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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawHow Many K1 Fiancée Visa Applications Can an American Apply For?

How Many K1 Fiancée Visa Applications Can an American Apply For?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the K-1 fiancée visa; specifically we are discussing the number of applications that can be filed by a given American, presumably in their lifetime, for K-1 fiancée visa benefits for a foreign fiancée. 

What kind of context are we talking about with respect to this? There are circumstances where relationships don't come about the way the people think that they're going to.  I have seen circumstantial situations where a K-1 was sought, the couple reunited in the United States, and then for whatever reason they did not marry and the foreign fiancée left the US within the 90-day period of time and a subsequent K-1 was sought later when circumstances were sort of, for lack of a better term, more ripe for the marriage to occur.

Those types of circumstances occur for a variety of reasons. They are sort of intangible or unforeseen lifestyle things that change.  For example relatives may pass away and the K-1 fiancée has to leave the country only to come back later. There are also circumstances where the couple might not feel like they're you know after further reflection in the United States, after going through the process, they basically say I don't know if we're ready to be married yet.  There are some who argue that 90 days is not enough time to make that determination. I personally am not going to get into whether or not that is enough time. I think it probably depends. I also believe that the amount of time that is spent processing the underlying K-1, often times results in a sort of strengthening of the relationship because the parties are constantly communicating about a shared goal while the thing is processing. That being said that is all intangible speculation, for lack of a better term. 

In the past, the K-1 system was somewhat, again for lack of a better term, abused by folks who used dozens of K-1s to bring in fiancées. I remember years before I was ever in practice or practicing immigration law, seeing like a “60 minutes” or some sort of documentary news episode about the K-1 and about how there were these folks who would bring in their “ostensible” fiancée only to use it for 90 days and send them back home.  It was argued at the time that these fiancée visas were being abused. Subsequent to that there were their various changes to the statutory legislation associated with K-1, most notably the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act, IMBRA, which basically created certain thresholds associated with the number of K-1s that can be filed. Basically once one K-1 has been filed for, a subsequent K-1, that multiple filer for lack of a better term, needs to go ahead and seek a multiple filer waiver. It's been my experience in those cases where it's a K-1 for the same person, especially if it's only the second one and it can be shown that circumstances just weren't right for the marriage to occur and things sort of changed, but we want to go ahead and use this subsequent K-1 to go ahead and get married. I've done a number of those over the course of the last 10 or so years. In most of those cases, the multiple filer waiver is relatively straightforward. Where you have got somebody who has done multiple K-1s over the course of their lifetime and they are looking for another K-1, sometimes a multiple filer waiver can be something of an endeavor in "lawyering". I mean you have got to get in there and get into the underlying reason for the statutory language and go ahead and explain why in the current situation it's a good idea to waive the multiple filer restrictions. Again,  not very often that this happens presently but again there was a time when the K-1 with someone abused and for that reason I think some of these restrictions were created.

The basic rule of thumb is, reasonableness is going to apply and there is also generally speaking a time frame to be looking at so within a 2-year period, if one K-1 was filed for and then three years later that same individual wants to seek a K-1 on another fiancée because that original relationship didn't work out, again this is going to be circumstantially dependent, but often times that may be workable.  But where you got in a half a dozen K-1s being sought in half a dozen years, yeah there's going to be issues with multiple filings and with the statutory language associated with multiple filings and for this reason those who think they may have an issue with respect to multiple filings and the K-1 Visa, it's really good idea to contact a legal professional to go ahead and get some insight into whether or not under the factual circumstances of that giving case, a multiple filer waiver is going to be necessary and what the prospects are of the actual K-1 application  with those facts being brought in to the adjudication for those type of benefits.