In general, the K1 fiancé visa has a very high approval rating. However, there are several factors that can affect the potential likelihood of approval. Please understand even if your case exhibits one or some of these factors, the approval rate is still high, however the risk factors are something to consider, regardless. This page is intended to highlight some of the common factors we've encountered in cases that have had potential issues. If your case has any of these concerns, it might be a good idea to work in other areas to establish a bona fide relationship and build the best case possible. These factors also assume you meet all the requirements for the visa and are eligible to apply for a K1 in the first place. These are certainly not all of the factors that could affect your case. These are the most common factors we've seen, and they're the factors that are built into our K1 Fiancé Visa Approval Odds Calculator.
In general, the alien's nationality is not a factor, however, we've seen more trouble cases from some than others. Some of the reasons cited in RFEs and denials we've seen are things like the fraud level in that country, the culture difference of the alien and sponsor, religion difference between alien and sponsor, and other severe differences that give doubt to an officer that your relationship is bona fide. Areas that get more of this scrutiny are included but not limited to: Western & Northern Africa and the Greater Middle East. If you are from these areas, it's a good idea to address the other factors to help you overcome any hurdles here.
Age gaps are not uncommon, and in fact, are more common than not with the K1 fiancé visa. We've seen cases with over 40 year age gaps get approved without any problem. There are really two main things we see here.
- Is it common in the culture?
In Southeast Asia, it's very common for women to marry men older than them. For this reason, an age gap wouldn't be a major problem. However, in Pakistan, for example, it's fairly uncommon for young men to marry older women. So this type of case might get more scrutiny and be seen as a case where the alien was perceived as trying to simply use the sponsor to gain access to a visa and later a green card.
- What gender is the U.S. sponsor?
Although on paper, gender discrimination is illegal and frowned upon, in practice, we've seen more discrimination against cases where the U.S. sponsor was a female, trying to sponsor a much younger male. We rarely see scrutiny on a case where the U.S. sponsor is a male and sponsoring a younger female. While it doesn't seem ethical, this is what we generally see in terms of gender discrimination in visa applications from the USCIS and DHS. Again, it's not insurmountable, however if you have other risk factors on this page, this one could be an issue.
See these resources for examples of specific cases: K1 Fiancé Visa – Large Age Gap From Nigeria; How Much of an Age Difference is Too Much For a K1 Fiancé Visa?.
In the past, we've seen cases get approved where the sponsor and alien only communicated through an interpreter, or a translation app. However, most of these cases were from Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. In recent years, since 2018, with the administration's heightened scrutiny on all immigration, this is no longer the case. If there is not a common language between the sponsor and alien, it will be pretty difficult to convince an officer that your relationship is genuine. We don't recommend applying without knowing a common language.
Length of Relationship
How long you've been in a relationship is an unsurprisingly common thing to look at to determine if a relationship might be real. Of course, if someone was being conned, they'd be less likely to stick around long-term for the ups and downs of a real relationship. Many of our customers have "fresh love" and have only recently met their fiances. These get approved often. This would be a factor that could be an issue usually when compounded with the others in this list, and less so when on its own. If you're having issues with the other items on this list, a simple item to improve your case could be to simply stay in a relationship for awhile longer before taking the next step of applying for a fiance visa U.S..
Number of Times You've Met in Person
A large percentage of our customers have carried out long relationships online, while only meeting in person once or twice. Like the previous item, this one is more likely a problem when compounded with the other items on this list. If you have evidence of a bona fide relationship, and the rest of your case is solid, then even if you have met only one time in person, your case is likely to have no issues at all. If you're struggling with other item(s) on this list, you may want to get some more in-person visits under your belt before taking the next step with the fiance visa.
What if I exhibit several of these factors?
If your case exhibits more than one of these factors, your risk for denial goes up, statistically. Again, even with some of these issues, approval rates are very high. However, some couples have decided that they don't like the risk their cases seem to exhibit, and instead opt to get married in the alien's country and file for a CR1 Spousal Visa. The reason they do this is because the hurdle to prove whether or not the relationship is genuine is greatly diminished when the couple has an actual marriage certificate in-hand. The act of legally marrying is something a fly-by-night scammer is less likely to go through. In general, we've seen slightly higher approval rates with spousal visas vs. fiance visas.