A key eligibility requirement for the K1 Fiancee Visa is that the Sponsor and Fiancee have met in person sometime within the two years prior to the application. A waiver, to waive the meeting requirement can be requested based on culture and social practice, or extreme hardship.
Is a meeting required?
Yes most certainly.
One of the most basic eligibility requirements for the Fiancee Visa is that the Sponsor and Fiancee have met in person sometime within the two years prior to the application. This is truly a matter of common sense.
Online chat, emails, phones and fax are all good, but realistically it IS impossible to get to know someone, to see if there is potential for a long term positive relationship without physically meeting.
No unbiased observer let alone the USCIS will believe that a couple is sincere, when the suitor is unwilling to get on a plane to meet the person he vows he loves and claims he wants to spend the rest of his life with.
Officially you can request a waiver, to waive the requirement for a face to face meeting.
In practice this is virtually impossible to obtain.
There are two reasons that the meeting requirement may be waived.
1. The requirement to meet your fiancee in person would violate strict and long-established customs of your or your fiancees culture or social practice, or
2. It is established that the requirement to personally meet your fiance would result in extreme hardship to you
If your religion or culture arranges marriages and the bride and the groom are not allowed to see each other till the wedding day, or if you are in an iron lung, then by all means apply for the waiver.
The chances of USCIS accepting any other situation to waive the meeting requirement are extremely small.
Hating to fly or not wanting to pay for a plane ticket or having a busy work schedule or being unable to find a baby sitter will not result in the waiver being granted.
While a 'face to face' meeting is a BASIC eligibility requirement. The MAJOR eligibility requirement, is that Immigration needs to be convinced of the seriousness and sincerity of your relationship.
You must 'prove' that you have a real, genuine, 'bone fide' relationship. You do this by presenting copies of correspondences, photos, letters, plane tickets, etc.
It seems to me that if you actually got a waiver to the meeting it would be a mixed blessing. While you won't have to travel, you will have lost the opportunity to obtain many proofs that demonstrate your bone fides. You could easily win the battle, just to lose the war.
By Fred Wahl