Was Your K-1 Visa Denied? Exploring Your Options

Also called a fiancé/fiancée visa, a K-1 visa permits a couple — a Thai citizen and US citizen — to enter the US to marry. This non-immigrant visa is designed for couples who have been together for two years who wish to marry in the US. Couples with a K-1 visa must marry within 90 days of arrival. Otherwise, their visa will not be valid.

While most K-1 visa applications have a high approval rate, there are some applications that do not make it through the process. When this happens, you need to make sure you consult with a US immigration attorney or a US immigration specialist to see where you failed and what steps you need to take.

Usually, a K-1 visa application is not approved when the petitioner does not meet the criteria set for the visa or when the forms are not properly filled out. If you don’t have enough evidence to show that you are a bona fide couple, your application will get denied as well.

Who Denied the Application?

Before you decide how to handle the denial, you need to find out where the denial was made. Was it made by the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services branch) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or was it made at the embassy (consular) level?

If the denial came from the USCIS, you can appeal the denial. Respond immediately, as it does take time to go through the process. By law, you have 30 days from the denial date to submit an appeal on form number I-290B. This submission must be made with a filing fee.

The other alternative is to withdraw your first petition for a K-1 visa by submitting a letter of withdrawal. You can then proceed to file the application again. This is a better option if you are concerned about costs. Plus, you can see what you missed the first time when you filed your application.

If the case has been returned to the USCIS for additional processing, you can contact the USCIS to re-confirm their first approval and resubmit your application to the Embassy. However, this approach can end up becoming rather problematic. For example, you might speak to a consulate officer who simply does not believe that you will marry once you and your fiancé or fiancée arrive in the US.

Getting Married in Thailand May Help

If this happens, you may want to show your commitment in this regard by getting married first. In this instance, you will need to register the marriage in Thailand and get married before you travel to the US. You can start the process by filing an I-130 petition to obtain a CR-1 marriage visa. This new method gets rid of the issue of marriage intent and places most of the decisions on the USCIS.

As you can see, you can look at this situation from one of several ways. K-1 visas can be more easily denied than other visas, as there is always a chance for fraud. For example, the sponsored individual may only be wanting to get into the US and is not really part of a committed couple. That is why you need to make sure everything is filled out correctly and that you can show that you are a genuine couple who wish to get married in the US.

The Difference Between Rejection and Denial

While most people equate rejection with denial, the two are different. Rejection happens at the first stage of the visa review process while denial happens later. For instance, if your application is not filled out completely or correctly, or all the supporting evidence is not there, it will be rejected. Also, if the evaluating officer, in the second stage, does not believe your intentions, you will be denied.

The Most Common Reasons that Petitions Do Not Get Approved

The most common reason to have an application turned away, regardless of whether it is rejected or denied, includes the following:

  • Human errors may be made when filing the application. If you don’t follow the legal requirements contained in the application, your petition will be denied.
  • The time limits and restrictions that apply to document gathering may be missed. If this occurs, your visa will not be forthcoming.
  • You may not meet the basic requirements, such as being a couple for at least two years.
  • If you do not show proof of an intent to marry, you can get your visa rejected.
  • Some applicants fail in getting a visa because of a criminal record or a specific medical condition.
  • If you misrepresent the application-related documents and facts, expect to get turned down.
  • A consular officer may deny your application if he or she is not convinced about the legitimacy of the relationship.

If your petition has been denied because of a simple mistake with the filing fees or petition, you just need to refile the application. However, this time, get assistance from a US immigration attorney. Make sure you note the processing requirements and times.

Since the consular office is the person who can approve or deny your K-1 visa, comply to him or her if they ask for more evidence or information. Respond to his or her request immediately.

Filing a Motion

In some cases, you can fill certain legal motions to have your case re-reviewed. A motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider may be filed. The motion to reopen covers any new document or evidence that you have added while the motion to reconsider covers the decision made by the evaluating officer.

To go ahead with any of the aforementioned processes, always contact an immigration attorney or an immigration specialist. Make sure you have someone waiting in the wings who can give you the immigration support and credibility you need.


Category: K Visas, US Fiancee Visa

About the Author (Author Profile)

Siam Legal is a full service law firm but it has an extensive range of immigration, corporate, and real estate experience accessible to clients both domestically and internationally. It has offices strategically located throughout the major cities in Thailand including Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Samui and Phuket along with international representative offices in Australia, London and Las Vegas.


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