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File K-1 Fiance Visa application while Fiancee is visiting USA?

During your Fiance's visit to the USA you could finalize and submit your fiancee visa petition together. If she plans an extended stay and the process goes quickly you may only be separated for the time it takes for her to return to her country, attend the consular interview, and wrap up her affairs before re-joining you in the USA.

That was what my clients Richard and Mai Li from China did. She had a B2 visitor visa that allowed her to visit the USA for up to 6 months. They planned to apply for her fiance visa as soon as possible after her arrival, then for her to return to China just in time for the interview or before her allowed stay expired, whichever came first. We started working on their case well before she left China, and I was able to make sure she brought with her all of her required documents, so we could avoid, a potential problem, that in the middle of her trip she'd discover a critical document was locked in a safe deposit box back in China, requiring her to interrupt her trip to personally obtain it. She brought all that was needed, we submitted a few weeks after arrival, and 5 months later she returned to China and had a successful interview and got her K1 visa.

The Fiance Visa is formally requested by the American Citizen. He is the one making the application, not the foreign born fiance. While the application is in process, it does not affect her status, or put her onto US immigration's radar. It is only at the very end of the process, that she becomes actively involved. This is when she attends the interview at the US consulate processing her case..

The foreign born fiancee will need to be in her own country or the country where she was living to have her fiance visa interview at the US Embassy or Consulate. She can remain a visitor in the USA as long as she follows the terms of the visa she is traveling on.

On arrival to the USA she is granted so many days of allowed stay. She must respect the terms of the visa, and must NOT remain beyond the allowed duration. Eventually, she returns to her country for the fiance visa interview. The consular interview outside the USA is required and without it she will not get her visa. After the interview and visa is approved she returns to the USA for marriage, adjustment of status and a happily ever after.

The one potential fly in the ointment however is that there is a chance she will be refused entry and turned away at the US border.

Each time she enters the USA she is inspected by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the border.

His job is to screen incoming visitors deciding if they should be allowed entry. Regardless of what visa the traveler is using, admittance to the USA is always at the discretion of the CBP officer.

The objective of his questioning is to determine if there is any reason to suspect that the traveler may be planning to violate the terms of the visa she is using.

If the traveler gives the impression that she plans to live permanently in the USA, even if not immediately but eventually, that can set off his alarm bells and may cause him to refuse entry.

In summary. If she has a visa to enter the USA she can join you, while we finalize the K-1 Fiance Visa and submit it. She can be here while it is submitted, and during it's processing.

However her admission to the USA is not guaranteed, but if her previous trips have been infrequent and she has not maxed out her allowed stays, she will probably be allowed to enter without trouble..

By Fred Wahl
the VisaCoach

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