A K-1 visa is issued to the foreign-born fiancé of a U.S. citizen. The visa allows the fiancé to enter and reside in the United States, as long as the couple gets married no more than 90 days after entry.
When applying for a K-1 visa, the foreign partner will need to attend an interview at their local U.S. embassy or consulate.
In this guide, you’ll find what you need to have a successful K-1 visa interview:
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The K-1 interview takes place after U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has approved Form I-129F (“Petition for Alien Fiancé”) along with Form I-134 (“Affidavit of Support”). The I-129F is valid for four months. During this time, the couple files Form DS-160 (“Nonimmigrant Visa Application”) online.
Once the initial application is approved, USCIS sends it to the U.S. Department of State, which will handle the rest of the process, including the interview. The applicant’s local U.S. embassy or consulate will notify the applicant about the date, time, and location of the interview and what official documentation to bring. The notification is usually sent within 30 days of the application’s approval, while the interview will generally take place four to six weeks after the embassy or consulate’s initial notice.
The goal of the interview is to make sure that the couple’s relationship is real and that they plan to build a future together. Only the foreign-born fiancé attends the interview.
The visa interview can feel nerve-wracking for K-1 applicants, but Boundless can help. We stay with you even after you’ve completed your application, helping you track your visa progress and prepare for your visa interview with confidence. Get started today!
What Documents Do I Need to Bring to the Interview?
You will need to bring the following documents with you to the interview:
- Form DS-160: Once this form has been completed through the online process, you will see a DS-160 confirmation page. Print this confirmation and bring it with you to your interview.
- A valid passport that enables you to travel to the U.S. and is valid at least six (6) months beyond the length of the K-1 visa. (Some country-specific agreements provide exemptions.)
- Birth certificate: Be sure to have a version translated into English.
- Divorce or death certificate(s) of any previous spouse(s) for both fiancés. Again, there are some country-specific exemptions. For instance, if filing from the Philippines, a CENOMAR (Certificate of No Marriage) must be provided to show eligibility of marriage as the country does not recognize divorce.
- Police certificates from your present country of residence and all countries where you have lived for six months or more since age 16. A police certificate details arrests, and outcomes of any arrests.
- Medical exam documentation: This must be done before the interview. The notifications from the local embassy or consulate will provide specific details such as which doctors and locations are acceptable. The vaccinations required by law for immigrant visa applicants are not required for a K-1 visa applicant, but it is strongly recommended. Especially if the couple is going to file for a green card, at which point the vaccines would be required.
- Form I-134: Bring the Affidavit of Support form with you.
- Two (2) 2×2 photographs: The State Department’s requirements for these can be found here.
- Evidence of relationship: See examples below.
Proving the Relationship is Real
The consular officer’s goal is to establish that the applicant is part of a genuine relationship. You will need to bring any evidence you have illustrating your life as a couple:
- Create a timeline of the relationship and take a trip down memory lane. Go over the key dates, events, and memories of your time together. If you have photographs or other mementos that support the relationship, bring copies with you.
- Create a folder with all your official documents. This should include translations of original documents like birth certificates, if they are not in English.
- Look for documents that support the legitimacy of your relationship. Travel itineraries, photos of trips taken together, the phone bills for when distance kept you physically apart, receipts of big events, birth certificates of any children you may have had together — think of anything that can demonstrate the length and legitimacy of your relationship.
- Documents that support the financial stability of the relationship. Include evidence of joint bank statements, rental or mortgage agreements, and evidence of any assets that you co-own as a couple.
- Organize the documentation. It doesn’t have to be color coded and cross sorted alphabetically, but it is recommended that you have a system that allows you to easily identify any documents as needed.
During the Interview
During the interview, the interviewing officer may ask what seem like very personal questions.
K-1 Visa Interview Questions:
- How did you meet?
- Where were your first dates?
- When did you get engaged? What was the story of the engagement?
- How long have you been engaged?
- Where will you live after you are married?
You might feel pressure to answer every question. It is better to say, honestly, “I don’t know” or “I’d need to look something up to be certain” than to lie. For more info, Boundless put together a guide with sample K-1 interview questions.
What Happens Next?
There are a few possible outcomes following the interview:
- The officer approves your application immediately. If your application is approved, you will receive your passport containing the K-1 visa. Additionally, you will receive a sealed packet which should not be opened. The Department of Homeland Security will look for this sealed packet when the applicant first enters the United States.
- The consulate officer may ask that more evidence be submitted in support of the application, and continue to consider the application.
- The consulate officer may find a reason to return the application to USCIS and recommend that the request for a visa be denied. Reasons could be a prior arrest for serious charges, or they do not find the relationship to be genuine. It is, however, relatively rare for a K-1 application to be denied without first having the chance to submit additional evidence.
Is there a dress code?
In short, no, there is not a dress code. That being said, it’s a good idea to look presentable. You can dress casually, but you don’t want to stand out as excessively underdressed. At the same time, you certainly don’t need to wear a full suit and tie, or fancy dress. Ultimately, you don’t want your attire to be the first thing they notice. Wear something neutral that allows them to see you.
Do I need an attorney?
You certainly don’t need an attorney, but if you’re worried about the interview, it couldn’t hurt to consult a lawyer ahead of time. They can walk you through the interview process, preparing you for what’s to come. They can also help ensure that you have all the paperwork you need to bring to the appointment. In the end, however, you will likely have to attend the interview without legal representation.
What if I can’t attend?
If you are unable to go to the interview, be sure to contact the consulate or embassy as soon as possible. If you do not contact them within a year, your petition could be cancelled, and you will not receive a refund on any fees paid during the visa application process.
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