Since November 2014 I am engaged to Shaun and after a long talk, we decided to settle down in the USA. Which means I would have to immigrate. There were two options for us to choose from, getting married first and then do the paperwork, or apply for a fiance visa and continue from there. We opted for the latter option. There are lots of information online about the whole process, but I would like to share my experience and point of view on certain things. Also, this blog might be handy for Dutch people like me, as I am a Dutchie moving the the USA.
K1 Visa VS CR1 Visa
There are two options to be with your significant other in his/her home country; either get married first or get married in the USA. K1 visa is the fiance visa, which means you are applying for a visa to get married in the USA, while CR1 visa is for the ones who got married already. Why did I choose K1 visa? We opted for the fastest route. As of writing now (Jan 2018), there’s not much difference in waiting time between both visas so if you want to go for the easiest and cheapest option, go for CR1 visa. Unfortunately I can’t help you with CR1, because I am applying for K1 visa.
before you start
Do a lot of research before you start. There’s a lot of paperwork involved and it can be overwhelming. VisaJourney is a holy grail that makes your process easier. It’s an online community and free to join. The members of VJ are going (or went) through the same process as you thus they can help you if you have certain questions. It has become my support through this awefully long waiting time. I suggest you to become a member and create your own timeline. This way you can track your process and you also get to know how long it takes before you get your NOA2.
Assembling I-129F package
To start your K1 visa process, you have to submit I-129F form. This is a package that sums up your relationship. Some people take a day to collect everything, some a few days… It took me a total of few weeks. I know myself, I’m stressed very easily so I prepared everything beforehand on my own pace so I don’t get too stressed out last minute. Make sure to check out the VisaJourney K1 visa guide to make sure you have everything sorted out.
Don’t forget to double, even triple check, everything before submitting!
This is what we have sent (also in this order):
– Filing fee
– I-129F cover letter
– G-1145 E-Notification firm
– I-129F Petition (current version)
– Attachment of how we met in person (question 34)
G325A Biografic Information (not needed anymore as of 2018)
– Certificate of naturalisation
– Fiance letter of intent (petitioner & beneficiary)
– Proof of relationship
– Evidence of communication (Facebook, Skype, etc)
– Engagement ring receipt + picture of me wearing the ring
– Evidence of travel (flight tickets, hotel confirmation, etc.)
– Attachment of relationship story
– Closing letter
Also needed is US passport sized photos.
Some photo shops do US sized passport photos, just search on Google for the one closest to you.
The petitioner, Shaun in this case, suppose to assemble the package. But since I’m the one who always take pictures of us and keep all the ticket and hotel receipts, I made the proof of relationship package and evidence of travel and communication, sent it to him, and he did the rest. This way we devided the work load. I sent them pictures of the start of our relationship as well. It’s not necessary, they only want proof of relationship from the past 2 years. But I thought, the more the better. So that’s up to you.
Just keep it simple, don’t need for a fancy binder and stuff. I just bought a big paperclip and put everything together just like that.
After your petitioner submit the package, you get a NOA1 (Notice of Action 1) hard copy after a few days in your mail. If you applied for G-1145 you get a notification via text message or email as well. This means USCIS received your package safely. This also means you can track the status of your petition online.
Tip: download the app Case Tracker to be able to follow your case everywhere you go.
At the moment our case is still in progress. A NOA2 will follow in 6-10 months after NOA1. Right now, there’s a huge backlog at USCIS so everything is slowing down more. We are counting on getting our NOA2 between 180 ~ 200 days. Right now as of writing this blog, we are on day 112.
A new blog post follow when I get my NOA2!
Keep checking my blog for updates. Also if you have questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Be aware that I can’t answer every question since it’s different for every country.