This winter, a sizable number of clients became engaged. Namely, to foreigners that they met on business trips, study abroad programs, or arranged marriages. No matter the reason, they all come to an immigration attorney to ask the same question: How do I bring my fiancé into the United States?
The answer is deceptively simple. One may bring a fiancé over on what is called the K-1 Visa, or otherwise known as the Fiancé Visa. The love ridden United States citizen can fill out a Form I-129F, and send it in with evidentiary documentation and a money order to United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). While the process, on the exterior, is not complicated, it is in fact time consuming, emotionally draining, and will test the strength the couple’s love and relationship months before the actual marriage.
The K-1 Visa process to immigrate a loved one into the United States is long one. There are three parts to the K-1 process. First, the Form I-129F must be approved by USCIS. USCIS approval normally takes anywhere between four to six months. Also note that the Form I-129F is not the only document sent in; the couple must prove that it is a bonafide engaged, meaning that, in most cases, a lot of evidence must be sent in. This includes, but is not limited to, pictures, emails, letters, divorce decrees of prior marriages, birth certificates, etc… This step, however, only recognizes the bonafide relationship. The foreign fiancé must obtain permission to travel to the United States, and must complete the second step.
After USCIS approval, the second step is applying for the K-1 Visa with the Department of State at the Consulate/Embassy of the foreign fiancé. This process, before Department of State approval, generally takes two to three months. The foreign fiancé will apply for the K-1 Visa at the Consulate/Embassy abroad, and submit documentation such as civil identity documentation, medical exam documentation (from a doctor approved by the Consulate/Embassy), and, again, proof of the bonafide relationship. The foreign fiancé will also need to undergo a consulate interview with a Department of State officer. This second step gives permission to travel to the United States, but does not grant admission into the United States. For admission into the United States, one must complete the third step.
The foreign fiancé will now need to arrive in the United States and seek admission at a port of entry (i.e., DFW Airport). CBP will conduct biometrics, check background information, and conduct an interview of the foreign fiancé. Once finally admitted, the couple has 90 days to marry.
The K-1 Visa process is long and emotionally draining. Therefore it is not a surprise that a lot of couples separate while the process is ongoing. The K-1 Visa is only the beginning. After marriage, the foreign fiancé must adjust status through USCIS and also possibly remove conditions from their green card. These processes also take a long time. It is highly recommended that the couple hire an experienced immigration attorney to guide them through the K-1 Visa Process.
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment with an experienced Texas immigration law attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.