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Friday, March 15, 2019

The Fiancé Visa: The Basics

The K-1 nonimmigrant visa is commonly referred to as the fiancé visa. The fiancé visa exists to allow United States citizens bring a foreign fiancé to the United States to be married. To bring your fiancé to the United States, you must first file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé. Once the Form I-129F is filed, it will be reviewed and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) will likely request evidence or completion of any details that are missing or incorrectly filled out. After the petitioner (the U.S. citizen filing the Form I-129F) has responded to any requests for evidence or additional information, the USCIS will deliberate on the decision and then notify the petitioner whether the petition has been granted. Same sex couples should note that they can apply for a fiancé visa in light of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act.

Eligibility for the Fiancé Visa

To be eligible for the K-1 fiancé visa, the petitioner and fiancé must meet certain requirements First, the petitioner must be a United States citizen. A permanent resident is not eligible to petition for the K-1 fiancé visa. Second, the petitioner and fiancé must intend to marry within 90 days of the fiancé entering the United States. Third, the petitioner and fiancé must be legally free to marry – any prior marriage must have been correctly terminated. Fourth, the petitioner and fiancé must have personally met within the prior two years. This does not mean that the petitioner and fiancé must have met for the first time in the past two years. The two-year meeting requirement means that the petitioner and fiancé must have spent time together in the same proximity within the past two years. However, the two-year requirement can be waived for exceptional circumstances, such as a meeting violating cultural norms. The first three requirements cannot be waived.

How Long Does the USCIS Take in Deciding?

While processing and decision times vary, petitioners can expect a decision within 3-5 months of filing Form I-129F. Issues with the application, such as failing to fill out a section, can delay the process. Additionally, the slower the petitioner is to respond to the USCIS request for additional information, the longer the processing and decision time will be.

How Long Does it take for the Fiancé Visa to be Issued?

If the USCIS decides to grant the K-1 fiancé visa, the USCIS will notify the relevant United States Embassy or Consulate of its decision. Once the U.S. Embassy or Consulate have been notified, it will reach out to the fiancé with instructions for obtaining the K-1 fiancé visa. The fiancé can generally expect to require 60 to 120 working days for the Embassy or Consulate to officially issue the visa.

Overall, couples should expect 5-12 months for the K-1 fiancé visa to be issued upon petitioning. Errors and omissions in the application will slow down the process. To ensure that the visa is issued as quickly as possible, hiring an experienced immigration law attorney to help with the paperwork is essential.

 


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Serving Southeastern Wisconsin, with offices in Milwaukee and West Bend, Affliated Attorneys, LLC represent clients throughout Milwaukee County, Washington County, Waukesha County, Dodge County, Ozaukee County, Racine County, Sheboygan County, Jefferson County, Fond du Lac County and Walworth County.



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