The K-1 fiancee visa is different from other immigration categories. A foreign spouse of an American citizen gets this visa if, after the K-1 visa is approved, they plan to marry their partner in the United States. It allows them to enter and remain in the country while they await their change of status to lawful permanent residence and marriage. Before Windsor v.s the United States, visa applications based on same-sex marriage faced stiff immigration hurdles.
But the Supreme Court negated these rules when it ruled that some sections of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) were inconsistent with the constitution. The decision in Windsor allowed same-sex couples to enter the United States through the K-1 fiancé visa. Here’s all you need to know about the same-sex fiancé visa and what immigration law requires to grant the classification.
What is the K-1 visa process for a same-sex couple?
Like most immigration processes, the fiancé visa process can be strenuous and complicated. You might need an immigration attorney to hold your hand as you navigate these rocky waters.
Immigration attorney services are offered by independent attorneys who charge for their services.
#1. You must have met your partner in-person
Nowadays, meeting your partner online or while on a trip abroad is possible. However, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services requires that you have met your partner in person within the last two years of your K-1 visa application. The USCIS government agency might grant a waiver of this requirement if:
- You have strict cultural or religious customs preventing the meeting or;
- The meeting is to the U.S. citizen’s detriment.
#2. Have sufficient evidence of your relationship
You must be prepared to prove your relationship to USCIS through the visa interview at the consulate. To establish a bona fide relationship, you can use photos of both you and your future spouse, itineraries, screenshots of text messages, and any other additional information that shows you are in a serious relationship.
Additionally, the sponsoring partner must prove that they are a U.S. citizen using documents such as national I.D.s, birth certificates, or Naturalization Certificate of Citizenship.
#3. File form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
To get started, the sponsoring fiance must file Form I-129F with the USCIS. The petition is accompanied by the additional documentation mentioned above and both partners’ passport photos. Your petition must include a money order or check of $535 processing fees paid to the United States Department of Homeland Security.
You can find free blank immigration forms with written instructions on the USCIS website.
What is the Fiance visa processing time?
Your fiance visa petition process will take about five months. After this stage, the Embassy and the National Visa Center processes could take more time. You might have to sit tight for up to a year as you wait for your visa to be processed.
#1. National Visa Center (NVC) processing
After USCIS approves your Form I-129F, your petition is transferred to the NVC. The NVC works with the U.S. consulate from your partner’s country to process your petition.
The consulate will require you to fill out a DS160 where you’ll fill out general details about work, personal and criminal history.
Your same-sex partner will then pay a $385 visa processing fee at a local bank affiliated with the U.S. consul.
#2. Income requirements and other considerations
Your partner will provide police certificates for criminal records, convictions, or arrests. They must also undergo a medical exam.
Above all, the sponsoring partner must provide Form I-134 Affidavit of Support showing that they have the income to sponsor the foreign partner according to federal law.
#3. The K-1 visa interview
In the later stages, your foreign partner will undergo an interview at the U.S. consulate. The consular officer will ask them several questions to verify your relationship. In this interview, your partner will be asked general questions about how you met, how long you’ve been dating, and when you plan to marry.
#4. What happens after my K-1 same-sex marriage visa is approved?
If USCIS approves your petition, your partner can enter the U.S. and get married within 90 days and begin the adjustment of status process for their green card. However, you must get married in a state that allows same-sex marriages. After their arrival and subsequent marriage, your fiance can apply to be a permanent legal resident.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
#Can I Visit my Same Sex Partner as I wait for my K-1 Visa?
You can visit your fiance anytime while waiting for K-1 visa processing. You won’t have trouble visiting your loved one using other forms of temporary visas.
#Which is easier to get, a fiance visa or a spousal visa?
Use the fiance visa if you intend to get to the U.S. faster, but the spousal visa when you want to get a green card quickly.
#How long will my K-1 visa take to process?
Your fiance visa will take about 8-11 months after you file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance. However, the processing periods vary according to the agency that will process your visa.
#What is the K-1 income requirement foU.S.S. citizens?
According to the Poverty Guidelines, you must earn $16,910 annually to support your partner. Should your partner attain permanent residency, you must make at least $21,137.
#Can I speed up my K-1 visa process?
You can expedite your K-1 visa processing by calling the USCIS contact center at 800-375-5283. USCIS considers all expedite requests on merit and decides which will be considered first.
How We Can Help
Need help navigating complex immigration laws and procedures? We can help.
Contact the Herman Legal Group,. We are an award-winning immigration law firm, founded in 1995 and experienced in all areas of immigration attorney services: family, employment, investor, deportation defense, and citizenship.
Schedule a consult with one of the experienced immigration lawyers at Herman Legal Group by calling 1-216-696-617 or by booking online. Consultations can be conducted by zoom, skype, WhatsApp, facetime, or in-office.
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