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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawK-1 Visas: Meeting with a Fiancée and the COVID-19 Crisis

K-1 Visas: Meeting with a Fiancée and the COVID-19 Crisis

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the K-1 Fiance Visa and we are specifically discussing it in the context or in front of the backdrop if you will, of this COVID-19 or Coronavirus crisis.

The specific issue we are discussing today is the meeting requirement and how COVID-19 or Coronavirus is having an impact on folks who are looking to get a Fiance Visa

First of all, let's do a little bit of background here so you understand. Those who are filing a petition for a foreign fiancée to come to the United States needs to have met with that foreign fiancé within a two-year period prior to the date of the filing; so a calendar 2-year period prior to the date that the petition is received by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, part of the Department of Homeland Security. So there is this 2-year meeting requirement.

Next, it should also be understood that a lot more clients I see these days meet their fiancée, especially out of Southeast Asia, online. They meet online through various channels. Facebook seems to be especially favorite amongst a lot of the couples I have seen process through in the last couple of years but they meet each other in online chat rooms or whatever and they form a relationship and it is a relationship that leads to marriage etc. 

So how is this COVID-19 impacting this two year meeting requirement?  Also understand there are exceptions to the two-year meeting requirement. It is pretty difficult to overcome the 2-year meeting requirement. Generally speaking the officers at Department of Homeland Security going to want to see that; it is considered a pretty hard and fast rule. I have overcome it in certain cases on behalf of my clients over the years. It is a tough hurdle to overcome. They really do want to see some pretty compelling evidence in order to allow for a K-1 Visa application to be approved notwithstanding the fact that the couple hasn't met. There are certain criteria that are kind of well-established wherein this meeting will be waived but they are pretty few and far between as far as the hard-and-fast exceptions. I have seen cases come up over the years, especially medical considerations that came up, where it was just an impossibility and USCIS ultimately approved based on the evidence we presented to them. 

COVID-19 poses a lot of different dilemmas for a lot of different reasons not least of which are certain restrictions that have been placed on the Immigration apparatus by this Administration. But first things first, if you have met your fiancée within the past two years but it has been a while;  we see this actually rather frequently with people that work in the United States and they can't get away to Thailand all that frequently but they maintain constant communication with their fiancée here,  it just happens. A year can get away from you much more quickly than one would think. Especially offshore guys I have seen that have a fiancé here in Thailand or folks that are working up in Afghanistan and Iraq, less so Iraq these days but it still comes up. We see those kind of folks, time gets away from them and a year will go by. They won't have met in person but they have still got a strong relationship.  Their communication with their fiancées continue. For those folks, if you are still within the two-year window from the last time you met you need to seriously consider getting your case on file if you are looking forward into this vast horizon COVID-19 and the problems associated with traveling to and from Thailand for example or some of the other countries in the region that we deal with Cambodia and Laos for example and you are looking at trying to get here to meet again. If you have already met in the last two years and you have made the firm decision, you have decided you want to get married, it may not be a terrible idea to really seriously consider getting your case on file before the 2-year window passes by because it remains to be seen exactly when the free flow of travel is going to recommence. I do believe it will recommence but exactly when remains to be seen. So if we are making this video in April if it has been two years come July that you last saw your fiancée, it might not be a terrible idea if you were planning on coming in and sort of filling up that tank if you will with respect to your meeting requirement, it might not be a terrible idea to really start considering getting that case on file sooner rather than later so that you will have met within the two-year time period prior to a visa petition being filed.

The other thing to keep in mind with respect to this is yeah under certain circumstances it may be possible to get a waiver of the meeting requirement if for example you know two years is already elapsed and you were planning on coming in and COVID-19 stopped that from happening; maybe. I think under those circumstances or circumstances similar, it is really good idea to contact a legal professional because that is going to be a case that needs to be made and making that kind of case is not something that I personally think is going to be best done sort of DIY. I especially don't think it is a good idea if you know having someone assist and just fills out the forms and all that nonsense.

The COVID-19 is putting a lot of otherwise lack of better term standard or routine cases, it is changing the complexion of them and it is causing these cases to definitely be less straightforward than they once were. So for those of you who have yet to see your 2-year window elapse, it is probably not a terrible idea to start seriously thinking about getting a case on file. For those of you who yet to me, that is a qualitatively different thing and for those of you who have seen your 2-year window transpire but you were planning on coming in in order to deal with perhaps a K-1 Visa or maybe Marriage visa and you just couldn’t get around to it, seriously it is a good idea to contact a legal professional in order to get some clarity on how this all works based on your specific facts, and your specific case because there may be a way forward notwithstanding all the rules that are in place and notwithstanding all the problems that have come up because of COVID-19 but until you have really had somebody review your situation in order to provide some advice on it, it is really difficult to say exactly what that way forward is for those who are looking to get a K-1 Fiancée Visa for a loved one abroad.