Waiver of K1 In-Person Meeting for COVID

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.


  1. Elaine on October 25, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    We actually tried this, applied for K1 visa even without meeting each other. We have plans to meet but due to pandemic me and my fiancee can’t travel due to travel restrictions here in the Philippines. Our k1 visa applications is still on going,it’s been 5 months and we still waiting and hoping for the best. Alyhough were planning to meet somewhere else outside the Philippines, hopefully they can consider it.

    • Jennifer on December 2, 2021 at 11:44 am

      Are you still waiting? My son and his fiance have just started this process and because of covid they can’t meet. I’m wondering if they can meet outside of the Philippines. Thanks.

      • Benjamin Unruh on December 10, 2021 at 1:11 am

        I recently tried this with my girlfriend. She got flagged trying to leave the country because young women from PH are often targeted for sex trafficking unfortunately. They made us cancel our trip and go to the Counsel on filipinos Overseas (CFO) and get a Guidance and Couceling Program (GCP) certificate. We tried to meet in Seychelles and now we are going through the training to leave again. You can email me at baunruh@vt.edu and I can explain the whole thing if you like. It’s not going to be easy or cheap, but I think it can be done.

  2. raymond on February 22, 2022 at 1:29 pm

    any results on your k1 visa applications?

  3. Sally on March 7, 2022 at 10:58 pm

    My fiance and I have met a month and 2 years ago. So it means the fiance application will not get approved?

    • JAMES GAHAN on April 4, 2022 at 12:22 pm

      Thats the situation I’m in. We met in Dec 2019 but couldn’t get the paperwork filed before our 2 years. I’m trying to figure out if there is any extension’s.

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