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Guidance for LGBTQ Couples Applying for a K-1 Visa

Guidance for LGBTQ Couples Applying for a K-1 Visa

PUBLISHED ON: April 23

A U.S. citizen may apply for a visa for their spouse or fiance. This type of visa is called a K-1 visa. The process for applying for a K-1 visa is done through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The process requires the U.S. citizen to file a visa petition. This visa petition is I-129F. When your partner is part of the LGBTQ community, the process is still the same, but there could be repercussions for the non-citizen, depending on their home country. A knowledgeable immigration attorney will assist you through the application process. 

How to Apply for a K-1 VIsa

The first step in the visa process is for the U.S. citizen to file an I-129F visa petition with the USCIS. You can fill out and submit the application online, by mail, or in person. This begins the process. The normal process to apply for a K-1 Visa requires the applicant to visit their consulate in their home country. However, there may be problems with potential persecution of the fiance in their homeland if their country does not allow LGBTQ. The applicant would therefore face penalties and could even be expelled for admitting to being part of the LGBTQ community. There is a possible way around this situation. 

What If My Fiance’s Country Prosecutes Members of the LGBTQ Community?

The I-129F visa petition requires you to provide the name of the consulate where the fiance will apply for their K-1 visa for consular processing. You must answer this question with the name of the country where your fiance resides. The USCIS does have a process in place to handle situations where the applicant is afraid of seeking a K-1 visa in their homeland. The USCIS will send you a receipt confirming they have received the I-129F application. You can respond with an urgent request to submit alternative consulates where your fiance could attend the visa interview meeting. You must suggest up to three alternative consulates in your order of preference. 

How to Request an Alternative Consulate

If your fiance is afraid of the problems that could arise if they visited their own consulate, the USCIS may allow them to visit a consulate in a different country. This is called “third-country processing.” The USCIS will allow third-country processing on a case-by-case basis, depending on the circumstances. To request an alternative consulate, you must respond to the receipt of the I-129F application. Send an email to the National Visa Center immediately. Make sure you reference an urgent request and include the receipt number, your name, the name of your fiance, and any additional information that pertains to the request. 

You need to make an urgent request as soon as possible before the interview is scheduled. Mark the email urgent in the subject line. If you like, you can follow up with an additional request through the NVC website inquiry online form. The NVC will schedule an interview with your fiance at a third-country consulate. To learn more about the K-1 visa process, contact our skilled immigration attorneys at Sverdloff Law Group at (312) 238-9090. 

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