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How to Apply for a K-1 Visa

In order to begin the process of petitioning your foreign fiancé to immigrate to the United States, a United Citizen must first file a form I-129F with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Many people choose to hire an experienced immigration attorney before beginning the petition process because a lawyer can help handle all the paperwork and often facilitate the process. Once the K-1 visa petition has been filed, the USCIS service center will send the application to the National Visa Center of the State Department, which ultimately forwards the petition to the Embassy or Consulate of the country that the foreign fiancé is currently living in. Once the Consulate receives the petition, they will notify your fiancé that a petition has been received. The next step is they will schedule the fiancé petitioner for a medical exam with a physician and at this time also schedule an appointment for a visa interview at the Consulate. Our immigration attorneys assist clients throughout New Jersey & New York including Edison, South Brunswick, Elizabeth, Union City, Jersey City, Kearny and Woodbridge. To learn more about how we can help you and your family contact us at (732) 450-8300 for a free consultation.

Process of Applying for a K-1 Visa

At the visa interview, a Consular officer will review the documents that both the U.S. Citizen fiancé petitioner and the foreign fiancé have submitted. The Consular officer’s primary job is determine whether a bona fide relationship actually exists. They will determine this by reviewing evidence of the relationship and asking the foreign fiancé questions about the relationship and engagement. It is recommended that the foreign fiancé brings evidence of their relationship to the interview to be better prepared and expedite the process – this can include photographs together, correspondence between the two, shared finances, and even phone bills showing calls to each other.

If the interview goes well and the consular officer is convinced of a bona fide relationship that meets all the legal requirements, then he will issue the visa. If the consular officer finds that there is not enough supporting evidence, he may request that further evidence be submitted before making a final decision on the visa. However, if the consular officer decides, after weighing all the evidence, that the relationship is not bona fide or that there is a legal impediment to issuing the visa (ie. criminal conviction), then the petition will be returned to USCIS and recommended for revocation and no visa will be issued.

Similar to most immigration petitions, these situations are often time sensitive and applicants are anxious to have the process completed. The total time from filing of the initial petition to the actual issuance of a visa can vary depending on the circumstances, but recently has averaged around eight months. The length of time will depend on a multitude of factors including the processing speed of the USCIS center that receives the visa petition, as well as availability of appointments at the Consulate in the foreign fiancé’s country. Visa petitioners and their fiancés can avoid unnecessary delays by retaining an experienced immigration attorney that can make sure the applications are properly completed and accurately filled out as well as scheduling the necessary physician appointment and consulate interview and making sure everyone is properly prepared. To learn more about how we can assist you in your immigration needs including filing for a K-1 visa, contact our office at (732) 450-8300 for a free consultation.

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