What wedding cannot be done in 90 days?…
I have been to several weddings, none which lasted longer than the weekend. Of course, my sister’s June wedding was booked in January. So, the 90 day time frame of the Wedding Visa – the K-1 – should be plenty to have all of the festivities, but may not be enough to do a round of site inspections and book your favorite locale. Such is the insensitive nature of the USCIS. But don’t worry, the K-1 is no K2, and once you get married, you can apply for a green card, after which you may have all the time in the world to tour the U.S.’s greatest spots (including Miami, of course).
There are no annual limits on K-1 Visas, and so it has been said that there are no long waiting periods. However, as the K-1 Visa petition approval takes up to seven months, the trusty USCIS has made sure that your romance is no weekend in Vegas fling. Maybe that’s not the worst thing…
Moreover, after the petition has been approved, it may take up to another 5 months! for the consulate to issue your K-1 Visa. In LA, that would be plenty of time to annul and sell the rights for a book deal.
There are a few other things to think of before going all in on the K-1 Visa Wedding. If you’re not yet married and might prefer to have the wedding back in your home country, you should check out the K-3 Visa. If you do go with the K-1, make sure that you get your green card paperwork done on the honeymoon, as the Wedding visa cannot be renewed (same thing usually goes for the Wedding itself, so plan accordingly). The U.S. Citizen petitioners must also disclose their criminal records, which eliminates the couple pictured above as K-1 candidates.
On the good side, any unmarried kids under age 21 that the lucky couple have can come with for the ceremony (on the K-2 Visa), and the traveling future-spouse may either stay in the U.S. and apply for the green card or return home. That’s why the K-1 cannot help but reinvent the destination wedding.
If it still sounds like it might be for your wedding, start with the petition form, I-129F, available on the USCIS website, then take a peek at your nonimmigrant visa application forms DS-156, DS-156K, the DS-230 Registration Form, and the I-134 financial wherewithal form. Don’t forget to set up a medical exam and get your vaccinations updated.