Can K1 visa be waived because of COVID-19 and not being able to meet in person?
There is a requirement when people are applying for a K1 fiancé visa that you have met your fiancé in person, physically, within the past two years from the point when you file the petition. A lot of people were planning on meeting each other and then their plans got canceled unfortunately just because of the difficulties traveling internationally with the pandemic happening.
There are very limited exceptions to that requirement to have met in person. So far, there hasn’t been any cases where people have actually applied yet to try to do it on this basis. Legally, it could potentially work. So far, all of our clients have decided not to try it at this point.
There’s a way to apply for a waiver of that requirement. You have to make your legal argument about why it’s impossible for you to meet in person. The main thing is going to be whether the government wants to start accepting that exemption because typically, they want exceptions and exemptions to be something that is very limited. Where very few people qualify for it.
I think they’re unlikely to do that in this case because they don’t want to give the whole world an exemption of that requirement. There’s also a good possibility that when you apply today, a few months later it will get rejected. Even if you’ve made a fabulous argument and have proof that your trip was canceled, the borders were closed and basically stating that it’s impossible for you to visit. That would be a pretty good argument but because USCIS is sitting on these for about six to eight months before making a decision, there’s a good chance that at some point during that six to eight months, the borders will have opened up and you would have actually been able to travel.
My main concern about the risk to try doing this is that it’s a great argument now, but by the time you get there, they’re gonna claim you could travel and then they’re gonna deny it. Then, you’re still going to have to travel and do it that way. So it’s something that could be tried. But so far, no one’s actually tried it and gotten a response yet.
If it’s something you want to try and you’re in a situation where you really don’t think you’re gonna be able to travel and that’s what you want to move forward with, we’ll be happy to help you try that and make the most convincing argument possible.