Most Common Pitfalls of K-1 Visa Applications
The K-1 visa has many pitfalls. It is one of the most common and most rejected visa applications. A K-1 visa is issued to the fiancé or fiancée of a U.S. citizen to get married. Strict regulations need to be followed because there are many traps in a petition that could cause a case to be rejected. What are some of the common reasons for rejection?
The fiancé and the petitioner have not met the eligibility requirements.
- There no proof of intent on getting married within 90 days of entry. The couple may have failed to provide proof of their wedding plans. Being engaged is not sufficient for a K-1 fiancé visa. There needs to be intent on getting married upon entry into the United States.
- The petitioner is not a U.S. citizen. There have been many confused U.S. permanent residents who have applied for their fiancé under the K-1 fiancé visa. U.S. permanent residents are not eligible to file a petition. There have also been some U.S. permanent residents who have pass the naturalization exam but not have been sworn in as a U.S. citizen yet.
- The couple have never physically met within the last two years. Unless religious or cultural requirement or impossibility prevents a meeting, the couple must have physically met each other in real life. This is a problem in this age of online dating with many couples who have only communicated by phone, chat, or video phone.
- They are not able to legally get married. There may be restrictions on certain types of marriage such as an age requirement, degree of family relationship or same sex couples. In addition, there may have been an instance where someone is in the process of divorce but the case has not been finalized.
The fiancé may be ineligible for a U.S. visa because they are inadmissible. There are multiple reasons for being inadmissible including violating previous non-immigrant status, criminal history, and communicable diseases. Another routine ground of inadmissibility in that the fiancé will become a public charge on the United States. The U.S. citizen petitioner does not have the financial means to support their fiancé in the United States.
Immigration officers are taught that all immigration petitions are fraudulent unless proven otherwise. The couple needs to provide evidence that they have a legitimate relationship. The relationship should not be entered into for the sole purpose of gaining entry into the United States to obtain permanent residency status. The consular officer will look into the quality of the relationship, prior visa submission, and evidence of payment from one party to another.
In addition, the U.S. citizen is limited to applying for only two K-1 visa in their lifetime. If they want to file for more, they will have to seek a waiver and explain the reasons for their multiple filings. This is to prevent U.S. citizens from applying multiple K-1 visas for foreign nationals with false intent of getting married.
International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA)
IMBRA forces a petitioner for any K nonimmigrant visa for an alien fiancé (K-1) or alien spouse (K-3) to submit information on certain criminal convictions in their past. The convictions range from domestic abuse, sexual crimes, slavery, violence, and substance abuse. Convictions of these types of crime will be an automatic denial of the petition.
For other crimes, the petitioner’s criminal history and history of previous filings will be released to their fiancé. With this knowledge, the fiancé can make an informed decision of where they want to get married.
If You Need Help
There are a lot of pitfalls in the K-1 petition process. It is advisable to contact a knowledgeable immigration attorney prior to starting the petition to prevent missteps which can delay the case or cause a denial.
Category: US Fiancee Visa
About the Author (Author Profile)
Mr. Robert R. Virasin is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor Degree in Political Science, Mr. Virasin completed his Juris Doctorate at the University of Houston and a Masters of Laws (Business) from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. Mr. Virasin is a member of the State Bar of Texas and is a licensed U.S. attorney with over 15 years of legal experience. Robert is a regular contributor and author of a number of immigration related articles.