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Waiver for 2 year rule, In-person Meeting Requirement

One of the eligibility requirements for a fiance visa is the "two year rule" which states.

"the couple must have met in-person within the two years immediately preceding the filing date of the petition within the two years immediately preceding the filing date"

To be considered eligible, a couple MUST have actually met each other, in-person, face to face. This literally means being in the same space, breathing the same air. Video chats, facetime, google hangouts, telephone calls are not considered in-person, face to face.

The rule does not refer to how long the couple has known each other, it only refers to meeting, in-person, face to face. The most RECENT face to face meeting should have \occurred no LONGER than 2 years ago.

There are two exceptions to the Face to Face eligibility requirement. If the couple hasn't met, but the exception applies to them, the couple may request US immigration to WAIVE the requirement and allow the couple's case to proceed to the consulate interview without the recent face to face meeting.

The first allowable reason that USCIS will Waive the requirement is:

"The requirement to meet the fiancee in person would violate strict and long-established customs of the sponsors or fiancees culture or social practice"

What this means is that if the couple's culture or religion prevents them from meeting prior to the wedding, then the waiver request is valid. But this is not about being allowed to date. It does not matter if the couple is allowed to date or not. This is all about, at minimum, a single, face to face meeting. If a face to face meeting COULD occur, for example if the couple could be allowed meet if chaperones were present, then the couple would not be eligible for a waiver. So far, I have never met a couple who were not allowed to have at least, a chaperoned face to face meeting.

The second exemption is:

"It is established that the requirement to personally meet, would result in extreme hardship"

What is "extreme hardship"?

Well let's start with what it is not. It's not being too busy at work, unable to find a baby sitter, hating to fly, or wanting to avoid the cost of travel.

Basically, it comes down to a solid "impossibility" to travel. If, the doctor says you are not healthy enough to travel, or the passport agency refuses to issue you a passport, you have a valid reason for the waiver to be granted.

Requests to waive the meeting requirement are rarely approved. Only the most well documented cases of religious or social customs, or total inability to travel stand a chance

For example, in Jim's case: He made the testimonial I read at the start of this video. He suffers an ailment that makes it impossible to travel. When we applied for the fiance visa, we requested a waiver to the Face to Face meeting requirement and included solid medical evidences and doctor's statements to clearly demonstrate his situation. His waiver request was granted, and subsequently his fiance's visa granted as well.

Robert also came to me. He was divorced, and had paid his child support directly to his ex-wife. As social services wasn't involved in the payments, they refused to believe his or his ex-wifes statements that the monies had been paid, and wanted to double charge him to pay a second time.

During 4 years of court battles, Social services applied extra leverage against Robert by asking the US passport agency to deny issuing him a passport. He was honest, he had paid his alimony, but with no passport he was unable to travel to have the face to face meeting with his fiance that he desperately desired.

When we applied for his fiance visa, we requested a waiver and told his story, including court records and correspondence evidences to prove his situation. His waiver request was granted, and subsequently his fiance's visa granted as well.

It's not easy to get a waiver from the face to face meeting. But if you have a valid reason, I can help. So far all the cases I have worked on that included waiver requests have been granted by USCIS.

By Fred Wahl
the VisaCoach

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