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What can you do if your Fiancee or Spousal Visa is denied?

I get phone calls from strangers, (strangers for they weren’t my clients, they prepared their petitions themselfs, or used an attorney), who call to share their shock and disappointment after hearing from their heartbroken fiancee that their petition was denied.  They ask: Can we sue the consulate? Can we appeal? Can my Congressman help? Yes, to all these questions. But going down that path is simply a waste of time and money, as none of these actions will bring your lover closer to reunion with you in the USA.

What can be done, that is USEFUL?

Short answer: Don't get Denied in the first place.

The first time you apply should be the ONLY time you need to apply. Do your research, see why the consulate rejected couples in the past, then avoid repeating the same mistakes. If the consulate expects a formal engagement, or multiple trips, or a long courtship... do what is needed before you submit your petition. And make sure you provide abundant and believable proof that that there is no fraud, that you are a pure, genuine, "bone fide" couple planning a future life together. While it is certainly inexpensive to prepare all the paperwork yourself, I recommend you hire me to personally help you. My record is 100% approval.

Long answer: Start Over

If denied, your only effective option is to start over, repeating the ENTIRE process again. You must do a better job this time. On the plus side you have more longevity in your relationship, you have more evidences, and the fact you are persisting and trying again adds to your credibility.

Study your mistakes.

Sometimes, the consulate provides a letter, describing in detail why the petition was denied. This should be studied carefully and action taken to correct what you can. That which can not be directly corrected, can be generally overcome due to the fact that your relationship now has much more longevity (at least a year) the second time you apply.

Often however, the vague reason given for denial is 'the couple was not found bone fide'. Basically that means that the consular officer's intuition told him to deny. You don't have any real solid facts to go on. However you should try your best to figure out what went wrong. Ask your fiancee to describe the interview in detail: What questions were asked, what comments were made, what body language occured? Try to determine what was it that the consulate officer was concerned about, found suspicious or reacted negatively to? Did he ask a lot of questions about your ex-wife? details about the marriage proposal? wanted to know about finances? Who introduced you and why? Commented on the courtship going on before the divorce was final?  Whatever seemed to go wrong, that is something you will have to correct and address, for the next time.

Use additional evidence to best advantage:

You should have done a full and complete job in providing evidences of your relationship when you filed your original petition. But many of the callers I get, mention they made the ‘rookie’ mistake of not providing adequate supporting evidences of their relationship. If you did not do that job well the first time, now is your chance to do it correctly. Or ask for my help. I strongly believe the most important aspect of the petition is the evidence of the ‘bone fides’ of your relationship, this is where I personally spend the most time and effort when working with clients. Helping them to tell their story in a logical and convincing manner. As your relationship is at least a year older then at the time it you first applied, you now have an entire years worth of additional evidences to add to your petition.  See my video On How to Prove a Genuine Relationship

Enlist Support of your Congressman

You could ask your Congressman to help get an explanation of why you were denied. I have seen this done, but usually with no worthwhile results. Generally the answer obtained is "they were not believed to be bone fide", full stop.

A better use of your Congressman is to contact him once your fiancee's second interview is scheduled, tell him the details of your case, explain how sincere and bone fide your relationship is, and ask for his help.

This usually results in an email from his office to the consulate a few days before the interview, advising that the Congressman is personally interested in your case, and asking the consulate to advise the results after the interview. This is not a message from the Congressman endorsing your case. But it serves to put the consular reviewing officer on notice that should the case be denied, he will be expected to report a solid, documented reason. Many cases are rejected based upon the "intuition" of the reviewing officer. The expectation that detailed written documentation will be needed in case of denial tends to influence the consulate reviewer to find a solid reason for denial, and if he is unable to do so, then to approve.

Request Waiver

The recent IMBRA laws restrict the use of Fiancee visas by American sponsors. Two restrictions are that an American is limited to two fiancee visa petitions in his lifetime, and they can not be submitted within two years of each other. So when applying immediately, the second time, for your Fiancee your petition will need to include a request for waiver from at least one of these IMBRA restrictions, even though you are applying for your SAME fiancee.

Fiancee or Spousal Visa

Either visa needs the same amount of evidences. If you are living together, getting married does look better than only staying engaged. However if the relationship is long distance, getting married but still living far apart only marginally makes your relationship appear more sincere. The spousal visa takes about 12 - 14 months to process while the Fiancee visa takes only 5- 7 months to process. In general I recommend couples whose Fiancee Visa has been denied, to apply for the fiancee visa again as it is faster.

By Fred Wahl


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