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Mistakes that can sink a K-1 fiancé visa application

The K-1 visa – which people usually refer to as the fiancé or fiancée visa – is a popular option for international couples. The visa allows a non-American that is engaged to a U.S. citizen to legally come to the United States so the two can get married. That person may also then be able to apply for a green card.

If you make one mistake, however, your visa application could end with disappointment. Here are four potential errors you should make sure to avoid.

Marrying before immigrating

You might be tempted to file the K-1 petition, then get married as soon as possible. That will not help.

If a petitioner and a beneficiary get married after filing the petition, but before actually immigrating to the U.S, then the beneficiary is no longer eligible for the K-1 fiancé visa. You’ll have to take a different path through the immigration process.

Not providing clear evidence of the relationship

As part of the K-1 process, engaged partners have to provide evidence of their relationship. That might include photographs, correspondence, testimony from others and other documentation. If you can’t show you have an established relationship, your petition might be denied.

Not having met face to face

In order to be eligible for the K-1 visa, you and your partner must have met in person at least once sometime within the past two years.

However, there are a couple of exceptions. If a couple can show that meeting in person would violate the customs of their culture or social practices, or demonstrate that meeting would result in “extreme hardship” to the U.S. petitioner, then U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may grant a waiver.

Not marrying within 90 days

What happens if someone receives a K-1 visa, but they don’t actually marry their partner within 90 days? It’s generally the end. The visa automatically expires and can not be extended.  That person must leave the U.S.

If they don’t leave, they may be violating U.S. immigration law and could face deportation. This might also result in that person not being eligible for immigration visas or benefits in the future.