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From Application to Arrival: Fiancé Visas for LGBTQ+ Couples


The U.S. immigration process can be intimidating, especially for LGBTQ+ couples. The path to bringing your fiancé to the United States is filled with paperwork, interviews, and legal requirements that can be overwhelming, but understanding the process and knowing what to expect can make the journey smoother. In this blog, we’ll explore the essentials of obtaining a fiancé visa for LGBTQ+ couples.


Understanding the Fiancé Visa (K-1 Visa)

The fiancé visa, or K-1 visa, allows a foreign national fiancé to enter the United States to marry their U.S. citizen partner. Once married, the foreign national can apply for a green card (permanent residency). This visa is specifically designed to facilitate the marriage of a U.S. citizen and their foreign national partner, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.


Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for a K-1 visa, both partners must meet specific criteria:


  1. Legal Capacity to Marry: Both individuals must be legally free to marry. This means any previous marriages must be legally terminated through divorce, annulment, or death.

  2. Intent to Marry: The couple must intend to marry within 90 days of the foreign national’s arrival in the United States.

  3. Meeting in Person: The couple must have met in person at least once within the two years before filing the visa petition. Exceptions can be made for extreme hardship or if meeting in person would violate cultural or social norms.

  4. Sufficient Income: The U.S. citizen must demonstrate sufficient income to support their fiancé, meeting at least 100% of the federal poverty guidelines.


The Application Process


1. File Form I-129F

The U.S. citizen partner starts the process by filing Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form establishes the relationship and the intention to marry.


2. USCIS Approval

Once USCIS approves the I-129F petition, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing. The NVC assigns a case number and forwards the petition to the U.S. embassy or consulate where the foreign national fiancé will apply for their K-1 visa.


3. Visa Interview

The foreign national fiancé will need to attend a visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate. They will need to provide various documents, including:

  • A valid passport

  • Birth certificate

  • Divorce or death certificates of any previous spouses

  • Police certificates from their country of residence

  • Medical examination results

  • Evidence of the relationship (photos, communication logs, etc.)


4. Visa Issuance

If the visa officer approves the application, the foreign national fiancé will receive their K-1 visa, allowing them to travel to the United States.


5. Marriage and Adjustment of Status

Upon arrival, the couple must marry within 90 days. After the marriage, the foreign national spouse can apply for a green card by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.


Unique Challenges for LGBTQ+ Couples

While the process is fundamentally the same for all couples, LGBTQ+ couples may face unique challenges:

  • Proof of Relationship: LGBTQ+ couples may need to provide more extensive documentation to prove the legitimacy of their relationship, especially if they come from countries where same-sex relationships are not recognized or are stigmatized.

  • Cultural Sensitivity: Some visa officers might have biases or lack understanding of LGBTQ+ relationships, making the interview process more stressful.

  • Support Networks: It can be helpful to seek support from LGBTQ+ advocacy groups and legal services from an immigration attorney experienced in handling same-sex immigration cases.


Tips for a Successful Application

  1. Document Everything: Keep detailed records of your relationship, including travel itineraries, photos, correspondence, and affidavits from friends and family.

  2. Prepare for the Interview: Practice answering potential questions about your relationship and future plans together.

  3. Seek Legal Advice: Consider consulting with an immigration attorney who has experience with LGBTQ+ cases to ensure your application is complete and accurate.

  4. Stay Informed: Immigration laws and policies can change. Stay updated on any changes that might affect your application.


Obtaining a fiancé visa for your LGBTQ+ partner is a significant step towards building a life together in the United States. While the process can be complex, understanding the requirements and preparing thoroughly can help you navigate the journey successfully. Remember, love knows no borders, and with the right information and support, you can overcome any obstacles in your path.

 

If you need expert guidance on your fiancé visa application, LaGrone Law is here to help. Our experienced immigration team is dedicated to supporting you through every step of the process. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward your future together. Call us at 678-250-5449 or fill in the ‘Contact Us’ form below.

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