Last Updated: 22nd October, 2001


Welcome, my name is Andrew Carey, originally from London, UK, but now living in California, in the United States.

If you or your partner are thinking of, or have applied for a K-1 Fiance Visa for entry into the USA, I hope this page is of use to you. In addition to covering the whole K1 Visa process this page also looks at the process of applying for permanent residency once the K1 visa is granted and the American and alien are married.

This page is pretty much finalized now. Our epic saga into American immigration is done now, so I doubt I will have much more to add. If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to e-mail me at the address shown below. I'll try my very best to respond with any information that might be helpful, although with work commitments I'm afraid I can't make any promises.

Please bear in mind, I am not a legal expert, just some poor guy who has gone through the process!! Also, please note that as our K1 Visa application went through well over two years ago, some information on this Web site may be out of date!

I hope all this information is of some help to you and your partner in your K1 Visa quest.

The best of luck to you!!



A K1 Visa is one of many immigration visas. The K1 Visa is granted to the foreign national fiance(e)s of Americans, allowing them to enter the United States and marry their American partners within 90 days of the Visa being granted.

The process can take anywhere from a month to more than a year, although for many applicants entering from Western European countries the process takes between four and six months. This time frame depends on many variables:

1) The speed with which both the recipient and the American return the necessary paperwork to the INS;
2) The fullness of the required information on this paperwork;
3) The speed with which paperwork Alien's country;
4) The State that is processing the application;
5) various other specific variables relative to individual cases.


There are several criteria that must be proved before a K1 Visa is granted:

Once the Alien has been Granted the Visa, the K1 gives the Alien entering the USA three months in which to marry their American fiancee and apply for a Change of Status. They must apply for the Change of Status, or when the Visa expires they will become an illegal alien and subject to deportation. When you finally get your K1 Visa, it is actually valid for six months, but the second 3 months is presumably just to give the United States INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) a bit of time to officially file your Change of Status.

I've heard from several reliable sources that it is illegal to enter the US with the intention of marrying a US Citizen, unless you have a valid Visa (e.g. a K1 Visa) or permanent Residency. This is worth remembering, because if you get caught doing this, you will be deported and not be allowed back for several years! So to be safe make sure you go the long, arduous and LEGAL way.


In 1996/97, I was in Canada on a work exchange, having just graduated from University in England. In May 1997, I decided to make the most of my location, and travelled to California to meet Erma, my pen-pal of six and a half years. We had started writing in high school through one of those pen pal programs they always seem to arrange. Fate had the two of us matched together, which we are both very grateful for now! We hit it off right away, and by the beginning of September I had visited her twice, we were officially engaged, and we had started to plan our future together.

In mid-November, 1997, Erma sent off an application for a K-1 Fiance Visa for me. On May 2nd, 1998 - just under a year from when we first met in person - we got married. It took a total of five and a half months for the Visa to be granted, and was an extremely stressful, confusing and none too pleasant experience that would have been made a lot easier if we'd had more information. So there is a clear lesson to be learnt from our experience - plan well ahead!

(Up until Visa is Granted)

Below is a time-line showing how long our K1 took from initial application to finally being granted. Plese bear in mind that the time between each stage has almost certainly lengthened a little by now, so don't worry if your application doesn't fit this time-line exactly. Each case is different.However, if you're applying from Britain, give yourself AT LEAST SIX MONTHS just to be safe

For the purpose of simplicity, I will refer hereafter to the American 'beneficiary' of the Visa as "Yank", and the foriegn 'Recipient' as "Alien".

(After Visa is Granted)

Below is a time-line showing the process after my K1 Visa was Granted. Plese bear in mind that the time taken will be very different depending on which part of the United States you are applying to reside in. There are four main INS processing centers in the United States. I understand that the busiest of these two are Vermont (dealing with North Eastern applications) and California (dealing with the South West). It goes without saying however that the other two (I believe Texas and Montana) are also very busy.

Please NOTE: This is an on-going process. I will be updating this section as new events occur.

For the purpose of simplicity, I will refer hereafter to the American 'beneficiary' of the Visa as "Yank", and the foriegn 'Recipient' as "Alien".



As anyone who has gone through the K1 Visa process can testify, it is a very unsettling and emotional time. Not only are you away from your partner and struggling to plan ahead for the changes you will be making, but you must also navigate a complex and confusing legal procedure.

The points below are straight-forward, and often very obvious actions that you can take to keep your relationship alive and kicking while you are trapped in different countries, waiting for the paperwork to be finalized. Hopefully these points are useful and not too corny!

They are the sum of my wife and my own experiences. As a result of the K1 Visa process we have become even closer together, and realised just how important we are to each other. If you are determined, organized and love each other you will succeed!

K1 VISA LINKS newsgroup
Sam's K1 Visa Q and A Site
US Immigration and Naturalization Service Forms By Mail
Web Crawler "K1 Visa" search results
Yahoo "K1 Visa" search results

This K-1 Ring of Gold site is owned by Andrew Carey.

Want to join the K-1 Ring of Gold?

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Graphics by Alleycat


My thanks to the following for their information and contributions to this page:

Sarah Parkin, Paul, and many others.