reasons k1 or cr1 visa is denied

EP28: The Most Common Reasons the K1 or CR1 Visa is Denied

For most couples, if their K1 or CR1 is visa denied it would be devastating! It’s probably the biggest fear that you have about the process. So, in this episode of the podcast you will learn the most common reasons the K1 or CR1 visa is denied.
I remember applying for my own K1 visa and the thoughts running through my mind would scare most people! ????
  • Will they think I’m just trying to get into the US?
  • My fiancé and I haven’t visited each other enough.
  • Will they think I won’t get married and live illegally in the US?
  • I hope they don’t ask me about his parents names because I’ll forget.

This sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Well, I was honestly worried about all of the scenarios I just mentioned and I had a genuine relationship!

Most Couples Fear Having Their Visa Denied

My husband and I met as teenagers and have been together ever since. Thinking back I laugh at how scared I was but then it reminds me that most couples also feel this worry.

Case Example:

Jessica is a US citizen who met Jesus while he was in the US illegally. They get engaged and decide to apply for the K1 fiancé visa. After leaving the US, Jesus finds out that he has a 3 year bar against him and he is inadmissible due to the unlawful presence of 9 months.

In the example above, Jesus will need to apply for the I-601 waiver of inadmissibility. He will need to show that his fiancé will suffer extreme hardship if he is denied the K1 visa.

K1 Visa Denial Rate Is Currently 40%

k1 visa denial stats

Incomplete Application or Supporting Documentation

Submitting the I-129F or I-130 petition isn’t rocket science! There are specific steps that everyone has to take to get approved.
It’s all about attention to detail and knowing what is required.
Unfortunately, the US immigration system changes so frequently that it would be too risky to rely on online forms or personal blogs to help you with the process. Yes, I say this while writing a blog about the topic!
I always recommend that everyone double checks the requirements themselves on Even on my own website where I do my best in keeping everything updated, I still give this recommendation.
But I know that a good number of you will still search the interview for stories of someone who got approved with no evidence at all!
Trust me, this is not the norm and you should not rely on their testimony as proof that you can do the same and get approved.

Why would a K1 or Cr1 visa be denied?

  • Consular officer did not have the information need to make a decision.
    • This happens all the time and you should not panic. You will be given the opportunity to provide the missing documents to continue processing your case. This will delay your approval by a few weeks to a few months.
  • Additional documents are needed.
    • When more documents or evidence is needed, the consular officer will let you know. You will be given a letter 221(g) that will have a checkmark for the document that is needed to complete your case.
  • Administrative processing.
    • You may be placed in administrative processing if the consular officer needs to review the documents you’ve submitted or run additional background checks. You could also be required to complete form DS-5535.
  • Have 1 year from refusal to submit additional docs.
    • You will be given 1 year to submit the required documents but I highly recommend you submit as soon as possible to reduce the amount of time your case will be delayed.
  • After 1 year must reapply and pay filing fee.
    • If it takes you longer than a year to respond to the request for additional documentation, you will need to reapply for the visa and pay the filing fee again!
221g form sample

You Don’t Qualify For The K1 or CR1 Visa

The first thing you should be doing before submitting the I-129F or I-130 petition is to check the eligibility requirements on
Not doing this is a big mistake! You would be surprised at how many couples simply assume since they are engaged or married, they qualify!
  • Not providing enough evidence of your relationship.
    • You know your relationship is real but USCIS doesn’t. This means that you have to show proof that you’ve been communicating, you met in person and that you plan on living together inside the US. There are obviously a lot more evidence you should be including but that will be for another podcast episode!
  • USCIS or Consular officer believes you are already married (K1)
    • This is an issue for couples applying for the K1 visa. I’ve seen some couples submit photos of engagement celebrations that look very much like a wedding! Don’t do this. It can confuse the immigration official and make them think that you may already be legally married overseas. Some people do commit this fraud but most simply don’t realize how those pictures come across.

You Are At High Risk Of Public Charge

All immigrant visa applicants (we include the K1) must show that they have financial support from their petitioner. This means that they are promising to financially take care of all of your needs while you are in the US.
Without a completed affidavit of support you will likely be denied the K1 or CR1 visa.
Additionally, you will need to overcome any income shortfall to meet the income requirements that USCIS has set. These income requirements are not very large either so most should be able to meet them.
  • Consular officer believes you will rely of public assistance.
    • This is a common reason for visa denial and you need to convince them that you will not be on public assistance the moment you enter the US!
  • You must show you have sufficient financial support in the US.
    • This means that your US petitioner must be a US citizen or LPR (CR1 only), has a form of income, has enough assets and is willing to sign the affidavit of support.
  • Complete the I-134 or I-864 affidavit of support.
    • The affidavit of support is what proves to USCIS and DOS that you will not become a public charge after immigrating. It’s not guaranteed but the US government can come after the US sponsor if you ever did get on public assistance. This is especially so for the I-864 which is legally binding.

Related Post: What to do if your K1 visa is denied.

You Committed Fraud and/Or Misrepresentation

If the consular officer suspects that you are committing immigration fraud, you have an uphill battle on your hands!
Fraud and misrepresentation are what immigration official are on the lookout for during the visa interview. So if you’re accused of fraud or misrepresentation, you must act quickly!
  • Consular officers suspects you committed fraud or lied.
    • There usually is a reason why they suspect fraud. It could be a mistake on your online forms or it could be answer you gave at the visa interview. Find out why they think you are committing fraud and try to overcome this.
  • This is a permanent ineligibility.
    • Although the Department of State says that fraud and misrepresentation is a permanent ineligibility, I’ve found that in some cases there is a waiver available.
  • Waiver is available (I-601) Mail directly to USCIS.
    • The I-601 waiver is used to overcome many different types of inadmissibility reasons. If you are required to complete this, be sure that you know exactly what the reason for your ineligibility is before completing and submitting the I-601 waiver to USCIS.
  • Misrepresentation means you were not truthful so you could get the visa.
    • Lying to USCIS or DOS is a huge mistake! Don’t think that you won’t get caught because this is what they do for a living! They are on the look out for immigration fraud as well as terrorism and spies. ????

Related Post: What to do if your CR1 visa is denied.

You Accrued Unlawful Presence In The US

illegal immigration border

Illegal immigration is a big problem right now, especially with the Trump administration cracking down on it forcefully.
If you’ve stayed in the US without authorization for at least 180 days, you will definitely be denied the K1 or CR1 visa unless you submit a waiver.
It’s important to understand how unlawful presence affects you. You may be subject to a 3 or 10 year bar which may require you to stay outside the United States for this period of time.
  • You have stayed in the US unlawfully after visa expired.
    • Some immigrants believe that entering the US legally will help your case compared to someone who entered illegally. This may not always be the case so don’t put too much hope into this scenario helping your case in any way.
  • You entered the US illegally without authorization.
    • This is what’s called “Entering Without Inspection (EWI)” and it means that you entered the country without anyone letting you in. This can make it extremely difficult to get approved for the K1 or CR1 visa. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible but you really have to show that you should be allowed back in. A waiver will be required and you should show that your US citizen spouse or fiancé will experience extreme hardship.
  • Unlawful presence greater than 180 days but less than 1 year = 3 year bar.
    • Living in the US for more than 180 days but less than a year can mean a 3 year bar to entry. This means that you will not be allowed to enter the US again until you serve 3 years outside the country. There is waiver available for the the 3 year bar.
  • Unlawful presence greater than 1 year = 10 year bar.
    • Staying in the US unauthorized for more than a year can result in a 10 year bar to entry. Not only that, it will make it more difficult for you to get the K1 or CR1 visa even with a waiver. You better have some really strong evidence of extreme hardship!

Related Post: What to do if your visa is denied after I-601 is approved.

Final Thoughts On Reasons The K1 or CR1 Visa IS Denied

US immigration is never easy…. for anyone.
I always recommend that couples get outside help as there  are so many pitfalls and mistakes that could be made. Unless you have the time to really do the research and read the USCIS policy manual, it may be easier to get expert help from the beginning.
When I was filing for my own K1 visa, I thought the only option out there was hiring an immigration lawyer for $3,000. Since we had so many other expenses we thought we could it ourselves.
Well, guess what? We received an RFE which delayed us more than 30 days. This was almost 8 years ago!
Would I do things differently now? Absolutely!
The first thing I would do is look at ALL my options. So, if you can’t afford a lawyer then maybe taking an online course and getting personal help from an expert will be a better option.
If you’re ready to begin the K1 or CR1 visa process and need help and guidance, check out the Migrant Academy. It’s an interactive online course platform for the spouse visa and fiancé visa.


  1. Brianne

    My husband and I were refused a k1 visa based on a 221g. The only thing that the counselor stated in the denial email was that application. They did not give us a paper to submit more documentation. They said they would send it back to USCIS for further review but our petition expired in transit. We got married in March because we didn’t want to wait longer and I was moving to a new state to start a new job with that state. We want to file a cr1 now and after speaking to many immigration officers, we never found out exactly what we were denied for but they said we can reapply. I’m just not sure if there are any other ways to understand what the 221g was really in regards to. My husband lives in Ethiopia and I live in Washington state. Any suggestions?

  2. Hi Brianne,

    I’m sorry to hear your K1 was refused. It may be due to him being from Ethiopia! Some countries it’s almost impossible to get the K1 visa due to high risk of fraud. You will have better chance with the CR1 vis instead. Be sure to include a lot of evidence of your marriage/relationship.

  3. Brianne Beshah

    Thank you so much for the reply! I admire the work you are doing. It must make you so happy knowing how many lives you help.

  4. Rose


    My husband is from Pakistan and im US citizen. He had his interview October last year. He was only asked a few questions how he met me what does my brother does for a living he didn’t know the answer so the officer right away didn’t want to proceed with interview and didn’t even get to provide any pictures of us etc they just told him to wait for passport. He didn’t get the visa and to this date its been a nightmare calling and sending uscis emails asking if CR-1 visa was denied and why so we can proceed with appeal etc we have not recién any denials anything from them at all when we call they just say theres no time frame. It’s almost a year and we don’t know what happened. Is this normal ? Legal ? How do i file again if we didnt even receive the denial letters. I feel lost. Please let me know any suggestions what to do. Thank you

  5. Hi Rose,

    I’m so sorry that you are facing such difficulties! This is truly a sad situation to be in and being separated from your husband. Unfortunately, there is no timeframe they must meet to approve or deny your visa. In rare cases, they can hold on to a visa application for years without giving any updates. I would recommend reaching out to your local congressperson and see if they can submit an inquiry on your behalf. Sometimes this can help put some pressure on the consulate or embassy to take another look at your case.

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