What if My Fiancé Visa Application is Denied?
If your K-1 fiancé visa application has been rejected you are probably upset, confused, and perhaps even frustrated. If you and your fiancé are still interested in getting married in the United States, you should explore your options and possible next steps as soon as possible.
You should begin by figuring out why your application was rejected. If the reasons for your denial are not clear, consider consulting an attorney if you did not hire one to file your application.
Why Was My Fiancé Visa Application Rejected?
There are many possible reasons why your fiancé visa was rejected. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) applies strict regulations to ensure the safety of the country and the integrity of the immigration process. For example, to qualify for a K-1 fiancé visa, you and your fiancé must prove:
- You are a U.S. citizen
- You and your fiancé intend to marry within 90 days after he or she enters the United States
- You and your fiancé are legally able to marry
- You and your fiancé have met within the last two years
If you failed to meet any one of these requirements, it may be the reason for your denial. It is common that the rejection was in order to avoid marriage fraud. Marriage fraud is a fake marriage that takes place just so an immigrant can become a permanent resident of the United States. The USCIS does not tolerate marriage fraud and the U.S. Embassy or Consulate official that interviewed you may not have been convinced that your plan to marry was legitimate.
Keep in mind that these are not the only explanations for your rejection.
Can I File an Appeal?
Yes, you will be able to appeal from a denial of your fiancé visa. The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) has special jurisdiction to handle K-1 fiancé visa appeals. In order to begin the appeal process, you must:
- File the appeal within 30 days after receiving your rejection letter
- Submit a Form I-290B: Notice of Appeal or Motion
- Include a copy of the rejection letter from USCIS with your Form I-1-290B
- Pay the $630 filing fee
You should not send your Form I-290B directly to the AAO. Instead, you must send it to the USCIS office that originally rejected your application. Once you have filed all the necessary documentation, the USCIS will be given another chance to grant your application. This can take up to 45 days. If the USCIS office chooses to stick by its rejection, the decision will be reviewed by the AAO and a decision can take up to six months.
(Keep in mind that filing fees and filing locations are subject to change. Visit uscis.gov to confirm.)
Can I Resubmit My Application?
Instead of appealing the decision, you and your fiancé may also choose to submit a new Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé. Taking this route has possible benefits and downfalls:
The benefits of submitting a new application:
- You are now familiar with the process
- You can correct any mistakes you previously made
- An I-129F is cheaper than an appeal
The downfalls to submitting a new I-129F application:
- You would have to submit all the same paperwork you submitted before, although hopefully you made copies of your first application.
- Your fiancé’s interview will be at the same U.S. Embassy or Consulate
- There will be a record of your previous denial which may lead to another denial if your new application is not clearly different from the prior application
Also keep in mind the amount of time it takes USCIS to process a fiancé visa application. USCIS may take anywhere from six months to a year to process your new I-129F application and that is if the service center isn’t experiencing a delay.
Should I Speak With an Attorney?
Absolutely. While not every applicant needs an attorney, any time there has been denial, excessive wait time, the need for a waiver, or any other complication, we highly recommend that you speak with an attorney. Even if you feel that you followed instructions and filed a complete application, someone who is experienced with immigration processes may have a better understanding of why your application was denied.
What may not seem like a big deal to you may mean all the difference to USCIS. An immigration attorney will see that and help you to either assemble a successful application or advise you to what other steps you should take.