It’s important to have the right expectations when going through the K1 visa process. It can be a very time intensive process, with multiple steps. However, when all steps have been followed correctly, processing of a foreign fiancé(e)’s visa shouldn’t be something to lose sleep over.
In this guide, I’m going to discuss how long it typically takes for a K1 visa to be approved. This guide is meant to concisely explain processing times. For a more detailed guide on the overall K1 timeline, please see my other article on the K1 visa timeline.
If you have any questions about anything that we discuss, please feel free to email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. I’m very responsive to emails and would be happy to answer any questions you have.
- How Long Does it Take for a K1 Visa to be Approved?
- K1 Visa Processing Time Issues and Possible Solutions
How Long Does it Take for a K1 Visa to be Approved?
The first step for securing a K1 visa is to file form I-129F, which takes about 6 to 8 months to process.
When the I-129F is approved, the next step is for the foreign fiance to apply for their K1 visa. The petition will then move to the National Visa Center for further processing, and then to be forwarded to the appropriate U.S. consulate. This can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 1 month.
While consulates each have their own set of backlogs and internal delays, it takes on average 3 to 5 months for a visa interview to be issued for a spouse.
Altogether, with a well-prepared petition, it takes 10 to 15 months for K1 approval.
Once your fiancé(e) enters the U.S., there is a 90-day period for you to marry one another. After that, your spouse can apply for a green card within the U.S. through a process known as an adjustment of status, which takes 1 to 2 years on average. It’s important to note that the fiance must first obtain a travel document before leaving the U.S. while the adjustment of status application is pending.
K1 Visa Processing Time Issues and Possible Solutions
Several factors have an impact on the processing timeline of the K1 visa. While much of this may be out of your control, some steps can be taken to minimize delays.
1) Preparation – It’s essential that your case is prepared correctly. From the outset, you should have a proper understanding of what is needed to file. The form I-129F, for example, requires various pieces of evidence to be submitted alongside it. If USCIS finds that not all required evidence has been submitted, they may issue a request for evidence (RFE), which can significantly delay your case. It’s recommended that you work with an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney for your filing in order to avoid these issues.
2) USCIS Backlog – At times, USCIS may not have enough staff to properly process all pending petitions. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS is in some ways operating at a lower capacity. However, processing times vary per service center. USCIS has a resource to view the current processing times for different types of forms and visas at different locations. You may access this resource here.
3) Spouse’s Country of Origin – Every consulate operates at a different capacity, and although few resources exist to show aggregate processing times for different countries, estimates of processing times can usually be found through contacting each consulate directly. Countries with multiple consulates may have consulates with faster timelines than others, or ones that have tougher standards. The way to prepare for these variables is to have a well-prepared, legitimate case.
4) Catastrophic Conditions – Factors outside of human control can delay processing. A diminished ability to work as a result of natural disasters, catastrophic events, war, internal conflicts, and other events, can put processing at risk. It’s important to stay informed and aware of geographic-specific conditions at consulates.
The overall approval process for the K1, with a well-prepared petition, takes about 10 to 15 months from the point of filing the Form I-129F. At that point, the process will reach its conclusion and your spouse should receive their visa upon approval.
While some factors that can affect the timeline may be outside of your control, a well-prepared case that follows USCIS instructions and anticipates potential issues can help you avoid delays.
If you have questions regarding anything discussed in this guide, or if you would like help with your K1 visa, feel free to email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. I’m very responsive via email and I would be happy to help you with your fiancé(e) visa.