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K-1 fiancee visa documents to gather now


U.S. citizens and their foreign fiance(e)s frequently use the K-1 fiancee visa to bring their loved ones to the U.S. The K-1 fiancee visa regulations state specific requirements that must be met before the foreign fiance(e) is permitted to enter the U.S. Generally, the K-1 fiancee visa application must present evidence of the petitionerís U.S. citizenship, the development of the coupleís relationship, the fact that they have met within the past two years, their status as two people who are free to marry, and their intention to marry within 90 days of the foreign fiance(e)ís arrival in the U.S.  Provided that these elements are met, the foreign fiance(e) can enter the U.S. on a K-1 visa.


Processing times at the INS and the overseas U.S. consulates are lengthy as the INS receives thousands of applications daily and the U.S. consulates impose tighter security measures. As of December 10, 2002, over 210 visas were pending at the U.S. embassy in Moscow. These delays are difficult to endure for a couple in love. 


In addition, the couple must factor in their time spent gathering personal documents for inclusion in the K-1 application. U.S. citizens will need to submit documents that may be lost or expired. In these cases, they will need to submit requests to other U.S. federal and local government offices such as the IRS for copies of records. U.S. citizens can shorten their own preparation time by obtaining the following documents immediately:


Birth certificate. U.S. citizens who are citizens based on birth in the U.S. can prove this by producing a copy of their state birth certificate. This can be obtained by calling or visiting their regional Office of Vital Records in the state in which they were born.  


Naturalization certificate. If the U.S. citizen was naturalized but has misplaced his or her naturalization certificate, they can obtain a replacement. Instructions and the form are located at this INS web page


U.S. Passport.  An U.S. citizen can also prove citizenship by including a copy of his U.S. passport in the K-1 application. If one was lost or has expired, thorough instructions are provided on the Department of State website passport page located at


Divorce papers. If either or both the U.S. citizen and foreign fiance(e) has been previously married, K-1 regulations require submitting proof that the marriage has been dissolved. U.S. citizens can provide a court dissolution decree to show this. To obtain a copy of any of a divorce decree in the United States, write or go to the vital statistics office in the state or area where the divorce occurred.


U.S. income tax returns. The U.S. citizen will need to demonstrate that he or she has the financial resources to support the foreign fiance(e). This can be shown by producing IRS tax returns for the past three years. Contacting oneís accountant is the easiest method. However, if such records are unavailable, past tax returns may be requested from the IRS. Instructions on how to submit this request are available at


By securing these important documents now, the preparation of the K-1 fiance(e) petition will proceed much faster and smoother. The K-1 application process requires some homework; taking care of things now facilitates the process and brings the couple one step closer to being together.




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