What to do when on K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa in USA


You are here in the United States on a fiancée visa that has been granted to
you by the United States Embassy or Consulate in your home country or the country in which you regularly reside.
You are now ready to start your new life in the United States.

The first step is that you must marry the fiancée named on the fiancée visa in your passport within ninety(90) days of your entry on that fiancée visa into the United States.

Even after you marry, if you look at your fiancée visa, you will see an expiration date on the visa itself. After that date, you are out of status, and must take steps to obtain lawful permanent residence, sometimes referred to as a “green card” or “green card holder”.

Lawful Permanent Residence, to be precise, is a status, not exactly the same as the “green card” which simply reflects the status.
In order to maintain your status, you should immediately take steps to process an application for lawful permanent residence, as the regulations require that you do so.

The first step is fill out and complete an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative and also an I-485, an Application for Adjustment of Status, as well as G-325A biographic forms. In addition, affidavits of support along with supporting tax returns must be submitted as well(these are forms I-864 and I-864A, if needed, or in some cases, multiple I-864’s). These forms along with all required evidence must be sent to the appropriate United States Citizenship and Immigration Services(USCIS), Service Center, with the proper filing fees. After USCIS receives your applications, you will receive receipts and the processing begins. If additional information is required USCIS, will require you to provide that information, in order for your application to proceed. This request(s) is called a Request For Evidence(RFE), and must be properly responded to, or your applications may be rejected or denied.


!Tough or Easy Road ? The fiancée visa process can be a long and difficult path to follow for a U.S. Citizen and his or her U.S. fiancée. Our law firm HELPS our clients to follow that often complex task with advice and guidance on:
Evaluating the requirements of thelaw, and
Gathering the evidence, and
Filing the application with USCIS in a TIMELY fashion.

The law requires that for a U.S.C. citizen to file an application on behalf of a foreign national fiancée, the U.S.C. must be free to marry, must NOT have any convictions for specified sexual offenses, must be able to prove their U.S. status with proof of their birth certificate or the ID page of their U.S. passport, and proof of any and all prior marriages having been terminated by death, annulment, or (more commonly) divorce.

Complications can arise: some foreign nations have so-called “traditional” or “tribal marriages”, and these marriages must be shown to have ended, either by proof that the couple followed the practices and procedures of the foreign national fiancee’s tribe in order to convince USCIS, that a valid termination of the prior marriage occurred, or that (alternatively) that no valid marriage was ever consummated, because the requirements of the “tribe” were not followed. Many times, this will also require citations of the law of the foreign nation, and even foreign legal opinions. In most cases(but not all), however, USCIS(United States Citizenship and Immigration Service of the United States Department of Homeland Security), will want to see a valid decree of divorce issued from a Court of competent jurisdiction in the foreign country. Another MANDATORY REQUIREMENT is that the couple must have met in person within the last two (2) years immediately before the filing of the Application for a fiancée visa with USCIS.

The couple must prove their intention to marry within 90 days of the foreign national fiancée arriving in the U.S. There a number of FORMS which must be filled out, including the application form itself and biographic forms.The completed forms, and all proper filing fees are then filed with a USCIS Service Center having jurisdiction, which is generally speaking determined according to the State of residence of the U.S.C. sponsor.

The Petition and biographic forms, proper fees, and organized evidence(such as emails, Skype logs, photos, airline tickets, and the like) must be properly filed with the correct USCIS Service Center.
Once the Visa Application has been filed with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services(USCIS) of the United States Department of Homeland Security…Or


Once the Application for a fiancée visa has been properly filed, USCIS will issue an official receipt showing that the Application is accepted for processing by the correct Regional Service Center. If the Application is accepted for processing, and is approved which usually takes between 4-5 months (we know, it’s slow!), the approved visa application is forwarded by USCIS, from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to the U.S. Department of State which handles the issuance of all visas.

A visa is the right of a foreign national to travel to a port of entry in the United States, and seek admission to the United States.
A fiancée visa is the right of a foreign national to travel to a port of entry in the United States and apply for admission on a one-time basis to enter into a valid marriage with a US Citizen within ninety (90) days of the foreign national fiancee’s entry into the United States.

The approved visa application/classification is sent to the National Visa Center of the United States Department of State(D.O.S.). The National Visa Center sends out a notice to complete an application online for a non-Immigrant visa. The foreign national fills out this form(and of course, we help with this if you hire us), and files it electronically with US DOS, along with the required filing fees.

The major steps to apply for and obtain a marital visa, whether conditional(CR1) or permanent visa(IR1):

  • The U.S. Citizen(U.S.C.) spouse files an I-130 in the United States with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services(USCIS). This is called a Petition for Alien Relative, with required governmental filing fees, and evidence of a good faith, bona fide, marriage. The parties must prove they are free to marry, which means they must be validly married in the country in which the marriage was contracted. The parties must prove any valid prior marriages were terminated by valid divorce decree. Of course, the U.S.C. Petitioning spouse must prove he or she is a U.S.C. with a valid U.S. passport or U.S. birth certificate. The identity of the foreign national must also be established: his/her birth certificate must be produced as well as the foreign national’s birth certificate.

  • Once the I-130 is approved “Stateside” at a USCIS Service Center(there are 5: California, Nebraska, Texas, Miami and Vermont), it is sent to the National Visa Center(NVC) at Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

  • The National Visa Center(NVC), sends out a notice to pay the processing fees online and to fill out forms. Once the fees are paid and forms filled out, the NVC requires proof the marriage, and proof that the USC Petitioner/Husband or Wife, meets the financial requirements of the law(125% of the poverty guidelines in effect for the year when the application for the marital visa is filed).

  • Once all forms and documents are filed with the NVC, the NVC sends the approved visa package to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad, and schedules the All-Important Visa Interview.

  • The foreign spouse, has his/her medical exam, and obtains police clearance certificates. The foreign spouse pays the interview fee.

  • The foreign spouse goes to the interview, and must convince the Consular Officer of the good faith marriage of the USC Petitioner and the foreign national /citizen spouse who appears before her/him at the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate abroad.

  • If the Consular Officer is convinced that the Foreign National Spouse is admissible to the United States(does not have any disqualifying criminal convictions) nor has engaged in certain legally prohibited acts or professions, nor is an illegal drug trafficker or is otherwise medically disqualified from coming to the United States, the Consular Officer will issue the foreign national spouse either a Conditional Resident Visa-1(CR1) or an IR-1, if the parties have been married more than 2 years at the moment that the visa is granted.

  • In the case of the IR1 visa, where the Spouses have been married for more than 2 years, after the foreign spouse immigrates to the United States, the foreign spouse will receive his/her “green card” in the mail about 2 weeks after entry. The “green card” issued will be good for 10 years.

  • In the case of a CR-1, where the Spouses have been married for less than two(2) years, the foreign spouse will received a green card good for only two(2) years.

  • In this case, 90 days prior to the second (2nd) anniversary of the issuance of the Conditional Resident Card to the foreign spouse, the foreign spouse and sponsoring US citizen spouse, MUST file an I-751 application to remove the conditions of residence. The application must contain the required governmental filing fees, and must prove to USCIS, that the marriage was bona fide when it was entered into between the married couple.

    Eligibility Requirements

    To petition your spouse for a CR1 or IR1 visa, you must:
    - Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident aged 18+
    - Be legally married to your spouse
    - Meet the visa income requirements

    Form Required

    Form I-130. Petition for Alien Relative
    Form G-325A. Biographic Information
    G1145. e-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance (Optional)
    DS-260.Immigrant Visa Electronic Application
    DS-261.online Choice of Address and Agent
    I-864. Affidavit of Support
    Attorney Pell recent cases are for fiancee’s from the following countries:

    Philippines, Ukraine, Colombia, Russia, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Barbados, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Cuba, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri-Lanka, Turkey, Vietnam, United Arab, Emirates, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and countries of European Union.

    After all of the evidence has been received, your case will be transferred to your local District Office, where an interview may be scheduled. At the interview, the interviewing Officer(often called the Adjudicating Officer in Adjustment of Status), will ask you and your spouse questions about your relationship to make certain that your relationship is real, and that all of the other requirements of admission to the United States as a lawful permanent resident have been met, not the least of which, is meeting the income requirements for public charge, to prove that you or your spouse will not become a charge of the United States government, and also that any prior marriages have been validly ended with a divorce decree from a Court of competent jurisdiction.

    As you will understand by now, there is a lot to obtaining a green card/lawful permanent residence. Once the green card is issued to you or your spouse, it will be a Conditional Resident Card, since at the time of granting, you will not have been married for two(2) years.

    Therefore, at the end of the two year period following the grant of the green card, you must apply to have the conditions lifted by filing form I-751 with USCIS, and you and your spouse must both file the application, with proof that your marriage is valid and not a sham from its beginning(inception).

    Once the I-751 has been granted, your or your spouse will have a 10 year green card/lawful permanent residence status. So long as the new lawful permanent resident obeys the laws of the United States, that status may be renewed indefinitely, while the Lawful Permanent Resident maintains a permanent residence here in the United States.

    The next step would be for the Lawful Permanent Resident to file for United States Citizenship.

    In order to apply you must fill out and file form N-400 with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services(USCIS) at the appropriate service center, with the then current governmental filing fees.

    To become a U.S. citizen, you or your lawful permanent resident spouse, must have had the green card for at least 3 years, and you must remain married to the person through whom you obtained your green card for that three year period, through the date of your swearing in as a US citizen.

    The person applying must also have at least 50% of the last 3 years physically present in the United States; must be a person of Good Moral Character, and must pass both the test of English language competence and U.S. history test. If the person applying meets all the requirements of the law, he or she will be interviewed, and if that person passes the literacy and history tests, will be approved to be sworn in. The applying person is sworn in as a US citizen at a public ceremony, and is NOT a US citizen until actually sworn in by a U.S. government official authorized by law.

    All of these applications and the law and regulations that apply to them, are complex, as well as the evidence required to obtain approval.

    Therefore, it is always best to hire a qualified attorney to assist you in obtaining the best results. Visa shops are not licensed. They are only interested in making money and their bottom line. An attorney is required by license and ethics to represent you and do everything in his/her power to obtain the best results for you.

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