K-1 / K-2 Fiance Visa Process
What is the K1 and K2 Visa:
–o The K1 visa enables US Citizens to bring their foreign fiance(e)s to the United States in order to get married.
–o The K2 visa allows unmarried children (under age 21) of the fiance(e) to move to the US as well.
K1 and K2 Visa Process Outline:
The K1 visa is not an end in itself. It is only a single step in a procedure for obtaining permanent residency (a green card) based on a marriage to a US Citizen after entry. The steps involved in immigrating to the US via a K1 visa can be generally described as follows:
|1. The US Citizen files the I-129F petition for the foreign fiance(e) with the USCIS. The I-129f is filed at a USCIS Service Center in the US (where you file depends on where you live). The petition phase is very straightforward. Approval timelines vary with each Service Center, with the processing times ranging anywhere from one to five or six months. Go here to see a list of current processing current times.
2. After the I-129F has been approved, the petition is sent to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) where it is processed and forwarded to the correct embassy and consulate. The process of sending the approved I-129f from the Service Center (through the NVC) and arriving at the embassy takes about a month. The fiance(e) has 4 months from the time the I-129F was approved at the Service Center to obtain the K1 Visa at the US Consulate in the foreign country. This time period can be extended by a consular officer if required. The visa application process is generally similar in all countries, although each Consulate will vary a bit in their requirements. Every K1 applicant will have a unique story to tell about how they got their visa.
3. Once you have the K1 Visa it is good for only one entry into the United States within 6 months of the issue date. A K2 Visa holder (child of K1 Visa holder) may enter up to one year after the K1, but a K2 Visa holder may not enter the U.S. prior to the K1.
4. Once in the United States, you have 90 days to get married (see “Special Note” at question 3.7)
5. Immediately after marriage, you must apply for an Adjustment of Status, Form I-485, to become a permanent resident. You may also apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to work (required until your I-485 is approved) and “advance parole” in case you want to travel outside the United States and re-enter before getting your green card (I-485 approval)……And then…
6. If your I-485 is approved prior to two years after you were married you will be issued a “Conditional” Permanent Resident status (green card) which is valid for only two years. If you are interviewed and approved greater than two years after you were married you will get a full normal Permanent Residency with no conditions valid for ten years. The time it takes to approve an I-485 depends on where you live and the nearest local USCIS office’s processing timeline.
Filing Limitations on K Non-immigrant Petitioners: If you have filed two or more K-1 visa petitions at any time in the past or previously had a K-1 visa petition approved within two years prior to the filing of this petition, you must apply for a waiver. To request a waiver you must submit a written request with the I-129f petition accompanied by documentation of your claim to the waiver. If you have committed a violent offense against a person or persons, the USCIS may not grant such a waiver unless you can demonstrate that extraordinary circumstances exist.