K1 visa last year low income

K1 Visa Common Mistakes: Waiting until your last year’s taxable income exceeds the minimum financial eligibility requirement

Lets talk about another Common Mistake often made by those who do not understand the K1 visa process. And that is believing it is necessary to wait until the sponsor shows a full tax year’s worth of income that equals or is above the minimum income requirement.


When applying for a fiance visa the American sponsor/ fiance must demonstrate that you are financially stable enough to support your new spouse and family.

You demonstrate this by providing proof of income, usually with a combination of tax returns, pay stubs and other proof of employment.

You must show that your income is over the poverty level for your planned family size and where you live.

The exact amount changes slightly each year. To find out what today’s amounts are go to my website visacoach.com, there I have a table to show the requirements bases on family size and location, which I update whenever it changes.

Regularly I hear from couples who say.

“We would like get our visa and move to the USA and marry, as soon as we can, right now, BUT we have to wait. We can’t apply now, because my fiance did not earn enough last year. His tax return shows he earned less than the requirement. So we have to wait, until he works another year, until when he files his taxes again, it shows he has earned enough.”

This misunderstanding of the requirements UNNECESSARILY causes this sad couple to delay their plans and put their happiness “on hold”

The reality is: It is NOT NECESSARY to wait till your last tax return exceeds the income requirement.

What is necessary is to convince US Immigration that your income IN THE FUTURE is enough to support your family.

It doesn’t matter if you earned little money last year, because that is, well, ANCIENT history. Your new family needs to be supported, and fed, now, and tomorrow. What the situation was yesterday, isn’t important.

What matters is summed up in the question: “What have you done for me lately”?

Immigration is asking that question. “What have you earned lately”?

If you NOW have a job, that gives you enough income to reliably support yourself and your family, now and into the future, it does not matter at all if last year you did not earn enough. It doesn’t matter if the previous year the tax returns you filed reflect your previous lower income.

You only need to prove that your current income and future income will continue to be over the requirement.

The fiance visa process starts with an application submitted to Homeland Security in the USA and usually about 6 months later ends with an interview at the US consulate overseas.

Proof of your income is not required at the beginning of the process, but only at the end, when your foreign fiance has her or his interview and hand carries your financial evidences to the consulate and shows them to the consular officer.

Timing wise, it means that: you could apply and submit your K1 visa application, even if you are out of work, providing that by the day of the interview you do have a job.

Of course the consular officer must be convinced that your job will continue. He must be convinced that your future income stream is dependable.

How dependable he feels your job is, most likely depends on your previous work history.

If just before the interview, you begin a new job, and it is in a position and a field that you already have experience in, then, he will most likely feel comfortable and confident you can keep your new job and income even if it just started.

But if you are trying something new, working in a new industry or completely different type of work, it would be better that you have a few months under your belt working at it before the consular interview. I would suggest at least 3 months, just to show you have passed the probationary period, and this is a job you can hang on to.

Bottom line: it doesn’t matter if your last years income and last year’s tax return was below the requirements.

What counts is that by the time of the interview, you do have a job, and it generates enough future income, and the consular officer, and your fiance feel they can depend on your keeping that job to support your marriage and family.

By Fred Wahl
the VisaCoach