Timeline + Costs for K1 Fiancee Visa
First: Couple has a genuine relationship (courtship). They have recently met face-to-face. They are both ‘free to marry’. They intend to marry.
The US Citizen submits the Fiancee Visa Petition to USCIS (Homeland Security).
USCIS reviews the petition and the FBI conducts a background check.
Currently USCIS takes 4 – 6 months (on average) to complete their review and approve the case.
The case is passed on to the US Department of State’s National Visa Center, in Vermont (NVC). NVC sends the US Citizen notice they have taken over processing, and have sent it to the US Consulate nearest the Fiancee.
It takes about 1 month from the time USCIS approves till the Consulate receives the case.
Then the Consulate contacts the Fiancee via mail, telephone, or not at all (sometimes she is expected to contact them first). She gets additional instructions and more government forms to fill out.
Usually, the interview is scheduled 1 to 2 months later.
In Philippines the process is very efficient and fast. Interviews can be arranged as fast as 3 to 5 WEEKS after USCIS Homeland Security approves. In Vietnam it may take 2 to 4 months later before the interview is scheduled.
A week or so prior to the interview, she attends a medical at a clinic approved by the Consulate. The clinic fees vary between $150 to $200.
Also, prior to the interview, she pays to the Consulate a visa application fee of $350. This is typically paid at a local bank, post office or at the consulate.
At the interview she will be asked to present identification documents, forms required by the consulate, an Affidavit of Support and income proof from her US Fiance (showing his income is sufficient) as well as proof of her ‘bone fide’ relationship with the sponsor. The consular officer asks various questions to confirm (in his opinion) that the relationship is genuine.
The decision to grant the visa is normally made ‘on the spot’. Her passport and visa is returned by courier usually within a week of the interview.
The visa is good for 6 months. She must start her journey to the USA before the 6 months is over.
Once she arrives in the USA she has 90 days to marry her Fiance, or return home.
After marriage, the final step is to apply for Adjustment of Status to be approved for permanent residency. The couple submits yet another important petition to USCIS (Homeland Security).
Filing cost is $1,070.
Doctor’s review of her Vaccinations $100
After about 1 month she visits a USCIS office for fingerprinting and photo.
Finally, 3 to 6 months later, she gets her Green Card which proves she has permission to remain permanently in the USA.
By Fred Wahl
Your Personal Immigration Guide