K-1 Visas for Fiancé(e) of the U.S. Citizens

Differences from the I-130 petition, what documents are required and how to get a visa,
for what reason they can refuse to issue a K-1 visa and much more.

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The K-1 visa, also known as the Fiancé(e) visa, is a nonimmigrant visa intended for U.S. citizens’ fiancé(e)s.

Fiancé(e) visa allows foreign fiancé(e)s to enter the USA legally to marry their U.S. citizen partners within 90 days. This process applies equally to same-sex couples, who can file a Petition For Alien Fiancé(e) with a similar application procedure.

What is the difference between a visas for fiancé(e) and family-based immigration (I-130 petition)?

The K-1 fiancé visa is designed for foreign nationals planning to marry a U.S. citizen in the United States. In contrast, Form I-130 (family-based petition) is intended for family members seeking reunification, allowing individuals to enter the country as spouses rather than potential spouses.

Important Note: If you are already married to a U.S. citizen, you cannot apply for a Fiancé(e) visa. In such cases, you should apply for a family-based immigrant visa.

How to apply for a fiancé(e) visa?

The process of obtaining a fiancé(e) visa consists of three steps:

  1. Submission of the required documents and filing a Petition for Fiancé(e) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  2. Forwarding the documents to the DOS National Visa Center (NVC).
  3. Attending an interview at the U.S. Embassy or consulate and obtaining a Fiancé(e) visas.

Please note that only U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for a K-1 visa. Lawful Permanent Residents of the United States (green card holders) cannot file a Fiancé(e) petition.

Fiance(e) K-1 visa requirements by USCIS

Fiance visa requirements in the U.S. include to file Form I-129F and following documents:

  • Form I-129F submitted by the U.S. citizen fiancé(e)
  • Biographic data of both the fiancé and fiancée
  • Evidence of the U.S. citizen fiancé(e)’s citizenship
  • Proof of intent to marry within 90 days of arrival in the U.S. as a K-1 nonimmigrant
  • Passport-style photographs
  • Evidence of the termination of any previous marriages, if applicable
  • Proof of meeting in person within the two years prior to filing Form I-129F, including photographs and travel records
  • Evidence of the relationship, such as messages, emails, letters, and financial transactions
  • Payment of the required fees.

Your filed with the USCIS I-129F petition will be forwarded to one of the service centers based on the location of the U.S. citizen petitioner. The USCIS service centers include:

  • EAC – Vermont Service Center
  • WAC – California Service Center
  • SRC – Texas Service Center.

K-1 visa process may take several months.

Subsequently, the approved Form I-129F is sent to the DOS National Visa Center (NVC) for further review, which can range from one week to a few months. The NVC then forwards the approved petition to the U.S. Embassy or consulate, where the foreign fiancé(e) will apply for a K-1 nonimmigrant visa, typically the one closest to their residence.

It’s important to note that the approved petition is valid for four months. During this period, the applicant must attend an interview at the U.S. Embassy or consulate to apply for the Fiancé(e) visa.

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Medical Examination and Vaccination Requirements for the U.S. Fiancé(e) Visas

As part of the preparation for the interview, applicants will need to schedule and complete a medical examination, which is mandatory for every visa applicant, regardless of age. An authorized panel physician must conduct this medical examination. The U.S. Embassy or Consulate will provide instructions for the medical examinations and information on authorized panel physicians.

The medical examination results are valid for six months, after which a new medical exam is required if the Fiancé(e) visa has not been approved and the applicant has not entered the U.S.

K-1 fiancé(e) visa interview

The decision regarding Fiancé(e) visa approval is determined during an interview at the U.S. Embassy or consulate. The consular officer may request additional information to verify the genuineness of the relationship with the U.S. citizen fiancé(e).

After Receiving a K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa

Upon a successful interview and visa approval, the beneficiary must:

  • Enter the U.S. within 6 months 
  • Get married in the U.S. within 90 days. 

Following entry into the U.S. and compliance with all requirements, the beneficiary may apply for permanent residency (green card) through the adjustment of status process.

Reasons for K-1 denials

Obtaining the U.S. Fiancé(e) visas can sometimes be a challenging process. Several factors can lead to denials, such as:

  • Significant age differences between the fiancé and fiancée
  • A prior K-1 visa application by the U.S. citizen petitioner
  • Criminal records
  • Insufficient income of the U.S. citizen petitioner
  • Lack of in-person meetings between the fiancé(e) and fiancée within the last two years
  • Language barriers between the fiancé(e) and fiancée.

Children of the Foreign Fiancé(e)

Eligible children of the foreign fiancé(e) may apply for K-2 visas based on the approved Form I-129F petition filed by the U.S. citizen fiancé(e). Separate visa applications must be submitted for each K-2 visa applicant, and each applicant is required to pay the K-1 fiancé visa application fee.

Consultation with an immigration attorney

If you have questions or encounter challenges while applying for a K-1 visa, we recommend consulting with immigration lawyer Natalia Kolyada Nelson.

Our professional immigration lawyer will review your case, assist in gathering necessary documents, and provide guidance for a successful interview. Book an appointment through our website if you require the services of an immigration lawyer for a Fiancé(e) visa.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Fiancé(e) Visas

K-1 visa process varies from case to case, and delays may occur due to incomplete information or non-compliance with instructions. The Fiancé(e) visa timeline is influenced by the circumstances of each individual case.

In nearly all cases, attending an interview is mandatory for the approval of a K-1 visa.

Yes, same-sex couples are eligible to apply for K-1 visas.

Common reasons for visa denials include missing documents and doubts about the genuineness of the relationship.

Only U.S. citizens can apply for a Fiancé(e) visa.

Working with an immigration lawyer can help prevent common application mistakes that lead to visa denials. A lawyer can assist in collecting the required documents and preparing for the interview.


Natalia Kolyada Nelson

Experienced Immigration Attorney in Boston. Natalia represents clients in all aspects of immigration law, including family-based immigration, employment-based immigration, asylum, and deportation defense.

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