As you know, having your fiancé(e) visa rejected or denied for any reason can devastate your future marriage plans. Under immigration law, the K-1 visa allows your foreign-based partner to enter the U.S. for the sole purpose of getting married within 90 days. After marriage, the expectation is that you will apply for a marriage-based green card in order to maintain your spouse’s status. But unfortunately, thousands of fiancé(e) visas are rejected or denied annually before the fiancé is able to enter the U.S. In many cases, knowing the common reasons for a K-1 visa rejection or denial can help ensure your application is successful and that your partner can join you.
Common Reasons for K-1 Fiancé Visa Rejections or Denials
Immigration laws help ensure that anyone wishing to live in the United States has a legitimate reason. Reasons for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to deny or reject K-1 visa applications include a suspicious relationship, ineligibility to marry, insufficient income, or no plans to marry within 90 days. Of course, fraudulent applications also result in a fiancé(e) visa denials.
Here are more details about why USCIS rejects or denies K-1 visa applications.
1. Insufficient Evidence of a Genuine Relationship
One of the most common reasons for denying a fiancé(e) visa application is a suspicious relationship. For example, not sharing a common language, a short dating time before becoming engaged, or a significant age difference could raise red flags.
It can also raise a red flag if you have never met your future spouse in person at least once in the previous two years. You will typically need to provide evidence of meetings to convince the immigration officer that the relationship is genuine (or prove that such arrangements would violate strong cultural or religious norms).
2. Failure to Meet Income Requirements as a K-1 Visa Sponsor
Your K-1 visa application may get denied if you do not earn enough money to provide for your future spouse.
Under immigration laws, you must have the financial means to support your foreign fiancé(e) and any dependent children. The minimum requirement is income that is at least 100 percent of the HSS Poverty Guidelines. According to the USCIS website, you must complete and sign an affidavit form attesting that you have the means to provide for your household. Though it is better to earn 125 percent or more of the poverty guideline for your household, as this is the requirement to file a green card application which is the next step that will take place once you are married. Though exceptions do apply to the income requirement where those in the military are only required to show 100 percent.
3. Failure to Demonstrate Readiness to Marry in 90 Days
Immigration services could deny your fiancé(e) visa if you cannot prove that you plan to marry within 90 days after the intended partner arrives in the United States. First, you must sign a statement of your intention to marry within three months. It is a good idea to provide supporting evidence—printed wedding invitations, receipts, wedding-related event bookings, and other documents to support your application at the time of interview at the embassy.
In certain circumstances where it is not possible to marry within 90 days, you should contact an immigration attorney that can help get the documents to request a waiver.
4. Not Legally Eligible to Marry Each Other
If you or your fiancé(e) are still legally married to someone else, the K-1 visa application will be denied. Therefore, if either of you has been previously married, you must provide legal documentation proving termination of the prior marriage by way of divorce, annulment, or death.
5. Secretive Relationship
A secretive relationship is a common circumstance that raises suspicion about the validity of the relationship in a fiancé(e) visa application. Typically, friends, family, or work colleagues would be aware of your relationship. Therefore, including copies of photographs in your application showing you and your future spouse with other people you know (such as at holiday celebrations or family events) or providing statements from such people attesting to and detailing their knowledge of the relationship can help prove that you have a bona fide relationship.
Other Reasons for K-1 Visa Denial
Apart from the above five most common reasons for a K-1 fiancé(e) visa denial, there are other reasons for rejection or denial that it is important to be aware of, including:
• Having a criminal record or not providing information about previous criminal convictions.
• Having certain medical conditions.
• Missing USCIS appointments or deadlines.
• Making contradictory statements in your application or interview, or otherwise not appearing credible to the USCIS officer during the interview.
As I promised, here’s some bonus information that you may not know about:
Appeal The Decision
If the case is denied, applicants have 33 days after the USCIS consular provides a decision to appeal. You can appeal the decision with Form I-290B, notice of appeal, or motion to reopen. An appeal is a particularly good idea if you feel the decision was based on inaccurate or incomplete information that you can clarify or provide that may change the decision.
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