If you’re loved one is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident, and you aim to get to the United States as quickly as possible to get married, then you should consider the fiancé(e) visa.
It is likely the fastest option to realize such an idea. If your goal is to get a green card as soon as possible, then a marriage-based visa will be a better option because the green card is quicker.
Under the Trump administration, processing times for K-1 visas have slowed significantly. For instance, in mid-2020, the average processing time just to finish the first step, to get the approval of USCIS approval of the Form I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), was between three and 22 months.
This time laps mostly depends on which Service Center is handling the petition.
So, why this process takes this long?
When you send in your initial petition, you will first receive a notice of action (NOA). With this document, the USCIS notifies you that it has started the approval process.
Upon receiving such information, you will have to wait for a few months before consular processing begins. Within this step, you have to be cautious and always double-check your application.
Make sure that you have included all the required documentation before this stage because otherwise, this can delay the approval process for several additional months.
Sometimes, even you have done everything that you can to prepare your application package, the USCIS approval process can take more than ten months, so you would probably like to avoid such a situation and to be guilty of the long wait.
After petition approval, it will take a few months for the case to transfer to the National Visa Center (NVC), and then several more months until the U.S. embassy schedules the interview. This process is relatively short, and it is called consular processing. You can expect that the wait will be a total of ten to 24 months.
During the visa interview, the officer will ask you questions about your relationship, including work and family history, as well as your plans for entering the U.S. Also, the officer will try to find out whether your marriage is fraudulent.
You have to be self-confident when answering questions about your relationship. It is essential to answer all of these questions truthfully. If all goes well, you will receive a K-1 visa stamp in your passport. This may happen on the day of your interview or shortly after that, it’s time to enter the United States.
On the USCIS official website, you can find an estimate of the usual processing time by choosing the type of application and the processing area.
For example: as of November 2020, a Form I-129F filed through the Vermont service center has an estimated processing time between 18.5 Months to 24 Months.
This delay is partially caused by COVID-19 PANDEMIC, so you can’t count on that processing time is going to be fixed.
When you arrive in the United States, you have to get married within 90 days. Then, you have to begin adjusting the status process, which can take up to 18 months or sometimes even longer. In mid- 2020, although you’re supposed to be issued a work permit while you wait, the waiting time for it has been taking between three and nine months.
So, even though you arrived in the United States relatively quickly with a fiancé(e) K-1 visa, you must still be aware that it can be a long wait for an actual green card. Furthermore, you will first receive a conditional green card. Before its expiration, which is two years, you will have to file to remove conditions to receive permanent lawful permanent resident status.