Many of my clients who file for a K1 Fiance Visa, also wish to have a wedding in their fiance’s home country before using the K1 Fiance Visa and traveling to the US. Its understandable that your fiancé would like his or her family to participate in this joyous occasion, but technically, this cannot not be done. The reason you cannot get married before using the fiancé visa is because once legally married, your fiance is no longer a fiancé, but now a spouse. The K1 Fiance Visa can only be used by a fiance. However, there may be a compromise that you might consider. Instead of a wedding, have an engagement ceremony. Your engagement ceremony can look and feel a lot like a wedding, it just can be a legal marriage. Your family can attend, celebrate your expected union and be a part of your great moment.
So you don’t make any mistakes, I recommend that you determine what legal steps you would normally have to take to become legally married in the country of your finace and make sure you don’t follow those requirements. For example, if a marriage license is required to get legally married in your fiance’s country, don’t apply for one. If becoming legally married requires ceratin paperwork to be filed after the ceremony, don’t fill out the paperwork and ceratinly dont file it. Remember, to qualify for a Fiance Visa, you cannot be married.

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The issuance of K1 Fiance Visas were down sharply in 2017 by nearly 33%. This trend seems to be continuing in 2018. This downward trend in approvals is due to tougher standards of proof and a slow down in processing times.

To meet these new challenges, I recommend that each applicant provide more proof of their relationship and further take steps to plan your wedding in the US. Additional proof would include more examples of your online communications while apart, a history of love letters and cards, and now maybe more than one in person meeting. Although only one meeting in person is still the requirement (within a 2 year period), proof of more than one in person meeting would be very helpful. As the US Citizen Petitioner, you might consider making a second trip a week or two before your fiance’s interview, so that he or she can provide the Embassy with addition pictures of the two of you together.

I would also suggest making more formal wedding or reception plans in the US. Once approved, many of my clients have simply gotten married at a local court house instead of spending for an elaborate wedding. This is still ok. But, I would now take steps to at least plan and secure a date for a small reception or dinner party at a special restaurant or reception hall to show the Embassy that you are treating your marriage as a special occasion. I would then provide proof of a deposit or reservation at the Embassy interview. Continue reading →

Recent efforts by various US Embassies to more closely scrutinize K1 Fiance Visa applications has resulted in some unexpected delays and holds on the issuance of certain requested visas, while additional evidence is requested.  This heightened scrutiny or extreme vetting is coming from places in the world where a suspicion of fraud is high and/or where the couple appear to be ignoring established cultural norms for marriages and weddings. In such cases, the petitioner and beneficiary may need to present additional evidence to obtain their desired approval. In these cases, be prepared to provide the following additional evidence to obtain your K1 Fiance Visa approval:
  • Access to all social media accounts
  • Proof of continuous communications between the couple while apart
  • Additional photographs showing that the couple have spent meaningful time together
  • Evidence that a marriage license has been applied for in the US
  • Evidence of a marriage date
  • Evidence that accommodations have been reserved for a wedding ceremony and reception
  • List of guests with contact information
  • Affidavits or sworn statements from parents stating that they are aware of the wedding plans of their child and approve of the marriage
If this information is available at the inception of the application, I recommend submitting it along with all your forms, documents and other evidence.

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To begin with, a prenuptial agreement is a contract made between a couple getting married which typically sets forth how they will divide assets, property and income in the event the marriage breaks up. Many couples elect to enter into a prenuptial agreement before getting married.
The I-864 Affidavit of Support is a contract between the Sponsor of an Immigrant Visa and the US Government that requires the sponsor promise to provide whatever amount of financial support is needed to insure that the immigrant is financially taken care of by the Sponsor and that the Immigrant will not require government support.  It is required for all CR1 Marriage Visas and when applying for an Adjustment of Status to become a Legal Permanent Resident of the US. Pursuant to the terms of the I-864 Affidavit of Support, if the sponsor fails to support the immigrant as required and the immigrant incurs debt or seeks financial assistance from the government, the sponsor can be held liable for the debt or the government’s assistance. In other wards, the government can sue the sponsor for reimbursement of any funds or expenses it incurs on behalf of the Immigrant.
The existence of a pre nuptial agreement does not affect or invalidate the terms of the I-864 Affidavit of Support. This is because the I-864 Affidavit is an agreement between the Sponsor and the US Government. It is seperate and distinct agreement from any contract the parties to a marriage may have entered into on their own.
In fact, the I-864 remains in affect until one of these factors occurs:
  • The Immigrant is no longer a Legal Permanent Resident and has departed the US;
  • The immigrant becomes a US Citizen;
  • The Immigrant has worked for 40 quarters (10 years) of coverage under the Social Security Act.
  • The Immigrant Dies

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Filing for a K1 Fiancé Visa while working and living overseas is fairly common, but the process can become a bit more complicated then when applying while living and working in the US.

First, I always recommend to my overseas clients that they establish or use a mailing address in the US to receive their Immigration notices. Receiving mail overseas can sometimes be a real problem depending on the country and location. To reduce the risk that you will miss a notice, establish a mailing address in the US and a plan for receiving your mail.  A PO Box or the address of a family member should work just fine.

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All K1 fiancé beneficiaries must undergo a medical exam by a US Embassy approved Medical facility before being issued a K1 Fiance Visa. 

The medical examination will include a review of your medical history, a present physical examination, X- rays and blood tests for drug use and identification of communicable diseases. The physical exam will look at a beneficiary’s eyes, ears, nose, throat, lungs, heart, extremities, abdomen, lymph nodes and external genitalia.  Continue reading →

Once you have completed your I-129f form and are ready to submit your application for a K1 Fiance Visa, you may wish to double check that you have all the required documents. I highly recommend that you review the I-129f instructions again and then you can use the following checklist, which will give you a brief outline of what you need review or do before sending in your application:
Did You….
  • Complete all relevant sections of your I-129f Petition for Alien Fiance

The US Embassy in Manila requires certain documents to be brought to your K1 Fiance Visa interview. Here is a checklist for you to review:
  • DS 160 Nonimmigrant Visas Application Confirmation Page
  • A Valid Passport that is good for at least 6 months

The application for a K1 Fiance Visa and/or CR1 and IR1 Marriage Visa requires the Petitioner (US Citizen) to prove that he or she has the income to support the application. In the case of a Fiance visa, the Petitioner must file an Affidavit of Support using form I-134. For a CR1 or IR1 Marriage Visa, the form is an I-864 Affidavit of Support.

Unfortunately, in the case of a Fiance Visa, you cannot use the foreign fiancés (also known as the beneficiary) income to help meet the financial requirements of a Fiance Visa application. For this visa, only the Petitioner or a close family relative of either party, acting as a co sponsor, can be used to provide evidence of income to meet the Fiance Visa application requirements.

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There are various sources of income and assets that can be used to meet the requirements of an I-864 Affidavit of Support for a CR1 Marriage Visa or Adjustment of Status to LPR.
The easiest and most commonly used source is income. The I-864 Affidavit of Support requires the petitioner to earn at least 125% above the Federal Poverty Guideline for your family size.  When your income meets or exceeds the required amount, you qualify. There is no need to provide any further sources of income or assets. However, when the petitioners income does not meet the required level, you will need to provide other sources of income and/or assets to make up any differences.  In lieu of the petitioners income, you may also submit evidence of:
  • Sponsor’s assets

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