Tips for Submitting a Nonimmigrant K-1 Visa Petitions
A K-1 visa allows the fiancé of a foreign-born citizen to travel to the United States to marry his or her U.S. citizen sponsor. The marriage must take place within 90 days of the fiancé’s arrival. The petitioner must meet a specific definition of a “fiancé” as set forth by the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS). The K-1 immigration visa holder must meet several requirements. The children of a K-1 visa holder are also eligible to receive K-2 visas and accompany their parents. Applying for a nonimmigrant K-1 visa seems easy enough, but making a simple mistake can result in denial of your K-1 visa petition.
Make Sure You Meet the Definition of a Fiancé
Not every person planning to get married to a U.S. citizen meets the definition of a fiancé. To qualify for a K-1 visa, the foreign-born fiancé must request and receive an approved Petition for Alien Fiancé, also known as Form I-129F. The fiancé and the U.S. citizen must have been free to legally marry when they filed the petition. They must remain free to marry until the marriage takes place. The upcoming marriage must be legally possible according to federal and state laws.
The foreign-born applicant and the U.S. citizen must have met in person sometime within the two years before filing the petition. The USCIS will make an exception to this rule, however, when meeting the finance is an extreme hardship. When the foreign citizen’s culture does not permit a man to meet a woman before marriage, the USCIS might make an exception.
File a Petition Using Accurate Information
The first step in obtaining a K-1 immigration visa is to complete a Petition for Alien Fiancé. The U.S. sponsor must file Form I-129F, called a Petition for Alien Fiancé. The U.S. citizen must file the form with the USCIS office that is closest to his or her residence. Take note that the U.S. citizen cannot file the form at a Consulate, U.S. Embassy, or foreign USCIS office. When the USCIS approves the Petition for Alien Fiancé, they send the petition to the National Visa Center. The center will send the petitioner a case number.
Next, the National Visa Center will mail a letter informing your finance to apply for a K-1 visa at the Embassy or Consulate closest to him or her. The foreign-born fiancé will also need to prepare for the interview and apply for K-1 visas for any children who will be accompanying the foreign-born fiancé.
Make sure that the Petition for Alien Fiancé and the K-1 visa application is filled out correctly, using accurate information. U.S. Form I-129F is a 13-page form that the petitioner must complete and sign. When you sign the petition, you are under penalty of perjury should any of the information be false. You must also swear that the copies of any documents you submit with the petition are exact, unaltered photocopies, or original documents. Make sure that you review all of your answers thoroughly for typos or accidental omissions. You can face serious penalties for lying or providing false information on the application.
Gather All Required Documentation for the Visa Interview
The foreign-citizen fiancé, the American citizen, and any eligible children must bring documentation to the K-1 visa interview. It is essential that you bring all the necessary documentation. Failing to do so could result in a serious delay in the visa process. Be sure that you have all of the following documentation:
A completed online nonimmigrant visa application. Complete Form DS-160 and print the confirmation page to bring it with you to the interview
A passport that is valid for travel to the United States. The valid travel date must be at least six months beyond the time you intend to stay in the United States
Any death certificates of previous spouses or divorce certificates
Police certificates from the present foreign country of residence and any other country in which the foreign-born spouse has lived for six months or more from the age of 16
Evidence of financial support
A medical examination
Two photographs that are 2” x 2”
Evidence that the fiancées indeed have a relationship
Payment of the application fees
Not Providing Enough Supporting Documentation Could Result in a Denial
The preparation of supporting documents for your visa application is extremely important. Preparing documents is a key part of the K-1 immigration process. Recently, USCIS has been closely scrutinizing all petitions for immigration based on family ties. The agency has been conducting background checks on the U.S. Petitioner and on Foreign Beneficiaries. USCIS has recently announced that agency officers should deny any petitions when the applicants do not provide sufficient evidence.
Taking the time to organize documents related to your application can help you make sure you have all of the necessary documentation. Spending extra time to check and re-check your application is worth it. The U.S. immigration system is packed with applicants. A delay could negatively harm your application and set your marriage plans back by months, or even over a year.
Hiring a Skilled K-1 Immigration Lawyer
You have found a person you want to spend the rest of your life with and now you are ready to get married and begin your new journey together. Do not make an error in your application and set your plans back. At Ray Law International, PC, our lawyers can help you prepare your K-1 application in a thorough and accurate manner. By hiring us to help you with your application, you will reduce the stress level associated with seeking a K-1 visa. You will be able to spend more time planning for your new life with your future spouse. Contact our international immigration law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.