When a couple decide to get married and one partner is a US citizen while another partner is a foreign national, the couple can get married in the US and can secure a green card for the non-US partner by filing for a Fiancée Visa or K-1 visa. Many couples in this situation wish to be married quite quickly, but the processing times for a Fiancée Visa can vary widely.
In some cases, a K1 visa can be secured in just a few months. In other cases, couples have waited for a year or two to secure a K-1 visa. In many cases, the process takes between six months and a year, although this is only a rough estimate. It is important to keep in mind that the non-US partner cannot live or work in the US until the K 1 Visa Fiancée Visa is in hand. In fact, the couple cannot get married in the US until the K1 visa has been secured.
The amount of time it takes to get a K-1 visa depends on various factors. If any background or security checks reveal problems, this can delay the application. As well, if the information submitted on the visa application is incorrect or incomplete, this will inevitably delay the processing times. Some consulates and embassies have longer wait times than others for K1 visa interviews. If the consulate where you need to apply has short times, this can be helpful in securing a K 1 Visa Fiancée Visa in a timely manner.
In order to secure a K1 Visa as quickly as possible, gather up your documentation and submit USCIS form I-129F as soon as you decide to get married. Check and double-check the application form for errors and omissions, as these can delay in the process. If there is anything in either partner’s background that could make obtaining a K-1 Visa difficult, consult with an immigration attorney before submitting the application, to get advice about how to reduce any delays. Within two to three weeks after filing, the US applicant will generally get a first Notice of Action (NOA), indicating that the K-1 application has been opened. Some time after this, the applicant will get a second notice, indicating that the K 1 Visa Fiancée Visa application has been approved.
In general, two weeks after this, the Case is forwarded to the National Visa Center. About a week to four weeks after that, the case is forwarded to the U.S. Embassy. A week after this, in some cases, the embassy will processes the request and send a letter to the foreign fiancé(e). The foreign fiancé(e) will need to complete the forms and checklist and return this to the embassy. Then, he or she will need to attend a medical appointment before the K1 visa interview. The foreign fiancé(e) will then be given an interview date, which may be a month or more in advance. After the interview, the foreign fiancé(e) may be granted a visa the same day or within a week, depending on the embassy.