K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa Overview with Attorney Daniel Pell

!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 the law, 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.

      Law Office: Attorney Daniel M.Pell

      2550 Kingston Road
      Suite 305 York, PA 17402
      Toll free: (877) 745-8341
      Local: (717) 843-7801
      Fax: (717) 852-8900
      e-mail: info@pellaw.com

      3019 Brighton 1st floor
      Brooklyn, NY 11235
      Toll free: (877) 745-8341
      Local: (717) 843-7801
      Fax: (717) 852-8900
      e-mail: info@pellaw.com