American Fiance Visas for Cambodian Nationals

The following article is designed to provide insight into the K1 visa process for the Cambodian National fiancee of a United States Citizen.

In nearly all K-1 visa cases, official processing begins at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in the USA. In the relatively recent past the K1 visa petitioner (American Citizen) would submit a visa petition to the USCIS service center with appropriate jurisdiction. In the year 2010, USCIS, in what appears to be an attempt to streamline the K1 visa process, created a K1 Lockbox for all K1 petitions submitted in the United States. The lockbox is tasked with receiving K1 petitions and forwarding them to an appropriate service center for petition adjudication.

Some argue that the USCIS adjudication process is equivalent to a “rubber stamp”. In truth, USCIS officers carefully examine K-1 petitions prior to making a final decision. Those cases which receive USCIS approval will be sent on to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC). In contrast to Immigrant visa petitions, when NVC receives an approved K1 visa petition from USCIS, they usually initiate a security clearance and act as a sort of clearinghouse by making sure that the case file is forwarded to the United States Embassy, Mission, Consulate, or Institute with proper jurisdiction over the matter.

Once the case file is received by an American Embassy, Mission, Institute, or Consulate abroad the Consular Processing phase of the case starts. Consular Officers are tasked with adjudicating the visa application submitted by a foreign fiance abroad. Those seeking a K1 visa for their Khmer loved one should note that the United States Embassy in Phnom Phen is responsible for adjudicating K1 visa applications for Cambodians.

Consular Officers scrutinize many aspects of a K1 visa application, but the bona fides of the underlying relationship are of central concern in virtually all K1 visa applications. Although, in cases where there is a legal grounds of inadmissibility a Consular Officer may be required by law to reject a K-1 visa application pursuant to relevant sections of the American Immigration and Nationality Act. Should a K1 visa applicant be deemed inadmissible, then there may be a remedy through use of an I-601 waiver or an I-212 waiver depending upon the facts of the case.

Even where inadmissibility is not an issue, K1 visa cases can still be delayed due to “administrative processing” or issuance of a 221(g) refusal pending further documentation. In some cases, the process may be slowed down due to an investigation conducted by the Fraud Prevention Unit at an Embassy or Consulate where a K1 visa application is being adjudicated.

There are many who find that the assistance of an American attorney in the K1 visa process can be highly beneficial as parts of the process can be streamlined. However, an unfortunate upshot of the spread of the internet is a proliferation of so-called “professionals” “agents” “specialists” or “visa companies” claiming expertise in United States Immigration matters. Those seeking representation in a US Immigration matter should always check the credentials of a professional prior to retaining their services as only a licensed American attorney is entitled to represent clients before the Department of Homeland Security generally and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) specifically.

Ben Hart is an American attorney and the Managing Director & International Director of Integrity Legal (Thailand) Co. Ltd. and White & Hart Ltd. respectively. Contact them at: 1-877-231-7533, +66 (0)2-266-3698, or info@integrity-legal.com. See them on the world wide web at: K1 Visa Cambodia. For information about attorney assistance with Consular Processing please see: US Embassy Cambodia.

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