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K1 Fiancée Visa to the U.S.

Overview of marriage visas

Looking for a foreign bride, earlier or later you will face the question of bringing her into your country. This article will tell you about visa regulations of United States of America. Most other countries have similar regulations; we would suggest consulting an immigration attorney in your country.

To bring your fiancée to your country you will need some type of visa for her. In the United States, the only entry visa available for the purpose of marriage is a fiancée visa (K1 visa). There is NO OTHER AMERICAN VISA available for marrying in the U.S.

Other types of visas for a Russian fiancée such as tourist, student or business visas are not suitable if your intention is marriage. If you marry your girlfriend visiting you on one of those visas, her legal status in the USA will be questionable, and she may be refused permanent resident status on the basis of visa fraud if the USCIS (former INS) believes her aim of visiting United States was simply for marrying a US Citizen. Having worked in immigration for more than decade we know such cases, as well as cases when women have arrived on student and tourist visas and were turned back by USCIS (former INS) representatives right at the airport. Once a violation of visa regulation is recorded, it will be difficult if not impossible for the person to ever receive a K-1 visa or any other type of visa to the USA.

What are the requirements for a fiancée visa?

1. You must be a U.S. citizen.
2. You have met your fiancée in person within the previous two years.*
3. Both you and your fiancée are legally free to marry.
4. You meet certain minimum income requirements.*
5. Your fiancée does not have a criminal record.
6. Your fiancée has not violated certain U.S. immigration laws.

* There are exceptions available to these requirements.

Can my fiancée or potential fiancée enter the U.S. on a B-1/2 visitor visa to satisfy the personal meeting requirement described above?

If she is from a "third world" country or a country of the former Soviet Union, she will not be able to legally obtain a visitors visa to the U.S. If she is from a country such as England, Canada, Australia, etc., she will be able to enter the U.S. on either a visitor's visa or on visa waiver. However, she must still return to her country to obtain a fiancée visa if your intention is to marry her.

How long does it take to obtain a fiancée visa?

The times vary and are constantly changing depending on the area of the U.S. in which you reside and the country in which your fiancée resides, but generally it should not exceed 3-4 months if the application is handled correctly. The "secrets" to the timing are to ensure that the fiancée visa petition is perfect when it is submitted to the USCIS (former INS) and that you or your attorney monitor the case as it processes through the bureaucratic system. If you have an attorney, he or she must have the knowledge and experience necessary to solve any problems that may pop up with either the USCIS (former INS) or the Embassy. Unfortunately, problems do occur even when the petition is perfect. Keep in mind that the officers at both the USCIS (former INS) and the Embassies are tremendously overworked and sometimes under trained. Like any job, some officers enjoy their work more than do others. If you are able to get through on the general public phone lines, the USCIS (former INS) or US Consulate staff you talk to has only a computer screen in front of them to look at - not your case file - and can only make educated guesses as to what the status is. However, many staff members are unfamiliar with the fiancée visa or spousal visa processes because the K visa represents only a small fraction of immigration filings. A problem at the USCIS (former INS) can delay your petition 3 months or longer and a problem at the Embassy can delay the application 6-12 months. If such a delay occurs you want to have someone representing you who knows what to do and how to do it in order to keep the delay to a minimum.

Can a fiancée visa be refused?

Yes, though if you and your fiancée are genuine and meet the requirements (see above), this should not happen. Of the thousands of fiancée visa petitions filed with the USCIS (former INS) every year, only approximately 60% result in a fiancée visa ever being issued by the Embassies. Why the figure is so low? Of the 40% that do not make it, most are not denied but are terminated, by either the fiancée or U.S. fiancé, because there were problems with either the USCIS (former INS) or the Embassy that created long delays in the processing. So the timing is very essential in the fiancée visa process.

What is the best way to approach the fiancée visa process?

There are several ways you can approach the fiancée visa process:

1. You can attempt to handle the paperwork yourself.

You and your fiancée fill out all documents yourselves, send them to USCIS (former INS), and wait for the results. If you take this approach you may find our Fiancée Visa Kit to be very useful.

2. You can use a so called "fiancée visa service" to assist you.

In this way you hire somebody to fill out the documents for you and your fiancée, send them to USCIS (former INS), and wait for the results. This is probably the least desirable method as the "services", although they may lead you to believe they are attorneys, are in fact not US Immigration attorneys. When a problem or delay occurs in the normal course of processing, they cannot represent you or your fiancée before the Immigration and Naturalization Service or with the appropriate U.S. Embassy. When they cannot provide immigration help, or are unwilling to do so, you have no one to complain to because they are unlicensed and unregulated. Especially, do not hire an agency overseas. Fiancée visas are processed according to U.S. law, not the laws of the country where your fiancée resides. "Foreign agents" outside the U.S. are nearly always a scam. Always require a license when hiring an immigration service.

3. You can hire a U.S. immigration law firm that specializes in fiancée visas.

Although this is the more expensive of the three approaches, if you want your fiancée with you in the U.S. with speed and certainty and with the least amount of hassles, delays, investigations or denials, this is certainly the way to go. In your search for a U.S. immigration law firm to handle your matter, it is important to find someone who has the knowledge and skill to work your case through the system in a timely manner to the successful issuance of the visa, and has the necessary experience and established connections.

Order your fiancée visa package


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