Requirements for K1 Fiance Visa Eligibility in 2019
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 $16,460 annual income for the sponsor and fiance, plus $4,320 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.
Sponsor’s Income and Financial Eligibility for 2018
By Fred Wahl