K1 Visa Proof Of Meeting In Person In The Last 2 Years
You would think that before deciding to marry someone you met online, you’d want to meet them, right? Well, let me tell you… I still get questions asking if meeting in person is necessary to apply for the K1 visa. Here’s my answer: the K1 visa proof of meeting is an absolute requirement.
You can’t just skip this step and move on to filing the I-129F petition with USCIS.
Besides, meeting in person will let you get to know your partner before you pop the question. I’m sure you’d want to know whether you have physical chemistry or any weird quirks that can be deal breakers.
So, let’s find out why proof of meeting is so important in the K1 visa process and what evidence can be used to show that you’ve met.
For those of you who can’t meet in person before filing the I-129F petition, there are two different waivers available but they are difficult to qualify for. If you truly want to marry your partner, it’s worth spending the money to travel to see them.
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Why USCIS Wants Proof Of Meeting In The Last 2 Years
One of the requirements to submit the I-129 Petition for Alien Fiance is to meet in the two years before filing. This shows that you made an effort to meet the person you promise to marry.
I believe the main reason for this requirement is so the U.S. citizen knows what they are getting into. What I mean by this is that USCIS wants to make sure that the U.S. citizen has met the person they are filing for and is still willing to petition for them.
Have you watched the show catfish?
It’s a reality show about people who pretend to be something they are not online and string along gullible strangers online. I’ve only seen bits and pieces of this show, but I know that the things it portrays happen online.
You may think you’re talking to some beautiful female model only to find out when you meet that she is older and has never modeled. This is the type of stuff that you learn when you meet in person.
Sam met April 6 months ago online and they’ve never met. During these months, they have gotten to know each other very well. Sam finally decided it was time to meet his girlfriend April and booked a flight to Australia. They spent two weeks together traveling across Australia. When it was time to travel back to the US, Sam proposed to April.
In the case above, Sam and April confirmed that they were right for each other after meeting and immediately got engaged. Even though they got engaged after only one meeting, this is still allowed. You don’t need to meet multiple times before getting engaged and filing the K1 application.
What Evidence Can Be Used For K1 Proof of Meeting’
If there is one piece of advice I can give you, it’s that you should save everything from your trip abroad. Most people would just throw away their boarding pass, train ticket and hotel receipt but if you’re planning on applying for immigration benefits, keep everything!
Good evidence to show you have met:
- flight itinerary
- hotel receipts
- boarding passes
- photos together
The evidence above shows that the U.S. citizen has visited their partner abroad.
If you don’t have any of the above mentioned evidence, it will be hard to prove that you have met. Photos will not be enough to prove this because they can be faked so there must be other physical proof that can be doctored.
Elizabeth flew to Ghana to meet John in person. They have been chatting online for 9 months and really wanted to have him move to the US. They realized that they have to show proof of meeting in the last 2 years before filing the I-129F petition.
When Elizabeth arrived, she made sure to take plenty of photos with John. She also kept the receipts and boarding pass from her flight to Ghana. This evidence was used to prove that they met in person and were eligible to file the fiance visa.
As you can see, Elizabeth did the right thing and researched what was required for the K1 visa before she booked her trip. This helped her save the evidence that she need to submit later to USCIS.
Many American don’t do the research before and by the time they are back in the US, they have no evidence to show for their trip except a credit card bill.
Waiver For K1 Proof Of Meeting In The Last 2 Years
There are a few situations where you don’t have to meet your fiance in person. I personally haven’t seen anyone bypass meeting in the last two years but I’m sure there are some people who do qualify for these waivers.
The two waivers I’ll discuss below are difficult to get but not impossible. I’d say that the vast majority of you will not get either of them so be prepared to buy a plane ticket to see your love.
Extreme Hardship Waiver
For instance, being incarcerated or an inability to travel due to parole or a court order does not necessarily reach the level of extreme hardship for the petitioner. Yes, you read that right.
Even if you are in jail, you won’t be eligible for the waiver.
Since extreme hardship is so difficult to prove and basically means “physically impossible,” it’s only available for people who are so disabled that they can’t fly at all. You may also need to prove that your fiance(e) attempted to get a visitor visa to come to the U.S. but was denied.
Violation Of Cultural or Religious Custom Waiver
Another way to avoid the K1 proof of meeting requirement is to show that it would violate a cultural norm or societal custom. This is even more difficult to prove to the USCIS.
Basically, you must prove that meeting in person violates a known cultural or religious custom.
It will be next to impossible to prove that you or your fiance(e)’s religion or culture doesn’t allow a meeting before the marriage can take place. Most arranged marriages still allow the couple to physically see each other before tying the knot.
Final Thoughts On K1 Proof of Meeting In The Last 2 Years
Getting to see your partner in person should be an exciting prospect for both of you. I know that sometimes it’s hard to come up with the money to buy a plane ticket across the globe and take time off work.
I know that money is one of the major issues for some people and for other’s it’s not having enough vacation time available.
Either way, you should assume that you must meet your partner in person before you can submit the I-129F petition. This basic requirement is to protect both of you from making a decision without really knowing the consequences.
Think of it as USCIS is acting like a parent that wants to make sure you know what you’re getting into by marrying a foreigner.
If you have booked a flight overseas, make sure to save as much evidence as possible. You will need to submit this later on when filing the K1 visa as proof of having met in person.
I personally kept everything as a way to remember the great times we had but realized later on that things I kept were very powerful evidence.
Getting ready to visit your partner abroad? Will you make sure to collect evidence of the trip? Let me know in the comments below.
Ayan is the founder of the Migrant Academy community, the My Path To Citizenship Blog and Podcast.
After successfully navigating the hurdles of US immigration. She now dedicates her time to helping other couples achieve their goals of starting their new life together in the US.