Can You Get a K-1 Visa for a Fiance You Haven't Met?

One of the requirements of the K-1 visa is that you have met, in person, your fiancé(e) within the previous two years. It's possible, but difficult, to get a waiver for this requirement.

by Lawrence Gruner, California Attorney

There are several requirements in order to obtain a K1 (fiancé) visa. One of them is that you must have met your fiancé within 2 years of filing your K-1 petition.

Meeting Means Face to Face and In Person

You must meet face to face and in person with your fiancé.  Internet chatting with a webcam, talking on dating websites or having telephone discussions over Skype do not count as a face-to-face, in-person meeting. You will need to travel to your fiance’s home country and meet with him or her in person.

Meeting Must Have Been Within Two Years

USCIS strictly enforces this requirement. If your fiancé is your childhood sweetheart with whom you went all through grammar school and high school but you have not seen him or her, face to face and in person, within the last two years, then you will not have met this requirement. Therefore the K-1 visa will not be granted.

Waivers

If you cannot meet your fiancé face to face and in person because of cultural, religious, or extreme hardship reasons, you may be able to obtain a waiver of this requirement. (Not being able to take time off of work or not being able to afford the trip to your fiancé’s country are not generally valid reasons for a waiver.)

Waivers are possible to obtain. If you believe you qualify based on these reasons you should consult with a competent immigration attorney.

How to Prove You Have Met Your Fiance in Person

The best way to prove that you have met your fiancé in person is to provide USCIS with a copy of your passport showing entry and exit stamps to your fiance’s country.  A copy of an airline ticket is good, though not conclusive evidence, of a trip to your fiance’s country (keep your boarding passes).

When you are with your fiancé, you should take many pictures together (preferably with a camera which imprints the dates of the photos). While you are taking pictures, it does not hurt to take pictures of the two of you with your fiance's family and friends. You should also save receipts from restaurants, hotels, or taxis obtained during your stay in at your fiance’s home country. You, not USCIS, will have the burden of proof concerning this issue.

For more on the legal issues you may face, see Problems Getting a K-1 Fiance Visa.

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