STEP 1: I-129F
- The first step of this process is to prepare and file an I-129F.
- This form will be reviewed by United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and National Visa Center (NVC).
- The processing time for this step would be five to seven months.
STEP 2: K-1 VISA
- The next step is a K-1 visa preparation and interview. Before an interview with the United States Embassy in your fiancé's or fiancée's home country, DS-160, an online nonimmigrant visa application, and I-134, an affidavit of support, must be prepared and submitted.
- United States Department of State (DOS) conducts background checks on the K-1 Visa applicant. The consular officer determines whether any grounds of inadmissibility or other ineligibilities apply and whether the applicant is eligible to seek waivers of such grounds.
- A K1 Visa applicant is required to present evidence to the consular officer that she or he will not become a public charge in the United States. The applicant may present evidence that she or he is able to financially support herself or himself or that the U.S. citizen spouse is able to provide financial support.
- The applicant will also make a medical exam appointment with an Embassy approved doctor's office in his or her home country.
- During the interview, a consular officer will review the submitted forms and documents and try to verify the valid relationship with the petitioner.
- The processing time for this step would be one to two months.
STEP 3: Marriage in the United States
- The K-1 visa holder must travel to the United States and seek admission at a port of entry within the validity period indicated on the visa. K-1 visas are valid for up to 6 months and a single entry.
- If admitted, the K-1 nonimmigrant has 90 days to marry the same U.S. citizen who filed the Form I-129F with USCIS.
- The K-1 visa holder may apply for I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, upon arrival or file it with I-485.
- A newly wed couple also need to apply for a marriage certificate.
STEP 4: Adjustment of Status
- Following the marriage, the K-1 nonimmigrant may apply for adjustment to lawful permanent resident status by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence, with USCIS.
- The U.S. spouse also needs to prepare and submit I-864, Affidavit of Support, which must show adequate means of financial support and the foreign applicant is not likely to rely on the U.S. government for financial support.
- The applicant may also file other USCIS forms without additional filing fees. I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, authorizes the applicant's employment. I-131, Application for Travel Document, allows the applicant's overseas travel during the pendency of a green card application.
- This process will take three to five months.
- During a green card interview, an immigration officer will review the submitted forms and documents and try to verify the bona fide marriage relationship.
- If married for less than two years at the time the I-485 is approved, the applicant will be granted conditional permanent resident status and issued a Permanent Resident Card valid for 2 years.