So for those of you who have been following me, but have not submitted that nagging immigration question, I wanted to do some FAQ posts just for you. I’ve had alot of family based immigrant visa questions, especially in regards to the fiance visa, so I thought I’d touch on this for you. Here we go!
Ready to put a ring on it and take your lover home. Well here are some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to the fiance visa.
What is the Fiance Visa?
The Fiance Visa is a non-immigrant (temporary) visa granted to the fiance of a U.S. citizen to enable the foreign fiance to travel to the United States. The foreign fiance will have 90 days to get married to the U.S. citizen and then adjust status. The adjustment of status will enable the fiance to get permanent residence after the marriage. But this is not processed as quickly as the visitor’s visa, nor is it as simple and straight forward as the visitor’s visa. Check out the next question.
How can I file for a Fiance Visa?
The fiance visa is called the K-1 visa. The U.S. citizen spouse must first submit an I-129F Form with the USCIS. The U.S. citizen must submit the required filing fees and evidence as well. See USCIS for more information about this form.
Who can file a Fiance Visa?
You will be able to file a fiance visa if:
You and your fiancé are legally free to marry and intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s admission to the United States; and you have met each other in person within the two years immediately before you filed this petition. There are limited exceptions to the in person meeting requirement, which are:
- The requirement to meet your fiancé(e) in person would violate strict and long-established customs of your fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice, and that you and your fiance have met or will meet all requirements.related to the traditional custom or practice;
- The requirement to meet your fiancé(e) in person would result in extreme hardship to you (such as in the case of a war torn country, safety risk, illness etc.); or
- You have filed or are filing Form I-130 on behalf of your spouse and wish to have your spouse enter as a nonimmigrant to await the immediate availability of an immigrant visa and to file for adjustment of status. (Bonus: there is no I-129F visa application fee when filing for a spouse).
Can my U.S. citizen spouse file for my child as well?
Yes. Your U.S. citizen spouse can file an unmarried child under 21 years old.
Do I have to submit an Affidavit of Support?
Yes but an Affidavit of Support that is different from the immigrant visa Affidavit of Support. The form I-864 is submitted for the Immigrant visa while the I-134 is submitted for the fiance visa. The income threshold is also lower for the I-134 at 100% of the poverty line.
Why was my visa denied?
There may be many different reasons an application would be denied. The most common are:
- 221(g) denial due to not providing the required documentation. (May provide a sheet to send additional required info before final decision)
- An inadmissibility of the foreign fiance
- Lack of evidence of a bonafide relationship
- Failure to meet the Affidavit of Support requirements.
- Possible criminal record or two many past petitions for 2 or more fiances were submitted.
After getting the fiance visa, what next?
You’ll come to the United States and must get married within 90 days of entry to remain in compliance with the fiance visa. After the marriage, you can apply for adjustment of status.
Which is better, applying for the fiance visa or to get married abroad?
The fiance visa was designed to be a faster process. However, in practice it has turned out to be an even slower process than the marriage based I-130 process. Unless you are restricted by financial, religious or cultural circumstances, I would recommend just getting married as soon as you can and then apply for the I-130 Petition.
My U.S. citizen fiance has a criminal record, will this affect the fiance visa?
It depends on the type of criminal record. Pursuant to the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA), the Violence Against Women Act, and the Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005, there are certain protections in place to protect fiance beneficiaries from abusive sponsors. A background check will be done on the U.S. citizen and if there are any indications that the citizen is a serial sponsor (sponsored more than 2 fiances in their lifetime) or has been abusive or threatening, the application may be denied. Examples of crimes that may disqualify the citizen from sponsoring the fiance include but are not limited to:
- Domestic violence
- Sexual assault
- Child abuse and neglect
- Dating violence
- Elder abuse
- Crimes relating to a controlled substance or alcohol where the petitioner has been convicted on at least three occasions and where such crimes did not arise from a single act.
- Abusive sexual contact
- Sexual exploitation
- Holding hostage
- Involuntary servitude
- Slave trade
- False imprisonment
- Kidnapping/abduction/unlawful criminal restraint Records must be provided, even if your records were sealed or otherwise cleared or if anyone, including a judge, law enforcement officer, or attorney, told you that you no longer have a record.
Can you describe the Fiance Visa Process?
- U.S. citizen files the I-129F with the USCIS.
- If approved, then sent to the embassy.
- Interview scheduled.
- Gather documentation and do medical examination before the final interview.
- Decision and non-immigrant visa granted (if approved).
- travel to the United States within 4 months.
- Get married within 90 days of arrival into the United States.
- Apply for an adjustment of status as the immediate relative spouse of a U.S. citizen.
- Conditional Greencard will be granted at the end of the Adjustment of Status process. A permanent residence without conditions will be granted if married for more than two years before the adjustment of status is submitted.
- Remember to remove conditions from the green card at the 1 year and 9 month mark after getting the conditional green card.
What is the processing time of the Fiance Visa?
Depends on where it is filed, how long it takes to be processed by the USCIS, and then the embassy. Right now the USCIS is taking 4 to 7 months to process fiance visas. But this is always subject to change. Then tack on an additional 2 to 5 months for the transfer to the foreign embassy and the interview. It also depends on how quickly you respond to requests for documentation from the USCIS and/or the embassy. So at minimum 8 months to 18 months for the entire process of the K-1 fiance visa to be complete. A good resource for processing time is https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/ and the Department of State Visa Bulletin (based on priority dates).
NOTE: As always this is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Consult an attorney for advice regarding your particular circumstances.