met your spouse’s family?
  9. How do you usually celebrate holidays?
  10. Who is your spouse’s best friend?
  11. Do you have any mutual friends?

If you need representation by an immigration lawyer, do not hesitate to contact our offices for assistance by phoning (312) 704-8000 or filling out our intake form here.

DACA and Adjustment of Status

2018-11-18 in Blog, Family-Based Immigration

DACA and Adjustment of Status

Several people we have spoken to over the last few weeks have inquired concerning their eligibility for Adjustment of Status based upon marriage to a U.S. Citizen if they have received Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (“DACA”). It has been widely discussed that DACA was not meant to be a “path to citizenship.” In some instances, however, it might be, but it is our interpretation that it is limited to those with particular circumstances.

We will start out discussing some concepts in immigration law. First, “Adjustment of Status” is the term for receiving legal permanent residence within the borders of the U.S. In order to be eligible for Adjustment of Status, the person must enter the U.S. legally, i.e., with inspection by a border officer. This is in distinction to “consular processing” where a person obtains legal permanent residency through an immigrant visa obtained outside the U.S. Those who entered without inspection are required to leave the U.S. in order to obtain an immigrant visa and are subject to a 10 year bar when they leave because they have been in the U.S. illegally for over 1 year (a waiver or the “provisional” waiver forgives this illegal presence; if someone elects to do consular processing by the use of the provisional waiver, they need not leave the U.S. for more than a day or two.) The issuance of DACA, in and of itself, is not an admission that can be used for adjustment of status and, therefore, consular processing with either a regular waiver or provisional waiver is a very good option if they have a U.S. citizen spouse. It is important to keep in mind that DACA is merely a directive from the President which permits those who meet its requirements to remain here with work authorization so that they can further their education as well as work, despite having entered illegally and was carefully crafted so as not to confer any status.

Therefore, as discussed above, people with an illegal entry in most instances cannot adjust status. One exception to the legal entry requirement, however, is the amnesty of 2001 where if someone filed an application for an applicant prior to April 30, 2001, they need only pay a $1,000 penalty and they can adjust status despite having entered the U.S. illegally. Therefore, this discussion applies to DACA recipients who (a) entered illegally; (b) are married to a U.S. citizen; (c) never had a work or family petition filed for them or a parent prior to April 30, 2001, and (d) after being here for their first year, did not leave and return to the U.S.

In order for DACA recipients to be eligible to adjust status, they must have obtained “advance parole” to leave the U.S. and, in fact, left the U.S. and returned. Advance parole is a process by which USCIS gives a person permission to re-enter the U.S. for specific reasons. And the entry upon returning creates the “admission” which is required for adjustment of status. USCIS will grant advance parole to people, however, only in limited circumstances enumerated on the website, including humanitarian reasons, i.e., visiting a sick relative, educational purposes, i.e., study-abroad program, or employment purposes, i.e., work conferences. See

Following the 2012 Board of Immigration Appeals decision, Matter of Arrabally and Yerrabelly, 25 I&N Dec. 221, the Department of Homeland Security expressed its intent to adopt the interpretation that leaving the country pursuant to a grant of Advance Parole is not considered a “departure” which triggers the 3- and 10-year bar to re-entry. See, Memo, Jeh Johnson, Secretary, U.S. Dept. Of Homeland Security, “Directive to Provide Consistency Regarding Advance Parole” (Nov. 20, 2014). Therefore, DACA recipients who are granted parole into the U.S. after their travel abroad, who are beneficiaries of a visa petition, and a visa is immediately available, i.e., a U.S. citizen spouse petitioned for them, should be eligible to apply for residency while remaining in the U.S. without having to deal with this particular “bar” under the Immigration Act.

Despite this, it is our opinion that DACA recipients should use the advance parole process carefully. First, there must be a legitimate reason for requesting permission to leave the U.S. and not merely the intent to qualify for adjustment of status. Most importantly, it must be supported by sufficient documentation. Secondly, a person should not seek to use advance parole if he or she left and returned to the U.S. after having originally entered, i.e., you came to the U.S. twice or more. The reason for this is that the person could trigger a different and more strict 10 year bar (different from the one mentioned above) for having illegally remained in the U.S. for more than one year and then left and re-entered or attempted to re-enter. It is our experience that, even in this circumstance, USCIS may still issue an advance parole document and when you attempt to enter on it, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“USCBP”), will deny entry for having violated this provision. It seems to make sense that USCIS would not issue the document if you are not entitled to return, but that is not the case.

It is important to note that most DACA recipients who are married to U.S. citizens also qualify for the provisional waiver and that should be considered as a good alternative if there are not legitimate reasons to leave the U.S. Further, there may be questions from either USCIS or USCBP concerning one’s marital status. If it is disclosed that one is married to a U.S. citizen, it is likely that the request for advance parole will be scrutinized carefully and, perhaps, denied. And, further, once the advance parole is granted by USCIS, you will also be scrutinized by USCBP upon entry, which has discretion to deny entry. It is possible that USCBP officers could inquire one’s intention to marry after entering the U.S. or whether one intends to adjust status after entering if already married, in which case, could form the basis for a denial of entry. We believe, therefore, that if one is married to a U.S. citizen and is a DACA recipient, one’s reasons for leaving the U.S. under advanced parole must be strong, along with sufficient supporting documentation. Further, if one is not yet married, one should refrain from marrying until after having left and returned on advance parole. In either case, if one’s reasons for leaving are weak, then either USCIS or USCBP will suspect an intent to avoid the immigration laws and will either deny the advance parole request or, worse, deny entry at the border once you have left.