How long does it take to have the K-1 Fiancé Visa approved?
Naturally the foreign individuals who apply for a Fiancé Visa are impatient, because they can’t wait to be rejoined with their fiancé (or fiancée) in the U.S. However they will not get their K-1 visa in a couple of days – nor in a couple of months, for that matter.
The application process for the K-1 Fiancé Visa is quite long and complex. It involves background checks and interactions with several U.S. authorities (the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the National Visa Center, and the U.S. Department of State, to name a few).
Through these background checks, the U.S. government aims to vet the foreign fiancé(e). Their end goal is to make sure that the foreign fiancé(e) will not be a financial burden for the state, once they get a marriage-based Green Card and start living legally in the U.S.
What is the average timeline for the K-1 visa?
- In general, fiancé visa applicants should plan for somewhere between 8 and 12 months. The length of the application process depends on a variety of factors, so there is no way one can narrow down the time period more than this rough estimate.
- Furthermore, the limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021 resulted in even longer timelines to get the K-1 visa approved. The authorities staff experienced reduced processing power, which resulted in a longer than usual immigrant petition backlog.
The K-1 Visa application process can be broken down into 3 steps.
1. The USCIS phase
For the first step, the fiancé(e) who holds U.S. citizenship must file a Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), on behalf of their foreign counterpart.
The USCIS phase takes between 4 and 6 months. However this period can be extended up to a year in case the U.S. government needs more time to run their background checks on one or both fiancés.
2. The NVC phase
After the Petition has been approved by USCIS, the case will be handed over from USCIS to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will conduct additional reviews and may require more information or supporting evidence.
The USCIS phase usually takes 2 or 3 weeks.
3. The Embassy phase
Once the NVC determines that the K-1 visa application is compliant, they will forward it to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate closest to the home of the foreign fiancé(e). The foreign fiancé(e) will need to fill in a non-immigrant visa application and to schedule a complete medical checkup (through an authorized physician) as well as a face-to-face Embassy interview with a Consular officer.
The Embassy phase can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months. It depends on the available dates for the medical examination and the Embassy interview in the country of the foreign fiancé(e).
Why does it take so long to get a Fiancé visa?
There are several reasons why the K-1 visa takes so long to be approved. However we can safely say that the main reason is the immense backlog of immigration petitions filed with USCIS.
USCIS processing centers deal with all kinds of family-based immigration petitions, not just with fiancé visas. Many of these petitions require a great deal of work to be done before the case is approved.
How can you cut down the waiting time for the K-1 visa?
The best way to make sure your Fiancé Visa application is processed in a short time is to thoroughly prepare all the required documentation and supporting evidence submitted along with the Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) to USCIS.
This way USCIS will have all the information at their disposal and will likely conclude the background checks in a timely manner, without asking for more documents, which would result in much longer processing times.
We can avoid this long extra time by making sure that everything is filed correctly. With K-1 Professionals, your personal immigration consultant will guide you through the requirements and will gather all your evidence in a physical file. You won’t have to deal with a mountain of bureaucratic paperwork, as we will also mail the Petition and the proof file to USCIS as required, from inside the U.S.
Are you interested in finding out more about the Fiancé Visa, if it is the right path for you and how we can help you speed up the time? Click here to schedule a call and one of our U.S. immigration experts will map out the process based on your particular case – with no further purchase obligation. However the initial $ 49 consultation fee will be deducted from our final service fee if you accept our offer and continue to employ our help.
We are eager to learn more about your story!