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Are K-1 Visa Denials Frequent?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the K-1 fiancée visa, specifically in the context of denial of those type of visas and a question that often arises from folks who contact us, and just from folks I see on the internet and comments on various forums and things is the question: "Are denials fairly frequent in a K-1 context?"

Well generally speaking in the past it has not been my belief that the Immigration apparatus was particularly looking to deny people for fiancée and marriage visas. That being said, it does happen. Most notably it happens when there is what is called a legal ground of inadmissibility present in a given case.  So things like crimes involving moral turpitude, drug crimes in the past, over stay in the past in the United States, prostitution, things of this nature can result in a denial of the ultimate visa.

But with respect to this video I would like to note that moving forward we are filming this video just prior to September 11th 2018 and on that date there is going to be a rather significant change with respect to the underlying policy that USCIS maintains with respect to issuing what are called Request for Evidence. In the past it was incumbent upon an officer who is adjudicating a given K-1 visa application or petition at USCIS, to go ahead and issue an RFE unless there was no possibility that the Visa could be issued ultimately. So basically what you're saying here is a case where a married couple is applying for a fiancée visa, in that case it is clear that as at the time of filing they were not eligible for a fiancée visa and therefore they could be denied. That policy that was in effect and that was a very narrow subset of cases that were going to be denied basically. In most cases where it was just a documentation deficiency, what is called a Request for Evidence would be issued and either the couple or their attorney could go ahead and follow up on their behalf, rectify the insufficiency and move forward with the approval of the petition. That is changing. The new policy goes ahead and rescinds this "No Possibility" doctrine as I call it and basically is putting into effect a regime in which if you are deficient and it is not clearly evident from the initial filing that the couple is eligible for the benefits, a denial can occur. I don't know how this is going to play out yet but I am doing this video because I think it is possible we could see more denials of K-1 petitions in the future, especially cases where it has been ambiguous as to whether or not the couple actually met in person, where it is ambiguous as to when the couple actually met in person. As most may be aware who are watching this video, K-1 fiancée needs to have met with their American citizen counterpart, physically present meeting, within two years prior of the filing of the underlying petition. In certain cases that may not be immediately evident from the filing of the case and for this reason, although denials were not particularly a big issue in the past, at least at the USCIS level, I think moving forward it is pretty safe to assume that scrutiny is going to be much more heavy on these petitions and the scrutiny that was provided before, which had sort of for lack of a better term a “safety net” in the form of an issued Request for Evidence, that “safety net” I think is going to be pulled away in many circumstances and you may start seeing a much higher percentage of underlined case denial and petitions for K-1 fiancée visas simply because of this change in policy.