If you're a foreign citizen engaged to an American citizen and plan to marry in the states, you must first obtain a fiance K-1 nonimmigrant visa. Your upcoming visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate may seem scary and intimidating, but you can reduce your risk of failure by being prepared. This means getting all requested documents in order and familiarizing yourself with the personal topics the interviewer is likely to cover, such as the relationship with your fiance and wedding details.
K-1 Visa Authorizes Travel to U.S.
Once you obtain your K-1 visa, you may legally travel to the U.S. for the marriage ceremony, which must occur within 90 days of your arrival in the states. The first step in obtaining the visa is having your American fiance file Form I-129, Petition for Alien Fiance(e), with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Once the petition is approved, you are assigned a case number and your petition is forwarded to the U.S. embassy or consulate where you live. The embassy or consulate will then schedule you for an interview.
Documentation Must Be Provided
Bring all requested documents to the interview. It is helpful to pack a bag with these items ahead of time to reduce the risk of forgetting anything. You must complete Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, and bring a printout of the confirmation page to the interview. Bring any required fees, two 2x2 photos and a valid passport. If either you or your fiance have been married before, provide a copy of the divorce decree or former spouse's death certificate. Also bring proof that you are financially self-sufficient, such as paystubs or an affidavit from your fiance showing he will support you. You will also need to bring police certificates from every country you've lived in for at least six months since you were 16. This is a document from law enforcement that lists any and all arrests you may have had, what the arrests were for and the disposition of each case. Lastly, you must also bring proof you've completed the required medical exam as well as evidence of your relationship with your fiance, such as photographs, travel receipts and shared bills.
Personal Questions Will Be Asked
To further increase your chance for a successful interview answer the questions thoroughly and honestly. Although you won't know the exact questions to be asked ahead of time, you can familiarize yourself with the type of questions you will likely face. For example, the immigration official may ask when you were born, where you grew up, if you've been to the U.S. before and whether you have children. You will also be asked about your fiance, your relationship and wedding plans. For instance, you may be asked what your fiance's religion is, what language he speaks, how you met and what made you fall in love with him. Other personal questions may include how long you've been engaged, who is invited to the wedding and what your honeymoon plans are.
Potential Red Flags Can Derail Interview
If the immigration official finds any red flags -- things that suggest your marriage may be a sham -- he will likely grill you on those issues. Potential red flags include a large age difference between you and your fiancé, speaking different languages, belonging to different religions and prior fiance applications. Be prepared to address these issues during the interview.