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Is the K-1 Visa a safe visa?

In this segment, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick discusses whether a K-1 visa is a safe visa. Security concerns have recently arisen in the media and in Congress following the terrorist attack in San Bernardino which killed 14 people. It was recently discovered that the female shooter which carried out the attack entered the United States on a K-1 visa. In this segment we discuss whether the K-1 visa is a secure enough visa. While we do not disregard terrorism as a legitimate threat to the security of the United States, we believe the K-1 visa does not pose a risk to the safety of United States citizens. Rather, the process to obtain a K-1 visa is extremely invasive and complex.

Overview

  • The San Bernardino gun woman, Tashfeen Malik, entered the US on a fiancé visa. So is the fiancé visa safe?
  • Applying for a K-1 visa is a very rigorous and complicated process — there are a multitude of things both the applicant and petitioner are required to disclose — it is unlikely that a terrorist would use this visa in order to gain entry and inflict harm. It is somewhat easier for them to falsify and/or misrepresent information on a tourist visa application, and enter the US on a tourist visa, than to obtain a K-1 visa.
  • The K-1 visa applicant is subjected to a background check and an interview at a US consulate or embassy overseas as a security and fraud prevention mechanism
  • The K-1 visa applicant must provide a police clearance record, military record, court and prison records, proof of bona fide relationship, and must disclose any inadmissibility issues
  • Even once the K-1 visa is granted, the fiance is only allowed 90 days to marry the US Citizen spouse. If the fiance does not do so they must depart the United States or face removal proceedings
  • If the fiance marries the US Citizen spouse and seeks permanent residence, the fiance must provide the same documents once again, undergo security screening, and attend an interview with the spouse
  • Even once the fiance receives their green card, it will be conditional based on their marriage to the US citizen spouse meaning that it is only good for 2 years
  • The fiance must file an I-751 removal of conditions application with their spouse, before the expiration of their conditional green card in order to obtain the 10 year permanent resident card
  • The I-751 application process is a document intensive and invasive process which requires the couple to provide documented evidence that their marriage was entered in good faith and not for the purposes of obtaining an immigration benefit.

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