K1 visa timeline

San Francisco
I am sure that many of you are wondering how long does it take to get a fiance visa. 

Or maybe you are searching for most common reasons fiance petitions get delayed or denied. Well, read on!  

On top of that I am also going to show you our k1 visa timeline or how long the k1 visa process took us. 

I remember exactly how stressful the times of not-knowing were. "Will I be able to join my fiance soon?" or "Are there going to be any problems getting my visa approved?". I asked these and many more questions over and over. 

Let me just say this:

In most cases, there is nothing to worry about. As long as both of meet their requirements, your relationship is sincere, and your petition is filed correctly, there should not be any delays. 

Even though it's been four years since we filed our petition, I recently checked the USCIS website and it seems that not much have changed. 

The processing times are more or less the same. I am sure the folks there have their routines down and they have to follow the same procedures as they did back in 2012.

How long did the whole fiance visa process take? 

At first we were still undecided if we would end up in the States or stayed in Europe longer. Although our I-129F petition documents were ready by the end of September 2011, we only sent them two months later! The k1 visa processing times on USCIS website were quite fast, so I wasn't too worried. It took us 5 months to have the petition approved.

Fiance visa petition processing times

If you would like to check current processing times, click here to USCIS website. At the bottom of the page choose which Service Center is reviewing your application (you should find this information on the letter you received from USCIS). Press "Service Center Processing Dates" and you'll get a whole table of applications and dates. Look for I-129f and the length in months. That should give you an idea. 

The most current processing times for I-129f petitions are 5 months at California Service Center, and 6 months at Texas and Nebraska Service Center. Vermont one was the longest, 8 months to be precise. Our petition was processed from California center, and it really did take 5 months only. So their prediction is quite accurate.  

After my petition was approved

After my petition was approved, I received a letter from the National Visa Center. They gave me a list of items I needed to gather for the interview. I also ended up transferring my whole package to embassy in my home country, Slovakia, and got a chance to choose my interview date. 

I didn't have all the vaccinations and background checks ready at that time, I picked the last possible date before the embassy's summer break. This kind of slowed down the whole process! So for your own advantage, make sure you start working on your medical exam and background checks early enough. 

Our k1 visa timeline

Here is our k1 visa timeline. I hope this gives you an idea about how fast things move with USCIS. I wish for you that everything goes as smoothly as it did for us! 

timeline for k1 visa
k1 visa timeline

Please don't get confused about two Green Card interviews. We had to re-schedule the first one, that's why there are two dates. 

And on another note. You can download all of the k1 visa forms on USCIS website, and more importantly they are all FREE. So don't get fooled if someone is asking money from you to send you the forms. Plus, only on USCIS website you can find the most up-to-date forms they require! 

Please, keep in mind that every case is slightly different. It might take you longer or maybe even shorter to get your k1 fiance visa approved. 

What did the timeline look like for others

I would like to add some links to other people' timelines. This might help you compare and possibly determine your wait time. 

Visa Journey community - not sure how updated their timeline is. But they have forums as well as other helpful resources. 

AverageAsianMom.com - Donna uploaded her visa journey from 2015 here. It is a very recent one worth looking at! 

Similarly to previous one. Wannie's timeline is from 2015.  

Nicole and Roberto posted their timeline on their website. It is very detailed and they mention k1 visa interview questions as well. 

Fiance petition delay and denial: most common reasons

I cannot stress this enough:

Make sure your petition is filled out correctly. 

Delays may be caused by the following: 

  • Forms are filled inaccurately e.g. misspelled names, dates, missing items, missing signatures, blue ink (if hand -filled), etc.
  • Not enough evidence provided or missing evidence that is required e.g. proof of meeting face-to-face
  • Documents missing official English translation
  • Missing items like photos, birth certificates, etc. 
  • Incorrect fee paid
In most of these cases, you will be sent Request for Evidence letter. It will instruct you on how to provide more documentation or how to correct your application. This will cause a delay however, because it is not clear how high the priority of such cases is afterwards. 

Denials may be caused by these reasons:

  • Your #1 intention to come to the USA is not to marry your fiance, but e.g. work, economic reasons, immigration benefits, etc. Suspicion may be raised at your embassy interview or even from your file. 
  • History of serious violent crimes, substance abuse, crimes against minors
  • Multiple petitions filed within 2 years period
  • Hiding information from USCIS e.g. criminal history, visa overstay, etc.
  • Failure to convince the interviewing officer at the embassy interview about sincerity of your relationship
  • Suspected fraud 

I really hope that there is no such thing as petition denial in your future! Be aware though, that some countries have extremely high number of fiance petitions AND fraudulent petitions, so embassy officers are super strict.  

    Next I will talk about how to apply for a fiance visa. You can find all the i-129f application form checklist in my next post. I hope it will help you to get organized and moving forward with your petition.  



    1. Thanks for sharing this nice post. K visas are non-immigrant visas for fiancées/fiancés or spouses of U.S. citizens who intend to immigrate to the United States.

      Type of K Visas

    2. Sorry, what's the difference between "petition received" and "receipt notice."

      Thanks again for posting, this is really helpful.

    3. Because we sent our package via Registered mail, we checked on USPS website often to see when the USCIS got the package. That's what I mean under "Petition Received". Later on you will get a notice in mail from the USCIS that they actually received your package and that they have started the process. That is called a "Receipt Notice".

    4. Hi Kristina,

      Thanks for sharing the above information. This is indeed useful. I received my i- 979 petition from the Department of Homeland last month. Once, I received that I have now started the process for applying for Medical, Police Clearance etc here in India, Bombay.

      My question to you is my Fiance is an American we plan to have a hindu wedding (religious) ceremony in December in India, Bombay. However, I just was informed by some friends I can't have a Hindu marriage before getting civilly (legally) married in the US. Is this true? Do i need to first come to the US, get married and there on have the Hindu wedding in India?

      If yes, can I leave the US Port after the legal marriage or do I need to wait in the US for few months? If I need to come back to India for the wedding since we have booked the venue etc. can I ask the Department of Homeland as a special permission to come there.

      Please advise.

      Thanks for your help.

    5. After you travelled to the USA I know you then have 3 months to get married, so once you got married how long are you allowed to stay in the USA for to get your green card things sorted? is the 3 month extended?

      1. You can stay until everything is sorted. Once you are married, your case is being processed and you are legally allowed to stay.

    6. Prosim fa za aky cas sa da ist na ambasadu po schvaleni peticie? Aky bol tvoj prvy termin na ambasadu? Dakujem velmi pekne!!

    7. Hi Kristina I worked with my social security card befor working permit approuve without know am i going to be punished for that?

      1. Well, I think you probably worked illegally. Because companies wouldn't hire you without your social security number. I am not sure if they are going to find out or not, but I believe the company who hired you would be in more trouble than yourself. That's just my opinion though.

    8. At what point did you apply for your social security number?

    9. Have you found your true love abroad?Does an ocean stand between you and your soul mate? TLC’s hit docu-series 90 Day Fiancé is currently seeking couples to be featured on our next season. We are looking for American men or women currently in the process of bringing over their international fiancés on a K1 Visa. We’re also on the hunt for couples who’ve yet to meet in person. We’d love to capture your first face-to-face meeting on camera.
      All ages, ethnicities, genders and sexual orientations encouraged to apply.
      If you think you've got a tale of international love, we want to hear from you! Email k1showcasting@gmail.com and tell us your story.

    10. my Fiancé lives in Jamaica and it has been almost a year since his embassy received all our paperwork and every time I write to find out when he will receive his visa they keep saying two weeks and it still has not come. is there an agency I can complain to about this

      1. I am sorry to hear that. I am not sure what you can really do about that. Maybe he should call the embassy to ask about his case.

    11. Thank you so much for posting, Kristina! My partner is American and I am Canadian. We are not married yet and are considering the K1 visa. However, I'm concerned about the time apart while the I-129F is being processed.

      Did you and your partner stay together in Europe until the I-129F was accepted/you travelled to the States?

      1. I stayed behind in Europe. But only for three months. However, when he was leaving we weren't sure how long we wouldn't see each other. So it was pretty stressful at first.

    12. Is it okay to travel a week later after receiving your visa?

      1. Yes, definitely. Once you have your visa, you are good to go! :)

    13. i received my form I797....now do I wait for nvc to contact me for further instructions....also im not clear whether I need to send in my financial documents or because im self employed only my w2's

    14. Hi Kristina, i am planning to apply for K1, but I am wondering if petitioner have to stay in USA during the whole processing time? I have planned a trip to visit him as well in 6 months and comes back with him if he receives his visa in the same time period,
      Did they ask for anything else later from the petitioner once petition is approved.?

      1. The US citizen, petitioner can travel how much he wants. But once you apply for your visa you cannot travel to the USA until it's approved. They want to prevent random marriages that could occur like that.

    15. hello there, I appeared for the interview on 15th april and in interview the immigration officer told me that I can collect my passport after 10 business days from one of their collection center in Pakistan as nothing went wrong. but now it has been more than 6 weeks and I did not get any response. everytime I find my status on their Website but they keep telling me to wait and never mentioned the specific time period. everything is true in my case and Interview happened so nicely. how long I can be hold by embassy. will be grateful if I find any response from you guys.
      best Regards

      1. Hello Kaleem. I am sorry to hear about your situation. It seems there has been some misinformation between the interviewing officer and embassy procedures. However, it sounds strange that they would keep your passport for such a long time after your visa was approved. Try to get your fiance in the USA contact the NVC and ask about the embassy in Pakistan. Best of luck to you both!

    16. It took us 35 days to have the petition approved :)


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