How to Obtain a U.S. Fiancée Visa
The K-1 Visa, also known as a “Fiancée Visa”, is the most common Visa applied for by American men that want to bring their lady to join them in the United States. This classification of Visa will allow your lady to enter the United States for a period up to 90 days. She must either marry you or return home within the 90 day. After you marry, your new wife must apply for a change of status which will provide her with legal residence.
The process of obtaining a Fiancée Visa is not technically difficult. If you are capable of gathering the needed information, filling out the required forms, paying the required fee ($110) and mailing your package of paperwork to the proper address you can successfully submit your own request for the Visa for your lady. The process is no more difficult, and about the same amount of displeasure, as filing your Federal Tax return or filling out a home loan application.
If the paperwork process seems overwhelming to you then there are numerous businesses that will be happy to fill out the paperwork for you and submit it to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)*. You may consider it to be an advantage to use a third party if you have a complicated situation or prefer to delegate the dirty work to someone else. These services range from professional immigration attorneys to non-attorney Fiancée Visa “experts”. Fees will vary depending on the professional level of the provider but they will range from $500 to $1000+ for a basic application. Regardless of the fee you pay you will still have to gather and submit the needed information and documentation to a third party processor who will fill out the forms and mail them to the USCIS.
If you do choose to use a Fiancée Visa service you should expect to receive accuracy, peace of mind and convenience for your processing fee. There is no way to obtain any processing priority regardless of the amount of money you pay to a third party processor. Although there won’t be a processing time advantage when using a Fiancée Visa service you will more than likely avoid potential delays caused by filing incomplete or inaccurate documents. If you don’t trust your own abilities to follow directions clearly then paying the fee for someone else to fill in the blanks may be a good investment for you.
If you want to save a considerable amount of money then you can fill in the paperwork yourself. Forms can be obtained by mail or download from the USCIS website. Filling out the array of forms is not much more different than filling out paperwork for a home mortgage loan. The key for success and avoiding delays is to submit all required forms and supporting documents according to the directions that are clearly included with each required form. Be certain to read the instructions carefully and don’t try to take any shortcuts. If you omit one form, document or leave a field blank you will delay your application by 30 to 60 days as the USCIS waits for you to correct the problem. Such delays can be emotionally agonizing when you are eager to be together with your lady. Although the Fiancée Visa processing duration can be frustrating and a challenge to anyone’s patience it is designed to protect you and all the citizens of the United States from the hazards of immigration fraud.
The following is a list of forms and instructions that will be necessary. Read everything very carefully and follow the various links provided by the USCIS and you will have all the information you will need:
· How To Bring a Fiancée to the United States
· General Information on Immigration Forms
· Instructions and forms for I-129F (aka: Fiancée Visa or K-1 Visa)
· Instructions and forms for I-134 (aka: Affidavit of Support)
· Instructions and forms for G-325A (aka: Biographic Information)
· Photo Requirements: Form M378
You Fiancée Visa application will require certain things from your lady. These include:
· Properly formatted pictures taken within 30 days of your Visa petition
· Her biographical data and signature on USCIS Form G-325A
· Original and translated statements of her intent to marry you within 90 days of arrival to the U.S.
· Photos of both of you together taken within two years of your Visa petition
· Original copies and translated proof that any previous marriage was legally terminated
· Original copies and translated proof of her citizenship (birth certificate)
It would be prudent for you to obtain these things while you are visiting your lady. You can save money and precious time by avoiding the need to get these items from her after you have returned home.
You can save time if bring two or three G-325A forms with you when you go to visit her so she can sign them. You can fill in the data for her if she is not able to read and write clearly on the form. This can be done while you are together or after you leave. Follow the instructions on how to compose the proper picture. This picture will be attached to your USCIS file and must be in the designated format. Be aware that the format is not the same as typically used for a Passport. You can take her picture yourself or have it done in a local studio. If you take it yourself be sure she is against a white background and facing the proper direction. If you take a series of pictures at many different distances (5 to 10 feet away) one will hopefully be the correct size when printed on 3x5 or 4x6 size stock. You can take the negatives to a lab that has the ability to customize the printed size of the photo if needed.
After you file your original Visa petition with the appropriate USCIS Service Center it will be reviewed and forward to the appropriate U.S. Consulate. If your lady is a citizen of Russia her visa will be processed by the U.S. Consulate in Moscow, Russia. If your lady is a citizen of Ukraine her visa will be processed by the U.S. Consulate in Kiev, Ukraine. If your lady is a citizen of Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania or Poland her visa will be processed by the U.S. Consulate in Warsaw, Poland.
Soon after receiving your visa application, the Consulate will contact your lady by postal mail. They will send her instructions in her native language explaining the additional documents that are required from her and a date for her interview with the Consulate. Some of the required documents will include police reports from all the cities she has resided in since the age of 16, originals of the legal documents you provided copies of (i.e. Birth Certificates, Divorce papers), photos and a valid International Passport. Be aware that her domestic passport, which serves as a form of domestic ID, is not appropriate for international travel. If she does not have an International Passport it would be prudent to obtain one as soon as possible so she has it in time for her appointment with the Consulate. Prior to her interview she will also be required to obtain a medical examination from a sanctioned physician. The process of obtaining the medical exam and appointment with the Consulate may take 2 to 3 days so if she is not a resident of Moscow, Kiev or Warsaw she will need to make travel plans accordingly. It is most likely that she will need financial assistance for her travel to Moscow, Kiev or Warsaw as well as the fees to pay for the medical exam ($100-150) and visa ($100).
Complete and up to date details on the procedures and requirements can be viewed on the web of each Embassy’s Consulate offices:
· Moscow Consulate
· Kiev Embassy
· Warsaw Consulate
Once your lady receives her Fiancée Visa, she has six months to enter the U.S. After her arrival in the U.S., you have 90 days to marry her or you must send her back to her home country. There is no legal way to extend the 90 day limit. While she is in the U.S. you are completely responsible for her financially. If for any reason you do not marry her and she departs the U.S. within the 90 days, she will not be restricted from coming to the U.S. in the future on another K-1 Visa and you will not be restricted from bringing her or another foreign fiancée to the U.S. on a K-1 visa.
* The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was briefly known as the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) until 10/2003. Prior to being named the BCIS this U.S. government agency was long known as the Immigration and Nationalization Service (INS). Basically any reference to the USCIS, BCIS and INS are speaking of the same U.S. Government agency however anything you may read with reference to the BCIS or INS could be outdated or inaccurate information.
Document Submission Advice
The following advice, provided by a former USCIS worker, will help you to package your Visa application for smooth and efficient processing.
• Call your USCIS office, and ask them in what order they want the forms stacked. If it arrives in the desired order, then nobody will have to re-arrange it, and it is less likely that anything will get lost.
• Put a table of contents on top. This helps remind YOU of what you intend to include, and in what order. This also helps the BCIS person find what they’re looking for quickly.
• Use a 2-hole punch on the top of all of your paperwork, and then put everything together with an appropriate fastener.
• The more organized your application is, the better things will go for your submission. Preventing errors and omissions will avoid unnecessary delays.
• Send one or two extra in case one gets lost.
• Make sure to put the appropriate name of the person on the back of each photos. If the person has an A-number then include that on the back too.
• Use a paper photo bags (like 2” x 4”) or small “Zip-Lock” plastic bag to store your extra pictures. Put the photos in the photo bag, and then staple it to a separate page with the paperwork, with the person(s) name(s). Below the name, put A-______________ below, to prompt the BCIS clerk to fill in the A-number in case the photos get separated from your paperwork.