A prior F-1 student consulted me after the U.S. Consulate used INA 214(b) to twice deny her requests for a visa renewal. After one more failed attempt to get the student visa, we agreed to switch to the K-1 visa based on her recent engagement to her U.S. citizen fiancé. It took four months for USCIS to approve the Form I-129F petition, which is the first step in the K-1 process. Within a month, we received notice from the National Visa Center to proceed with the next step of filing the Form DS-160, K-1 visa application. After receiving all the forms and documents, the U.S. Consulate scheduled her for a visa interview in April 2020.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions that began in March 2020, the Consulate cancelled the interview. At the time, our client was also traveling in Europe and got stuck there for several months. The K-1 visa interview was eventually rescheduled in December 2020. Our client was also able to return to her home country in time for the visa interview.
Despite the obstacles and setbacks in her case, she was finally issued the K-1 visa in January 2021. She has 6 months to enter the United States on the K-1 visa, before it expires. Within 90 days of her arrival in the U.S., she will need to marry her U.S. citizen fiancé to then file a Form I-485 application for permanent resident status. If they marry later than the 90-day timeframe, she may still file for a green card, but her U.S. citizen petitioner must also submit a Form I-130 petition with USCIS.
If the marriage occurs and the I-485 application is approved, as expected, our client will become a permanent resident of the United States. If the marriage is at least 2 years old at the time of the I-485 approval, she will get a 10-year green card without conditions. Otherwise, she will get a conditional residence card valid for 2 years. She will then need to file a Form I-751 petition to remove conditions and maintain her green card status. This is a true success story at Dyan Williams Law.
Dyan Williams, Esq.