All too often, people say that they had a friend or family member receive a visa interview quickly at the US Embassy or Consulate. This Blog Post will discuss the differences between the visa categories: Immigrant and Non-immigrant, and hopefully, clear up a lot of the common misunderstandings surrounding the K1 Visa process at the US Embassy or Consulate.
The K1 Visa is BETTER described as an “Immigrant Visa” because:
- (1) it is handled by the US Embassy or Consulate Immigrant Visa Division,
- (2) it requires an Immigrant Medical prior to the visa interview,
- (3) it permits immigration and permanent residence in the US after marriage to the Petitioner, and
- (4) it is a visa filing handled by USCIS, NVC, and then DOS.
Although the K-1 Visa uses the DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa application and some Embassies/Consulates may refer to the K-1 Visa as a non-immigrant visa, it 100% is different from other non-immigrant visas.
How does the K1 Visa differ from the B1/B2 Tourist Visa?
A visual can show many more steps in the K-1 Fiance Immigrant Visa versus the Tourist non-immigrant Visa.
Approved I-129F Transfer Process:
After receiving the I-129F Approval from USCIS, there are three (3) things to note:
First, the Filing is being transferred from USCIS to the NVC and then to the DOS Embassy/Consulate. This transfer is NOT quick. There is never a great timeline or estimate, pre-COVID or Post-COVID. The Government does not give a timeline or estimate. The Government gives the generic “few weeks to a few months.” It gets there when it gets there.
Second, USCIS provides a 4-month Validity Period of the I-129F. This period is automatically reviewed and extended AT the US Embassy or Consulate. Processing time and delays outside-of-your-control are not something to be held against you.
Third, the immediate focuses after receiving an I-129F approval notice should be:
- Fiance must read the IMBRA PAMPHLET, link found here with multiple languages available: https://www.fickeymartinezlaw.com/immigration/k-1-fiance-visa/imbra-international-marriage-broker-regulation-action-and-the-k-1-visa-process/
- Make sure the Immigrant is healthy, has vaccines up to date, and maybe should get a medical to make sure there are no STDs or TB concerns. There is an Immigrant Medical right before a K1 immigrant interview.
- Acquire Police Clearances from any country resided in for more than 6 months after the age of 16. The NVC provides more guidance: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/Visa-Reciprocity-and-Civil-Documents-by-Country.html
- File taxes if in a new tax year, since this is reviewed in the I-134 Affidavit of Support.
- Make sure the Foreign Passport has at least 6 months available at the time of interview. If the passport expires in about 2 years, it might be best to update the passport now.
Common Follow-up Questions on this topic:
Can I choose ANY US Embassy or Consulate for the Fiance Visa Interview?
No, you can ONLY attend an Embassy or Consulate with an Immigrant Division. For Example:
- Brazil has 5 locations: Brazilia, Porto Alegre, Recife, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro. However, ONLY Rio de Janeiro has an Immigrant Division.
- Canada has 7 locations: Ottawa, Halifax, Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, and Quebec City. However, ONLY Montreal has an Immigrant Division.
- Philippines has 2 locations: Manila and Cebu. However, ONLY Manila has an Immigrant Division.
Can I request faster processing to get a Fiance Visa Interview quicker?
No, expedite requests are rare and the US Government would consider such a request if:
- It is in the US National Interest
- Life or Death Humanitarian Concerns
The US Government DOES NOT expedite a filing merely because the Petitioner is an Active Duty Service Member. It is NOT in the US Government’s interest to have their employee get married. Marriage can lead to complications and diminish deployability. In terms of an Active Duty Service Member, if the Service Member HAS committed suicide attempts and is being medically discharged for PTSD or other psychological reasons, the bringing of a fiance (a positive influence) into the US quicker could make an argument for “Humanitarian Concerns.”
Can I Track the Fiance Filing at the US Embassy or Consulate?
No, After the filing leaves the NVC, you cannot “check” or “inquire” as to when an interview would occur. The Embassy or Consulate will process the filing in the order received. When the Embassy or Consulate is ready to interview, they WILL schedule the interview or invite you to schedule it yourself.
If you attempt to schedule an interview PRIOR to the Embassy Permitting, Complications may result or your consulate account could be frozen, possibly making further delays when the Embassy or Consulate is actually ready to interview you.
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