A k-1 visa is a single entry visa that permits admission of the fiancé (e) of a U.S. citizen, as a non-immigrant for 90 days to marry that U.S. Citizen and apply for adjustment of status (a green card). The minor unmarried children of the k1 beneficiary who go with or follow to join her are typically granted K2 visa status.
Your K-1 process begins when your U.S. Citizen fiancé(e) files Form I-129F on your behalf with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) district office responsible for where he or she lives or intends to live (if U.S. citizen is abroad).
Notice of Action
Once your fiancé (e) has received a notice of action you should begin assembling the relevant documents to support your application as some documents may take much time to get.
You should assemble the following documents in support of your application as some may take much time to get.
- Passport(s) valid for travel to the United States – for you and any dependent children accompanying or following to join you.
- Birth Certificate(s) – Obtain the original, certified copy of the birth record, or secondary evidence for each family member (yourself and all minor unmarried children) even if the children are not immigrating with you.
- Evidence of the end of earlier marriages – final divorce decree, annulment or death certificate.
- Police Certificates for each applicant aged 16 year and over. Obtain police certificates from the police authority where you live or any place where you have lived for 6 months since you have reached 16 years old.
- Proof of relationship to the petitioner – gather your letters, dated photographs showing you together as a couple, affidavits from people with person knowledge of the relationship, e-mails, telephone bills, documentation of wedding plans and invitations. Airline tickets, visa stamps and receipt for the engagement ring may also be used
You should give accompanying certified English translations of all documents not in English, or in the official language of the country in which application for a visa is made. The translation must include a statement signed by the translator that states that the:
(i) Translation is correct, and
(ii) Translator is competent to translate.
Once the USCIS approves the petition it will then send it to the National Visa Center for forwarding to the proper consular post. Once the consulate receives the petition it will issue a letter to you stating that the consulate is ready to begin processing your k 1 visa application.
The Consulate will send you a set of document often called Packet 3 in order it to process your case. Sometimes the Consulate will not include the above forms. Rather it will send a letter with the applicant’s case number and a visa sheet with step by step instructions on how to go ahead. If this is the case the applicant can download the forms from the consulate website and return them to the Consulate. In Packet 3 should find:
- K1 Visa Checklist Form IV-15
- Form DS-230 Part I (Biographic Data) – You must complete and return this form immediately for the Consulate to process your case. Each person applying for a visa must complete biographic data Form DS-230- Part I, regardless of age. You may photocopy the form you received insufficient copies for each family member.
- Form DS-156 in duplicate (non-immigrant visa application). If your unmarried children under 21 are accompanying you, two copies of Each Child must complete Form DS-156. Please do not sign this form. You must sign it in front of the consular officer on the day of your formal interview.
- Form DS-156K in duplicate (Non-immigrant Fiancé (e) Visa Application). Please do not sign this form. You must sign it in front of the consular officer on the day of your formal interview.
- Form DS-157 in duplicate (Supplemental Non-Immigrant Visa Application) – only required for men aged 16-45
- Information sheet DS-2000 (Lists evidence which you or your fiancé (e) may present to meet the public charge provision of the law). Your fiancé (e) may file Form I-134 with supporting documentation.
- Sometimes the Consulate will send information about scheduling a Medical Examination at this time.
Complete and send back the following forms to the Consulate:
- Form DS-230-I (Part I only) for each person applying for a visa, regardless of age
- Leave unsigned Forms DS-156
- Leave unsigned Forms DS-156K
- Form DS-157 (if applicable)
- Form IV-15 -if required documents are already prepared.
If not already done so, assemble the relevant documents required in support of your application, and mark the documents off on Form IV-15 as you collect them. Do not send these documents to the Consulate.
Sign and date Form IV-15 and forward to the Consulate.
Upon receipt of the above documents, the Consulate will continue any extra processing and tell you about the scheduling of the medical interview and the appointment for the formal visa interview.
Schedule and have the Medical Examination. Arrange for a medical examination with one of the physicians listed on the attached visa instruction. You are responsible for the cost of the examination. A medical examination is also required for each child who will go with you.
Photographs – take Two (2) 2 x 2 Photographs for each applicant according to the specifications on the visa instruction sheet.
Attend scheduled interview with all your unmarried children under 21. Bring supporting documents such as evidence of your relationship to your U.S. citizen fiancé (e), two photographs for each applicant, birth certificates and final divorce decree if any to the k1 visa interview.
If approved, the Consulate may need you to pick up the passport with the visa from the Consulate later.
Sealed Packet – Do Not Open
Consular Officer will give you your passport(s) containing the K-1 visa (K-2) and a sealed packet containing the civil documents you provided, plus other documents prepared by the U.S. Consulate. It is important that you do not open the sealed packet. Only the DHS immigration official should open this packet when you enter the United States.
K1 Visa Validity
Do not finish arrangements for travel to the United States, dispose of properties, or quit your job until the consulate delivers the passport(s) with the k 1/k2 visas to you. A k1 visa is generally valid for six months. You must travel and apply for admission to the United States within that six month window.
After admission on your k1 visa you have 90 days to get married to your U.S. citizen fiancé (e) or leave the United States. The DHS will issue an entry document (Form I-94) to you (the k1 fiancé(e)) valid for 90 days. If you marry within 90 days, you can can apply to adjust your status to that of a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) through the filing of a Form I-485.
Gary Goodin, Immigration Attorney
Copyright © 2011, the Immigration NavigatorTM