Post # 1
Hi there- I am from England and my fiance is a US citizen. We are wanting to set a date for the wedding but have to go through the fiance visa application (K1). Has anyone been through this or have any idea how long it normally takes? Also, has anyone tackled it themselves without the help of an attorney?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Post # 3
Your username is so cute!
Honestly, I would hire an attorny just to be safe. I have heard and read of so many horror stories with immigration when a lawyer is not used..Tracking down someone to talk to and finding out the status can be such a nightmare. I know this from people I know directly or even ourself!
While we didn’t do a K1, we are doing other immigration things and it has been so helpful to have one. Now, we are using Mr. JCM’s in-house subsidiary lawyers, but still, it has made a huge difference from what I am hearing friends or acquaintances going through.
The bottom line is, can you afford to have something go wrong? (Is time an issue or concern?)
Post # 4
I’m in the same boat (sort of)…my fiance is from London and I’m American. I just sent our first package off to the processing center last weekend!
The process takes longer than you would imagine…I’ve heard as few as 45 days and as many as 2 years (although that was for someone from Cuba). The average time according to a website that tracks these things was about 7-9 months, I think, from when the USCIS center receives your application to the date you have your interview in your home country.
We are not using an attorney because I didn’t feel it was necessary, and it would also cost money that we don’t really have. There are several guides on the Web that can help you–Google "K1 fiance visa flowchart" and you should come up with a site called Family Based Immigration, which is extraordinarily helpful in listing everything that you need to apply. There’s not so much on the American side…but on the British side we need several different forms, a medical exam, a police certificate from everywhere you’ve lived for more than a year (apparently quite easy to get in Britain but as we needed one from China, really difficult), and other things.
We’ve set our date for July 2009, which gives us a little over a year for the visa to go through. However, what we’re doing, and what you might want to look into, is having a separate legal ceremony to sign the paperwork and then having a larger to-do. Once the visa is issued and you enter the country, you only have 90 days to get married, which makes it difficult to plan an exact date–if it’s too early or too late, what do you do?
Definitely let me know if you need help or have questions. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one doing this!
Post # 5
All right, first things first: you do not need an attorney unless your case is complicated.
Now: Do not plan a date for the big wedding until you have your visa in hand.
Why? because you can not know when you will have it and you don’t want to put payments on things you would have to cancel.
What you can and should do is plan to have a simple civil ceremony at the courhouse within 90 days of your arrival to respect the "contract" with USCIS and then plan a family wedding.
You will have things taken care of legally, and you will be able to plan things from there. Families understand and trust me this is what 99% of K-1 do. They know you have a limited amount of time to plan your wedding safely and won’t mind that you were married legally but waited to plan the big thing.
I’ve seen horror stories of people who planned everything and found out as time went by that the 10000$ they put down were lost because they couldn’d get the visa on time.
The website skm mentioned is http://www.visajourney.com I strongly advise joining the forum because you will be able to talk with many many more K-1 people who will be there to give you support, then you can get help for the AOS process etc.
They have time lines there too to give you ideas on how long it takes, etc.
I didn’t go through the K-1 because I was already in the US when we decided to get married, but I go on visajourney everyday and I learned a lot.
Don’t hesitate to PM me later on if you ave any questions about AOS.
It’s a long journey but it’s well worth the wait.
Post # 6
Thank you so much everyone, this has been a great help! x
Post # 7
I am a little confused re: police check, there seems to be two. Do i need the ACPO one? costs 35pounds? x
Post # 8
I’m sorry but I strongly suggest that you do get an attorney. Yes they can be expensive but they are well worth it. You can have them be as involved or uninvolved in the process as you’d like. Many will provide you with general guidance on what documents you need, what you should do, etc., but will leave the bulk of the leg work up to you, i.e. drafting all of the forms and filing the application yourself.
I have worked in immigration for over 3 years and know just how complicated and time consuming this process can be. I do not advise going onto those forums on the internet. They are loaded with people who do not actually know immigration laws – this can be very DANGEROUS. People will simply see the answers that they want and take them at face value.
I don’t mean to scare you and the final choice is obviously yours but please, coming from someone who has seen cases like this before, at least consult an experienced immigration attorney who can give you an idea of what to do. If you want more information feel free to send me a message.
Post # 9
I am going through thi right now – we are hiring an attorney just to make sure we don’t miss anything. My situation is slightly different as I currently have an L1 visa. We are getting married in 5 weeks and I would honestly recommend consulting an attorney, I know some people who have been married for a year and seperated the whole time because visa processing takes so long. Good luck