Prior Visa Denials

Prior visa denial’s effect on K1 or CR1 visa

Today I am going to answer the question “Does prior visa denial hurt K1 or CR1 chances?”

This is important to know because most couples don’t really have any knowledge or experience with immigration and it is only after finding each other and falling in love that you find out that it’s not as easy as you had imagined to move from country to country. Often times you just jump right in and apply for whatever visa you think might be CONVENIENT. Maybe a visitor visa, maybe a student visa, maybe an au pair visa because it seems easy, appears to be fast, and could allow the two of you to maybe live together in the USA and to get to know each other much better, but still giving you a lot of flexibility and time before forcing you to make a decision whether or not to get married.

The problem with that, is that by rushing in, applying for the wrong visa, and getting denied, can come back to haunt you when you finally apply for the important, the life changing visa that you are actually eligible for, that actually has a chance of success, the fiance or spouse visa.

Spouse Visa Eligibility

Fiance Visa Eligibility 


Eventually your fiance or spouse will be faced opposite a consular officer at the US consulate and there will be interviewed, sometimes interrogated.

The question on the officers mind is “whether or not the two of you have a Bona fide” relationship

The officer is looking for evidences that the two of you have spent quality time together, have exchanged correspondences and have behaved and done what a normal couple would do.

I spend a lot of time working with the couples who have hired me to prepare their applications teaching them what evidences we should create, document and include in our application. We “front loaded” the application with these evidences in order to show the consular officer, the couple’s sincerity and “bona fides”. Before the interview starts, he reviews these, and the well chosen proofs and the telling of an authentic couples story, prepares the stage for a pleasant and productive interview.

That’s what we do to present the positive.

Unfortunately, the officer will be searching for issues that caste doubt on the couple. He is looking for what I call “red flags”. These are issues that raise suspicions on whether or not your relationship truly is bona fide.

One of many potential issues that might raise a red flag is a prior failed attempt or multiple failed attempt by your foreign partner to get some kind of permission to travel to the USA.

A single previous attempt, that was denied, but your fiance or spouse was scrupulously honest, should not have any lasting negative effect.

However multiple attempts to get a visa is always a problem. Applying too many times for too many various visas, demonstrates an intense desire to go to the USA. And the consular officers may think that it was this overwhelming underlying desire, that caused your partner to seek you out, in order to develop a relationship that would result in her or him gaining entry and green card to the USA.

I council all my clients they should stop immediately CEASE any and all attempts to apply for the wrong visa, and instead concentrate ALL of their efforts towards the fiance or spouse visa only. The Fiance or spouse visa is the critical visa, and the ONLY visa they are eligible for, and is the one that when granted will allow you and your partner to have a happy life together in the USA.

What about if your partner was not scrupulously honest? Well that can be a real problem.

When the officer reviews the records, and be advised they do keep detailed, computerized records of ALL previous visa applications, the consular officer will be comparing any information provided earlier with what has been supplied today on the current application.

He will be double, triple checking for any material inconsistencies.

This is why I counsel never, never, never ever, make a false statement to US immigration. Because any dishonest statement was made at any time may poison the well for your future.

US immigration takes fraud very seriously. If they believe they were lied to, even once, they will permanently brand the applicant as dishonest, and never really trust any future comments.

Sadly, this is what I hear all of the time, “the foreign fiancee or spouse once applied for a visitor visa, and blindly followed the instructions of a travel agent, or friends, or online chat room and submitted the application after putting down some false information, pretending to be something he or she was not.

One of the cases with most disastrous results is when, when the fiancee or spouse thinks they can assure the consular officer they have “ties to their country” and will only use the visitor visa to visa and will return to home country without fail, by pretending they have a husband or wife to return to.

On a later interview, they tell the truth that they were never married. However the officer because he sees a previous statement that you were married, will not insist on receiving documents to proof the previous marriage was terminated such as divorce or death certificate. Since the previous marriage never occurred, it is impossible to provide the required documents, and the applicant can give up hopes of ever coming to the USA, even while now, finally answering all questions honestly.

What do you do if you find out your partner has, sorry to use the harsh word, LIED on a previous application.

Well, if caught, if challenged on the past lies, then throw yourself on the mercy of the officer. Take responsibility for your actions (don’t blame the travel agent or anyone else, cause you were the one who finally signed the false application), then apologize and beg forgiveness.

If your relationship proofs and front loaded application show a sympathetic and genuine couple, really truly planning a life together in the USA, fingers crossed, the officer might, just take pity, and for the benefit of your American partner and give your past indiscretions a pass, and judge your case on its current merits.

Bottom line when dealing with US immigration, always be honest. You don’t have to volunteer information, but any questions asked must be factually answered.

Save time and trouble, don’t apply for any visa unless you are truly eligible for that visa. US State Department has a simple policy. If a visa exists for the purpose of your travel, then it is the ONLY visa you are eligible for. So if you want your fiance to come to the USA don’t waste time on visitor, student, or any other type of visa, proceed to the appropriate visa, either fiance or spouse.

By Fred Wahl
the VisaCoach