Filing for a Fiancé, K-1 Visa
In this DIY Guide, applicants can learn more about how to file for a Fiancé, K-1 visa. This visa is issued to foreign fiancés who want to come to the United States in order to marry. The visa is valid for 90 days once the fiancé is approved for entrance at a U.S. port of entry. In general, K visa applicants can also bring their children along with them to the United States as dependents.
First Steps: Filing an I-129F Petition
Unlike other USCIS applications where the U.S. citizen files a petition for an alien abroad using the I-130, there is another form specifically for alien fiancés. This is the I-129F Petition. The U.S. citizen who is intending on marrying their foreign fiancé when they arrive in the U.S. must complete this form and pay the fee accordingly.
The filing fee for the I-129F is $535 USD.
U.S. citizens should be sure to complete Part 2 accurately with respect to their fiancé's beneficiaries—his/her children. The form will ask applicants several questions regarding children beneficiaries who will be eligible for a K-3 visa provided they are not inadmissible to the United States.
How do I submit I-129F?
Applicants must know that they cannot submit an I-129F online. The option does not exist. Instead, paper filing is mandatory. Follow these steps:
1. Applicants can use the USPS to send their application package to the Dallas Lockbox facility.
2. The address is the following:
PO Box 660151
Dallas, TX 75266
3. Please visit the USCIS’ Form Filing Tips page to make sure that they accept your application/petition. Available here: https://www.uscis.gov/forms/filing-guidance/form-filing-tips
4. Make sure to sign your name on the I-129F. Applications with no signature will be rejected.
USCIS Recommended Checklist for your I-129F Petition
Be sure to attach the following documents with your I-129F in a parcel. These supporting documents should go behind the I-129F application. Make sure to staple the petition so it is separate from other documents you are including.
1. Proof of your U.S. Citizenship (scanned passport photo)
2. Proof of original statements of intent from both the U.S. citizen and fiancé that you intend to marry.
3. Proof of legal termination of prior marriages from both parties (if applicable)
4. Proof that the U.S. citizen and foreign fiancé have met in the immediate 2 year period prior to filing I-129F.
5. Attached G-1145 eNotification Application with your phone/email address for confirmation of the received package
Next Steps: What to Expect
Once your U.S. Citizen spouse has submitted the I-129F to the USCIS, and you’ve also submitted the eNotification application with your package, you should receive either a phone call or email from the USCIS office that accepted your application.
A standard wait time for receiving applications by the USCIS is 2-3 weeks. This includes both applications and petitions.
After the USCIS has received the petition, and the U.S. citizen has received confirmation that the case is being adjudicated, the average wait time for an I-129F is 6 to 9 months.
If the USCIS approves the I-129F, it means the agency recognizes there is an intended marriage. USCIS will then notify the petitioner (based in the US) and send the approved petition to the State Department’s NVC.
For the Foreign Fiancé
At this point, given that the couple is regularly in contact, the U.S. citizen will most likely notify their foreign fiancé that the petition has been approved and that the NVC will reach out to them for consular processing.
As part of this next phase of the application, the following steps should be taken to ensure smooth processing of the K-1 Visa:
1. The NVC handles consular processing applications via email, so the latter part of this process is done electronically until the final visa interview.
2. The foreign fiancé should become familiar with the CEAC—Consular Electronic Application Center. This is where the fiancé will submit their DS-160 and pay State Department related fees.
3. Print the confirmation page of the DS-160. You will need it to bring to the consulate interview.
Approximately 2 to 8 weeks after the embassy or consulate has received the visa application (DS-160) and fees, the fiancés will head to the nearest embassy or consulate for their formal visa interview. They should receive a letter in the mail explaining where to go, the date and time, and what to bring with them.
For the Fiancé (Continued)
The following documents need to be brought to the consular interview for the fiancé. These items include:
- The confirmation of your completed DS-160 (printed out)
- Sealed envelope from medical examination done prior to the consular interview
- Your foreign, valid passport
- A photocopy of the USCIS letter than approved the I-129F petition
- A signed and completed copy of the I-134 Affidavit of Support (the consulate may ask the U.S. citizen sponsor beforehand to fill out this application, so their fiancé has it during the consular interview)
- Not every consulate will require W-2 tax information from the U.S. citizen spouse, but be sure if you are attending the consular interview, you know if this is required, and to have them sent by your U.S. citizen spouse
At this point, and granted the interview goes well, the foreign fiancé will have their K-1 visa approved by the end of the interview. Typically, the actual issuance of the physical visa in one's passport will occur (if not on the day of the interview) within a couple of weeks.
Once issued, the foreign fiancé has 60 days to enter/travel to the United States. At this point, the fiancé will have one final interview with a CBP officer at a U.S. port of entry who has final discretion in admitting the fiancé under their K-1 status.