The K-1 fiancé visa is one of the most requested U.S. visas. The US State Department issues the K-1 to foreign fiancés of US citizens to enter the US for marriage. After the marriage, the foreigner can adjust the status of permanent residence (holder of a green card). However, mistakes in the K-1 visa process can ruin these plans. Minor oversights can only delay the process, but other mistakes can lead to long-term immigration problems.
Although most visa applications are granted, it is good to know what pitfalls have caused problems for others. We've outlined five of the biggest mistakes in the K-1 Visa process. Review these preventable problems before preparing the Petition for Alien Fiancé Form I-129F.
Submitting a poorly prepared petition
Sometimes it's the little things that can significantly delay a petition or even cause a rejection. In most cases, simple errors and omissions in the Form I-129F will result in a rejection. Although the petitioner can resubmit the petition without any problems, this generally creates a significant delay in the K-1 visa process. Every year USCIS rejects thousands of forms because people just forget to sign them.
Take the time to provide accurate and truthful responses to the petition. Read the I-129F instructions carefully so that you understand the intent of the question and how your answers may affect the outcome.
Ielts Science was developed by immigration lawyers to make Form I-129F easier to prepare and to avoid the common mistakes that lead to delays and rejections. In addition to your prepared form, Ielts Science provides you with a range of personalized submission instructions. Our submission instructions are tailored to your responses in the petition so you know what to do for your specific situation. The submission instructions provide detailed instructions on supporting supporting documents, organizing your petition, and sending it.
No disclosure of IMBRA facts
The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA) of 2005 is a U.S. law designed to provide protection to immigrants and U.S. citizens. Relationships arranged through IMBs can potentially lead to volatile situations. Foreigners – often women – seek entry into the United States. US citizens – often men – seek marriage. Unfortunately, the leverage that the U.S. citizen exerts on the intended immigrant can be the catalyst for some abusive situations. The basic provisions of IMBRA:
- Ban on marketing to customers under the age of 18;
- Request the IMF to do a background check on the US customer and provide the results to the foreigner with the information in the foreign customer's primary language.
- Request a U.S. citizen to disclose certain criminal offenses when filing the I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé. and
- Limit the number of times a U.S. citizen can apply for a foreign fiancé.
The law itself could force immigration officers to refuse K-1 visas. If the U.S. citizen has failed to share information about a criminal history or previous petitions with the foreigner's fiancé, disclosing the information to the foreigner may result in a voided obligation.
Immigration officers will collect fingerprints from US citizens as part of the K-1 visa process.
Proof of eligibility for the K-1 visa procedure
In addition to being authorized, the couple must also provide proof of eligibility. The lack of adequate proof of eligibility is one of the most common mistakes in the K-1 visa process. In order for the foreigner to qualify for the fiance visa, the couple must meet the following conditions. You need to:
- Have met personally at least once in the past two years;
- Intention to marry within 90 days of the foreigner's entry;
- You can legally get married in the state where the wedding will take place.
- Have a good faith relationship that has resulted in a marriage proposal; and
- Include a fiancé of the US citizen (not a lawful permanent resident) applying for the alien.
The Ielts Science service covers these requirements with detailed submission instructions to ensure you have adequate evidence. We also provide a sample K-1 declaration that covers many of these criteria.
Not prepared for the K-1 interview
In addition to the evidence on the I-129F visa petition, immigration officials want evidence that your commitment is a reality. Marriage is one of the most abused avenues of permanent residence. Therefore, USCIS and consular officers will be looking for factors that can be red flags for marriage fraud. Factors that can raise additional questions include:
- Engaged very shortly after the first meeting
- Significant cultural differences
- Big age difference
- Different religions
- No common spoken language
- Very little physical time together
Most people have nothing to fear. However, it is extremely helpful to understand the type of questions immigration officers ask the K-1 applicant. Some applicants, surprised by the questions, may appear cautious or fearful. Most K-1 applicants will interview without the US spouse. Take the time to review typical questions and prepare for the interview.
RECOMMENDED: Questions about the K-1 Fiancé Visa interview
Exceeding the 90-day period
Once the alien's K-1 visa is approved and he or she enters the United States, there is a 90 day period to marry and adjust status to permanent residence. This is an extremely tight deadline for planning a wedding and filing complicated documents. It is important to understand the length of time it takes to process K-1 visas and be flexible.
The K-1 visa procedure stipulates that the foreigner must marry the US citizen within 90 days of entering the US. For most, this length of time makes it difficult to hold a large wedding in a popular location. Coordinating travel for immediate family members will be difficult enough. Therefore, it may be more practical to plan a simple ceremony. If you want to celebrate with a larger group of family members and friends, plan a reception or party later.
Additionally, the K-1 visa holder must submit Form I-485 (Status Adjustment Request) shortly after the wedding if they wish to stay in the United States. The customization of the status package also includes other forms. The typical customization of the status package based on a K-1 entry includes the following forms:
- I-485, Application for Permanent Residence Registration or Status Adjustment
- I-944, Declaration of Self-sufficiency
- I-864, affidavit of support
- I-693, Medical Examination Report and Vaccination Protocol
- I-765, work permit application
- I-131, Application for Travel Document
RECOMMENDED: Adjustment of the status through a K-1 visa entry
Other mistakes in the K-1 visa process
Of course, it should go without saying that misrepresentation of facts will result in visa denial. It is important to be honest throughout the K-1 visa process. Even if immigration officials don't catch a lie at first, this can haunt the applicant later. For example, USCIS officials can review previous visa cases at the time of applying for a green card. They will reject the green card if new information reveals that a visa was previously obtained fraudulently. If at any point you feel that getting a truthful answer to a visa application is problematic, contact an immigration attorney.
About Ielts Science
Ielts Science provides a simple, inexpensive, step-by-step guide to USCIS immigration applications. Individuals, lawyers, and nonprofits use the service on their desktop or mobile device to accurately prepare immigration forms and avoid costly delays. Ielts Science allows users to try the service for free and offer a 100% money-back guarantee that USCIS will approve the application or petition. We support the K-1 Fiancé Visa Petition (Form I-129F), Status Adjustment Request (Form I-485) and several other immigration services.
Notice to reader: This post was originally published on November 6, 2018 and has been modified with improvements.