As a U.S. citizen, would I have a problem with getting a K1 visa if I have a domestic violence charge and a felony?

September 13, 2017

The K-1 nonimmigrant visa permits a noncitizen fiancé(e) to travel to the U.S. and marry their U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival. The criteria for the visa are as follows:

(a) Fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen;

(b) Seeking to enter the U.S. solely to conclude a valid marriage with petitioner

(c) Marry the petitioner within 90 days after entry

(d) Minor children of fiancé(e) can accompany the fiancé(e)

The petition must also include the following:

(a) Proof that there is a bona fide intention to marry within 90 days of fiancé(e) entry

(b) Proof there are no legal impediments to marriage (divorce/multiple K-1 within 2 years of petition);

(c) The petitioner must provide their criminal record, if any

(d) Vetting by USCIS/DOS including an interview

Can A U.S. Citizen With a Conviction Sponsor Their Fiancé For A K-1 Visa?

As noted, the petitioner must provide any criminal records. INA § 214(d)(1). In particular, the International Marriage Broker Regulation (IMBRA) provides that a petitioner for a K nonimmigrant visa for an alien fiancé(e) (K-1) or alien spouse (K-3) must submit with his or her Form I-129F information on any criminal convictions of the petitioner for any of the following "specified crimes."

These crimes include:

· Domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and neglect, dating violence, elder abuse, and stalking.

· Homicide, murder, manslaughter, rape, abusive sexual contact, sexual exploitation, incest, torture, trafficking, peonage, holding hostage, involuntary servitude, slave trade, kidnapping, abduction, unlawful criminal restraint, false imprisonment, or an attempt to commit any of these crimes.

· Crimes relating to a controlled substance or alcohol where the petitioner has been convicted on at least three occasions and where such crimes did not arise from a single act.

If the petitioner indicates that they have been convicted by a court, by a military tribunal, or USCIS ascertains through relevant background checks that the petitioner has been convicted, the petitioner will be required to submit certified copies of all court and police records showing the charges and dispositions for every such conviction. This is required even if the petitioner's records were sealed or otherwise cleared. This information then becomes part of the petitioner's form I-129F and if the petition is approved, the Department of State will disclose this information to the beneficiary during the consular interview.

If the petitioner has a history of violent offenses, the adjudicator may not waive the filing limitations unless extraordinary circumstances exist in the petitioner's case. If a petitioner with a history of violent offenses seeks a waiver they must attach a signed and dated letter, requesting the waiver, together with evidence that extraordinary circumstances exist. Evidence of rehabilitation following the petitioner's criminal conviction(s), combined with evidence of other compelling factors, may also be considered "extraordinary circumstances" that warrant the granting of a waiver.

Consult One of Litwin & Smith's K-1 Visa Lawyers

Our attorneys assist clients in obtaining a temporary visa for a fiancé(e) or for spouse who is awaiting processing of his or her green card. We have the knowledge and experience to assist you in determining your options for gaining permanent or temporary residency for a family member. We will evaluate your situation and the current state of the USCIS immigration laws, and recommend the best course of action.

For more detailed information on obtaining a family immigration visa, please view our articles:

· Would You Like to Immigrate to the United States?

· How Long Does It Take to Immigrate to the United States?

Please feel free to contact an immigration lawyer from Litwin & Smith. You can also visit our Immigration Articles page for a full listing of detailed articles regarding immigration and naturalization law. Please see our Immigration Links for additional family immigration resources.