Changes to K-1 fiancé visa application process: What you need to know.

Application fees for various visas are changing.

The USCIS issued an important notice that could impact immigrants applying for K-1 and other visas. The notice refers to new application fees that went into effect on September 12 of 2014. The agency explains that nonimmigrant fees generally increased, and provided the following schedule:

  • Interview before December 11, 2014. Anyone that paid the visa fee prior to September 12, 2014 but has the visa interview before December 11 of 2014 does not have to pay the difference between the old and new fee amounts.
  • Interview on or after December 11, 2014. If the fee was paid before September 12, 2014 but the interview is on or after this date in December, the applicant must pay the difference in fees. The agency states that there is no exception to this rule.

A variety of visas are impacted by this change, including certain K-1 visa applicants.

What is the K-1 visa?

The K-1 visa allows a foreign-citizen fiancé to travel into the United States to marry his or her fiancé. The marriage must occur within 90 days of arrival. Once married, the individual holding the K-1 visa must then apply for an adjustment of status to permanent resident, or LPR.

It is important to note that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have a strict definition of fiancé. Under immigration law, this term refers to an individual that has received an approved Petition for Alien Fiancé form. The form requires that the marriage occur within 90 days, that both individuals are free to legally marry each other and that the couple has met in person within two years prior to filing the form. There are some exceptions to this final requirement. They include that meeting the fiancé would violate a "strict and long-established custom" of a foreign culture or that meeting would result in extreme hardship.

In addition to completing this form and including the filing fee of $340, the applicant must also provide a variety of additional information including the completion of a Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, bring a passport, divorce or death certificates of any prior spouse if applicable, police certificates and medical examinations. It is important to note that additional fees can apply, including fees for filing additional forms, cost of the medical examination and travel expenses to go to the U.S. Embassy or a Consulate office for an interview.

Legal counsel can help

Qualifying for this visa can be difficult, particularly if there are questions about the authenticity of the relationship. As a result, those who are attempting to obtain this or a similar visa are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced immigration attorney.

Keywords: immigration law K-1 visa