Do I need to meet my fiancé(e) in person before filing K-1?
The INA requires that K-1 applicants:
- Have a bona fide intent to marry within 90 days of the foreign national entering the U.S.;
- Are legally able to marry; and
- Have met in person within two years prior to filing of the petition.
The law is clear: in order to Petition for a fiance visa you must have met with your fiance in person within the last two years. However, as a matter of discretion, the in-person meeting requirement may be waived if the petitioner can establish that:
- The in-person meeting would result in extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen petitioner
Historically, extreme hardship waivers have only been granted in very limited circumstances. The Petitioner must show that they were unable to travel anywhere in the world due to severe illness or physical disability
- The in-person meeting requirement would violate strict and long-established customs of the petitioner’s fiancé(e)’s foreign culture or social practice
In order for this waiver to be successful, the religious belief must be recognized and the custom must be documented.
Due to the difficulty in obtaining these waivers and the evidentiary hurdles, you should seek the advice of an immigration attorney before proceeding with a waiver of the in-person meeting requirement.