Archives for April, 2016

Common Misconceptions about the Fiance Visa Process

#1 A U.S. Citizen Petitioner is Automatically Entitled to Obtain a K-1 Visa for his Foreign

Fiance
Most Fiance visa petitioners believe that as U.S. Citizens they have an automatic right to successfully petition for a K-1 visa. These people are very frustrated when they find out that they can only successfully obtain a Fiance visa for their fiance if they carefully follow the procedure required by the USCIS and Embassy. The truth is U.S. Citizens are ELIGIBLE to petition for K-1 visas (but only if they follow the required procedure). U.S. Citizens are not ENTITLED to obtain K-1 visas. Petitioners get angry at the USCIS and cause themselves tremendous delay by failing to follow the protocols and procedures to obtain the Fiance visa.

Applying-for-the-K-1-Fiance-Visa

It is a certainty that a K-1 visa will not be obtained unless the petitioner meets the USCIS and Embassy requirements and follows all the required procedures.

#2 The Fiance Visa Process is Fast and Easy
Many petitioners wrongly believe that the K-1 visa process is fast and easy. In fact, it is only fast and easy compared to other types of immigration visas. It is not fast and easy compared to most transactions in daily life. Obtaining a Fiance visa is nothing like buying a car or a house or a boat. It is nothing like filing taxes or getting a driver’s license. In reality the K-1 visa process is relatively cumbersome and discretionary and requires attention to detail from both the petitioner and beneficiary.

A detail-oriented petitioner can certainly read all the instructions to the USCIS forms and file the petition by themselves. The major hazard to that is that any mistakes will result in lengthy delay or denial. The best source of information regarding the Fiance visa petition procedure is the USCIS website and the form instructions. It is risky and hazardous to rely on non-attorney websites and services for information. I tell everyone who wants to do the petition themselves to only rely on the USCIS form instructions for guidance.

#3 It is Virtually Impossible to Obtain a K-1 Visa
The opposite of petitioners who believe it is really easy to get a Fiance visa is petitioners who think it is virtually impossible to get a Fiance visa. These people read horror stories on the internet and become defeated and depressed. It is only virtually impossible to get a K-1 visa if the petitioner does not follow the precise USCIS and Embassy procedures. It is very possible to obtain the Fiance visa by following the instructions, rules and procedures of the USCIS and Embassy. The one thing all petitioners need to understand, however, is that the K-1 visa takes some time to obtain. I advise all petitioners to not get discouraged during the processing times.

#4 The K-1 Visa Petitioner must be Wealthy to Satisfy the Affidavit of Support
The affidavit of support income requirements are very plainly provided by the USCIS on Form I-864P. The income requirements are updated every March and require a moderate income. It is very quick and easy to review the I-864P to determine whether a petitioner’s income is sufficient. It if the petitioner’s income is not sufficient he has the option of asking a family member to execute joint sponsorship.

#5 The Affidavit of Support Obligates the Petitioner to Support the Beneficiary
The affidavit of support is only an agreement between the petitioner and the federal government that the petitioner can be required to reimburse the federal government if the beneficiary receives welfare benefits. The beneficiary herself does not gain any rights against the petitioner sponsor from the affidavit of support. In fact, I have never heard of a single case in which the federal government has ever sought reimbursement from the sponsor for welfare benefits paid to the beneficiary. The affidavit of support is a serious-looking form that in practice doesn’t really obligate the sponsor.

#6 The Embassy Interview is Grueling and Long
In many countries including The Philippines and Ukraine the Embassy interview can be as short as one minute. In other countries like China and sometimes Canada, the interview can be longer but is still relatively short. Generally the interviewer is only looking for obvious problems with the applicant. So long as the applicant is sincere and honest the interview will be successful and the visa will be granted.

Frankly, the horror stories on the internet typically involve petitioners or applicants with criminal records, immigration violations or other non-typical problems. I urge people who have any of those problems to hire an attorney to handle the process from the very beginning.

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