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3 important steps to take to comply with K-1 visa restrictions

On Behalf of | Oct 27, 2022 | Family Immigration

When you finally receive notice that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had approved your K-1 fiance visa request, you may feel a combination of excitement and relief. It can be frightening to wait and worry about whether the person you love can enter the country to marry you. It is also thrilling to realize that you can finally start planning your wedding and your future together.

However, you have to consider the restrictions that the USCIS enforces related to K-1 visas. Specifically, there will be a countdown for your wedding. You only have 90 days to solemnize your relationship after your fiance enters the country. The three steps below can help those preparing to get married with a K-1 visa comply with that timeline.

Set realistic expectations

While you may fantasize about a fairy tale wedding that involves all of your distant relatives traveling from around the world, large-scale weddings typically take at least 12 months to plan. You would need to have a firm date set roughly a year in advance to secure a venue, catering and other crucial services for a big wedding.

Since the USCIS can be a bit unpredictable in how long it takes to review and finalize visa applications, it may not be wise to commit to a date before you have the visa in hand. Many couples have a small legal or religious service to officialize their marriages and then plan a full-scale reception and possibly a second ceremony that their entire social circle can attend.

Keep your family informed

Even if you only get married with your parents and siblings present, there will still be some travel and preparations necessary which will require a lot of coordination. Keeping lines of communication open with your family, including discussing tentative dates as the visa processing occurs, can help ensure the most important people are all available on your important day.

Remember to document everything

A wedding attended by both sides of the family is a great piece of evidence that you have committed to a bona fide marital relationship. The records of your wedding which occurs shortly after your fiance enters the country will help demonstrate to the USCIS how deep the commitment between the two of you actually is and that you fulfilled your obligations to get married shortly after their arrival. Such documentation will help you with the next steps in the immigration process for your fiance.

Careful planning and an understanding of the law are both important for those making use of family-based immigration programs.