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2017 K1 Fiance Visa Requirements

Fiance Visa requirements for Eligibility for a K1 Fiancee Visa

   1. Both Sponsor and Fiancee are "free to marry"

That means, they have always been single, or if previously married that marriage is ended by divorce, annulment or death.

   2. The couple has met in-person within the past two years.

This means both have met face to face, in person. Webcams are great, but only the in person meeting, breathing the same air counts.

   3. The couple's relationship is "bona fide".

The couple has a sincere relationship between them. It does not have to be a "Hallmark Greeting Card" romantic relationship. But it must be sincere that the couple TRULY want to spend their lives together, that they are not shaming, they are not undergoing this process, only for immigration purposes.

   4. The couple's engagement matches cultural norms, from Fiance's home country

A similar requirement to being "bona fide" is that the couple ACTs "bona fide" as well by following the culural norms from the Fiance's home country. What that means is that if for example: in the country and culture of the Fiance an engagement celebration is expected, or a ring is expected, or a dowry is expected, or full involvement of the family is expected, then the couple should do what is expected.

   5. The couple "intends" to marry.

The couple has serious intentions to marry if the visa is granted. That means the couple should in good faith hope that should all go well within the 90 day visit they will marry. In practice the promise that they "intend" to marry, doesn't mean they MUST marry. If things don't go as planned, they are not forced to marry, instead the fiance should return to home country.

   6. Sponsor must be a US citizen.

That means Green card holders, lawful permanent residents in the USA are not eligible

   7. Sponsor's income is over 100% of his states poverty level.

In 2017 this means $16,240 annual income for the sponsor and fiance, plus $4,180 for any additional household members (usually this means dependent children) Cash assets or home equity can subsitute for income.

   8. Sponsor has not applied previously 2 or more times.

The US sponsor is officially limited to 2 fiance visa applications in a lifetime. To apply again, a waiver from being ineligible to apply again must be granted by USCIS.

   9. Sponsor must wait 2 years from last fiance visa application.

The US sponsor is officially required to wait at least 2 years between applying for a fiance visa. To apply again sooner, a waiver from being forced to wait to apply must be granted by USCIS.

   10. Sponsor can not have been convicted of certain crimes.

If previously convicted of domestic violence, sexual abuse, child abuse, dating violence, stalking, multiple controlled substance violations or homicide. The US sponsor is ineligible. Depending on the circumstances of the past convictions, a waiver from being ineligible to apply must be granted by USCIS.

   11. Foreign Fiance has a passport.

The Fiancee possesses a passport permitting her to travel across international borders. The fiance visa will be stamped into the passport. The visa is usually good for 6 months, so the passport must have at least 8 more months of validity.

   12. Foreign Fiance passes medical exam.

The Fiancee has the required vaccinations, does not carry any diseases that would cause a public health risk, does not have any dangerous physical or mental disorder. Does not have a medical condition that would require public financial assistance to treat.

   13. Foreign Fiancee has not (seriously) violated U.S. immigration laws.

Overstaying previous visas to USA, deportation, misrepresentation and fraud to US immigration may prevent approval of the fiance visa

   14. Foreign Fiancee is of good moral character.

This is kind of a "catch all". It was designed to prevent criminals and sex trade workers from being eligible. But sometimes the consular officer can also apply this rule to other situations. For example if the courtship between Fiance and American sponsor took place before divorces to prior spouses were final, the consular officer could consider the relationship at that time to have been adulterous, and deny on moral grounds.

   15. Couple marries within 90 days of arrival to USA

Finally, after the Fiance visa is Granted, and the foreign fiance travels to the USA. The couple has 90 days, after landfall to marry. As long as the wedding took place on schedule, the foreign fiance is eligible to apply for her or his green card and permanent residency. If the wedding did not occur, the foreign fiance should leave the USA by day 90.

   Fiance Visa Requirements

   Financial Eligibility: 2016

You must be able to prove annual income of $16,020 plus $4,160 for any dependents.

Persons in Family or Household 48 Contiguous States and D.C. Alaska Hawaii
2 $16,020 $20,020 $18,430
3 $20,160 $25,200 $23,190
4 $24,300 $30,380 $27,950
For each Additional person add  $4,160  $5,200 $4,780

How to prove your Income.

The way to demonstrate his income, the US sponsor normally provides his most recent Federal Tax Return, 3 to 6 pay stubs showing 'Year to date' earnings, plus a letter from his employer confirming his job, and what the annual pay is.

Cash Assets count as an alternate to income.

In some cases a sponsors income may be low, but he has 'money in the bank'. Cash assets, can be used as a substitute for annual income. 'Cash' assets are assets which can be easily converted (sold) to cash. For example: stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, cash in a checking account can be used. Other assets that can NOT be easily turned to cash with the EXCEPTION of equity in his home, are not useable.

Cash Asset Equivalents

$5 cash assets = $1 annual income

Alternatively a combination of income and assets will work.

Using a Financial Joint-sponsor

If the sponsors income or assets are not enough to achieve the eligibility threshold, the sponsor can ask a relative or friend to act as a joint-sponsor. Just like buying a car, a second person could 'co-sign' your loan. In this case he is financially joint-sponsoring your petition.

When a joint-sponsor is used the size of the household increases. The combined household (for the financial calculations) would include the household size of the sponsor combined with the household size of the co-sponsor.

For example, a college student petitioning for his fiancee, asks his father to joint-sponsor. Both the college student and the father would each complete an affidavit of support. The students household is just 2 persons, himself and his fiancee. The fathers household would be father, mother, and the two siblings still living at home. Thus the combined household would be 6 persons, and the combined income of both sponsor and joint-sponsor would have to be $32,580 or more.

A joint-sponsor can be used for any Spousal Visa or Adjustment of Status petition, and can be used for MOST Fiance Visa petitions. Not all consulates allow the use of a joint-sponsor for a Fiance Visa. Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Nigeria do not.

If you are applying for a Fiance visa and know you will need a joint-sponsor, before filing the petition, best is to contact the consulate directly and confirm whether the consulate's policies permit the use of a financial joint-sponsor.

Using a Financial Joint-sponsor

As most US sponsors are regular full time employees, his income proof is most likely his recent Federal Tax Return 1040, 3 to 6 recent pay stubs (showing year to date earnings) and a letter from his employer stating the terms of his employment.

Employed, Unemployed, Retired

When reviewing your income, Immigration attempts to forecast whether your income will be adequate not only today, but will continue to be sufficient over the next TEN years. When it comes to looking at your older income history, compared to today’s performance, the philosophy is: 'What have you done for me lately?'

Income was under the requirement last year,
    but OVER this year

Your present income has the most weight. If your income was low last year (you were a student, unemployed, disabled) it really won't negatively effect you, so long as this year you have a solid permanent employment, have been on the job at least three months, and your income to date (shown by your pay stubs) shows you are on track to earn in excess of the eligibility requirement by the end of this year.

Income over the requirement last year,
    but UNDER this year

If the reverse is true: your income was good in previous years but now you are unemployed or a student, etc, you have a ‘Hard Sell’ to convince immigration you meet the financial requirement. If you do not want to use a co-sponsor, or are not permitted to use one, then the best you can do is adjust the timing of when you submit your petition, so that at the time the financial evidence needs to be presented (about 7 months after submitting a Fiancee or Spousal visa, or 3 months after submitting an Adjustment of Status petition) the income from your current job is adequate, and it is likely you will continue at the job. This may mean first finding your next job, before submitting your Fiancee or Spousal petition, or submitting early, well before retirement starts.

Equity in your Home

$5 dollars in liquid cash assets can be used as the equivalent for $1 dollar in income. Also equity in your home can be used. What is required to demonstrate your equity, is a professional appraisal estimating the current market value of your home. An online free estimate won’t be good enough. A professional , very recent, appraisal, is needed.

   Fiance Visa Requirements


By Fred Wahl
the VisaCoach

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