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Rejection rate of fiancé visas holds oddly steady

 Posted on January 01, 2019 in Firm News

The rate of rejection of almost every kind of immigration visa has jumped in the first nine months of 2018, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The denial rate for most immigration applications jumped from 8.3 percent in 2016 to 11.3 percent in 2018. The denial rate from H-2A agricultural workers and H-1B high-skilled workers went from 16.8 percent in 2016 to 22.6 percent in 2018. The denial rate for green cards went from 5.9 percent in 2016 to 7.9 percent in 2018.

Most of these categories saw either a measured increase between 2016 and 2018 or a large bump in the last year. One of the odd blips during the increase in visa denials is that the K-1 visa – the fiancé visa – jumped from 13.6 percent in 2016 to 21.8 percent in 2017, then actually dropped 0.8 percent between 2017 and 2018.

Experts believe this has less to do with a greater crackdown than the backlash after a woman who had entered the U.S. on a K-1 visa helped kill 14 people in San Bernardino, California, in December 2015.

Where the fiancés come from

In 2016, nearly half of the K-1 visas went to applicants from the Philippines. The remainder went to applicants from the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Vietnam and s dozen other countries.

The process of applying for a K-1 visa involves filing a form and submitting documents to the Citizenship and Immigration Service, the foreign fiancé meeting and filing forms with the Department of State, and finally the visa-holder being allowed to enter the country via Customs and Border Protection.

To file form I-129, you will need these documents:

  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship
  • A passport-style photo
  • Evidence you plan to marry within 90 days of admission
  • Evidence you met your fiancé in person within two years of filing the form

Once your fiancé is in the country, you have 90 days to get married. Then your new spouse can apply for a green card which, if you remember, saw a denial rate jump by 2 percent between 2016 and 2018.

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