Illustrative Example Regarding the Fiancee K1 Visa – Vietnam
Tuan and Linh were friends and classmates in Hồ Chí Minh City, Vietnam. Soon after graduation, Tuan immigrated with his parents to the United States and Linh started working for an accounting firm in Vietnam.
Busy working on their careers, a few years went by without any contact between them. One night while checking his Facebook, Tuan got a friend request from an old friend… It was Linh.
Eventually, their relationship grew and Tuan traveled back to Vietnam to spend some quality time with Linh. Everything felt so perfect when they were together and Tuan ended up proposing to Linh on the beach in Nha Trang. Linh felt the same and happily agreed to be bound to him in marriage.
The couple agreed that it would be best if Linh joined Tuan in the US with a Fiancee K1 Visa rather than Tuan moving back to Vietnam. Tuan also convinced Linh that it would be best if they got married in the States because he wanted her to meet his family before they got married.
Soon after arriving from his amazing trip to Vietnam, Tuan came to see me. I congratulated and told him that bringing his fiancee here on a Fiancee K1 Visa could be understood as a three-step process. Careful planning, analysis, and document preparation in all three steps in the Fiancee K1 Visa process is essential.
Step 1: Tuan Must File Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancee with USCIS
The petition must include evidence to establish that:
- Tuan is a US citizen;
- He and Linh have met within the two-year period preceding the filing of the petition;
- They have a bona fide intention to marry; and
- They are legally able and willing to marry within 90 days of Linh’s arrival in the US.
The filing fee for the Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancee is currently $340.
Processing times vary depending on which office your petition is processed. The California Service Center is currently processing Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancee in about five months. Once the petition is approved, it is eventually forwarded to the U.S. Embassy, Hồ Chí Minh City for the Fiancee K1 Visa interview.
Step 2: Linh Must Prepare For and Pass The Fiancee K1 Visa Interview at the US Embassy
Once the petition is approved and eventually forwarded to the U.S. Embassy, Linh must:
- Pay the Fiancee K1 Visa Application Fee which is presently $265;
- Schedule a Fiancee K1 Visa Interview Appointment;
- Prepare all the necessary supporting documents, such as Household Registration Book (Ho Khau), Identification Card, Justice Record Check #2 (Phieu Ly Lich Tu Phap So 2), etc.;
- Obtain a medical examination; and
- Attend and pass the Fiancee K1 Visa Interview.
Usually this step can be completed within 2-3 months or less as long as the applicant is prepared for the interview and eligible.
Step 3: Linh Files the Application to Adjust Status
After Linh enters on her Fiancee K1 Visa and the couple gets married, Linh will file the I-485, Application to Adjust Status.
- The I-485 Application must include evidence to establish that:
- Tuan and Linh entered into a bona fide marriage;
- Linh entered the US lawfully;
- Linh is not a danger to society;
- Linh will not become a public burden; and
- A variety of additional evidence showing Linh is otherwise admissible.
The current filing fees for the I-485 is $1,070.
Around 1-2 months after filing the application with the Chicago Lockbox, Linh will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment (fingerprinting for background check). Presently, in Los Angeles, adjustment interviews are being scheduled between 5-6 months of filing. The main purpose of the interview is for the USCIS officer to determine whether Tuan and Linh are in a bona fide marriage and whether Linh is otherwise admissible as a permanent resident. If the officer is satisfied, Linh will obtain her conditional permanent resident card. Sometimes the interview requirement is waived.
I also explain to Tuan that since their marriage will be less than two years old at the time he petitions her, her permanent residency will be conditional. This means that her permanent residency will expire unless they jointly file a Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence within the 90-day period prior to her residency expiring. In this petition, they will have to prove to USCIS that they are still in a bona fide marriage. Once approved, the conditions will be removed from Linh’s permanent residency.
Disclaimer. The above fictional story is intended only to give you a general idea of the topic. It is NOT intended to be legal advice nor does it cover all the specific detailed requirements and procedures. Everyone’s goals and situations are unique as they apply to the law and they all cannot be covered in a simple writing such as this. Please consult an experienced immigration attorney to determine which method is best for your specific circumstances and goals.