visiting US while K1 visa is pending

EP27: Visiting The US While K1 Visa Is Pending

Can you visit your American fiance while the K1 visa is pending? Today’s podcast episode is brought to you by one of our podcast listeners, Brittany! She wanted to know if visiting the US while K1 visa is pending was possible. The answer is “yes but it depends.” This episode will delve deeper into this topic.

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When it comes to petitioning your fiancé visa, the journey is long. Really, really long.
It can take more than a year to get approved for the fiancé visa. This is why so many couples are desperate to visit each other before they get the visa in their hands.
In my own situation, my fiancé and I did visit each other after waiting several months. There was no way in my mind I was going a year without seeing him again! ????
Question from Brittany:
My Fiancé has a visitor visa, does this make any difference in how we can apply for either the CR1 or K1 visa? Are there any benefits to having this visitor visa?
This is a very common scenario. Many couples worry about visiting the US while the fiance visa or spouse visa is pending. They fear being denied entry at the border or airport.
Note: Generally, having a tourist visa (B1/B2) will not negatively affect your K1 visa application. 

Getting A Tourist Visa While K1 Visa Pending

tourist visa stamp

If you haven’t already applied and gotten approved for a tourist visa… good luck! I say this because it will now be more difficult to apply with a pending K1 visa.

Although it will be more difficult to get a visitor visa, it’s not impossible.

Here’s the thing: submitting the I-129F petition basically shows that you have intentions to move to the US permanently.

On the other hand, the visitor visa is designed for someone who intends to simply visit the US. Do you see where the conflict is in this scenario?

So, to be successful in applying for a visitor visa while your K1 visa is pending, you must show proof of ties to your home country.

Evidence To Include To Show Ties To Your Home Country

Here’s a list of evidence you can include with your visitor visa application to show you have strong ties to your home country.

What this does is show the consular officer that you have every intention of returning home after your visit to the US. If they are convinced then your visa would be approved.

However, if they feel you are still at risk of overstaying your visa then they may decide to deny the tourist visa.

  • Apartment lease
  • Mortgage documents
  • Letter from your employer
  • Letter from your school
  • Bank statements
  • Utility bills
  • Legal documents of your business
  • School records for children (if they are visiting with you)

Although you won’t need every single document listed above, the more you do have the better!

Visiting US While I-129F Petition Is Pending

Submitting the I-129F petition is the first step of the K1 visa process. So, if you are set on visiting your fiancé then you must be prepared for the questions Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will ask you.

Before you are allowed to enter the US with a pending K1 visa, you’ll need to prove you will not overstay your visa.

The main reason it’s more difficult to get a tourist visa while your K1 visa is pending is because you are considered high risk of staying. Since your fiancé is in the US, you may not want to go back home.

Questions CBP May Ask You Before You Enter US

When you fly into a US airport as a non-resident, you will likely go to customs/immigration to answer a few questions.

The follow list of questions may be asked. It’s best that you are completely honest when answering them.

  • What is the reason for your visit?
  • What is your fiancé’s name?
  • Where does your fiance live?
  • Will you be staying with them during your trip?
  • When do you plan on leaving the US?

Your goal is to convince CBP that you intend to leave the US before your visitor visa expires. If you fail to do this, they won’t let you into the country.

Visa Waiver Program: Visiting US While K1 Pending

For those of you who don’t need to apply for a visa to enter the US as a tourist, the visa waiver program will cover you.

Basically the visa waiver program allows citizens of certain countries to visit the US without requiring they apply for a visa. Learn more about the visa waiver program from DHS.

visa waiver program map

List of Visa Waiver Program Countries

  • Andorra
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brunei
  • Chile
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • San Marino
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan*
  • United Kingdom**
With a pending K1 visa, you can still visit the US on the visa waiver program. However, this doesn’t guarantee that you will be allowed to enter the US.
Be sure to bring the evidence of your ties to your home country to avoid being turned away at the airport.

Using Visitor Visa At Pre-Clearance Airports

Good new is that you may be able to go through customs and immigration without entering US!
There are a number of airports that participate in the pre-clearance program that allows you to check-in with immigration before flying to the US.
This can save you time and money so take advantage of it.

Countries Where There Is Pre-Clearance Airports

  • Canada
  • Caribbean
  • Ireland
  • United Arab Emirates

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Final Thoughts: Visiting US While K1 Visa Pending

There you have it! Visiting your American fiancé is possible with the right documents. Make sure to bring proof of your ties to your home country.

If you fear that you will be denied entry, you may want to wait until your K1 visa is approved before flying to the US.

Another option for you is to have your US fiancé visit you! As an American, it won’t be too difficult to visit foreign countries without applying for a visa.

In the meantime, if you can’t visit each other, keep strong. Your K1 visa will eventually be approved and you’ll be together in the US soon. Long distance relationships are very hard but if you two can make it through this is will make you stronger than ever.

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