K1 Fiance Visa Mistakes: Visitor visa for Residency
I got a call from an American who wants to marry a lady from India. I am in the middle of explaining to him how fiance and spouse visas work, and then he tells me he doesn’t need to know about that, because HIS “plan” is that he is going to apply for a visitor visa for her. Marry her in the USA, then apply for her green card. He want’s to know how long it will take for her to get permanent residency.
What he is planning, is simply put “immigration fraud”. A visitor visa is by definition for a short visit. No more no less. For him to plan to use the visitor visa for his girlfriend to stay permanently, is a misuse of the visa.
It’s Fraud. And be warned, US immigration has always taken any kind of fraud or misrepresentation very seriously.
Now under President Trump, US immigration has been given teeth to more strictly enforce, and to punish those who violate US Immigration laws.
Why are most visitor visas denied?
Most visitor visas are denied, because the Consular Officer suspects that the applicant is intending more than a short visit, that the applicant has “immigration intent”, basically the intent to remain permanently in the USA.
If the applicant is a fiance or spouse, or girlfriend or boyfriend of an American, the consular officer assumes they plan a life together in the USA.
His automatic conclusion that the applicant has “immigrant intent” leads to rapid denial. Such a visitor visa consular interview is often terminated in seconds of starting.
A visitor visa is not a way to have your love enter the USA and stay with you. The correct path is the Fiancee or Spouse visa.
But what if you decide to try for a visitor visa anyway? What then?
Number 1, expect the application to be denied. If not, great, you have won the lottery.
Number 2, expect any answers or statements your love gives US Immigration to be recorded, and saved permanently in her or his official record. And in the future, each time she or he applies for any kind of visa to the USA the earlier statements will be reviewed and compared to new statements.
Since the applicant knows that to admit a romantic relationship with an American likely results in visitor visa denial, the applicant may be tempted to deny the romantic relationship, or even falsely claim to be married with a spouse that will remain behind.
Well, guess what happens then.
Consular officers are well trained and have literally “heard it all”. 99% this applicant will be denied no matter what he or she says.
But, later, eventually, she or he may return to the same consulate, and sometimes even the same consular officer, this time applying for a Fiance or Spouse visa, and now telling the story about a very long and “bona fide” relationship with the American love interest, that was taking place before and after the visitor visa application.
The consular officer compares timelines from the current tale, and what was sworn to at the previous interviews.
He will undoubtedly notice that during the earlier visitor visa interview the person who the applicant is so seriously in love with “did not exist” earlier, but that was supposedly at the same time.
Once the consular officer reviews the record and finds the earlier contradictory statements, that is when “it hits the fan” and the likely hood of being granted any visa to the USA look dim.
He doesn’t know if the current account is the truth or the earlier account was the truth. But what he does now know is that he can not trust statements made by the applicant.
What if the applicant honestly answers all questions including about her or his American love?
Then probably “no harm, no foul”. The record will show honest answers that won’t conflict with future statements. Innocently applying for a visa that you aren’t eligible for won’t come back to hurt you. And typically at the end of the visitor visa interview, the consular officer will advise the applicant, “you are not eligible for a visitor visa, instead the proper visa for you to apply for is a fiance visa, I look forward to meeting you again when you apply for that one”.
But, what if the applicant, applies again, and again, and again, and is denied each time?
Any foreigner can apply to visit the USA. Applying once, honestly answering all questions, but not being approved is quite common and usually does not raise a red flag.
But applying again and again, especially in the face of repeated denials is a big Red Flag, it shows an almost desperate intention to enter the USA.
Disneyland, the Grand Canyon, Broadway are all worth a visit, but no one, anywhere is actually desperate to go.
If the applicant appears to be desperate in his attempts to enter the USA then the officer will surely suspect something is off.
He will likely suspect the real reason for such behavior is that the applicant has “immigrant intent”.
Once he suspects this, he will deny accordingly, and will probably add notes about this suspicion to the applicants file that will follow his record for future attempts to apply for visas to the USA.
The key points, you should remember are:
1. Visitor visas are not available for your those who plan to live permanently in the USA. Fiance or spouse visas are the correct path.
2. Honestly applying for Visitor Visa, once, and being denied should not have any long term negative effects.
3. Applying for visitor visa, and providing dishonest answers, may, and probably will have long term negative effects.
4. Applying multiple times for visitor visas (and being denied) may add suspicion to any future visa application.
By Fred Wahl