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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Suspected Fraud

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.


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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.


Drop your comments here:

  1. Shari Allen says:

    Dear Mr. Virasin,
    My daughter has been attending veterinary school in NZ, for the past 6 years. During her time there, she fell in love with another student. He is a citizen of Malaysia. My daughter completes her studies in November, and has already signed a contract for employment as a doctor of veterinary medicine, here, in the US. She is to begin work in January. She wishes to petition for a finance visa. They hope to wed, next summer. Is the finance visa likely to be denied, if she files it prior to beginning her career?

    -Shari Allen

    • Siam Legal International says:

      Dear Shari,

      Thank you for contacting us. With regards your inquiry, we strongly suggest to apply the K-1 Fiancee Visa after she returns back to the US and start her work. Then, she can apply or petitioner her fiancé in Malaysia for a K-1 visa. With regards to the income requirement, the US Embassy normally requires the current tax returns that shows her income. On your daughter’s case, she will need to show proof to US Embassy that she can support her fiancé in the US once he arrives by showing her employment letter with her annual salary.

      Our company can help your daughter and her fiancé in Malaysia for the process of their K-1 Fiance Visa application.

  2. Jeanette R says:

    Sir, my fiance and I met in 2012. He came here in 2012 but did not file a fiance visa. In 2015, we broke up and had different lives. I met an American and filed me a fiance visa in 2015 but was rejected due to lack of evidence. We broke up because he had multiple girlfriends. My fiance and I were back together in 2016 and he filed fiance visa in UCIS but rejected due to the requirement of 2 years meeting. He came back to the Philippines in 2017 to meet the required meetings. Now I have an interview scheduled in the embassy. Will it affect my visa application? That previously I was petitioned but failed? Thank you for your help.

    • Siam Legal International says:

      Dear Jeanette,

      With regards to your inquiry, for as long as you and your fiancé have met the requirements in applying for the K-1 Visa, I do not see any problem with the visa process. Also, please make sure that you are consistent in answering the questions during the interview to avoid any problems.

      You may read the information online or visit the U.S. Embassy website for more information with the visa process.


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