This page is also available in: Chinese (Traditional), Russian, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazil)

Understanding the Fiance Visa timeline

If you are an American citizen contemplating marriage with a foreign national, you will need to fully understand the process for obtaining a K1 Fiance Visa, including all the stages that make up the timeline. Working through this process on your own can be a time-consuming, frustrating experience.

To represent you case in the K1 process, shorten preparation time and eliminate delays, especially when dealing with government agencies, we recommend retaining our reputable law firm at the very start of your journey. We specialize in obtaining K1 Fiance Visas and will deliver you through all the required steps, enabling you and your fiance to enjoy this time in your lives with peace of mind.

Our firm will work with you from the preliminary planning stages all the way through to the issuance of the K1 Visa. We will start the process with the preparation of application forms and the gathering of supporting evidence.

This is what you can expect in the way of a timeline for the entire K1 Visa process.

Step One – United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

Your case will be on its way to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services approximately one week after you initiate the process with our office. After acceptance of the case, it takes on average three to four months for USCIS to approve the application. In some instances, the process may take up to five months, depending upon the season the petition is filed and amount of backlog at the particular USCIS service center. Each case has a different level of complaexity and is assigned different examiners. The approvals arrive not in the order the cases were filed.

Step Two – National Visa Center (NVC)

The approved petition is then mailed from the USCIS to the NVC. Once approved you will be notified by mail and the NVC will then forward your case to the appropriate United States Embassy in your fiance’s country of residence (typically, there is only one U.S. Embassy in each country that works with K1 Visas; in some countries there are two or even three). This step in the process takes approximately two weeks.

Step Three – U.S. Embassy Interview

This can be the most complex stage of the K1 Visa process as each embassy has different requirements, depending upon the country. U.S. embassies in most countries require a wait time of six to eight weeks until the interview date; however, there are some countries such as Mexico, Philippines, and Ukraine that allow scheduling an interview as soon as all documents are obtained. Specifics vary by country; for example:

  • Applicants from Mexico are welcome to walk in for an appointment once documentation has been received by the embassy. Applicants from Philippines and Ukraine may schedule an interview date at their convenience. It may be possible with this type of embassy for the interview stage to be as little as a few weeks.
  • The majority of embassies assign an interview date for you only upon receipt of the biographical forms (for example: UK, China). All supporting documentation must be taken directly to the interview. The wait time can be anywhere from four to eight weeks when dealing with this type of embassy handling.
  • The U.S. embassies in some countries allow to select an interview date through their online interface (Russia, Brazil). This is a new method of handling the K1 Visa process by the embassies, which proves to be very convenient for the applicants.

Step Four – K1 Visa is Issued

After the interview takes place, upon approval, the embassy will issue the visa. The passport with the visa and prepared documents in a sealed envelope will be delivered to your fiance via courier service within three to five days. The visa will be valid for the period of six months from the date of issuance and good for one entry to the United States. Upon entry under a K1 Visa your fiancee is required to marry the American Petitioner within 90 days of arrival date.

Conclusion:

In most cases, the entire process can take anywhere from five to six months. In cases with less cooperative embassies (for example: Canada, Ghana), or in countries without U.S. embassy presence (for example: Cuba, Iran), the entire process may take even up to a year. To obtain the current processing times for USCIS and US Embassy in your fiance’s country please feel free to contact our office.

Retaining our experienced firm to help you through every step of the K1 visa process, rather than attempting to struggle through alone (or hiring preparation-only consulting service), can save you months of frustration. Please contact our office with any questions you may have.

Written by: Joel Turney