In this article I am going to share with you tips that will help you have a successful K1 visa application, I am going to walk you through the process, I am also going to tell you what you should expect at the interview, how to conduct yourself and I will also share with you some surprises you might encounter during the interview.
And toward the end of the article, I am going to share with you tips on how to handle the packet that you are going to receive from the embassy after your visa application has been approved, I know you will get approved because I am sending you positive vibes and good energy through my keyboard 🙂
Also, I will walk you through the Airport when you land in the US and I will tell you how things will unfold there, I mean I will share how they unfolded for me, your case could be different.
K1 Visa Application Tips Relax, We Will Do This Together Til The End
So grab a cup of coffee and a snack, sit back, and relax while we take this journey together.
Before we get into it, let me just say that this article is not a substitute for the advice of your attorney, it’s just me sharing what I think worked for me and me giving you tips from a perspective of an applicant.
OK, are you settled now? great, lets get started. First I want to congratulate you on your engagement, I mean if you are reading this it means you are engaged and you are preparing for a K1 visa process. So let’s start by asking one question, what is a K1 visa, and who is it intended for?
The K1 visa is not a come lets get to know each other kind of visa, it’s a visa for people who are ready to get married
A K1 visa is a visa that allows a non-American citizen to travel to the US for the purpose of getting married to an American Citizen. The petition for the K1 visa in done by the US citizen, and the two are expected to get married within 90 days. And then after marriage, the now wife or husband of a US citizen will adjust her/his status to a permanent resident of America. However, If the marriage does not take place, the foreigner is expected to leave the country.
The petition for a K1 visa is filed by the American citizen on behalf of the foreign fiancee, you can find all the information on how to file the petition and the requirements at the official USCIS website >> Here.
Time To Gather Evidence, I mean Proof lol
One of the requirements is that you must have met at least once within two years before the petition. So this leads me to my first tip, you need to collect a lot of proof during your meeting, you have to take lots of pictures, but remember, it’s not just about the meeting, it’s also about proving that your relationship and engagement is real.
The way to do this is by taking pictures that show that you are in love with one another, and you are comfortable being together, no I am not talking about R rated pictures, I am talking about photos of you having a nice dinner in a romantic setting, a walk holding hands being natural, don’t overdo things, playing together, silly selfies are good too. Photos with friends that kind of thing.
Email the photos to each other, so you don’t lose them.
And another tip is to email those photos to each other and maybe to one other person, that way if your camera or phone gets damaged or lost, you will still have the pictures and you can print them whenever you need them.
Receipts, you have to keep everything, credit card receipts when you buy the flight tickets to go visit your now Fiancee, if you are staying at a hotel, keep those receipts, if you are staying at your fiancee’s house, take photos and short videos and if you are on social media, tag each other in photos to show you are at the same place at the same time. Also, and this is very important, you must keep the receipt of the ring.
The proposal, ooh I am so excited! if you do an engagement party be careful about what you wear, do not make it in a way that it can be mistaken for a wedding in pictures. The lady should avoid white dress or baby pink, or cream, those colors could appear like wedding dresses in photos and that might raise questions at the interview. Trust me the fewer questions you get at the interview, the smoother things will go for you.
So now you are engaged, it’s time for the American citizen to start the petition process, You have to work together, all documents must be in order especially if you decide to do things yourselves. The non-American has to write a letter requesting permission to enter America to marry, when you write this letter, do it handwritten and another one typed, sign both and send them by post to your Fiancee in America, remember to include 4 passport size photos.
You will be given all the requirements when you do the petition. Just a tip to the non-American, when you write the letter, just sound natural and polite, mine went something like this >> Dear sir/madam, I send you my greetings, I introduced myself and said the reason for this letter is to request that I be allowed to travel to America to get married to…. thank you in advance sincerely…
If you decide to use a lawyer to file your petition, then you don’t have to worry about documents not being in order because the lawyer’s job is to make sure all is in order.
Besides, the amount of money you are going to pay him/her, they better make sure all is in order, it’s very costly when you go through a lawyer, it can cost anything from $3000 to 5000k depending on which lawyer you go to, I think it’s better to file the petition yourselves, the only problem with that is it might take longer time to come through, especially if you don’t have everything in order.
If you do everything correctly, it can take anywhere from 2 months to a year, in my case, we did it ourselves and it took 9 months to get the answer. But think about it, instead of giving all that money to a lawyer, you can use it for flight tickets to visit your fiancee while you wait for the answer. Or you can use it to plan the wedding, or for your honeymoon.
So, the day comes when you are informed that your petition has been approved, you can have a mini celebration but that is just one step, being approved does not necessarily mean that the foreign fiancee will get a visa, it’s entirely up to the Embassy to decide whether you will get the visa or not.
Now things are getting serious, time for medical
Now is when things start getting serious, You (the non-American) have to go for medical examinations, you will be informed by the Embassy where to go, In Kenya, they send you to a center in Gigiri, near the Sweedish Embassy.
What to expect during the examination, they will take blood samples, they will give you a physical examination, they will also give you an XRay of your chest to make sure you don’t have TB. Going back to the physical, because I know you might be freaked out now. It’s nothing serious, if you are a woman you will be examined by a female Doctor, she will ask you some questions, like if you have been hospitalized recently, if yes, she will ask you the reason.
She will also ask you if you’ve had any kind of surgeries in recent years and if the answer is yes, you will be asked why. After all that, you will lie on the examining table and she will examine you, no internal (gynecological) examination just checking if you have any visible conditions I guess, or broken bones lol sorry just kidding. But seriously it’s nothing serious it’s more like a check-up at your Doctor’s office.
You Will Also Be Examined By A Psychologist
After the physical, you will go for the eye test(I failed that one) then you will speak to a psychologist(to make sure you are well upstairs lol) then it’s the X-Ray and then it’s the blood sample. The last one is the vaccines.
If you are afraid of needles, this is where you might freak out, after the examinations and the X-Ray, you will be sent to a room where they give you vaccinations, now this is where your baby medical records come in handy, if you have your baby medical records, they will save you from having too many vaccinations. And if you’ve had a Yellow fever vaccination, you need to have the book with you, that way you will avoid that one.
There is one vaccine that you will definitely have and that is the Influenza Vaccine, my tip is to go straight home after this appointment because that vaccine does make you feel a bit unwell (things we do for love right?) Anyway, after you do all that, the results will be sent straight to the Embassy. I suggest if there is something you are concerned about medically, you should do your own private testing before going for these tests.
I should also mention that all these tests will cost you some money, at the time when I did them, they cost $260 But it depends on how many vaccines you will need, in my case I only got two.
The next step will be the visa application. The Embassy will send you all the forms you need to fill and print. The PDF file will come to you via email. Take your time and fill everything with correct information, have all the supporting documents handy while filling the forms, for example, where you are asked about your education, have your School certificates ready so you don’t mess up the dates.
Another part that you need to fill in the information very carefully is the part where they ask about your siblings, you need to fill in the birthday dates correctly and you need to fill in the names correctly. If your siblings have passports or ID cards fill in the names as they appear in those documents. The reason for this is when you settle in America and maybe you want your family members to visit you, you don’t want to have wrong information in the Embassy’s records.
After you have completed the forms you are going to print them, and you are going to sign them, and put them in an envelope. Then you are going to gather all the supporting documents and you are going to make photocopies of everything, and then put the photocopies in another envelope and the originals in a different envelope.
At this point, it’s advisable to buy folders so you can carry your documents in a nice way.
After you book your interview date, remember there is a fee you have to pay, you will find all the information about the fees at the website of the Embassy where you are going to apply. It’s time to prepare for the interview. If you met online, you need to print some emails, start with the oldest to the latest, choose the nice ones but not the R rated ones lol, also if you’ve been emailing with your fiancee’s siblings or parents, include some of those too, that is if they are good(you don’t want to include if they are cursing you out lol)
In the emails and texts do not refer to each other as wife or husband, this could create problems for you at the interview. just call each other whatever you like but not wife, wifey, husband, hubby those are not good at this stage, you will have a life time to call each other those things. for now, just call each other sweet bananas or sweet potatoes lol 🙂 I don’t know, whatever you like.
Print some pictures, again choose the nice ones, print some, where you are with your Fiancee and your family, some where you are two of you alone, and some where you are together with friends.
Remember to bring the engagement pictures too a lot of those. If you took a video and it’s a decent one, take it with you in a flash disk. Social media, you need to make sure there is nothing on your social media that could raise a red flag like an ugly fight, questionable pictures of either of you with another person, comments from your friends that could raise doubts about the legitimacy of your relationship, or engagement.
Even a small joke could cause trouble for you so make sure you don’t have questionable comments on your social media, you never know if the officer at the embassy will be looking at your social media, you also don’t know what or where they will be looking, so be careful.
Finally The K1 Visa Application Is Through And Its Interview Day
Now it’s your interview day. Get ready dress modestly,(for ladies) don’t put too much makeup on, think like you are going to a very important job interview, wear your hair in a nice professional style and remember and this is very important, wear your engagement ring and take off any other rings that you might have, just wear your engagement ring.
Also remember you have to get to the Embassy very early, like if on the appointment letter it says 8AM you need to be there at 6AM or even earlier if you can. Once you get there you will go through the security check, you will be told to leave all electronic devices at the security desk, you will also leave things like lotions or other things that you might have in your purse (assuming you are a lady) at this point you might be very nervous, try not to be.
Just take a deep breath
They will call your number which you were given after the security check, walk calmly to the counter, greet the officer politely, at this point you will be given a holy book depending on your religion, and you will swear an oath that you are free to marry your American Fiancee. After the oath, the interview will start, you will be asked questions about your Fiancee and about your relationship.
Surprise number one
You will be asked about past visa applications, both yours if you have applied before and also applications that your fiancee might have made for other people in the past, so you need to have answers to these questions.
Surprise number two
You will be asked to produce the tax returns of your American Fiancee so you need to have those handy, they are not in the requirements but you will be asked for them.
K1 Visa Application Tips Surprise Number Three
You will be asked to explain what your fiancee does for a living and how much money he/she makes. You will also be asked a lot of questions about his family and even friends so be prepared.
Of course, you will be asked a lot of questions about your relationship and your engagement, you will be asked to produce the supporting documents of everything you are asked, so be organized and ready to give whatever you are asked for…
Once the interview is over, you will walk out of the interviewing area and you will go collect your belongings, and out you go. It will take about 10 to 14 days for your visa to be issued, once it’s ready, if you are in Kenya you will collect it at your nearest DHL center, that’s where they send it.
At DHL, you will receive two envelopes, one small one containing your passport which has your visa stamp in it, and you will also receive a larger envelope which will contain all the documents that the US Immigration needs to adjust your status once you get there.
Thou shall Not Open The Package
You will guard that package with your life, you will make sure that the envelope is not damaged in any way, when traveling place it in your hand luggage and make sure it’s safe.
Now I will walk you through the process when you land in the US, when you get off the plane, you will take the envelope out of your luggage and hold it in your hands making sure it’s visible, you will hold it together with your passport, at this point the officer in charge will spot you and show you which counter to go to.
When you get to the counter, hand in your passport and the package. you will be asked if you understand that you only have 90 days to get married, to which you will, of course, answer yes, then you will be sent to a small office, where another Officer will open the package and ask you a few questions, about your fiancee and your understanding of the 90 day period.
Then he/she will give you a piece of paper that informs you of your rights, with numbers to call in case of an emergency or what to do if you are mistreated.
You Have Arrived To The US Yay!
And then you are done. Then you go get your bags and you go out to find your fiancee waiting for you with flowers, chocolates, and balloons, and an American Flag, OK I know I am going overboard but seriously after all the trouble you’ve been through, you deserve a proper welcome.
I didn’t get that kind of welcome(guess that should have been my first red flag)
So I hope I have given you a detailed walk-through, and I hope you will find this article helpful. I also know that you have questions about what happened in my situation and why I m no longer in the US.
I will try to answer your questions the best I can, the answer to why I am not in the US, it’s because things didn’t work out and I did not get married to that person so I had to go back to my country(Kenya) but I am happy because I later met a wonderful man and I am very much in love and happily married.
Anyway, if you have more questions or comments, please leave them in the comment section and I will do my best to answer them.
Thank you so much for your time