If you’re an international student studying in the US on an F1 visa, you’re likely wondering what your immigration options are after graduation. One path that may interest you is pursuing a K1 fiancé visa, which allows you to reunite with your significant other who is a US citizen or permanent resident. However, the process can be complex and confusing. In this guide, we’ll provide you with all the necessary information you need to navigate the F1 to K1 visa process.
- An F1 student visa usually allows you to stay in the US for the duration of your program plus an additional grace period of up to 60 days.
- To apply for a K1 fiancé visa, you must be engaged to a US citizen or permanent resident and have plans to get married within 90 days of your arrival in the US.
- The K1 visa process involves submitting a petition to USCIS, undergoing a medical exam, and attending an interview at the US embassy or consulate in your home country.
- It’s important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney before embarking on the F1 to K1 visa process to ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria and that your application is strong and complete.
What is an F1 Student Visa?
An F1 student visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows foreign students to study in the US at accredited academic institutions. To obtain an F1 visa, you must first be accepted to a US school that is authorized to issue I-20 forms. Once you have your I-20 form, you’ll need to schedule an interview at a US embassy or consulate in your home country and demonstrate that you have the financial resources to support yourself during your studies.
Once you’re in the US on an F1 visa, you’re allowed to stay for the duration of your program plus an additional grace period of up to 60 days. During this time, you have several options for extending your stay or changing your immigration status, including applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT) or pursuing a H1B work visa.
What is a K1 Fiancé Visa?
A K1 fiancé visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows the foreign fiancé(e) of a US citizen or permanent resident to enter the US for the purpose of getting married. To be eligible for a K1 visa, you must be engaged to a US citizen or permanent resident and have plans to get married within 90 days of your arrival in the US.
The K1 visa process involves several steps, including:
Submitting a petition to USCIS: To start the process, your US citizen or permanent resident fiancé(e) must submit Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), to USCIS. This form requires proof of your engagement, as well as proof that you’ve met in person within the past two years.
Undergoing a medical exam: Once your petition is approved, you’ll need to undergo a medical examination with an approved physician to ensure that you’re admissible to the US.
Attending an interview at the US embassy or consulate: You’ll then need to attend an interview at the US embassy or consulate in your home country, where you’ll be asked about your relationship and your plans for marriage.
If your K1 fiancé visa is approved, you’ll be allowed to enter the US and get married within 90 days. After you get married, you can apply for a green card to become a permanent resident.
F1 to K1 Visa: Making the Transition
If you’re an international student on an F1 visa and you’re interested in transitioning to a K1 fiancé visa, there are several important factors to consider.
First, you’ll need to make sure that you meet all the eligibility requirements for a K1 visa, including being engaged to a US citizen or permanent resident and demonstrating that you have a bona fide relationship.
You’ll also need to make sure that you’re able to leave the US and attend a visa interview in your home country, which can be complicated if you have other immigration issues or if you’re subject to travel restrictions.
Finally, you’ll want to ensure that your application is strong and complete by working with an experienced immigration attorney who can guide you through the process and help you avoid common pitfalls.
Can I work in the US on a K1 fiancé visa?
No, you’re not authorized to work on a K1 fiancé visa. However, you may be eligible to apply for work authorization after you get married and apply for adjustment of status.
How long does it take to get a K1 fiancé visa?
Processing times vary, but it generally takes several months to receive a K1 fiancé visa after submitting your petition to USCIS.
Can my children accompany me on my K1 fiancé visa?
Yes, your children may be eligible to accompany or follow you to the US on K2 dependent visas.