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K1 Visa

Every year, 2 million happy couples get married in the United States. But this joy isn’t reserved for US-citizen couples. Nigerians with a US citizen fiancé are able to get a K-1 visa to have their wedding in the United States. There is so much to plan for your special day, and you don’t want issues with your visa to get in the way of your marriage.

If you need help to understand and get a K1 visa, you can read this article and enlist the help of the Immigration Advice Service. Call us at +23413438882 for our Lagos office, or contact us on +44 (0) 3316300929

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    Want to Come to the US to Marry Your American Fiancé?

    We have helped many Nigerians with their K1 visas. If you are looking to come to the US on this visa and need some guidance on your application, get in touch with us. Allow us to handle the steps of your application and provide you with comprehensive support.

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    Overview of the K1 Visa

    The K1 visa is a vital piece of documentation if you are the foreign fiancé of a US citizen and you want to marry in the United States. It gives you the right to remain in the United States for up to 90 days, and you must get married within this time. However, it is not the end of the road after you have got married. You can then apply for an adjustment of status to permanent residency (LPR), which will allow you to remain in the USA with your new spouse indefinitely.

    Requirements for a K1 Visa

    There are a range of requirements for a K1 visa that you must fulfill to be eligible. They include the following:

    • Your petitioner must be a US citizen.
    • You must have a genuine relationship.
    • You must not be currently married and have the legal capacity to marry.
    • You met in person within the past two years. You may get an exception if extreme hardship or cultural factors have prevented a meeting.
    • You will get married within 90 days.
    • Background medical and criminal background checks, including a clear tuberculosis (TB) test.
    • The US citizen fiancé meets the minimum income threshold of $22,887.

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      Application Process for a K1 Fiancé Visa

      Overview

      There are three key stages to completing your application for a K1 Fiancé visa:

      • Filing your petition for alien fiancé sponsorship.
      • Completing your visa application.
      • Attend a visa interview.

      These processes are explained in the section below.

      Filing Your Petition for Alien Fiancé Sponsorship

      The first stage of applying for a K1 Fiancé visa is to confirm sponsorship from the citizen fiancé for the foreign fiancé. This requires the citizen fiancé to complete and file Form I-129F.

      The Form I-129F will ask about the following information from the sponsor:

      • Their address and address history.
      • Their employment.
      • Citizenship information.
      • Information about the foreign fiancé being sponsored.
      • The address where you will live together.
      • The sponsor’s criminal information.
      • Their biographic information.
      • Their contact information and mailing address.

      Alongside this form, you will need to show evidence that the sponsor is a US citizen and that the sponsor is not married to anyone else.

      The application to sponsor someone for a K1 Fiancé visa must be submitted in the USA by the citizen fiancé. Go onto the USCIS website to find out where their nearest office to you is.

      You can also learn about the progress of your application by visiting the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. Here, you can track your petition and get an idea of when you will find out if you have been successful.

      Filing Your Visa Application

      After a successful Petition for Alien Fiancé, the National Visa Center (NVC) will send you a letter confirming it has sent your case to the closest US consulate or embassy. The letter will list the actions that you need to take to apply for a K1 visa. The primary step will be to bring together all the required documentation. The standard documents you can expect to have to submit include the following:

      • Completed Form DS-160, the online nonimmigrant visa application.
      • A valid passport.
      • Birth certificates.
      • Divorce and death certificates to prove that any previous marriages ended.
      • Police certificates for all countries you have lived in for longer than six months.
      • Medical examination results.
      • Evidence that the citizen fiancé can financially support the foreign fiancé. You may need to complete Form I-134 (Affidavit of Support) to prove this.
      • Two passport-style photographs.
      • Evidence of a long-lasting relationship.

      Attend a K1 Fiancé Visa Interview

      Once your application has been submitted, you may be called in to attend an interview. You will be notified of the time you need to go to the US Consulate in Lagos. If you are more than 30 minutes late, your appointment will be canceled, so ensure you arrive early.

      You will be able to reschedule your appointment online if the time given doesn’t work for you. However, make sure that you do this well in advance, as you need to complete your appointment entirely to ensure your case is open.

      Ensure you bring your passport, a copy, and the original of every document you need for your application. It is your responsibility to make sure that any errors in the documentation are corrected before you attend your interview.

      Your appointment should last about 1.5 hours, and you will be asked questions to verify and confirm the information you gave during the application.

      Fees for a K1 Fiancé Visa

      There is no singular fee for the K1 Fiancé visa. Instead, you will need to pay for a range of different services. These include the following:

      • Filing Form I-129F ($535).
      • Nonimmigrant visa application processing fee through the Form DS-160 ($315)
      • Medical examination for yourself and every dependent. The exact cost of these examinations will vary depending on where you have it done.
      • Filing Form I-485 to register permanent residency ($1140 for adults and $750 for dependents under 14 years old.)

      Other costs can include photocopying and translation costs for documents and travel costs to visit the US Consulate in Lagos. Please also remember that many of these fees will need to be paid by each dependent coming with you on your K1 Fiancé visa.

      You can see that the application fees will grow to a large amount when you apply for a K1 Fiancé visa, which will not be refunded if your application is unsuccessful. If you are unsure about any stages of the application, you should enlist the help of an immigration attorney. Our team at IAS are experts at navigating the US immigration system and provide a bespoke service to provide the highest possible chances of success. Please contact our Lagos office at +23413438882 or +44 (0) 3316300929 to find out how we can help.

      What Happens After a Nigerian's K1 Fiancé Visa Application is Submitted?

      A lot of the time, you might be informed about the result of your application at the interview. If not, you may have to wait longer to receive an answer.

      Once your application has been processed, your passport will be returned to you by the US Consulate’s courier service and confirmation of your application’s success. You can expect this to take 7-10 working days.

      Alongside your passport, there will also be a white envelope. You must not open this as it is your visa package. This must be unopened when you present it to US immigration officials to guarantee that you are allowed to enter the country.

      In some cases, you will not receive a visa package. Instead, you will receive a visa with the phrase “IV Docs in CCD” on it, which confirms that you already scanned supporting documents during the visa process.

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        Entry into the United States for Nigerians on a K1 Fiancé(e) Visa

        With your visa documents in hand, you are free to come to the United States to complete your marriage. The validity period of your visa is based on the results of your medical examination and has a limit of six months. You must enter the United States within this time period, and then you will have 90 days to get married.

        When you arrive at your US port of entry, show your sealed visa package or your visa with the phrase “IV Docs in CCD” alongside your passport. Bear in mind that a visa alone is not enough to guarantee that you will be allowed to enter the United States. This is still up to the discretion of US border agents.

        Adjusting Your Status Once You Are Married

        Overview

        Once your special day has happened, you will be eligible for a Green Card in the USA, which will allow you to remain in the United States permanently. You must go through another application procedure to secure your Green Card.

        This application requires you to complete two forms as well as provide documentation to confirm the marriage and the status of the citizen fiancé:

        • Form I-130.
        • Form I-485.

        These forms can be submitted at the same time, and unlike applying as the spouse of a Green Card holder, you will not have to wait for a visa number to become available.

        Permanent Residence on a Conditional Basis

        If you have entered the USA on a K1 Fiancé(e) Visa, you will have been married for far less than two years when you apply for your Green Card. The main drawback of this pathway to a Green Card is that your permanent resident status will be on a conditional basis. This means that your Green Card will be valid for two years and cannot be renewed.

        To upgrade your Green Card to a permanent Green Card, which is renewable and valid for ten years, you must complete the further Form I-751 (Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence).

        How Can IAS Help?

        Our expert lawyers and advisers at IAS have helped many couples to get married in the United States and begin married life together. We can help you and your fiancé across all procedures in this process. This does not end with the K1 visa. We can also help you with your adjustment of status after your marriage and applying for citizenship after you have been living in the USA for several years.

        To find out how our attorneys can help in your specific case, please call our Lagos office at +23413438882 or +44 (0) 3316300929.

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                  FAQs

                  Your nonimmigrant status will automatically expire after 90 days, so you must get married and start the adjustment of the status process before then. You will need to depart the US before these 90 days elapse if you have not got married. Failure to leave will result in you being deported from the US. This could severely impact any future attempts you make to move to the USA.

                  You are able to bring dependents, such as your children, with you when you come to the United States on a K1 visa. You will need to apply for K2 visas on their behalf, which will give them the right to travel with you to the United States. After the wedding, you will also need to apply for adjustment of status so that they can access a Green Card in the USA. The basic requirements for a K2 visa include the following:

                  • The dependent is under 21 and unmarried.
                  • Their parent holds a K1 visa.
                  • The citizen fiancé is able to support the child financially.
                  • The child has a clear criminal record, is not addicted to drugs, and has not previously violated United States immigration laws.

                  Furthermore, your child will also need to pass all of the standard medical checks you experienced.

                  You will not have an automatic right to work while you are in the USA on a K1 visa. If you want to work during this 90-day period, you must apply for work authorization with the Form I-765. Your work authorization will apply until you apply for adjustment of status or your 90-day K1 visa period ends.

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