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Posts Tagged ‘US Immigration Information’

9th June 2009

What is the Process for Obtaining a K-1 Fiancee Visa?

The K-1 visa process is a time consuming and complex endeavor. Many arm-chair attorneys believe that they understand the K-1 process based upon second hand or incorrect information. Further complicating the research process are so-called visa agents and Immigration consulting firms providing misleading information. In Thailand, there are some “US Immigration Lawyers” who are not licensed to practice law in any US jurisdiction and therefore cannot practice US Immigration law. Without all of this “background noise” of bad information, what are the facts about the K-1 Visa Process?

The K-1 Visa Process: The Visa Application

The K-1 Visa Application is one of the most critical components of the K-1 visa process. Currently, the I-129f application is used by those who wish to petition for K-1 benefits for a foreign fiancee. The I-129f petition seems uncomplicated at first blush, but legislation passed within the last decade has made K-1 visa application questions more detailed and created restrictions regarding who can submit an application for a K-1 visa.

After the application is completed, it must then be submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) center with proper jurisdiction. USCIS Service Center jurisdiction is based upon the location of the US Citizen’s primary residence in the United States.

K-1 Visa Process: Submission of the K-1 Visa Application to the USCIS Service Center

After the US Citizen sends the K-1 Visa application to the USCIS service center, the wait begins. Due to the heavy caseload of both service centers, it can take some time before the K-1 application is adjudicated. Currently, both USCIS service centers state that it will take approximately 6 months to adjudicate the K-1 visa application. However, is has been the experience of the writer that this is a conservative estimate and the K-1 application is usually adjudicated in a shorter time period. An issue that can arise and slow down a K-1 visa application is a Request For Evidence (RFE). An RFE is sent from USCIS to the US Citizen if there is a deficiency of documentation in the K1 application. This is where retaining the services of a US Visa Lawyer could be a benefit because the lawyer could assist in forestalling an RFE.

K-1 Visa Application Approval at USCIS and Forwarding to the National Visa Center

Once USCIS approves a K-1 visa application, they will send the visa application to an office within the American State Department called the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will ascertain where the Fiancee beneficiary of the visa application will be conducting her interview. Once it is determined where the Fiancee will conduct her K-1 visa interview, the NVC will forward the application to that Embassy or Consulate.

K-1 Visa Process: Packet 3 and the K-1 Visa Interview

After the NVC has forwarded the K-1 application to the Embassy the embassy will send out packet 3, which explains the documentation that must be submitted prior to the K-1 visa interview. Having an attorney on the scene to assist with consular processing can be a major advantage to the Non-Citizen fiancee especially where the fiancee’s mother tongue is not English. After Packet 3 is submitted and the Interview is scheduled, the Fiancee will go to the Embassy and have her interview.

K-1 Visa Process: K-1 Visa Interview and 221g Refusals

One common delay in the K-1 visa process is caused by a 221 g denial. A 221 g visa denial occurs when the consular officer conducting the K-1 visa interview determines that the applicant has provided insufficient documentation and will need to retrieve the necessary documentation before a visa will be issued. An American Immigration attorney in the fiancee’s home country can be indispensable at the K-1 interview phase because they can attempt to forestall 221 g denials by using their knowledge of the law and experience in order to prepare all of the necessary documentation in advance. Further, if a 221 g should arise, the attorney is in a position to advise how best to deal with the deficiency.

K-1 Visa Process: K1 Visa Denial based upon a Legal Ground of Inadmissibility

In cases where the K-1 beneficiary is deemed legally inadmissible to the US, the K-1 visa application will be denied. In many cases, the Inadmissibility can be waived by filing an I-601 waiver application. retaining an Immigration attorney at the beginning of the process can enable all parties to form an effective strategy regarding a finding of inadmissibility. If an attorney believes that a ground of inadmissibility exists, then he can prepare the application for a waiver before the visa is ultimately denied and file the waiver application contemporaneously or shortly following denial.  Luckily for those reading this, most foreign beneficiaries are not inadmissible, but it may be wise to contact an attorney in order to understand all facets of the K-1 Visa Process.

(Nothing in this article should be used for purposes other than education and research. Further, no part of this post is a satifactory alternative to competenet personal legal advice from a licensed attorney. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship between author and reader.)

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