Process For Filing a Petition For a Fiancé Visa
What is the Petition process generally for a Fiancé Visa?
The U.S. citizen (i.e., the petitioner) may file a petition on behalf of his or her fiance with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS reviews all the supporting documentation. The time to have the petition reviewed may take a couple months at best to more than 6 months, depending on how backlogged USCIS is from time to time.
USCIS will send out a request for additional evidence and supporting documentation if more is required. The request specifies how much time an individual has to respond to the request. Once approved, the National Visa Center will help coordinate the movement of the case to an appropriate US consulate abroad. The NVC helps ensure certain supporting documents and forms are completed for consular services. The consulate will want more documentation suited to its needs.
Is there an interview?
There is a K1 fiancé interview at the U.S. consulate abroad at the end of case processing. The consulate officer will review the original approval decision made by USCIS. The officer will review the file for completeness and may also review any historical documents and the strength of the evidence. We try to do things correctly and completely to make things easy for USCIS and the consulates. The consulate officer may then question the foreigner to determine if the relationship is truly genuine as part of its review. Consulate officers are trained to view the sincerity of the relationship with skepticism in order to verify the legitimacy of the petition. Often, the officer will simply approve or reject the visa application without discussion.
Can U.S. Citizens attend the interview?
U.S. citizens cannot choose to attend the consulate interview. In many cases, the consulate will not talk to the U.S. citizen. However, it may sometimes be advantageous for the U.S. citizen to accompany his or her foreign partner to the consulate where an officer may be able to look at the U.S. citizen. In some situations, it can be helpful for the U.S. citizen to be present, even if waiting outside the consulate, because it shows sincerity on the part of the couple. It is much more difficult for the U.S. citizen to gain access to the U.S. consulate now because of security and other similar reasons. Regardless, a consulate officer can call for the U.S. citizen to come inside, but this is only in the rarest of cases.
What does a genuine relationship mean?
A genuine relationship is one where both individuals intend to live a life together in the same household as a couple once in the United States. Whether the couple intends to live together may be questioned if there are other facts which are contrary to the true intent of the couple. For example, if one individual will attend school in a location other than where the other resides or intends to work at a particular job apart from the future spouse, there may be a question as to whether the relationship is truly genuine since the couple will be living apart. There is some serious tension over the definition of marriage and what it means to be a couple. We have clients who are same sex or others who may want an open relationship. Some do live in separate communities for a while. A U.S. agency must be careful not to violate individual liberties or personal choices that are legitimate when thinking about what it means to be in a genuine relationship.
In addition, the government will look back to the start of the relationship and how things developed in determining if the relationship is legitimate. The individuals must have met within the last two years, but that’s just a start. The couple may show that they have interacted in person or have maintained a relationship online. There is no substitute for spending time in person, as much as you can do. Dating has cultural implications, cultural habits that are normal typical for dating, and so the consulate officer may be attuned to them and look for cues that signal sincere intentions. The facts and circumstances will greatly determine whether a relationship is both legitimate and sincere.
What if my partner is the same sex?
A marriage visa may not be available to a same-sex couple outside the United States if the other country does not authorize such a marriage. In this case, a fiancé visa may be the only reasonable option for a same-sex couple. The application for a fiancé visa at a U.S. consulate abroad will be unaffected by the rules of the foreign country because the U.S. consulate follows the rules of the United States.
Our Immigration Law Practice
Consider a licensed, professional immigration legal representative before proceeding. Immigration law is large and diverse, covering many types of immigration. Government agencies have become increasingly adversarial. It helps to have our team on your side to prevent avoidable and unnecessary delays, anticipate problems, and effectively navigate your matter toward successful completion. We provide a free initial consultation for those interested in possibly working with us on case processing, and we’re happy to answer your questions.