How to Apply for a K-1 Visa

In this page, one of our experienced DC K visa lawyers explains the process of applying for this type of legal entry to the U.S. Below is a general overview of the process, but our experienced immigration attorneys can explain in more detail. Call us today.

How Does Someone Apply For a K-1 visa?

K-1 Visa Forms

The first thing you do is to file an I-129. It’s a form that’s filed with USCIS within the United States. The petitioner – the U.S. citizen – is the person who signs all the forms. They will file the petition domestically and pay the fees and submit all the evidence of the bona fide relationship, with which USCIS will make a decision on the case.

National Visa Center

At that point, if you get an approval, USCIS will send the case to the National Visa Center. The National Visa Center will then request that you re-submit many of the same documents, as well as travel and identification documents for the foreign fiancée. The National Visa Center will then compile a file here in the United States, and when it is considered complete they will send that file to the consulate or embassy abroad where your interview is going to take place.

K-1 Visa Interview

Finally, once the foreign consulate has the file from the National Visa Center, the applicant in the foreign country will attend the interview. During this interview the consular official will ask you a number of questions about what you said in your application, and will also make an independent determination about whether or not you have any other grounds of inadmissibility that would prohibit you from getting a visa. This could having a criminal record, having been in the United States before and violated an immigration law, or a number of other potential grounds.

With the K-1 visas, the government is really focused on the relationship. Like any other visa interview, they’re going to ask about the applicant’s criminal record and see if they have other grounds of inadmissibility, but once they get through that they’re going to focus a lot on the relationship. They’ll read through the statements that you submitted about how you’ve met and they’ll really get into detail to try to make sure that everything you said in the application make sense and is true and to kind of just double check everything that you stated.

As long as none of those grounds of inadmissibility apply to you and they believe you have a valid relationship with your partner, then you will be allowed to enter the United States. And as soon as you come in, you have ninety days to get married and then go forward with the rest of the immigration process.

Why Would a K-1 Visa Application Not Be Accepted?

The most common reason that a K-1 visa wouldn’t be accepted is an applicant’s inability to prove a bona fide relationship. You really have to have documentary evidence showing that the couple has a valid relationship that exists for reasons apart from just getting someone immigration status.

And, for fiancées who haven’t resided together, which is common for people who perhaps met over the internet or on a vacation abroad, proving a valid relationship can be difficult. You might not know each other’s families. These kinds of situations can present challenges to people when they’re trying to prove the US government that the relationship is real, due to the difficulty in gathering evidence.

K-1 Visa Background Checks

For K-1 visas, the background check is, for the most part, done at the consular level. By that I mean it’s in the foreign country and they’ll check whether you have a criminal record, and look into other things in your background such as whether you have, for instance, drug problems, health issues that could present a danger to the community in the U.S., etc.

There’s a long list of factors that can render a person inadmissible to the US. I have other information about that elsewhere on my site, but basically these grounds exist because the U.S. government doesn’t  want to allow people in the United States who they believe will be some sort of a risk to the community or who are likely to violate immigration laws once the enter.

K-1 Visa Documentation

The documentation basically relates to the bona fide relationship. You also have to show, identification of the US citizen applicant, and prove that they are indeed a US citizen. You have to prove how you met basically and also that you have spent time together – physical time – not on the phone or chatting online – together at some point during the past 2 years.