If an American man wishes a woman who is a non-USA citizen to enter the USA for marriage, the woman needs to obtain K1 Fiancee Visa. Fiancee Visa allows a non-resident to enter the USA and stay for 90 days, which allows the couple to know each other better and take final decision as to marriage. However, the woman must leave the USA if she has not married within 90 days.
Though the visa procedure is somewhat complicated, we claim that it is quite possible to do without an attorney. This article is a brief outline of the process for you to get the general idea; you may need additional information.
In terms of the procedure, American citizen whose Fiancee applies for the Fiancee Visa is her sponsor. Note that USA permanent residents cannot sponsor their Fiancees to enter the USA.
The first thing you should do when you decide to apply for K1 visa is to ensure you meet the following requirements:
Petition preparation and sending
If you qualify for the visa, go to http://www.uscis.gov and download and complete the following forms:
You will need to attach the following documents:
Note that if you have documents in a foreign language, you must provide certified translations. To get the list of certified translators in your area, refer the nearest USA embassy or consulate.
The last part of the package is arbitrary in form but crucial for the success. It must include evidence of your genuine relationship. You should provide the following:
The more evidence you provide the better. Your aim is to present a complete picture of your sincere relationship and to convince the immigration services that you are looking forward to live together as a family.
When the package is ready, sponsor attaches check or money order for Fiancee Visa processing and sends it to USCIS Service Center. The case receives the number for tracking. Consideration of the petition usually takes from 6 to 10 months. If the petition has been approved, the Fiancee will be invited to the interview in her country of residence. She will need to collect documents listed in the interview notification. She will also need to have medical exam in one of the embassy-approved medical institutions.
The interview is usually not long. The consulate officer reviews the requested documents and tries to determine whether your relations are genuine. The Fiancee should be prepared to give precise answers to questions like where and when you first met, what you did during the meeting, etc. If the officer is satisfied with Fiancee's answers and documents, she will be issued the visa that allows one entry to the USA within next six months. When the officer is not satisfied, she can be requested additional documents or issued a denial. Among denial reasons are suspicion in visa fraud, health-related issues, criminal records, and prior violations of the immigration law.
If the Fiancee has unmarried children under 21, they can accompany her on K-2 visa. To receive the visa, they must be included into I-129F petition from the start and have appropriate forms filled and documents collected. The children also need to have medical exam. There is additional requirement set to children: they must have all the vaccinations that American children have. The Fiancee must provide the evidence that her children's father agrees to the children coming to the US.
If the children didn't obtain K-2 visa with their mother, they can apply for it within one year from the moment the visa is obtained by the Fiancee. You will need the certified copy of your marriage certificate. K-2 visa is valid within 6 months from the moment of granting. The American husband can adopt children if they are under 18 at the moment of adopting.
After the Fiancee enters the USA and marriage takes place, she needs to apply for conditional permanent status based on marriage to receive the so-called conditional green card. The conditions of permanent residence based on marriage are removed in 2 years. After the application, the couple is invited to the interview to prove that they are a real family. If the interview is successful, the wife receives permanent green card that means permanent residence. She will be able to apply for USA citizenship in 3 years. To pass the mandatory exam, she will need to have a good command of English language and the knowledge of the history and governmental structure of the United States.
Other types of visas
If you have already married in a country other than USA, you should apply for Spousal Visa. The procedure is almost identical to that for Fiancee Visa; however, the petition approval takes considerably longer time. Therefore, we advice to marry in the USA using faster Fiancee Visa process whenever possible.
What we do not recommend is trying to obtain Visitor or Tourist Visa for the woman to get to the USA for the first meeting or marriage. It is almost impossible for single young women to obtain such a visa. It is slightly less difficult for women over 40, but they need to prove they are going to return home, i.e. have a good job, good money in the bank, family, etc. Finally, if a woman is rejected such a visa, it may create difficulties in obtaining the K-1 visa. If a woman comes to the USA on a tourist visa and marries American citizen, the USA Citizenship and Immigration Services may consider this marriage to be a sham, which may result in permanent residence refusal and even deportation.