A Guide to Fiancée Visa Processing
The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv processes fiancée visas for Ukraine. The fiancée or K visa allows the prospective spouse of a U.S. citizen to travel to the United States for the purpose of marriage. The minor children (under 21) of your prospective spouse can also travel to the United States with a K visa. We hope that this guide will answer most of your questions about K visas.
Terminology used in this guide:
Fiancée The term fiancée will be used to include both male and female prospective spouses
USCIS The Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services
Petitioner The U.S. citizen who files a petition with a USCIS office in the United States on behalf of a fiancée asking that he or she be admitted to the United States for the purpose of marriage
Petition USCIS form I-129(F) “Petition to Classify Status of Alien Fiancé or Fiancée for Issuance of Nonimmigrant Visa”
Beneficiary The fiancée named in the petition
K-1 Visa The visa category for the fiancée of a U.S. citizen
K-2 Visa The visa category for the minor children of a K-1 visa holder
Information Packet (Packet 3) Information that the Embassy sends to your fiancée, which specifies the documents that must be obtained and presented at the visa interview, and explaining how to obtain the required medical examination
Appointment Packet (Packet 4) Information that the Embassy sends to your fiancé(e) setting an appointment date for the visa interview
Step 1 – Filing the Petition
To begin the K-1 process, a petition must be filed at the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office having jurisdiction over your current or intended residence in the U.S. There is a filing fee of $170.00 for the petition. As with all fees connected with visas, this fee may change without prior warning. The children of your fiancé(e) must be listed in the petition even if they will not be traveling at this time. USCIS sets the requirements for petition approval. Petitions for K-1 visas cannot be filed or approved outside the United States.
If you have additional questions about filing a petition and the conditions of its approval, please direct your inquiries to the local USCIS office or review the official USCIS website at http://www.uscis.gov.
Please remember that petition approval is only the first phase of this process. Petition approval is not visa approval. The petition only supplies the basis on which your fiancé(e) can apply for a K visa at the Embassy. Your fiancée must still establish eligibility to receive a K visa.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR PETITIONERS: When completing the petition, be sure to list all the last names your fiancé(e) has used in the past including maiden or prior married names. Failure to do so will result in a delay of the visa issuance, as additional administrative procedures will have to be applied to your fiancé(e) case.
Step 2 – When Your Petition is Approved
When your petition is approved, USCIS will notify you and will send the approved petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, NH, for further processing. NVC will send a courtesy notification letter to the petitioner advising him or her that the petition has been received and that it will be sent to Embassy Kyiv.
It takes approximately four to six weeks for the actual approved petition and its supporting documentation to reach the Embassy. We can only start processing your case, (that is, send out the information packet and schedule a visa appointment), once we receive the hard copy of the approved petition.
Your petition is valid for four months, but may be extended by the Embassy if a visa cannot be issued during that period and the intention to marry still exists. (See Frequently Asked Questions)
To check the status of your petition go directly to the official USCIS website http://www.uscis.gov using your case number beginning with WAC, EAC, LIN or SRC.
When contacting the Embassy, use your fiancé(e)’s full name or the case number that starts with KEV.
Step 3 – Processing the Provisional Case
As of March 03, 2003, the Department of Homeland Security”s Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) implemented changes in the fiancé(e) visa processing. Due to those changes, the need and the ability of the Embassy to continue setting up provisional cases service has been obviated.
All approved I-129F petitions are being sent by USCIS to the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, rather then being sent directly to the overseas issuing post. The NVC performs all initial procedures, after which the completed petition is sent to the appropriate office overseas. You may be sure that once we have received an approved petition, we will contact your fiancé(e) regarding preparations for the formal visa interview.
Step 4 – Scheduling an interview
Your visa interview can only be scheduled after we have received the hard copy of the approved petition as well as the filled out KEV-1 form.
When we receive an approved I-129F petition, we send information to the beneficiary. The Information Packet (Packet 3) tells the applicant what documents he or she must collect prior to the visa interview. The Information Packet for applicants from Ukraine is in Ukrainian. We also have forms in English. The complete list of the required documents is posted on our website under the Information Packet link http://kyiv.usembassy.gov .
Before notifying the Embassy that the applicant has obtained all the documents listed in the Information Packet, every Ukrainian national must have an international passport valid for a at least 6 months plus 60 days after the date of the visa issuance.
During an interview each applicant is required to present original documents together with their photocopies. We do not require the original financial support documents. Petitioners can fax or e-mail them to the beneficiaries. Any document in a foreign language should be accompanied by a notarized/certified English translation. After the interview all originals except the police certificates are returned to the applicant.
When your fiancé(e) has collected all the documents specified in the Information Packet, he or she should notify the Embassy by returning KEV-1 form from the Information Packet certifying that all required documents have been obtained. There are four possible ways to deliver KEV-1 to the Immigrant Visa Section:
sending the scanned copy by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
faxing to 44 490 4570;
bringing to U.S. Consular Section in Kyiv in person during regular ACS hours 8:30 – 12:30;
Immigrant Visa Unit
U.S. Embassy Kyiv, Ukraine
6 Pymonenka Street
NOTE: THE FASTEST WAY TO SCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT IS TO E-MAIL KEV-1 TO US. WE WILL REPLY TO YOU WITH THE APPOINTMENT DATE.
TO AVOID DUPLICATE APPOINTMENTS, PLEASE SEND KEV-1 FORM THROUGH ONE CHANNEL ONLY.
The Embassy will send out the Appointment Packet (Packet 4) scheduling an appointment for a visa interview only after we have received the following items:
The actual approved petition from USCIS
A filled out KEV-1 from the beneficiary
It is necessary for US to have the actual petition on hand in order to conduct an adequate visa interview for K visas.
The Appointment Packet contains an appointment date and reiterates the documentation you must provide at the time of the interview. The medical exams must be performed only by one of the physicians identified in Packet 3 and 4. K1 and K2 visa applicants are not required to submit proof of vaccinations or to undergo any vaccinations until they adjust status with the USCIS. Therefore applicants may wish to consider carrying their vaccination records with them to the United States to facilitate this process.
We also send out Packet 3 and 4 to the attorneys of record. The basic information contained in Packets can be found on the Embassy web page at http://kyiv.usembassy.gov .
VERY IMPORTANT: We send BOTH packets to ALL of the beneficiaries without exceptions. However, since the Ukrainian mail is slow and unreliable, it is often the case that packets are not delivered to the applicants. To facilitate the process of obtaining information outlining the steps to be taken to apply for a fiancé(e) visa both the Information Packet and the Appointment Packet are posted on our website. You may download them at any time and use them to prepare for the visa interview. If you do not receive Packet 3 or 4 from US, we strongly recommend that you make use of the website. The downloaded Packets have exactly same information and validity as the ones that we mail to our applicants.
It is necessary that the applicant print out, fill out and present the application forms from the Appointment Packet during the interview. Two copies of the nonimmigrant visa application form DS-156 for each applicant including children must be submitted with proper photographs. The nonimmigrant fiancé(e) visa application form DS-156K must also be submitted only for the fiancé(e) . Application forms can be photocopied.
Additionally, even though the Appointment Packet contains an invitation letter with an appointment date, the applicant is not required to present it on the interview day. Admission to the Consulate is by passport, not by invitation letter. The guards have the list of applicants scheduled for the day and let people in regardless of whether they have an invitation letter or not.
If you change the interview date after it has already been scheduled, we will not send you another Appointment Packet.
Step 5 – The Visa Interview
Visa interviews are by appointment only. Beneficiaries should not travel to Kyiv until they have received an appropriate written, electronic or phone (in case of previous temporary refusal) notification about their interview date. Applicants who appear without prior appointments are not interviewed. If you have not received your Appointment Packet by regular mail or e-mail, you can download it from our website. On the date of the appointment your fiancé(e) should come to the Immigrant Visa section of the Embassy in Kyiv. Minor children under 14 do not need to attend the interview. Your fiancé(e) and each dependent child will pay a $100.00 non-refundable machine-readable-visa fee on the day of the interview. This fee must be paid in cash in U.S. currency. Interviews begin at 8:30 a.m.
Your fiancé(e) will fill out a Nonimmigrant Visa Application DS-156 in duplicate, as well as one copy of DS-156K form. Each dependent child also needs Nonimmigrant Visa Applications DS-156 in duplicate. Original documents plus one copy together with a notarized/certified English translation thereof, should be brought to the interview. Originals of primary documents, such as birth, marriage, and death records, will be returned to the applicant after the interview.
Your fiancé(e) will be asked to present:
Valid passports or travel documents for the beneficiary and any dependent children
A notarized statement from an absent parent giving permission to a child to immigrate to the US along with a photocopy of the photo and signature pages of his/her passport OR court decree of sole legal custody OR death certificate
Birth certificates for the beneficiary and any dependent children
Proof of termination of any prior marriages of both petitioner and beneficiary
Change of name certificates or marriage certificates
Police certificate(s) for the beneficiary and any dependent children over 16 years of age
Medical exam results for the beneficiary and any dependent children
Proof of adequate financial support once in the United States to ensure that your fiancé(e) and dependent children will not become public charges
Supporting documentation verifying the relationship between the petitioner and beneficiary
Documentation regarding financial support from the petitioner must be presented. It can be in any form so long as it contains enough detail and information for the consular officer to conclude that the beneficiary will not become a public charge, i.e. tax returns, bank statements, wage statements, etc. Petitioners may submit a notarized Affidavit of Support form I-134 if they wish.
For more detailed information about document requirements, please go to the Instructions for Fiancé(e) Visa Applicants in the Information Packet.
After a consular officer has reviewed the case, your fiancé(e) will be interviewed. The consular officer will ask your fiancé(e) questions about your relationship, such as how you met and when you decided to marry. The consular officer is required by law to verify that your relationship with your fiancé(e) is real, that you met at least once within the last two years, and that you do intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s arrival in the United States. The consular officer will thoroughly review the case to make sure that your fiancé(e) is eligible to receive a U.S. visa.
The Consular Section uses a delivery services to return passports to visa recipients. Following the interview, visa recipients should proceed to the FedEx representative to arrange for the return of their passports with issued visas. The cost for this service (delivery fee and insurance) is approximately $8.00 paid in hryvnas. The courier typically delivers passports within 24 to 48 hours after the visa issuance. The visa issuance can take up to two days. (The company does not operate on weekends or Ukrainian and U.S. holidays). Please note that no exception to the process will be made. The Consulate strongly encourages you not to make any travel arrangements prior to obtaining a visa.
If your fiancé(e) is not issued a visa, he or she will be given notification in writing giving the reasons for the temporary refusal. The letter will explain either how to drop off the missing documents or how to schedule a second appointment. Your fiancé(e) will not be required to pay again.
Supporting documentation, including the K petition, birth certificate, Nonimmigrant Visa Application, and medical exam will be placed in a sealed envelope and given to the applicant for presentation to USCIS at the port of entry. We do not keep copies of this documentation at the Embassy after the case is adjudicated.