Currently, I’m going through the K1 fiancé Visa process as I’m engaged to an American Citizen and in a few months I’ll be making the move from Glasgow in Scotland to New York, USA. We’re just waiting to complete my medical appointment followed by my interview at the US embassy in London, in June!
As I said previously, I know when we first started researching, I searched for real-life examples of people’s experiences with immigration to the USA via marriage, so hopefully, my experience can help someone else!
First of all, if you are about to start or are going through the K1 Visa, I suggest that you become a member of Visa Journey which is an online immigration community. The whole site is an absolute goldmine and it made the process so much easier for us – plus it’s free to join! It also gives you the ability to ask questions and discuss with those who have done or are currently going through the same visa processes. It really helps to have a support system of like-minded people and it will keep you sane throughout the waiting periods!
It can be a bit overwhelming, the process is quite long and it is expensive – but obviously totally worth it at the end! All in all, it’s going to have taken us roughly about 7 months for the actual process but there were a couple of months prior to that which involved organizing all the evidence/information required for our application and A LOT of reading!
Submitting your I-129f Petition
The first thing you are going to have to do is send off your I-129f petition, this is sent by the petitioner (US Citizen) to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), full information of where to send the petition and the forms needed can be found here. There are also step by step guides which are available on Visa Journey, before preparing your petition. I suggested reading them and looking at the flow chart which outlines the entire K1 visa process in depth – for that reason I won’t be going into an insane amount of detail about the forms themselves.
To give you a quick overview of what we included in our petition, I have listed the items below.
Please be aware that fees and requirements may have changed since we submitted our petition in January 2017, for example, the G325a forms are now not needed, this is because they are included in the redesigned I-129f form.
So make sure you double check everything before submitting!
- Cover letter
- The filing fee of $535
- I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance
- G-1145 Notification of Application Acceptance
- Statement of Circumstances of Meeting (Question 34.a)
- Statement to confirm Circumstances of Meeting
- Two (2) Original Intent to Marry Statements (Petitioner, Beneficiary)
- Proof of having met within 2 years and relationship
- Photograph explanation page & Photographs themselves
- Airline Tickets and Confirmations & Vacation Confirmations
- Beneficiary Passport Stamps for visits to the USA
- Telephone, Skype, Text Message Records
- Declaration from Petitioner’s Mother
- Declaration from Beneficiary’s Mother
- Two (2) G-325A Biographic Data Forms (Petitioner, Beneficiary) (Not needed now)
- Two (2) US sized passport photos (Petitioner, Beneficiary)
- Copy of US Citizens Birth Certificate Proof of Citizenship (Back and Front)
Some of these items were not necessary, but the way I looked at it was, you’re effectively proving your relationship is legitimate to someone who never has and never will meet you. With that being said, try not to go overboard though – I have read about people submitting 4-5 years’ worth of emails/chat history and USCIS don’t have time to sit and read through all of that.
Most people worry about how to package their petition together, we used a display book with post-it notes for further explanation of what was included in each section, avoid staples, as USCIS don’t like that, paperclips are fine though. Don’t worry too much about the way you present it – as long as it is clear and easy to follow, they will organize it into their own filing system once they receive it anyway.
The first thing you will receive is called Notice of Action 1 (NOA1), this is USCIS confirming that they have received your petition. If you submitted a G-1145 Notification of Application Acceptance, the petitioner should receive a text & an email with this information and the hard copy will follow shortly after to their address (ours took about a week!). You will now be able to track your petition status online here and there are apps you can download for your mobile phone also – to do either you will need your receipt number, which starts with three letters, depending on your case center. Ours began with WAC and was processed in California.
The next part after this, in my opinion, is the worst and longest part! Be prepared to wait 3-5 months for your Notice of Action 2 (NOA2). This will be USCIS approving your petition providing you have met all the criteria and adequately evidenced it within your petition. They can, however ‘Request Further Evidence’ also known as an RFE, which will slightly delay your NOA2, but nothing to be too concerned about providing you can give them what they request. We waited approximately 3 months and then our petition was approved without any RFE’s – YAY!
**LONDON EMBASSY SPECIFIC**
The UK forum on Visa Journey is now your best port of call for any London Embassy specific questions. Each country will follow slightly different processes & some may have completely different requirements, so to save yourself unnecessary stress and panic – ask your questions there!
Once you have received your NOA2 you will need to wait between 2-3 weeks for your case to be received by the National Visa Centre (NVC), this is where background checks will be completed on both the petitioner and the beneficiary.
You can wait for the letter with your case number which can take 4-6 weeks to arrive or you can phone NVC on (603) 334-0700 (number correct as of June, 17) and ask them to give you the number over the phone. I suggest the petitioner calls as this is a US number so therefore they will incur fewer charges, they should have the following available:
- WAC number (USCIS receipt number)
- Petitioners and Beneficiary’s DOB
NVC will be able to tell the following:
- If they have received your case
- When they have assigned your case number
- When it has been sent to the embassy in the beneficiary’s country
Your case number will begin with LND and once you have this number you can go ahead and book your medical appointment with Knightsbridge Medical Practice. Please be aware that your K1 visa expires 6 months from the date your medical appointment takes place, so make sure it works out with your expected moving date! I’ve written a separate post on the medical appointment and what documents you will need for that.
You will also be able to track the status of your case online once you have the LND case number. Make sure to select ‘Immigration Visa’ from the drop-down box. There are 3 different statuses for this part of the process, which I have explained below:
AT NVC – This means that your application is still at NVC where they will be completing background checks for both the US petitioner and the foreign beneficiary.
IN TRANSIT – Your petition is now on its way to the US embassy in the UK, ours took about a week to arrive. The petitioner should receive a letter from NVC to confirm this – timescales on this can vary but ours took about 3 weeks from receiving the hard copy of NOA2.
READY – The embassy have received your petition and you can now proceed with the next steps. After this it took us about a week to receive the confirmation letter from the embassy, this is sent to the beneficiary. This will confirm they have received your approved petition and that they are ready for you to go to this UK embassy website and complete the steps below. Please note you can do the next steps below before receiving the official letter.
Booking your interview appointment
In order to book your interview you will need to have completed the following steps:
- Booked your medical appointment
- Filled out the DS-160 (Select England, London from the drop down menu)
- Gathered all of the necessary documents
- Complete your Notification of Readiness form
You book your appointment via this link and follow the instructions. You will have the option to select couriered delivery at the final stages of booking your appointment, the total cost for the courier and appointment was around £250
I will do a further post on the interview itself once I have attended it on the 30th of June. As I said previously people’s personal experiences really helped me when researching/going through this visa process – so I hope I can be of help to someone else in the same way those people were to me!