The K1 visa is a common visa that allows US citizens to petition for their foreign partner to come to the United States, and ultimately, get married. Once a US citizen’s foreign partner enters the US on a K1 visa, the couple must marry legally within 90 days.
Receiving a K1 visa is not guaranteed, and being notified that your petition has been delayed or worse, denied, can be an unpleasant disappointment, particularly if you are trying to plan a wedding. If your K1 visa application has been denied, you may still have options.
Why a K1 Visa May Be Denied
A K1 visa may be denied for a number of reasons, many of which can be overcome by working with an experienced immigration attorney who can ensure your petition is thorough and comprehensive.
Denials sometimes occur to those who do not meet the baseline requirements, but more often, they are a result of an incomplete petition that did not offer sufficient information or proof of the relationship.
If the authorities reviewing the K1 application believe that the visa is being pursued solely for the purpose of acquiring an immigration benefit and not due to a bona fide relationship, it will also be denied. Similarly, it is important that the applicant(s) do well during the interview stage or risk denial as well.
Steps to Take Immediately After Denial
If your K1 visa has been denied, you must act quickly. Some options are only available for a limited time. A denial does not necessarily mean that it will be impossible to acquire a K1 visa going forward, only that you will need to dedicate extra effort to the process. An immigration attorney can assist you with your options after a denial.
Appeal the Denial
One way of of dealing with a K1 visa denial is to appeal the decision. You can file a Form I-290B to appeal the denial as long as you do so within the time allotted by USCIS, which can be approximately 33 days. The appeal must be submitted with a nonrefundable filing fee of $675.
Retry with a New K1 Visa
Another option for attempting to remedy a denied K1 visa is simply to start over with a new K1 application. If you are not in a rush, or if the issue with your petition is one that cannot be appealed, you may elect to begin the K1 process over again and take a modified or more comprehensive approach.
An immigration attorney can provide guidance to navigate this process, strategize the assembly of your application and prove that your relationship is bona fide. While your previous denial may impact the new application, it does not in any way guarantee that you will again be denied.
Marry Internationally and Apply for a Different Visa
For those who just cannot seem to get through the K1 process, either due to incomplete petitions or extenuating circumstances, the final option is to navigate the marriage process internationally. The United States citizen may elect to get married to their foreign partner outside of the United States, in the foreign partner’s home country.
At this point, you may then apply for a marriage-based visa, which could bridge the gap and help create a way for both of you to live in the United States as a family. Marriage is a powerful means of demonstrating that the relationship is bona fide, especially if the US citizen underwent the cost and time commitment of traveling abroad solely for that purpose.
Consular officers may feel that the couple is less likely to commit immigration fraud during the process of a fiancé visa rather than a spousal K1 visa, possibly making the process simpler for you. Speak with an immigration attorney to determine which method may be most effective in your case and any obstacles you may expect.
Work with Skilled Immigration Attorneys to Reduce Your Chances of Denial
The timeline for acquiring a K1 visa, entering the United States, getting married and applying for legal permanent residence is all very stringent. This can make a K1 visa denial particularly challenging to deal with. Working with an immigration attorney can boost your chances of success during a K1 petition.
If you have already been denied, an attorney from the law firm of Johnson & Masumi, PC can help you to navigate the appeals process or create a new and more successful petition. Contact our office to schedule a consultation to discuss your options today.