K1 Visa Process Misconceptions
This article serves as an overview of the several most common misconceptions in the fiance visa process.
1. The most common misconception is the following: marrying the fiancee abroad speeds up the immigration process or not require any immigration process at all.
- In the event of a marriage abroad, it is still necessary to apply for a marriage visa (CR1 visa) for your wife/husband. Both the fiancee visa and marriage visa belong to the category of immigrant visas (although a fiance visa officially belongs to non-immigrant visas – the timelines and the requirements are extremely similar to an immigrant visa application). Therefore, you will need to pass the same stages of the immigrant visa process as you would have to for a fiance visa – secure an approval with USCIS, pass the National Visa Center stage and complete the U.S. Embassy processing with an interview. If one compares the time line for the two categories of visa applications, the timeline for a marriage visa process is on average two months longer when compared to a fiance visa process.
- Secondly, the marriage visa application requires a significantly higher level of supporting evidence intended to prove the veracity of your relationship. In the fiancee visa process it is necessary to establish that you have a bona fide relationship as a boyfriend and girlfriend with the intention of marriage and have physically seen each other within the last two years prior to the initial filing. However, the marriage visa process requires supporting documentation establishing you have a genuine marital relationship (not just a valid marriage). The typical supporting documents include, but are not limited to: proof of shared housing, proof of joint bank accounts, and proof of shared health plans. In short, the U.S. immigration officials have to establish that the union is real and you have both entered a marriage with no intention to circumvent the immigration law. In the event that you do not physically reside with your spouse, then gathering the type of evidence required can be difficult. Lack of evidence may result in significant delays in the process.
- With regards to the legal fees and government fees, the marriage visa is not a winner here either. The cost for the whole process would be very similar to a fiance visa process.
- Lastly, in terms of the government adjudication of your case, the marriage visa process will be relatively smooth providing you have maintained a high quality relationship with your girlfriend/fiancee for a substantial amount of time, physically resided with her, married, maintained a valid marital union and only thereafter you both decided to relocate to the United States.
In conclusion, if you do have a fiancee in a foreign country and you have solid intentions to marry and reside on the territory of the United States, then a K1 Visa is the most suggested route to take. It will be shorter, smoother and more appropriate for your particular situation.
2. Initial application involves only one government form.
Every type of immigrant visa application requires filing of the petition with the government, which is comprised of applicable government forms/documents along with supporting evidence which is intended establish certain categories. In the K1 Visa Process it is necessary to establish that you and your fiancee are free to marry; that you have solid intention to marry; that you have physically met within the last two years; and that you have a genuine relationship. The average fiance visa petition comprises of no less than one hundred pages of forms and documentation.There are three separate phases to the process: the initial filing with USCIS, the approval by the National Visa Center and then U.S. Embassy processing. The Embassy stage of the process may be the most difficult, as at that time your fiancee will need to gather a whole set of supporting documentation for the purposes of the interview, such as: police clearance, financial documentation along with proper supporting documents, DS forms, medical examination, evidence of continuing relationship, etc.
3. Entry under a tourist visa is sufficient for the purposes of marriage on the territory of the United States.
Entry under a tourist visa and subsequent immediate marriage may be considered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services as an attempt to commit immigration fraud . Your fiancee may get turned down with her tourist visa right at the port of entry. It may hurt any subsequent applications filed on her behalf. Even if the entry is successful , later in the process you will have the burden of proving a legal method of entry.A tourist visa is a non-immigrant visa and it is issued to foreign nationals solely for the purposes of tourism. The whole purpose of a fiance visa is to establish that the Petitioner and the foreign fiancee meet the qualifying immigration requirements established by the U.S. government as your fiancee is a prospective resident/citizen of the United States. Entry under a fiancee visa and a subsequent marriage will entitle your spouse to apply for a permanent resident status in the United States. If you do marry your fiancee after entry under a tourist visa, then there is a possibility of investigation of your case by the USCIS and even removal proceedings. Immigration officials understand that it is a rare case that someone comes to visit a foreign country for the purposes of tourism and decides to marry after the entry, unless this was something that was planned in advance.
Written by: Joel Turney