Instructions for Fiances Filing the DS-156 Form and DS-156K

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If you are seeking a fiance visa (K-1) to come to the United States then one of the final steps in the process will be for you to fill out State Department Form DS-156 (including the DS-156K). The procedures for completely these forms are pretty straightforward.

Note to other visa applicants: Form DS-156 was formerly used for a wide variety of nonimmigrant (temporary) visa applicants. But now, other than fiance visa applicants, most people must instead use a new form known as the DS-160, which you fill out online.

How the DS-156 Fits Into the Application Process

Obtaining a fiance visa is a multistep process, as follows:

  • First, the U.S. citizen half of the couple must fill out and submit USCIS Form I-129F, a visa petition requesting that USCIS start the process and approve the foreign-born fiance to apply for a nonimmigrant visa to enter the U.S.
  • Next, after the petition is approved, the overseas fiance will receive information and forms to fill out from the National Visa Center (NVC). The main form will be called DS-2001, which is basically a checklist where the fiance affirms that he or she has everything ready to take to the U.S. consulate for the visa interview.
  • The U.S. consulate then contacts the overseas fiance by mail with more forms, including Form DS-156 and DS-156K (which can also be filled out online), plus instructions for the visa interview. The fiance will either need to mail these forms in or take them to the interview, depending on the consulate's customary practices.
  • At or soon after the visa interview, the foreign-born fiance's visa will hopefully be approved. The fiance will be given a stamp in his or her passport and a packet of materials to bring to the United States.

Completing the DS-156 and DS-156K Forms

The website where Form DS-156 and Form DS-156K can be found is at http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/forms/forms_1342.html.

Be sure to complete the forms in English. If you are unable to do so, you should probably work with a translator or seek assistance, perhaps at your nearest college. Also, never leave any spaces blank. If something does not apply to you, write the words “not applicable” or "N/A."

Most of the questions on these forms are self-explanatory. On Form DS-156, it's okay to say that you plan to stay in the U.S. permanently and to work there, but you should make clear that you plan to adjust status there (apply to get a green card) after getting married. If you have ever had a visa refused, cancelled, or revoked, or if your answer to any of the questions under Question 38 is "Yes," talk to a U.S. immigration lawyer before proceeding.

On Form DS-156K, you'll notice that it's very important to prove that, if you were married before, that marriage is over. You'll need to provide documents showing that fact. Also pay close attention to the other documents described on that form, which you'll need to bring to your visa interview.

Make sure that you attach a full face photo of yourself, in U.S.-passport style.

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