2019 K1 Visa Process: How To Get Approved For Fiancé Visa
So, you’ve found love abroad and have thought about the possibility of being together in the United States, what’s the next step? In this post, we’ll learn all about the 2019 K1 visa process and how to get approved for the 90 day fiancé visa quickly.
Long distance relationships can be difficult to maintain so the sooner you can end the distance between the two of you, the better!
Honestly, one of the most difficult aspects of US immigration is the long waiting period after you file your I-129F petition. It can take several months before you hear from USCIS at all.
So, let’s take a look at the 2019 K1 visa process and how you can get your visa as quickly as possible.
Chris met his fiancé while she was in the US on a tourist visa visiting her family. When she had to go back to Ukraine, he decided that he would ask her to be his girlfriend.
18 months later, they were engaged to be married after multiple trips abroad to visit her in Ukraine. He immediately began gathering the paperwork needed to file the I-129F petition for his fiancee.
After 5 months of waiting, their I-129F petition was approved by USCIS. The next steps were to complete the nonimmigrant visa form online using DS-160 and submit financial documents to the National Visa Center.
They are still waiting for their interview to be scheduled.
1. You Must Intend To Get Married
Have either of you proposed yet? If not, go ahead and get engaged!
You must be officially engaged to a US citizen before you can file for the I-129F petition (and K1 visa down the road).
Here’s the good news… no ceremony or engagement ring is required. All that needs to be done is have a talk about getting engaged and then consider yourself engaged! Simple, right?
Note: If you do have an engagement ceremony and send photos to USICS, be sure that they don’t mistake it for a wedding ceremony! This can cause your K1 visa to be denied if USCIS suspects that you are already married.
Getting engaged is just the first step of many many steps you must complete to successfully get approved for the K1 fiancé visa. Missing anything during this process (such as not signing the paperwork or including the wrong filing fee) will likely delay processing, or worse, get your petition rejected by USCIS.
I’ve seen some applicants apply for adjustment of status but this can be risky because you must prove that you didn’t intend to get married and adjust before visiting the US.
2. Petitioner Must Be A US Citizen
The US petitioner must be a US citizen by birth, naturalization or through their US citizen parents.
If the petitioner is a green card holder, they must wait until they can apply for naturalization before applying for the K1 visa.
The 2019 K1 visa process hasn’t changed much from 2018, but it’s important to confirm the new income requirements as these change yearly.
Additionally, if the petitioner naturalized to become a US citizen, USCIS may look into their previous immigration history before approving the I-129F petition.
3. Complete I-129F Petition & Pay Filing Fee
You’re now ready to start filling out the I-129F petition and pay the filing fee.
While completing the forms you may have a few questions, don’t worry, I’ve created a step-by-step tutorial on how to complete the forms.
Before submitting the petition for your fiancé visa, be sure to review all the documents and that you’ve signed all the forms.
Forgetting to sign a form can get your I-129F petition rejected pretty quickly. And although you won’t lose your filing fee if it’s immediately rejected, it will delay processing of your case.
Related Post: K1 Letter of Intent To Marry For I-129F Petition
4. Evidence of Ongoing Relationship
Is your relationship real? Well, you have to prove it to USCIS by including evidence of your relationship. In additional to showing that your relationship is real, you need to show that it is ongoing.
This is the part that gets a lot of people nervous. If this is your concern, you can relax knowing that if you have a genuine relationship for love you should be able to prove it pretty easily.
But, if your case does trigger a red flag, then it may be more difficult to get your I-129F petition approved. At the end of the day, you can definitely overcome of these red flags.
2019 K1 Visa Proces Red Flags:
- Large age gap
- Short courtship
- Different culture/religion
- Multiple marriages/divorces
- Multiple K1 visa petitions
- Never meeting in person
As you can see, overcoming the above red flags can be difficult but not impossible. If your petition does eventually get approved, you’ll need to pass your K1 interview before your visa will be issued.
5. Proof of Meeting In Person In Last 2 Years
Have you met your fiancé yet? I hope so! This is one of the basic requirements for the K1 fiancé visa.
You would be surprised at the number of emails I get that ask “is it okay if I never met my fiancé in person because we love each other and want to apply for the K1 visa!”
To prove that you’ve met in person, try including the following evidence with your I-129F petition:
- Boarding passes
- Flight itineraries
- Taxi or train receipt (Uber will work too!)
- Photos together
Can’t Meet In Person Before Filing The I-129F Petition?
Ideally, you should try your best to meet your fiancé before deciding to get married but if it’s not possible, there is a waiver available.
- Extreme hardship
- If you can’t get on a plane or drive across the border to meet your fiance in person, you may qualify for the extreme hardship exception. It will be up to you to prove that you meet this strict definition per USCIS.
- Social customs
- Finally, if meeting in-person goes against long-standing, strict social customs for the beneficiary, USCIS will consider this when deciding if you’ve met this claim.
Related Post: Multiple K1 Visa Petitions And Risk Of Denial
5. Meet The Income Requirement
For the K1 visa to be approved, the US citizen petitioner must show that they can support the beneficiary and they will not become a public charge.
This means that you will not apply and receive government welfare once you enter the United States as a K1 visa holder. Makes sense, right? USCIS only wants to bring people to the US that are self-sufficient.
2019 K1 Income Requirements
|Household size||I-134 Affidavit||I-864 Affidavit|
|Active Military (100%)||Civilians/Vets (125%)|
Using the above income requirements for 2019, you can see what income you must make for the I-134 affidavit of support.
For example: If your household size is 3 (including your spouse), you will need to make at least $18,310.00 a year in income.
This is taxable income only for those of you who are self-employed. Or Gross income for those of you who are W2 employees.
Related Post: K1 Visa Cost: How Much It Will Cost To Sponsor Fiance
Avoid Certain Criminal Convictions
Being convicted of a crime can make it difficult to apply for the CR1 visa for your spouse. It’s not impossible though as long as you haven’t been charged with specific crimes that make you ineligible of the visa.
Crimes Committed By Petitioner
Crimes committed by the US petitioner that will make them ineligible for to petition a fiance are specifically related to crimes against minor children.
See details in the quote below:
NOTE: The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act may prohibit certain petitioners from successfully filing visa petitions for any family member if the petitioner was convicted of a “specified offense against a minor,” unless USCIS determines that the petitioner poses no risk to the beneficiary. The “minor” must have been under 18, and the convictions specified, broadly defined, involve primarily sexual or related offenses.
Crimes Committed By The Beneficiary
As the beneficiary, you will likely be required to get a copy of your criminal record from all countries you’ve lived in for more than 6 months (after age 16) and this will be used to determine whether you qualify for a K1 visa.
For USCIS to find a beneficiary inadmissible, the conviction must be for a statutory offense which involves moral turpitude.
Related Post: K1 Visa Denied Experiences 2019 – Case Studies
Go To The Medical Exam
The K1 visa medical exam is intended to learn whether you have communicable disease that could spread inside the United States if you were allowed in.
The panel physician approved by USCIS will ask that you bring your vaccination records as well as perform a detailed physical examination. There will also be an X-ray that will be performed to rule out tuberculosis.
Don’t worry if you’ve had TB in the past, as long as you’ve been successfully treated, you should still be eligible for the K1 visa.
Once the medical exam is completed, the panel physician will either send the results directly to the US consulate or embassy or will make it to you to bring to your K1 visa interview.
It’s important not to open the medical packet! When you receive the medical packet it will say “DO NOT OPEN.” If you do open it, it’s no longer valid and you will need to do the medical over.
Pass The K1 Visa Interview
The final step of the 2019 K1 visa process is the interview! You are almost at the finish line! The interview should be straightforward and you don’t have to be nervous about it (even though I know you will be!)
The interview is used to determine if you are being honest about your relationship and intentions. The consular officer will go over your documents and answers you’ve provided to be sure everything checks out.
Lastly, there is a background check performed and a name search. If anything comes up during background screening, it will delay the issuance of your K1 visa by a few weeks.
Podcast Episode: EP10: K1 Visa Interview Questions and Answers
Special Note On Travel Ban Countries
If you are applying from a travel ban country that Trump has outline, be ready for a long wait.
- North Korea
Most of these countries are Muslim countries and you may have a very common name that triggers multiple flags. If you are from a travel ban country, you may still be approved but it will take more time than usual.
K1 Visa Port of Entry Process
The special day you’ve been waiting for is finally here! You’ve finally completed the 2019 K1 visa process. It’s time to pack your bags and head to the United States to begin your new life with your fiancé.
I’ve written about the K1 visa port of entry process before, and it’s probably the easiest part of your immigration journey.
You fly (or drive from Canada or Mexico) to the US and get into the line for visitors. You present your passport and any other documents requested by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
They will review your K1 visa and quickly take a look at the information in their computers. You will be fingerprinted and then told “welcome to the Untied States.”
That’s it! You are officially allowed into the country on a 90 day fiancé visa and will stamp your visa with an I-94 that includes an expiration date.
Need more help with your K1 visa application? Check out the Migrant Academy, a complete online course for the spouse visa and great community of other migrants planning to move to the US.
Ayan is the founder of the Migrant Academy community, the My Path To Citizenship Blog and Podcast.
After successfully navigating the hurdles of US immigration. She now dedicates her time to helping other couples achieve their goals of starting their new life together in the US.