Articles Posted in CR1 Marriage Visa

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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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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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

Recently, USCIS made changes to the forms and procedures for filing an application for a CR1 Marriage Visa.
First, USCIS updated the I-130 form and it now requires far more information than the older version.  The form itself grew from 2 pages to 12. For example, the new form now requires the month/day/year for all residential and employment dates, not just the month and year.
Another significant change to the I-130 form and process can be found in the instructions to the new form under the title “Biometric Services Appointment. This new section allows USCIS, at their discretion, to require petitioners to appear for fingerprinting, interviews, photographs and criminal background checks by the FBI.  At this time, it is unclear as to when and if such additional steps will be required of the Petitioner. Rather, it appears that after filing the new I-130 form, USCIS will advise the petitioner if any additional steps must be taken.

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Many people have taken to various forms of social media to share pictures and provide information about themselves. In some cases, its used to communicate directly with another person. Unlike emails and phone calls, a record of your communications are not so easily deleted or managed for privacy.  Its important to keep this in mind when you apply for a K1 Fiance Visa or a CR1 Marriage Visa. Your pictures and statements reflect information about who you are and what you are up to.
Imagine filing for a Fiance Visa and stating that you are in love with your fiancé and yet having current pictures of a another boyfriend or girlfriend at home or pictures which strongly suggest a romantic relationship with someone else. Such information will likely be seen by USCIS or the US Embassy and in such a case could seriously compromise your credibility. If USCIS or the US Embassy does not believe you, you will not get your visa.

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Effective January 27, 2017, a Trump Administration Executive Order suspended the issuance of all visas to nationals from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. This suspension includes K1 Fiance visas and CR1 Marriage visas for fiances and spouses who are nationals of these countries. At this time, it appears that the suspension is temporary until new safeguards can be implemented to make the vetting process more stringent for people wishing to come to the US from these countries. I am hopeful that new vetting procedures can be implemented within 90-120 days. This temporary suspension is intended to help protect all Americans from terrorism.

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K1 Fiance visas can be denied at either the USCIS level or later at the US Embassy. In either case, a denial suggest that something is wrong with your application and you will likely need professional help to fix the problem.
K1 Fiance visas that are denied by USCIS can be appealed. Once denied, USCIS will provide you with a written notice of denial and instructions for filing an appeal. If you chose to file an appeal, you will have 30 days to do so. Unfortunately, filing an appeal is expensive. The filing fee for an appeal is more than the filing fee for the original application.
Another alternative when your application is denied by USCIS,  is to re file your Fiance Visa petition. This means you are starting over and many times this is the best way to proceed. Whatever problems or deficiencies that where present in your first application can be completely avoided by re filing.  Its also less expensive than an appeal.

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Immigration benefits for same sex couples are now legal and our office is getting Fiance Visas and Marriage Visas approved for same sex couples from around the world!

As you may have heard, same sex marriages are now legal in all 50 states and this makes getting married to a same sex partner much easier than before. No longer do you have to travel to a state that allows for same sex marriages after your fiancé enters the US on his or her Fiance Visa to get married.  Also, you no longer have to worry about the religious or legal impediments in the foreign fiancés country. All Fiance Visa applications are processed by a local US Embassy who applies only US law. So even if your fiancé comes from a country that does not recognize same sex marriages or has strong religious opposition to same sex marriages, the application will be processed and approved in accordance with US law.

If you are already married and you were married in the US, you can now apply for a Marriage Visa without issue or your foreign spouse can adjust status to become a Legal Permanent Resident depending on your circumstances.

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