Reasons for Denial

Reasons Fiancee and Spousal Visas are Denied

During the past 2 weeks I got calls from THREE different couples (none of them previously MY clients) who had been denied for their K1 Fiancee visas at the consulate.

What were the common factors?


BIG Age Difference:
If you fall in love with someone, your ages, are what they are. They can not be changed. It’s a red flag, But not necessarily an insurmountable obstacle. I have helped plenty of couples where the sponsor was over twice the age of the foreign fiancee. I got them ALL approved.

NO Recent Meeting
This can be easily overcome, either by good planning or a frequent flyer miles. The ideal case, which I recommend to all clients, is that once the couple has sworn undying love, they should meet every SIX to NINE months. As the Scottish poet, Robert Burns wrote, “A man is NEVER too tired to travel to meet his lover”. The couple that demonstrates with their frequent fyler miles, that they wish to be together, has an easier time to have their bona fide’s believed.

Some couples can’t afford a lot of travel. This is very common and perfectly understandable. If one can only afford two or even just one trip,it is important to submit the visa petition as close to the return from the trip as possible. The meter starts running as soon as the American returns to the USA. If he submits the petition, almost immediately upon return, then chances are VERY GOOD, that by the time it starts to looking awkward that he hasn’t traveled again, the foreign fiance could already be issued her visa and be on her way to the USA.

A lot of clients hire me a month or two before their trip. That way I work with them to get all the information, and background out of the way calmly and deliberately well in advance of departure.Then DURING the trip, the couple follows the customized checklists I have personalized to their situation to get final evidences, photos and signatures during the precious few days of the trip.

I have their petitions sitting 95% complete on my desk during their holiday together, and just as soon as the American returns, he sends me the final bits and I return his petition to him ready for his signature and IMMEDIATE submission to USCIS.

NO “Front Loaded” evidences.
My last caller “We submitted a THOUSAND PAGES of evidences” but the consular officer still denied the petition.

All three couples, sent their fiancee’s to the consular interview, hand carrying various amounts of evidences, including a Manhattan telephone book sized stack of correspondences by my last caller.

The Consular officer, does NOT have to look at the evidences carried by the Fiancee. Officially the CO is supposed to make his decision based solely upon evidences that USCIS had seen.

This is important, so let me repeat, The Consular officer does NOT have to look at any evidences carried by the Fiancee.

In all the three cases, the CO did not allow the fiancee to hand over evidences, instead, asked a few questions, then sent the fiancee home with a rejection slip.

What I do for ALL my clients, is to help them identify ways they can demonstrate their relationship is bona fide. I help them identify a paper trail of evidences and then interweave a carefully selected sampling of the evidences into the initial petition submitted to USCIS. Instead of a 20 page petition, that leaves EVERYTHING on the shoulders of the fiancee to present and defend, my front loaded petitions typically are between 100 and 150 pages thick.

NO, I am not talking about hotel receipts, and restaurant tabs

I am talking about carefully selected evidences that demonstrate the QUALITY and GENUINENESS of the relationship.

How does a Front Loaded Petition help? Eventually, it ends up on the desk of the Consular officer where he reviews the case, just prior to the start of the interview.

By policy he is bound to make his decision based upon the information USCIS received and approved. As he flips the pages, he finds many complementary evidences that tell the couples story in a favorable way. When the fiancee finally sits down for the interview, there is often not much left to say but “Welcome to the USA”.

Each Fiancee/Spousal visa applicant is interviewed by a consular officer at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

Generally at the end of the interview the applicant will be advised whether the petition is approved or denied.

There are many reasons why a visa application may be denied:  perhaps due to the lack of required information or documents, or denied for more serious reasons such as the applicant’s current and/or past activities, such as fraud, drugs or crimes, that may make the applicant ineligible for a visa.

Common Reasons for Denial are as follows:

Bona Fide relationship: not demonstrated
Criminal History
Documentation Incomplete
Face to Face Meeting: Longer than 2 years
Financial eligiblity: not met
Past Visa Restrictions
Visa Violations

Bona Fide relationship: not demonstrated

In order to be approved for the visa a couple must be able to prove to a skeptical immigration official that the couple has a “bona fide” or genuine relationship. The consular officer looks at the materials and statements that the couple have submitted, and the answers the fiancee/spouse makes to his questions, to make a judgement. His judgement will be based upon his intuition and experience, and a comparison of what this couples history looks like compared to others in a similar situation.

What may cause the Consular officer to “disbelieve” the genuineness of the couple could be:

A.  Becoming engaged or married unusually fast

B. Limited “face to face time”

C. Limited communications.

D. Only one trip. Some consulate officers expect multiple trips.

E. Infrequent trips. An unusually long period of time transpiring between trips, or since last trip.

E. Few or no photos.

F. Storys don’t match. Details provided by sponsor don’t EXACTLY match those provided by fiancee/spouse

G. “Middleman” involved. Intrusive involvement of an outsider in the relationship,  who introduced couple AND escorted the US sponsor on his trip to meet fiancee/spouse.

H.  Did not match local Cultural norms.  Courtships, engagements, relationships that don’t meet the expectation of what the consular officer deems as consistent with the local culture may be denied.

Criminal History

As a way to keep America safe, Immigration will exclude foreign born fiancee/spouses with criminal records, depending on the nature of their crimes.

Recently due to the IMBRA laws, immigration is also now mandated to protect the foreign fiancee/spouse by excluding some Americans with criminal records, especially those who have records involving substance abuse, spousal abuse, and violence.

Documentation Incomplete

Providing less than a complete set of primary and supporting documents may lead to denial.

A. Lack of proof of termination of ALL prior marriages

Face to Face Meeting: Longer than 2 years

Applicants for a Fiancee visa must demonstrate their last meeting occured NO LONGER than 24 months prior to the date their petiiton is recieved by USCIS.

Financial eligiblity: not met

Applicants for Fiancee visas must demonstrate their household income to be 100 % of the national poverty  level. For Spousal visas or Adjustment of Status they must demonstrate household income of 125% of the national poverty level.


Fiancee/Spouses undergo clinical medical exams. Applicants with diseases that present a “public health risk” may be excluded.  Those with signs of substance abuse or mental illness may also be excluded.


Statements made to immigration are made “under oath”. Those caught providing false information may be excluded.

Past Visa Restrictions

A fiancee/spouse who was an exchange visitor, and has not yet met the two year foreign residency requirement may be denied.

Visa Violations

Past misuse of US visas may result in denial. Fiancee/spouses who overstayed in USA 6 months to a year, are BANNED from any new US visa for 3 years. Those who overstayed for over 1 year, are BANNED for 10 years.

By Fred Wahl