You are in: Home > Immigration Law

Fiance Visa to the U.S. Meeting Requirement

28th June 2010
By Cathy Tran Reck in Immigration Law
RSS Legal RSS    Views: N/A

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires K1 fiance visa applicants to have physically met in person before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will grant the I-129F. This is simply one factor used to prove the bona fide or sincerity of the relationship between the fiance visa applicant and the US citizen petitioner.

This "in person" meeting requirement is outdated and incognizant of the advent of online dating, video conferencing, and instant messenger. More and more people are meeting and creating social relationships within the confines of their computers without ever leaving the comfort of the home. Binational couples are meeting through social networking websites such as Facebook, Hi5, eHarmony, and, which are websites with thousands of active users searching for their soul mates. Nonetheless, US immigration require the engaged couple to be in physical presence of each other at least once, despite how long they have been communicating and established their relationship.

In extenuating circumstances, US law does allow the US citizen petitioner to apply for a hardship waiver requesting discretionary relief to waive this requirement. The waiver is granted when it is established that a meeting would be an extreme hardship for the US citizen petitioner (not to the fiance visa applicant). Extreme hardship to the petitioner exists where the petitioner may have an extenuating medical disability or circumstances that warrants a waiver of the meeting in person requirement.

Moreover, in circumstances where the in person meeting would be in violation of one's customs, cultural or religious values, then the US citizen may request the waiver. As long as the religious belief is recognized, or the cultural tradition is sincere, then USCIS will waive the meeting requirement.

Oftentimes, couples have met and can fulfill the 1 in person meeting requirement, but whether it is sufficient to create a genuine and caring relationship with the visa applicant will depend on the couple's unique sets of facts. For instance, the consular officers may scrutinize extensively whether a couple who spent 1 day together would be able to establish a bona fide relationship as oppose to 1 month. The 1 day visit may also contradict the traditional notion of a relationship where there's sincerity and genuine care and affection if the couple commenced their relationship 1-2 months prior to filing the Fiance Visa Application. Nonetheless, a 1 month long visit may also be scrutinized if there are other red flag issues such as a wide age gap or multiple filings for the same applicant.

This article is free for republishing
About the Author
Occupation: U.S. Lawyer
Cathy Tran Reck is an American immigration attorney working from Bangkok, Thailand. Cathy is the Managing Partner at Cathy Tran Reck & Associates, Ltd. Bangkok with an office in Bangkok, Thailand and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Cathy is licensed by the California State Bar, American Bar Association, and a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She can be reached at or in Bangkok at (+66) 2 302 1448.

Bookmark and Share

Ask a Question about this Article

powered by Yedda