I met hubby when I was living in Spain. We dated for six months and a few months before I went home for the summer, we started talking about getting married. We decided to do it in Madrid because his family was already there, and it’s easier for my American family to travel to Spain than it is for his Bolivian family to get visas to enter the US.
The more we researched, the more we realized that a K1 Fiancee visa was a much better option than a K3, or nonimmigrant visa. Here’s the main differences:
- This is when an American citizen marries a non-American citizen in the United States, but the fiancée cannot already be living in the United States
- All paperwork must be filed and approved before the marriage takes place
- Wait time (this was back in 2008) 6-12 months
- Work permit within 90 days, temporary green card within a year
- This is when an American citizen marries a non-American citizen outside of the United States
- All of the paperwork must be filed after the marriage takes place
- Wait time (back in 2008) was 12-18 months until the visa is obtained, the spouse cannot move to the US
- It also takes longer to get a work visa/permit and a green card
Once we decided on the K1 Visa, the first step was for me to file a petition. This was the part that confused us the most. I thought we were filling paperwork for hubby’s visa. Before that could happen, I needed to prove that as his fiancée, I was an American citizen and petition the government for permission for my fiancée to apply for a visa.
Sounds pretty easy, right? I’ve been a citizen my entire life. But along with a 6 page form, called the I-129F, I also needed proof of citizenship. Notarized birth certificate, social security card, background check, all sorts of stuff. Along with all of that, I needed to give evidence that my hubby and I were planning to get married. We were told a receipt for the engagement ring is usually what most people use.
He hadn’t proposed yet.
What I didn’t know was that he’d ordered my ring from Bolivia, and because of blocks on packages in and out of the country, even though he ordered it in July, it didn’t arrive in Madrid until December.
We started the paperwork in August because we wanted the visa by that spring. Fortunately, I had my wedding dress because I wanted to get it while I was in the US for the summer. So we used the receipt for my dress and the reservation for our wedding.
Once we collected all of that info (which was difficult, considering I wasn’t in the country), we sent it in. We finished it all in September.
After that, we waited for several months.
Part 2 coming next week!