Last updated on October 3rd, 2017
How Long Does it Take to Get a Fiancé Visa?
The length of time it takes to get a K-1 fiancé visa varies. Currently the entire process from start to finish takes roughly six months to twelve months. Some people get their fiancé visa sooner while others have been waiting since the end of last year to receive their fiancé visa.
The variation can be the result of the volume of petitions received by your particular United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Service Center. It may also depend on the individual petition and whether all required documents have been received.
The best way to ensure that your petition is going the fastest it can possibly go is to make sure you have followed all directions and have included all necessary documents. Sometimes petitioners file an incomplete petition by mistake and this further delays the process. Other times, USCIS staff may request evidence they don’t normally request because of factors that they noticed in your application.
If your fiancé is in the process of filing your K-1 fiancé visa petition, you should remind him or her to follow all instructions and to pay all of the fees on time. Once everything is submitted, you have to keep in mind that patience goes a long way.
After My Fiancé Submits The Petition, What Happens?
Your fiancé should have filled out Form I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé on your behalf and filed it with the appropriate USCIS service center.
Your K-1 Fiancé visa petition will go through three major steps after the petition is submitted. First, USCIS must approve your fiancé visa petition, Form I-129F. Once it is approved, the National Visa Center (NVC) will further process your petition and forward it to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. It will take approximately one to two months for the U.S. Embassy to receive your petition.
At the U.S. Embassy, you will have to complete an interview with a consular officer. The U.S. Embassy will notify you when it receives your petition and give you directions on completing the rest of the fiancé visa process. Depending on where you live overseas, it can take anywhere from two weeks to four months before an interview time becomes available. Typically, the consular officer will let you know right after the interview whether your fiancé visa petition is granted or not.
Why Does It Take So Long To Get A Fiancé Visa?
People are falling in love–and filing fiancé visa petitions–at record highs and USCIS is processing so many fiancé visas a year that it is hard to keep track. Not to mention, the United States is a great place to get married and many couples would rather wait for a fiancé visa so they can have their wedding in the U.S.
Another thing to think about is the role of the USCIS in the entire immigration process. USCIS is responsible for handling all visa petitions, not just the fiancé visa. USCIS’s goal is to protect the United States and its citizens by ensuring all immigrants who enter are not a danger to the United States. The United States also has an interest in protecting immigrant who enter our country. This screening process takes time.
What Are The Current Processing Times For Each Service Center?
The USCIS website lists the current processing times for each of the four service centers. The processing times are updated on the 15th of each month. Some service centers experience more delays than others just because of their location. Here are the current processing times (as of June 26, 2015) by the service center:
- California Service Center (CSC): currently processing I-129F in five months or less
- Nebraska Service Center (NSC): currently processing I-129F in five months or less
- Texas Service Center (TSC): currently behind on I-129F petitions. The process is taking roughly eight months. The last petition to be processed was received on October 8, 2014.
- Vermont Service Center (VSC): currently processing I-129F in five months or less
Can I Check the Status of My Petition Online?
While the last thing you want to do is stress yourself out even more by checking the status of your petition every waking minute, the USCIS does give you the ability to check the status of your petition. After your fiancé filed the I-129F petition, the USCIS sent a receipt in the mail confirming they received the petition. If you take a closer look at the receipt, you will find the location of the USCIS service center that is processing your petition. You will also find your receipt case number which will allow you to check the status of your petition online.
How long then does it take to get a fiancé visa?
Plan for five to 8 months for your I-129F petition to be approved by USCIS. Expect another 2 to 4 months before you are able to schedule an interview with your local consulate. All in all, the process should take somewhere around 7 to 12 months.