A fiance visa allows a United States citizen to bring his or her foreign national citizen fiance and children to the United States for the purpose of getting married. Once granted, it is a temporary visa, awarded for a period of 90 days, during which time the marriage must occur. If the marriage does not occur, the foreign national citizen must exit the United States.
There are variations of the fiance visa to include, the K-1 visa which allows the sponsored foreign national fiance into the United States. If there are children of the fiance, they will receive a K-2 visa for entry with their parent(s). The qualifying children will be unmarried and under the age of 21. Once the marriage of a United States citizen to a foreign national citizen has occurred, the K-3 visa will provide for them to live together in the United States; this visa is awarded for a period of two years during which time the foreign national will be applying for a green card or citizenship. Additionally, children of the K-3 visa holder may enter the U.S. on a K-4 visa.
Stages of the Fiance Visa Process
There are multiple, intricate steps to petitioning and applying for a fiance visa. They are layered with deadlines and a requirement to produce a considerable amount of information and documentation. There is a requirement to have a physical medical exam and be cleared of a list of medical issues that would otherwise prevent entrance into the United States. Once those hurdles are cleared, a notice will be sent to the applicant to appear for an interview.
There is a lot of importance placed on the visa interview. Intimidated by the fact that the U.S. citizen fiance is typically not allowed to attend the interview, this stage can cause some people to become nervous. Having all of the required documents, the medical exam report, and answering the questions honestly are the only expectations in this interview.
Purpose of the Fiance Visa Interview
The visa interview is a critical portion of the approval process. It is during this face to face interview that, through a compilation of documents and questions, the United States ascertains if the marriage is legitimate. This step is to assist in preventing United States citizens from being defrauded by foreign nationals using the fiance visa to gain illegal access to the United States and to prevent forced marriages. The interview will require results of the USCIS physical medical examination, legal documents from the originating country to verify birth, vaccinations, health history, criminal history, prior marriage and divorce,
The Fiance Visa in 2019
The process for making petition and application for the fiance visas is a series of steps, forms, fees, and deadlines. While governmental processes remain virtually the same, efforts have been made to bring back cautious oversight that had previously been allowed to fall to the wayside. It has been stated that the previous presidential administration had almost eliminated the interview process altogether.
Fiance Visa Application Status
Forbes reports that the current presidential administration is proposing to alter the selection process by no longer favoring those applications based on employment or family status.
It is estimated that more than 4 million people are already waiting and will now have to begin the process over again under the new program. However, those who are already waiting for green cards will be given “points” and will need to apply for permanent residence.
Volume of Fiance Visa Applications
Forbes also quotes the National Foundation for American Policy analysis of State Department data relative to a “public charge” change in the Foreign Affairs Manual as showing a 29% decline in the amount of K1 Fiance Visas issued from fiscal year 2017 to fiscal year 2018. The same analysis of this data also indicated a 39% increase in visas refused.
New Merit Based Program
The new merit based program is being called the “Build America Visa” and encourages visa applicants who demonstrate merit and skill, allowing for fewer visas for immediate family members.
Additionally, under the “public charge” there may be changes to the “immediate relatives” including spouses and “children” under the age of 21.
Chances of Obtaining a Fiance Visa
With all of the changes that have been implemented and legislation still to be defined, there are a lot of variables at play when deciding who will be awarded a visa and who will be refused.
The system, without the interference of changing legislation, is already a difficult course to navigate. The evolving process will illuminate any inconsistencies and inadequacies associated with the deadlines, exams, proper documentation, and perhaps now, most importantly, the visa interview.
Contact an Experienced Immigration Attorney
Failure to comply with any requirements at any stage can stall, or worse, end the pursuit of a Fiance Visa. Contact an experienced immigration attorney at Johnson and Masumi for the professional guidance that can ease some of the concerns with those requirements and prove invaluable as new information comes along.