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On November 19, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia enjoined the government from suspending K-1 fiancée visa adjudications for the named plaintiffs in Milligan v. Pompeo due to the geographic COVID-related Presidential Proclamations (P.P.s) 9984, 9992, 9993, 9996, and 10041.  These COVID-related geographic proclamations suspended entry into the United States of foreign nationals who had been physically present in the People’s Republic of China, Islamic Republic of Iran, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, or Brazil in the 14-day period prior to their entry or attempted entry into the United StatesOn January 25, 2021 President Biden signed P.P. 10143 continuing the suspension of entry of certain travelers physically present in the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, and Brazil, and expanding restrictions to include travelers present in South Africa.  The restrictions on travelers physically present in the People’s Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Iran also remain in effect.

K-1 visa applicants who are named plaintiffs in Milligan v. Pompeo and subject to a geographic proclamation should contact their nearest Embassy or Consulate for guidance on scheduling a visa interview.  While such applicants may, pursuant to the court order, be scheduled for a visa interview even though they are subject to a COVID-related geographic proclamation, the court order does not require that plaintiffs be given special priority ahead of other K visa applicants who have requested interviews or who already have been scheduled for interviews.  Even if issued visas, K-1 plaintiff applicants remain subject to the geographic P.P.s and, unless able to meet the criteria for an exception, are barred from entering the United States if they have been present in a country covered by a geographic P.P. in the 14 days prior to entry.  

K visa applicants who are not plaintiffs in Milligan v. Pompeo and who are not subject to COVID-related geographic proclamations will continue to have their applications prioritized and processed in accordance with existing phased resumption of visa services guidance.  Please check the website of the Embassy or Consulate where you wish to apply to see what categories of visas are currently being processed.

K visa applicants who are not plaintiffs in Milligan v. Pompeo and who are physically present in a country covered by any of the COVID-related geographic proclamations (the People’s Republic of China, Islamic Republic of Iran, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Brazil, or South Africa) will not have their K visa application processed unless the applicant is eligible for a National Interest Exception.  K visa applicants who are physically present in a country covered by any of the COVID related geographic proclamations, who are not plaintiffs in Milligan v. Pompeo, and who are not eligible for a National Interest Exception cannot be issued a K visa and thus will not be scheduled for a K visa interview while the geographic proclamations remain in effect.  K fiancé visa applicants are not spouses of U.S. citizens and therefore are subject to the geographic proclamations.  

The resumption of routine visa services, prioritized after services to U.S. citizens, is occurring on a post-by-post basis, consistent with the Department’s guidance for safely returning our workforce to Department facilities.  U.S. Embassies and Consulates have continued to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services since March 2020 and will continue to do so as they are able.  As post-specific conditions improve, our missions will begin providing additional services, culminating eventually in a complete resumption of routine visa services.  Applicants should check the website of their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for updates on what services that post is currently able to offer.

Sours: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/k-visa-processing-update.html

COVID-19 causing delays in immigration visas and keeping families apart

Abbey Mattson could give birth any day now.

With the finishing touches already set in her first child's nursery, the 27-year-old living in Atlanta has almost everything she needs to give birth to her son, Isaac. All that's missing is his father, Mattson's fiancé, Alejandro Puerta.

Puerta, who is from Venezuela, is still in Peru, where he met Mattson last year just a month before the coronavirus sparked lockdowns and travel restrictions around the world. Although the couple filed an application for a U.S. visa in June 2020, Puerta is still waiting to get approved.

"We had a lot of hope that we would both be able to come and be in the United States together for the birth of our child," Mattson told ABC News. "Now, I'm 39 weeks pregnant, so the baby can really come any day, and I'm here in the U.S. and Alejandro is in Lima, and we actually haven't seen any forward progress with his visa application."

Mattson had been living in Peru for two years before the pandemic, where she worked with the nonprofit organization Something New, which supports Venezuelan refugees in Peru, like Puerta, who also works there.

When ABC News spoke to her in July 2020, she said she had stayed behind when other Americans rushed to return to the U.S. because she wanted to keep the nonprofit's mission going. Soon after, she met Puerta.

Mattson returned to the U.S. in October, making the heartbreaking decision to leave Puerta in Peru as he waited out the visa process.

"Right when I was going through [airport] security and I was by myself and I felt like I wanted to cry, and then I just remembered, like, 'No, I'm going to do this for my son,'" Mattson said.

"It wasn't easy because ... to decide whether she should stay or go was difficult, but deciding [for her] to go, it was [for the] best because I wasn't thinking about myself," Puerta told ABC News in Spanish.

Mattson and Puerta made one of many life-changing decisions U.S. citizens and their loved ones around the world have had to consider as the pandemic continues to upend U.S. immigration processes. A backlog of cases brought on by temporary closures to consulates and embassies, COVID-19 restrictions in waiting rooms and reduced staffing has led to longer wait times for applicants.

"By May of last year, the overall number of visas, both temporary and permanent, declined by approximately 95%, so there was a precipitous decline in the total number of visas that were issued," said Jorge Loweree, policy director at the American Immigration Council.

The State Department told ABC News that U.S. embassies and consulates are "working to resume routine visa services on a location-by-location basis." However, it said, "the pandemic continues to severely impact the number of visas our embassies and consulates abroad are able to process. We do not expect to be able to safely return to pre-pandemic workload levels until mid-2021 at the earliest."

Fiancé visas like the one Puerta applied for, called K-1 visas, typically take six to nine months to process, according to immigration law group Boundless. But as the pandemic continues, a surge of COVID-19 cases in Peru could lead to a new wave of restrictions.

In Lima, where Puerta is living, lockdown orders are higher than in other cities: Residents are only permitted an hour of outdoor time each day. The U.S. Embassy in the city is also closed until mid-February, at least.

"I really understand the measures they're trying to take for health and safety, but ... then we get to another moment like this where the U.S. Embassy is closed in Lima," said Mattson. "It is a little bit frustrating because now that option to push paperwork through isn't available."

To make matters worse, a COVID-19 outbreak in the home where Puerta has been staying has compromised his own safety.

"We have been experiencing some difficulties like some people are not well -- feeling some symptoms," he told ABC News earlier this week. "But [we're] working together, mutually helping each other to not fall into a depression because of this virus, supporting each other."

On Wednesday, Mattson told ABC News that her fiancé now has possible COVID-19 symptoms. The home where he's staying, which is owned by the nonprofit where the couple works, doesn't have basic medical supplies, medicine or regular access to clean water, Mattson said.

While the State Department announced in August 2020 that it would prioritize K-1 visas, Mattson and Puerta say that seven months since applying, they still haven't been told where they stand in the process. They've made several requests to expedite Puerta's application, and all were rejected.

"They said they were denying my most recent request, the 11th one. They said, 'We will not grant any subsequent requests,' and so when I got that email, I felt a little discouraged," Mattson said. "I'm still looking for other ways to get Alejandro here as soon as possible."

Loweree believes transparency regarding visa statuses may increase with President Joe Biden's administration.

"One of the things that we certainly expect is for the new administration to work to change the culture within [the State Department], and hopefully, that will translate into a greater level of customer service and communication, especially when there are [situations] at play that include families being separated right away, including where there is a young child that is on the way," Loweree said.

While Puerta won't be in Atlanta for the birth of his son, he doesn't regret the decision they made.

"The bad thoughts arrive of how, for example, it is impossible for you to be here ... or it has been very difficult for me to be able to be supportive of you from [here]. But yes, the process is totally worth it," he said. "I have no doubt."

While they wait, Mattson holds onto hope that they'll all be together again soon, in the U.S.

"It might be hard for us right now to be apart, but I have to believe that something incredible will happen in the future," she said. "And I have to believe that my son can have a better life in the U.S., can have a better life if he's a citizen."

Sours: https://abcnews.go.com/US/covid-19-causing-delays-immigration-visas-keeping-families/story?id=75669327
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U.S. Embassy in Burma

Under U.S. immigration law, a foreign-citizen fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen is the recipient of an approved Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), Form I-129F, who has been issued a nonimmigrant K-1 visa for travel to the United States in order to marry his or her U.S. citizen fiancé(e). Both the U.S. citizen and the K-1 visa applicant must have been legally free to marry at the time the petition was filed and must have remained so thereafter. The marriage must be legally possible according to laws of the U.S. state in which the marriage will take place.

In general, the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) and U.S. citizen sponsor must have met in person within the past two years. USCIS may grant an exception to this requirement, based on extreme hardship for the U.S. citizen sponsor to personally meet the foreign-citizen fiancé(e), or, for example, if it is contrary in the U.S. citizen sponsor’s or foreign-citizen fiancé(e)’s culture for a man and woman to meet before marriage.

Sours: https://mm.usembassy.gov/visas/fiancee-visa/
How K-1 Fiance Visas Will Be Different under Biden

Current Priority Order for US Immigrant Visa Processing

USCIS building

The coronavirus pandemic and restrictive legal immigration policies have resulted in massive immigrant visa processing backlogs. At Boundless we understand how frustrating the waiting process can be.

According to the best information available, here is the priority order for July for visa processing in countries that aren’t on COVID-19 lockdown or do not have serious restrictions in place:

  1. IR-3/IR-4 (international adoption cases)
  2. IR-2 (specifically the immigrant child of a U.S. citizen who will turn 21 in the near future)
  3. Special Immigrant Visas for Iraqi and Afghan nationals working for the U.S. government
  4. CR-1/IR-1 (marriage-based green card)
  5. IR-2 (specifically the immigrant child of a U.S. citizen who will not turn 21 in the near future)
  6. IR-5 (parent of a U.S. citizen)
  7. K-1 (fiancé of a U.S. citizen)
  8. All other family-based visas and SE1 (foreign employees of the U.S. government abroad)
  9. All other immigrant visa types including employment-based and diversity visas
  10. H-1B/L/TN/H-2 (nonimmigrant employment-based visas)
  11. F/M/J (nonimmigrant students)
  12. E-1/E-2 (treaty trader/investor)
  13. B-1/B-2 (those eligible for an interview waiver)
  14. B-1/B-2 (currently not processing first-time applicants at all even in countries without serious restrictions due to the backlog taking precedence)

For more information, Boundless is regularly updating the current status of visa services by country.


Sours: https://www.boundless.com/blog/current-priority-order-us-immigrant-visa-processing/

News fiance visa

The Secretary of State determined on April 8 that the travel of immigrant and fiancé(e) visa holders is in the national interest for purposes of approving exceptions under the geographic COVID Presidential Proclamation 10143.

The U.S. Embassy in Finland expects to resume processing for K-1 non-immigrant visas and all categories of immigrant visas by May 2021. Due to a significant backlog, applicants should prepare for the possibility of longer than usual wait times. However, applicants may wish to begin working to update their medical examinations and any other expired documents, as necessary. More information about K-1 visa requirements can be found here. More information about IV requirements can be found here.

Immigrant visa applicants should communicate with the National Visa Center about interview scheduling. K visa applicants will be contacted by the U.S. Embassy in Finland in the coming weeks.

By U.S. Embassy Finland | 9 April, 2021 | Topics: Consular Affairs, Immigrant Visas, News | Tags: Immigrant Visa, K-1, Visas

Sours: https://fi.usembassy.gov/k-1-and-immigrant-visa-processing-update-april-9-2021/
K Visa Processing Time 2021 (September) - Fiancé Visa Processing Time -I-129F petition - K1 Visa

K-Visa Application in San Jose

The K-visa categories were created to speed up the immigration process for alien fiancés of U.S. citizens and their accompanying minor children (K-1 and K-2 visas) so that they could travel more quickly to the U.S. to marry the U.S. citizen. K-visa categories are also used to permit alien spouses of U.S. citizens and their minor children to be admitted to the U.S. as nonimmigrant (K-3 and K-4 visas) while they are awaiting the adjudication of Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative.

K-1 Visa:

The K-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the foreign fiancé of a United States citizen. The requirements and procedures to file for a K-1 visa are set out below:

1. Must file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé with USCIS in the United States. At the time of the application, both the foreign fiancé and the U.S. citizen fiancé must be legally free to marry. The sole intent of the fiancé should be to enter the US to conclude a valid marriage with the U.S. citizen petitioner.

2. The U.S. citizen sponsor and the foreign fiancé must have met at least once in the past two years. USCIS may make an exception to this requirement if the couple can prove that there was a financial hardship for the U.S. citizen and fiancé to meet or if it is against the individual's culture for a man and woman to meet.

3. After you file the petition, USCIS will adjudicate the K-1 application and forward the K-1 application to the U.S. Consulate in the fiancé’s home country. The U.S. Consulate overseas will mail the fiancé an interview letter. At this time, the K-1 visa applicant may apply for K-2 visas for his/her eligible children.

*Note: The K-1 Approval Notice is valid for four (4) months. This means that the foreign fiancé must complete the second stage of the K-1 process, the document gathering and submission and interview at the U.S. Consulate abroad, within that time. It is possible to request an extension of the validity of the approval notice for another four (4) months upon a showing that both the U.S. citizen and foreign fiancé are still free to marry and intend to marry one another within 90 days of the foreign fiancé’s entry into the United States.*

4. Prior to the interview, the foreign fiancé will need to file Form DS-160 and take the following documents to the interview: passport, divorce certificate (if applicable), police certificate, medical examination, evidence of financial support from oneself or U.S. citizen, and evidence of relationship such as photos of the couple, letters, etc. Please review the website of the specific U.S. Consulate where the interview will be held as each Consulate may have different requirements.

Once the foreign fiancé obtains the K-1 visa, he or she may enter the United States. Within 90 days of entering the United States, the foreign fiancé must marry the U.S. citizen. Moreover, the fiancé status automatically expires after 90 days. Immediately after the marriage, the foreign citizen will apply for a green card with the USCIS within United States.

For information in regard to obtaining a green card through marriage see Marriage Green Cards.

If you or your loved ones have questions or need assistance with the K-visa categories, please contact our office today at (408) 560-4622.

Sours: https://www.avlawoffice.com/marriage-fiance-visas/k-1-visas/

Similar news:

7 Tips for Getting Your K-1 Visa Approved

A couple applying for a K-1 visa.

It’s true: most people who apply for a K-1 visa are successful. In fact, according to statistical reports published by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), about 74% of fiancé(e) visas were approved in 2020.

Nonetheless, it’s totally understandable if you’re worried about the final outcome of your application. So perhaps the first tip — a pre-tip, if you will — should be to just breathe. For the most part, as long as you and your partner meet the requirements of the K-1 application process, you have nothing to worry about.

That being said, you don’t want to risk your application being denied due to a simple lack of preparation. To help you move through the application process with confidence, the following blog post will provide 7 must-know tips.

1. Gather Sufficient Evidence

a K-1 visa applicant holding an air ticket

While you may know you’re in a good faith relationship, the person looking at your application has no idea. For this reason, you should diligently gather evidence that substantiates the validity of your relationship. Specifically, you’ll need to show that you and your partner have met, in person, at least once within the past two years. To avoid any delays in the application process, it might be a good idea to air on the side of “too much” information. Evidence might include:

  • Photographs (dated, if possible)
  • Flight or hotel Itineraries
  • Written testimony provided by friends, family, or colleagues
  • Any correspondence between you and your partner

In addition to proving the actuality of your relationship, you’ll also need to provide evidence showing that:

  • The sponsoring partner is a U.S. citizen
  • You are both eligible to legally marry, meaning all previous marriages have officially ended
  • You have a real intent to marry within 90 days of arriving in the United States (evidence should include a signed statement from each partner declaring their intent to marry and any documents you may have related to the event itself)
  • The sponsoring petitioner has an income equal to, at least, 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines

For a more thorough breakdown of the K-1 eligibility requirements, checkout Boundless’ detailed explanation of the fiancé(e) visa process.

2. Disclose Any Information Required by IMBRA

In 2005, following the tragic deaths of two women who entered the United States on marriage-based visas, the U.S. government instituted the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA, or “the Act”), providing protection to those who intend to marry using a broker.

Among other things, the Act requires that, if the couple met through a brokerage service, they must disclose this information to USCIS, who will then determine whether the service meets certain criteria. What’s more, if the sponsor has ever committed a violent crime, sexual or otherwise, they may be barred from receiving a K-1 visa.

If you intend to marry using a broker, be sure to disclose all the necessary information. Even if you make it through the K-1 application process without disclosing, you could end up facing serious consequences when you or your partner applies for a marriage green card. To learn more about IMBRA, read Boundless’ in-depth article on the subject.

3. Prepare for the Interview

Married couple holding hands

After submitting the initial paperwork (Form I-129F), USCIS could take as long as 10 months to give its approval. Within 30 days following the initial approval, the sponsored fiancé(e) will receive a notice informing them of the date and location of the upcoming interview, in addition to a list of all the necessary documents.

It’s very important that you prepare for this interview by gathering all the required documents and considering any potential questions that might arise. Again, if you’re in a serious, well-intentioned relationship, you have nothing to worry about. The questions should be fairly straightforward for the most part.

They might ask, for instance, about the sponsored fiancé(e)’s previous marriages, nationality, work status, history of travel to the United States, or criminal history. To prove whether the relationship is real, the immigration officer might ask the U.S. sponsor about their partner’s hobbies, eye color, age, residence, and background. It’s a good idea to prepare for these types of questions prior to your interview.

4. Stay Flexible

An immigrant after her courthouse wedding.

Given the uncertainty surrounding the application timeline, it’s a good idea to remain flexible with respect to your wedding plans. Once the sponsored fiancé(e) arrives on U.S. soil, you have 90 days to get married. Needless to say, that’s not a lot of time, and you want to be ready for any unforeseen hurdles during the process.

In this regard, you should consider planning a simple wedding that will allow for a certain amount of flexibility. Remember, you can always plan a larger reception after the initial ceremony.

5. Triple Check Your Finances

As mentioned above, the sponsoring partner will need to show that they make at least 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. So you want to be absolutely certain that you meet these financial criteria and that you can substantiate your income before applying.

This means you will want to save paystubs or any other record of income in order to prove that you make a sufficient amount of money. As of 2021, a household of 2 people must make a minimum of $17,420 per year. If you don’t earn a sufficient income, a joint financial sponsor may submit an affidavit of support.

6. Monitor Your Social Media Output

Best dating apps for immigrants

In the age of digital surveillance, it may go without saying that anything you put out on the web is fair game. That is, your social media presence could be used by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to determine whether your relationship is an authentic one. Thus, you want to be sure that the story you’re telling in your application is consistent with the story being told on your social media accounts.

Petitioners have been confronted by immigration officers simply because the applicant’s social media profile contained (purportedly) contradictory information. For this reason, be sure to thoroughly check your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other platform you use, for any posts that might undermine the veracity of your application.

7. Fill Out All Necessary Forms

Form I-129F initiates the K-1 visa application process, but it is only one form among others that you will need to fill out. For instance, once the I-129F is approved, the sponsored fiancé(e) will need to complete the online DS-160 form, otherwise known as the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application.

But there may be others as well depending on your situation. If the sponsored partner has kids, they will need to submit a K-2 visa application, which will allow the children to come to the United States. And if the newly arrived fiancé(e) would like to work, they will need to submit an Application for Employment Authorization (or Form I-765). It’s advisable to know ahead of time which forms apply to your particular circumstance, so you can start gathering all the necessary documents.

For more information about the various applications that might arise, check out the USCIS web page devoted to K-1 visas. If you’re in need of assistance, we, at Boundless, have joined forces with RapidVisa to help you navigate the sometimes complicated process of obtaining a fiancé(e) visa. Visit the RapidVisa website today to get started.


Sours: https://www.boundless.com/blog/tips-for-getting-your-k-1-visa-approved/


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