How to Prepare for the Final K-1 Visa Interview

Once the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has approved your I-129F petition, the next step is to apply for the K-1 visa interview. Below is an overview of the steps needed to finish the process without major delays: [1]

  1. The USCIS forwards the approved Fiancé(e) visa petition. The USCIS reviews and processes your I-129F petition for an Alien Fiancé(e). A Request for Evidence (RFE) may be issued prior to approval. Required evidence for an RFE must be submitted at the time requested. The I-129F will then be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) in the U.S. for processing.
  1. NVA will process the case. The NVA with perform background checks and assign a case number, it will then send your case to the U.S. Consulate abroad with all details on your case.
  1. A U.S. Consulate, Post, or Embassy will process the case. They will perform the final processing, criminal checks and interview before the K-1 visa is granted.

After several months, the USCIS will inform you that your I-129F fiancé(e) visa petition has been approved. You may be notified by email, text or message, or mail, depending on your preference. If you receive a Notice of Action I-797 (NOA) approval by mail, make sure to save it. This is needed when filing the Adjustment of Status (I-485) after marriage.

An I-129F approval does not mean a K-1 visa approval. This is only the first step of the process. The second step of the process requires security checks and documents from the foreign beneficiary.

When the National Visa Center (NVC) processes your case

Following the approval of the I-129F, the NVC will review your case, perform background checks, input your details into the Department of State’s database, and assign you a case number. They will also forward your packet to a U.S. Embassy overseas where your fiancé(e) will be interviewed and then mail you the approval notice that your case has been sent abroad. It is extremely important to follow up with NVC to verify that your petition has not been lost and no other hiccups have occurred.

When the U.S. Embassy processes your case

The embassy will review your case and perform further security checks. The embassy will then mail (or e-mail) the K-1 visa packet to the beneficiary fiancé(e) with instructions on the steps to take. This is when the case becomes a K-1 application (and no longer I-129F).

The foreign beneficiary must collect all required documents and apply for the K-1 visa. Documents include:

  • Supporting documents (passport, birth certificate, etc.)
  • DS-160 filed online
  • Police clearance
  • Medical Exam Report
  • Affidavit of Support (I-134)
  • Proof of relationship
  • Visa payment receipt
  • Any other supporting documents (divorce documents, etc.)

Once all paperwork has been collected, you will schedule a K-1 interview. This interview will discuss the beneficiary’s eligibility, relationship, and any criminal history.

The embassy officer will then make a decision on the K-1 visa application, to either approve or deny. If the application is approved, they will send a visa packet with the passport, visa, and sealed medical exam results. Your fiancé(e) is now welcome to hop on the next flight with their new visa!

If the case is denied for any reason, then the entire process must be started again, requiring more time and fees.  Extreme vetting and tighter immigration policies have made the K-1 visa process more time consuming and challenging to get approved. It is important to go into this process prepared and with confidence.