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Popularly known as the fiancé visa, a K-1 visa is one of the several ways a noncitizen can immigrate lawfully into the U.S. The visa is reserved for alien fiancés of U.S. citizens who want to come to the U.S. and get married to their partner. It is a temporary visa, and one would have to apply for adjustment as the spouse of a U.S. citizen upon getting married in the U.S.
Getting a K-1 visa immigration attorney in Texas can be very useful to speed up the process. A trained attorney can help you fill out and file all the documents you need within a reasonable time. Furthermore, their professional experience will enable them to follow due process so that your application gets approved without issues.
That said, it is wise to know the process and basic requirements of the visa application so you can follow along. Also, understanding how it works can help you decide if it is the right visa route for you.
To qualify for a K-1 visa, the U.S. citizen petitioner and the foreign citizen fiancé must meet specific requirements. They include the following:
To prove all of these things, the petitioner would need to submit documents that serve as evidence, such as divorce or death certificates, birth certificates, and certificates of naturalization. They will also need to submit correspondence, proof of financial ability, and any other documents that they or their lawyer deems necessary to serve as proof of meeting these requirements.
Note that same-sex couples can also apply for K-1 visas whether or not the foreign partner’s home country permits same-sex marriage.
Step 1: Before applying for a K-1 visa, the citizen fiancé has to file a Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), known as form I-129F, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (U.S.C.I.S.). Along with this form, the couple has to prove their relationship to the U.S.C.I.S. The petitioner might receive a mail requesting additional evidence before the U.S.C.I.S. decides on the petition.
Step 2: Since the K-1 visa is a temporary visa, the applicant must fill out the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, DS-160. They will be required to print out the form and take it to their visa interview at the embassy or consulate in their country.
Step 3: If you can prove an honest relationship with your fiancé, the U.S.C.I.S. will approve your application and notify you. Otherwise, they will deny it and let you know the reason. In the case of approval, they will forward your application to the National Visa Center (N.V.C.).
Step 4: The N.V.C. will forward the case to the embassy or consulate where the foreign fiancé lives, and they will notify them of the visa interview appointment day and time. The applicant must bring the completed form DS-160 and other documents required by the embassy.
Step 5: The consular officer determines whether the foreign fiancé is eligible for a K-1 visa after the interview. If everything goes well, the visa is approved, and they can travel to the U.S. within six months from the time of the approval. In that case, Form I-129F is returned to the U.S.C.I.S. and will expire. A petitioning spouse is allowed to submit a new Form I-129F.
Step 6: When the foreign fiancé gets to the border, they will be inspected by a Customs and Border Patrol officer who will determine whether or not they can enter the United States. Once they are allowed, they will need to get married to the citizen sponsor within 90 days of arriving. Once married, the foreign fiancé can apply for an adjustment of status to get their green card without leaving the U.S. and become a legal permanent resident.
There are several fees associated with the K-1 visa. Filing form I-129F costs $535, and the consulate processing fee is $265. You may be required to undergo some medical examination and submit the results. The costs of these medical tests are not fixed and depend on the service provider.
The same goes for the fees you must pay your lawyer for their immigration services. The cost of a K-1 visa lawyer can vary depending on the complexity of your case, the location of your lawyer, and some other factors.
If you are considering hiring an immigration lawyer to help with the whole process, you should consider the law offices of Andrew T. Thomas. ATT is an experienced immigration law firm with a proven success rate of filing K-1 visa petitions with the USCIS.
Upon submitting your U.S.C.I.S. petition, you can check the status of your case via their online tool. The average processing time for fiancé visas ranges from six months to a year. Complications can lengthen this process.
Many believe the fiancé visa process is faster than the spouse or marriage visa process. This is because it is a non-immigrant visa, so it would be processed faster than an immigrant visa such as a green card. One can enter the U.S. with this visa and start applying to become a lawful permanent resident while already in the U.S. with their loved one(s).
The immigration authorities will thoroughly scrutinize the authenticity of any relationship that requires a K-1 visa. At the slightest hint of marriage fraud, the visa will be denied. This thoroughness may affect genuine couples who have made mistakes in the application process.
The professional experience of a lawyer whose practice areas include immigration law is perhaps what you need to file a smooth and successful application. Furthermore, a skilled lawyer would be your best bet if you have any run-ins with the law and need representation in the Immigration Court.
For competent legal representation and advice in your Texas immigration case, contact Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law!