Fiancé(e) Visa

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Overview

The fiancé(e) of a United States citizen who wants to travel to the United States to get married and live with their spouse must have a K-1 visa.

Qualifications

To qualify for a K-1 visa, the following conditions are necessary:

  • One party is a U.S. citizen.
  • Both parties are legally free to marry, and neither party is currently married.
  • Both parties have met each other in person.
  • The marriage will take place within 90 days of the fiancé(e) entering the United States on the fiancé(e) visa.

How to Apply

Step 1: File an I-129F petition.

The first step in applying for a fiancé(e) visa is for the U.S. citizen fiancé(e) (the petitioner) to file a Form I-129F petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)This petition must be filed with USCIS in the United States. It cannot be filed with the U.S. Embassy/Consulate General. Please click here for specific instructions. Click here for information about processing times.

Unmarried children of a K-1 visa beneficiary who are under the age of 21 are eligible to derive status through their parent (the beneficiary). Children’s names must be included in the petition. If the U.S. citizen is the natural father or mother of the child, the child may already have claim to U.S. citizenship and may be eligible for a U.S. passport.  In such cases, please contact the American Citizen Services office at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate nearest to you.

If you plan to return to your permanent place of residence outside the United States after the marriage ceremony in the United States, you may wish to apply for a B-2 visa, or if eligible, travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.  A Fiancé(e) Visa is only necessary if you plan to live full time in the United States.  If the marriage will take place outside the United States and you plan to live full time in the United States, you will need an immigrant visa.

Step 2: Approval Notice from USCIS.

Once the petition is approved by USCIS, the I-797 Notice of Approval will be mailed to the U.S. citizen petitioner or the petitioner’s attorney.  The petition is then sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) in New Hampshire for additional processing before being forwarded to the Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over the beneficiary’s place of foreign residence.

Validity of the approved I-129F petition.

The approved I-129F petition is valid for four months. If the petition expires, a consular officer may revalidate it at the visa interview for another four (4) months (provided that both parties remain legally free to marry). Your revalidation request can only be reviewed at your visa interview, and there is no action required from the applicant or petitioner beforehand.

Step 3: Instructions from the Embassy or Consulate.
Once the NVC has finished processing your case, you will be notified that your case has been sent to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo or Consulate in Naha.  This transfer will take approximately three weeks.  Please refrain from sending inquiries to the Embassy or Consulate during that time, as we will not be able to provide any detailed information about your case before we receive it.

Upon receiving the visa beneficiary’s file from NVC, the Embassy in Tokyo or the Consulate in Naha will email/mail the beneficiary instructions on how to complete the next steps for completing the application.

The beneficiary will not receive these instructions until after the Visa Unit at the Consulate/Embassy receives the visa applicant's file from the NVC.

Step 4:  Submit the DS-160
After receiving instructions from the Embassy in Tokyo or Consulate in Naha, each person applying for a visa, regardless of age, must complete and submit the DS-160 Visa Application online.  Parents may complete the application for any minor children.  You must print out the application confirmation page and bring it with you to your interview.

Step 5:  Create your profile.
Please create a profile.  After you log in, please click “Update Profile” and complete the information.  DO NOT schedule an appointment at this step. You will schedule an appointment later in the process.                                                                

Step 6: Assemble the documents for your visa application
Click here for the document checklist.

You must bring all the required documents on the checklist to your interview, unless the Embassy or Consulate contacts you and requests documents before the interview. Please keep copies of all your application documents for your records.

Step 7: Pay the visa fee and schedule an interview
Once you have obtained all the documents for your case, you may schedule an appointment for your interview.  Log in to the profile created in Step 5, and click “Schedule Appointment.”  To pay your visa fee, read the Bank and Payment Options. Keep your payment receipt number, you will need it to book your visa appointment. 

Step 8: Attend the visa interview
All K visa applicants, regardless of age, are required to visit the Embassy or Consulate in person for a formal visa interview.

Please arrive on time for your interview, and plan to be at the Embassy or Consulate for several hours.

At your interview, the consular officer will tell you if your visa is approved or denied, or if the Embassy/Consulate needs any additional information to finish processing your case. If your visa is approved, your passport and new visa will be returned to you by mail within 7-10 days of your interview. Please be aware that processing may take longer for some cases due to required administrative processing. 

Normally, you will also receive a sealed packet containing your application documents. Do not open the sealed packet, You must present it to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials when you arrive at the U.S.  port-of-entry (often an airport). However, if “IV Docs in CCD” is annotated in your immigrant visa, it means that your visa application is digital,  and you will only receive your passport from from the Embassy/Consulate. In rare circumstances, you will still  receive a sealed packet containing documents along with your passport even if you your visa application is digital.  

If your visa is denied, you will be informed in writing.

THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR QUALIFYING FOR A FIANCE(E) VISA AND SATISFYING YOUR TRAVEL AND MARRIAGE PLANS RESTS EXCLUSIVELY WITH THE VISA APPLICANT. PLEASE DO NOT PURCHASE A TICKET BEFORE OBTAINING A VISA. No advance assurance can be given that you will receive a K-1 or K-2 visa.

Step 9:Travel to the United States
The K-1 visa is generally valid for six months for a single entry to the United States. Possession of a valid visa is no guarantee of admission to the U.S. An immigration officer at a U.S. port of entry determines your final admissibility to the U.S.

Once admitted to the U.S. as a fiancé(e), you have 90 days to marry your fiancé(e) and report this marriage to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  Please note that this is 90 days, NOT three months, and plan accordingly.

Upon USCIS approval, you will be given conditional resident status (CF-1: conditional green card) as an immigrant in the U.S. IF YOU DEPART THE U.S. WITHOUT HAVING GAINED USCIS APPROVAL AS AN IMMIGRANT, YOU MUST QUALIFY FOR AN IMMIGRANT VISA OVERSEAS BEFORE YOU MAY RETURN TO THE U.S. This means you may have to apply for another immigrant visa at an Embassy or Consulate in a process similar to the K visa application process.  If you need to travel outside of the U.S. before completing the processing, you must apply for Advance Parole at USCIS in order to reenter the U.S. and continue processing.

Important Notice: Unmarried children under the age of 21 (K-2) are eligible to apply either with their K-1 parent or later, and follow-to-join the K-1 parent. If following-to-join, a K-2 applicant must apply for and be issued a K-2 visa

More Information

For more information about visas for a spouse or fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen, please click here.

Please also read "Information on the Legal Rights Available to Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence in the United States and Facts about Immigrating on a Marriage-Based Visa Fact Sheet".