May 11, 2009: K-1 Fiance Issues

K-1 Fiance Issues

I am a U.S. citizen. I got engaged to a relative who lives in Pakistan. The engagement is arranged because it is our customary for my our religion. We did not meet in person yet because we are not allowed to meet until our wedding day per custom. We have written letters to each other. Is my fiance eligible for K-1 visa?
— Anonymous

The general rule that the parties have previously met in person within two years of filing the petition may be waived by the USCIS where extreme hardship can be shown, or where it can be established that it is a long standing custom. According to 8 C.F.R. 214.2(k)(2), “as a matter of discretion, the director may exempt the petitioner and K-1 beneficiary from this requirement” in a situation where “marriages are traditionally arranged by the parents of the contracting parties and the prospective bride and groom are prohibited from meeting” prior to the wedding day. “The petitioner must also establish that any and all other aspects of the traditional arrangements have been or will be met in accordance with the custom or practice”. If you can meet these parameters, the K-1 petition is approvable.

I would urge you to consult with a competent immigration attorney before you file the petition with USCIS.

Michael Shane and Evan Shane, Immigration lawyers