K1 Visa Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ

What Is a K-1 Fiancé Visa?

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The K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa is for fiancés of U.S. Citizens. It is a non-immigrant visa that allows the non-citizen fiancé(e) to enter the U.S. and marry the citizen within 90 days after the moment of arrival. Once the couple marries, the fiancé will need to apply for an adjustment of status to become a permanent resident. After the fiancé receives their permanent resident status, they can live and work in the U.S. legally. Eventually, they can apply for U.S. citizenship. If you are a United States citizen who wants to bring your foreign fiancé to the country, we strongly recommend working with a K1 visa lawyer.

The team at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group is exceptionally skilled with cases involving immigration law. In fact, immigration is one of the areas we are most passionate about. To schedule an appointment with an experienced Phoenix immigration lawyer, please call our office at 602-910-4040 today.

What Are the Requirements for a K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa?

If you are a U.S. citizen petitioning for a K-1 fiancé(e) visa, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You are a U.S. citizen.
  • The marriage must be legally possible according to the state’s laws where you will be getting married.
    • Both you and your fiancé need to be unmarried.
    • Any previous marriages must have ended through divorce, annulment, or death.
  • If your divorce is pending, you cannot file the K-1 fiancé visa application until it is finalized.
  • You have met your fiancé in person within the previous two years.
    • However, there are some exceptions. If you and your fiancé used an international marriage broker and/or did not meet in person, you must explain, in detail, how your relationship began.
  • The marriage must occur within 90 days of your fiancé entering the United States. A fiancé may not obtain an extension of the 90-day original admission.
  • You can meet the minimum income requirement for a K-1 visa.
  • Your fiancé must enter the U.S. within six months of receiving the fiancé visa.

What Documents Do You Need for a K-1 Fiancé Visa?

Some of the documents visa applicants will need include the following. The below list is not exhaustive.

  • Form I-129F
  • DS-160
  • Nonimmigrant Visa Application
  • Valid passport and two passport-style photos
  • The foreign fiancé’s birth certificate
  • Divorce and/or death certificates from any prior marriages for both the foreign citizen fiancé and the sponsoring U.S. citizen
  • Police certificates
  • Recent tax forms of the U.S. citizen
  • Documentation that the fiancé passed a medical examination
  • Proof of sufficient income
  • Form I-134, Affidavit of Support

How Do I Get a Green Card After a K-1 Fiancé Visa?

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To become a legal permanent resident or green card holder, you must apply for Adjustment of Status. To do this, you must meet the following requirements:

  • File as soon as marrying the U.S. Citizen
  • Form 1-130
    • Petition for Alien Relative
    • The main purpose of this form is to prove that a valid marriage exists.
  • Form I-485 or Form DS-260
    • Proof of nationality of the spouse seeking a green card (copy of birth certificate and passport photo page)
    • Proof of lawful entry to the United States
    • Medical examination
    • Proof of sufficient income
      • This may include Form I-864 and evidence such as tax returns and pay stubs
    • Correct, relevant filing fees
  • Green Card Interview
    • The purpose of this is for the officer to see if the marriage is real.
    • Questions can focus on the couple’s relationship history, as well as their daily activities and future plans together.
    • If the interviewing officer is sufficiently convinced that the marriage is not fraudulent, they will approve the spouse for a green card.

It is wise to plan for a minimum of 6 months waiting time between filing and approval. Many United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processing times are lengthy, but an attorney can help you save time by eliminating potential mistakes or delays.

How Much Does a K1 Visa Cost?

The current government filing fees are $800 for the K-1 visa alone or $2025 for both the K-1 visa and the subsequent Adjustment of Status filing. The Adjustment of Status form allows the K-1 visa to be transferred to a spousal visa upon arriving in the United States.

Remember that the fiancé visa process also requires a medical examination. Medical exam costs can vary depending on the provider.

How to Avoid K-1 Fiance Visa Rejection

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Many applications for the K-1 Fiancé get rejected outright simply because the documents contain incorrect, incomplete, or inconsistent information. If there are any missing documents or incorrect paperwork in your application, you will receive a Request for Evidence (“RFE”). Each RFE will delay the approval of your K-1 visa petition and, ultimately, the approval and issuance of your K-1 fiancé visa.

Sometimes, the delay will be 6-12 months or more. Having an attorney review your documents and guide you through the application process will reduce the possibility of rejections and delays. Some of the documents you will need include the following.

  • Form I-129F
    • The U.S. Citizen must file the I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé
    • Make sure you send your application to the correct office. Check here to find out which address to send your application to.
    • The fees for different visas change regularly. Make sure you know the correct amount to send.
  • After USCIS approves the petition, they send it to the National Visa Center (NVC). You will receive a case number from the NVC. The NVC sends your petition to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where your fiancé lives.

After the NVC sends your case to the U.S. Embassy or consulate, they will mail you a letter. You and your fiancé(e) will need the following documents to apply for a K-1 visa and interview preparation.

  • DS-160
    • Nonimmigrant Visa Application. There should be one completed application per K-1 visa applicant.
  • A valid passport
    • It must be valid for at least six months past the duration of stay in the U.S.
      • There may be exceptions that are specific to each country.
  • Two passport-style photos.
    • These must meet the Department of State’s requirements for passport photos.
  • The foreign fiancé’s birth certificate
  • Divorce and/or death certificates from any prior marriages for both the foreign citizen fiancé and the sponsoring U.S. citizen.
  • Police certificates
    • A Police Clearance Certificate (PC) is usually a concise report issued by a police department detailing what criminal record, if any, the fiancé visa applicant has.
    • The police certificate from the country in which the foreign-born fiancé currently resides.
    • The police certificates will also be required from any nation in which the foreign fiancé has lived for more than six months since they were sixteen years old.
  • Recent Tax Forms of the U.S. citizen
  • Documentation that states the fiancé passed a medical examination.
  • Proof of sufficient income
    • This proves the fiancé will not need government benefits to survive.
    • Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, may be requested
  • Proof that your relationship is valid.
  • Relevant fees

Once your fiancé has their visa, they can travel to the United States. They must travel to the U.S. within 6 months of receiving the visa. After they come to the U.S., they must marry their fiance within 90 days. Once married, your fiancé can become a Permanent Resident, also known as a Green Card holder. You must apply for Adjustment of Status to obtain the Green Card. We are highly experienced in helping K-1 Fiancé visa holders obtain Green Cards.

After the foreign fiancé completes their medical exam and your K-1 forms are prepared, the fiancé will attend an interview with an official at the nearest U.S. embassy. During the K-1 visa interview, a consular officer will review the submitted documents.

They will also review evidence that proves a bona fide relationship between the citizen sponsor and the foreign fiancé. The officer will look for signs that someone is simply seeking a K-1 visa for immigration benefits. To do this, they will ask the foreign fiancé questions about your relationship.

Once the consular officer is satisfied with the answers, they will approve the K-1 visa. Once approved, the foreign fiancé should receive the visa within 5 to 10 days.

NOTE: The U.S. citizen petitioner is not required to attend the K-1 visa interview. However, it often helps provide support during the interview.

How Long Does a K1 Visa Take?

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It depends. Depending on how fully and accurately the citizen petitioner can fill out the required forms, USCIS may or may not request additional information. When they need more evidence, they will send an RFE (request for evidence) to the petitioner. The more times they request evidence, the longer the process will take.

Fiancé Visa Processing Times

On average, most K-1 visa applicants can expect a wait time of around 9 months. However, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has had higher estimated processing times in recent years. According to their latest report, the average wait time currently is around 14.5 months.

What Happens When My K1 Visa Is Approved?

Once the K-1 visa is approved, the foreign citizen fiancé has 6 months from the approval of Form I-129F to travel to the United States. Once they arrive in the United States, they have 90 days to marry. If they fail to marry, they will lose their approved K-1 visa status.

After marriage, the couple can apply for a marriage visa. This visa must be sponsored by the same person who sponsored the K-1 visa.

Do I Need to Hire a Fiance Visa Lawyer?

While you are not required to hire an attorney for the K-1 visa process, we strongly recommend doing so. Working with an experienced immigration attorney can help ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. Immigration laws are incredibly complex and often subject to change. For this reason, an immigration lawyer will be invaluable to you during the K-1 visa process.

Can a Lawyer Speed Up the K1 Visa Process?

It is possible that having an attorney can speed up the process by ensuring that all forms are fully and accurately filled out when they are first submitted. Simply having an attorney will not make the process go faster. However, an attorney will help you avoid mistakes that could unnecessarily draw out the process.

Hire a Phoenix Immigration Attorney to Help with Fiancé Visas

If you don’t know where to begin and fear that you might be filing your paperwork incorrectly, it is recommended that you consult with an experienced Phoenix, AZ immigration attorney. If you or your fiancé have criminal records, obtaining the services of an immigration attorney will be especially important. The Ybarra Maldonado Law Group has extensive experience in both criminal and immigration law. To schedule a free consultation about your immigration case, please call our Phoenix law office at 602-910-4040 today.

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