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The K-1 visa allows the fiancé of a U.S. citizen to enter the U.S. for the purposes of getting married. The couple must get married within 90 days of the foreign partner’s arrival.
The newly married spouse can then apply for permanent residence (a “green card”) based on marriage. This means that you and your partner can begin living together in the United States while waiting for the green card, which helps avoid lengthy separation times.
The K-1 visa process typically takes 6.5-9 months and occurs in the following three stages:
Keep reading to find out the individual processing that occurs in each stage of the K-1 visa application.
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Average timeline: 8-10 months
The first step for an eligible couple is for the U.S. citizen fiancé to file Form I-129F with USCIS. The primary purpose of this form is to prove the validity of the relationship. For more information about what to include in Form I-129F, see the Boundless K-1 overview guide.
After the form and supporting documents are filed, USCIS will typically send a receipt notice within 30 days. USCIS may also send a Request for Evidence (RFE) if they need more information. After Form I-129F is approved, USCIS will send an approval notice.
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Average timeline: 3 – 4 weeks
After Form I-129F is approved, USCIS notifies the NVC to take over processing the application. Around 30 days after the I-129F fiancé sponsorship form is approved, the sponsored fiancé receives a notice from the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country, including the date and location of their visa interview and a list of required documents.
The sponsored fiancé must also complete the State Department’s online DS-160 form (technically called the “Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application”). This is the actual K-1 visa application, and it’s very important to print the confirmation page once the form has been submitted online.
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Average timeline: 4-6 weeks
The fiancé attends the visa interview at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.
The interviewing officer generally makes their decision at the interview or soon thereafter. Sometimes they require additional evidence, in which case they will ask that it be submitted directly to the U.S. embassy or consulate.
How to Apply for a K-1 Visa
Filling Out Form I-129F
How Much Does a Fiancé Visa Cost?
How to Prepare For the K-1 Interview
Everything You Need to Know About a Marriage Green Card
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