The K-1 Visa comes highly recommended if you’re looking to bring your fiancee to the U.S. However, the K-1 visa process is delicate, complicated, and stressful.
Typically, immigration services will assess your relationship information and marriage plans before granting the K-1 visa. For this reason, you must avoid the common mistakes K-1 visa applicants make.
Below is all you need to know about the K-1 and the top mistakes you must avoid when filing your K-1 petition.
What is the K-1 Visa?
This visa allows a U.S. citizen’s foreign fiancé to join them in the U.S. with the option of becoming a lawful permanent resident.
The K-1 fiancé visa is valid for 90 days, during which the couple must get married. Since many attempt to obtain permanent residence to the U.S. through the K-1, its application process can be stressful. However, there’s nothing you can’t achieve with more preparation.
Common Mistakes During K-1 Visa Process
The most common pitfalls with the K-1 visa process are:
- Administrative errors – errors and ommissions when filing the requisite forms
- Failing to give honest and accurate information
- Non-compliance with the International Marriage Broker Act
- Not meeting the eligibility requirements
- Failing to prepare well for the K-1 interview process
- Exceeding the 90-day marriage deadline after receiving K-1 classification
#Minor Mistakes with Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Alliance
Immigration law requires the citizen fiancé petitioner to file Form I-129F on behalf of their foreign fiancé to the U.S. so they can marry. Upon K-1 classification, the alien fiancé immigrates to the U.S., and the couple has 90 days to marry and apply to adjust to permanent resident status.
Due to many cases of K-1 visa fraud, USCIS is very strict with its criteria for awarding classification. Your K-1 visa petition could be denied for minor administrative errors or omissions. These include:
- Failure to append your signature on the Petition for Alien Alliance (Form I-129F)
- Failure to duly fill out the forms
- Failure to give detailed and honest answers
Still unsure if you’ve filled out your petition correctly? Seek the aid of an immigration attorney to increase your chances of success.
#Failing to Give Honest and Accurate Information
The biggest mistake applicants make is giving inconsistent or dishonest information. USCIS will scan each petition for red flags before deciding whether you have a bona fide relationship.
Provide honest and transparent answers to better your chances of K-1 success.
#Non-Compliance with the International Marriage Broker Act (IMBRA)
IMBRA offers a regulatory framework to avoid marriage fraud. The Act prevents K-1 visa process abuse by:
- Limiting the number of K-1 visa petitions a U.S. citizen can make. This prevents U.S. citizens from making several K-1 petitions for foreign nationals with false intent
- Setting the age for marriage eligibility at 18 years
- Requiring applicants to disclose their criminal history
- Requiring a background check for the U.S. citizen applicant
Any IMBRA violations in your K-1 visa application could lead to an automatic denial.
#Failure to Meet Eligibility Requirements for K-1 Classification
One of the biggest mistakes that lead to denial is failing to meet USCIS’s eligibility criteria.
USCIS will look at the following to determine eligibility:
- Both the petitioner and U.S. citizen must demonstrate intent to marry within 90 days after K-1 classification
- Must be in a bona fide, good faith relationship leading to engagement and marriage
- The petitioner and foreign national must be legally free to marry. Make sure to end any previous relationship through annulments or divorce.
- The petitioning citizen must be a U.S. citizen, not a lawful permanent resident. Legal permanent residence is a status given to immigrants who can legally live in the United States forever. Permanent residents gain this status through green card applications.
- The foreign national and the petitioning citizen must have met in person in the last two years. If you haven’t met, you can apply for a waiver based on the following grounds: 1) that the meeting would cause extreme hardship to the petitioner and 2) that the meeting is against either party’s unique cultural beliefs. Requests for a waiver must be accompanied by supporting evidence.
Meeting USCIS eligibility criteria does not guarantee you K-1 success. You must provide evidence and supporting documents to increase your chances.
#Exceeding the 90-day Marriage Deadline after Receiving K-1 Classification
After receiving your fiance visa, you have 90 days to get married after your fiance enters the country. Exceeding this 90-day requirement could have far-reaching ramifications such as:
- The foreign national must return to their home country after the expiry of the 90 days
- You might be banned from applying for the fiance visa for up to ten years
#Failing to Prepare Adequately for Your Visa Interview
The foreign national must attend a visa interview as part of the K-1 process. The interview establishes that you are eligible for K-1 classification and that you and your partner have a bona fide relationship. Therefore, you must prepare adequately for the interview.
During the process, consular officers look for any signs of visa fraud. Some of the issues they might look into include:
- Whether you profess the same religion
- Whether you have similar cultural and ethnic beliefs
- Whether there is a significant age difference between the couple
- Whether you have a short engagement period
While these grounds do not mean your K-1 will be denied, they double as potential red flags in your application.
Frequently Asked Question Fiance visa
#Why Would a Fiance visa be Denied?
A fiance visa can be denied on various grounds, such as failing to meet the eligibility criteria, failing to meet the threshold of a bona fide relationship, and failing to meet income requirements.
#What are the Fiancé visa Approval Statistics?
Back in 2015, USCIS approved 99% of the K-1 petitions. In 2018, the figure fell to about 67% of the petitions. USCIS limited the number of approved petitions due to increased visa fraud.
#How Do I pass My K-1 Visa Interview?
Look up and download the 89 interview questions. If necessary, review the questions and requirements with your fiance(e). Also, check your initial Form I-129F petition. Provide accurate information during the visa interview.
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