Filing for a fiancé or K visa is a complicated process. There are a number of preliminary questions that need to be identified first before one considers proceeding along this path. If these issues are not addressed early on in the process, they could potentially come back to jeopardize a successful resolution. Some things that need to be brought to an attorney’s attention prior to filing are:
Are you a US Citizen? Only US citizens are eligible to file K-1 petitions for their fiancés.
Have you ever filed a fiancé petition for someone before? There are certain restrictions that apply to those individuals who have filed K-1 petitions for two or more beneficiaries, or had a K-1 petition approved, and less than two years have passed.
Have you ever been convicted of a crime? The following crimes ad their ramifications need to be discussed:
· Domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and neglect, dating violence, elder abuse; stalking;
· Homicide, murder, manslaughter, rape, abusive sexual contact, sexual exploitation, incest, torture, trafficking, peonage, holding hostage, involuntary servitude, slave trade, kidnapping, abduction, unlawful criminal restraint, false imprisonment, or an attempt to commit any of these crimes
· Crimes relating to a controlled dangerous substance or alcohol on three or more occasions, where such crimes did not arise from a single act.
Have you met your fiancé in person? Subject to limited exceptions, an applicant is normally required to demonstrate that he/she has met the fiancé in person within the past two years. USCIS may waive this requirement if it is demonstrated that meeting the fiancé would violate strict and long-established customs or social practices or that meeting would result in extreme hardship to the petitioner.
Have you met your fiancé through the services of an International Marriage Broker?
If so, it must be disclosed. In terms of what constitutes an international marriage broker, USCIS provides the following guidance:
The term “international marriage broker” means a corporation, partnership, business, individual, or other legal entity, whether or not organized under any law of the United States, that charges fees for providing dating, matrimonial, matchmaking services, or social referrals between United States citizens or nationals or aliens lawfully admitted to the United States as lawful permanent residents and foreign national clients.
International marriage brokers provide personal contact information or facilitate communication between individuals.
The term “international marriage broker” does not include:
a. Traditional matchmaking organizations of a culture or religious nature that operate on a non-profit basis and in compliance with the laws of the countries in which they operate, including the laws of the United States; or
b. Entities that provide dating services if their principal business is not to provide international dating services between United States citizens or United States residents and foreign nationals, and that charges comparable rates and offers comparable services to all individuals served regardless of their gender or country of citizenship.
Should any of the above issues apply to you, it is imperative that they be discussed with an immigration attorney to determine how they affect eligibility to file for a K visa. Guidance may also be found on USCIS.gov or the official instructions to Form I-129F, but nothing beats knowledge seasoned with practical experience.
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