K-1 statistics show increasing denials


The numbers tell us denials are increasing

Recent reports from the US Department of State don’t give very reassuring immigration statistics. Unfortunately, it looks like the denials rates are increasing for the K-1 visa.

It’s quite probable that the recent turn of events are due to the tightening security measures, extreme vetting of K-1 visa applicants, and recent change of administration (President Trump’s agenda).

Historically, certain parts of the world see more K-1 visa approvals than others. These trends repeat often. On the other hand, certain nations don’t consider the fiance visa as a popular option.

Although it won’t predict whether or not your case is approved, it does put the difficulty into perspective. Imagine going into a high-denial Embassy with a host of “ Red flags ”. What would the outcome be? Take a look and decide for yourself.

General Statistics of the K-1 visa process

Lucky for us, the US Department of State publishes an annual list of statistics about various visa categories. There’s none specifically for the K-1 visa, so we pull the data out of several publications. Data for 2017 hasn’t been released yet, so here is the latest of 2016.

You can rest assured that these Official visa statistics are credible and come straight from the source. Let’s take a look at what they mean.


K-1 Visas issuance is increasing

The fact is that more and more K-1 visas are being issued every year. The trends are going up. Besides 2016, year 2014 was also popular for K-1 and K-2 visas. Apparently, it’s one of the types of nonimmigrant visas least issued (in terms of numbers).

This Dept of State statistics table show how many fiance visas were granted over the past few years

This means more and more couples are aware of the K-1 visa. And a higher number of visas are being issued. Doesn’t that sound great?

Actually it is good news, but it’s coupled with some bad news, as you’ll see in the next section.


K-1 Visa denials percentages are increasing

This is a scary thought and also confusing. How can denials be increasing while the visa issuances are going up?

The truth is the percent of denials have also gotten higher. Even though more and more couples are applying for the K-1 visa. So, it’s a comparison of actual K-1 visa numbers versus denial percentage. Numbers versus percentage.

In the past, the K-1 boasted 98+% approval rates, which was simply astounding.You won’t see high approvals like this anymore, now we’re in the low 80% range.

Examine for yourself the “issued”, “refused” and “totals”. (Remember to add waived/overcome in your calculation for approvals).

This Dept of State table compares how many fiance k1 visas were issued, refused and waived.

Waived/overcome means that these number of applicants were originally denied, but ended up being approved after waivers (or administrative processing).

You can see this table at the Non–immigrant visa statistics page of the DOS. Compare previous years with the latest year. You’ll see a distinct trend.

An important note is that the DOS doesn’t publish individual country’s K-1 visa denial rates. Therefore, it’s impossible to tell which countries get higher refusals than others.


37% of applicants denied at first k-1 interview

Take a look back at the previous table. The “refused” applicants are those unlucky couples who’re rejected their first time at the interview. That’s an incredibly high 37%. This includes full denials due to inadmissibility as well as those under administrative processing. Out of those 37% rejected, only 55% of those applicants are waived/overcome and approved for the visa.


No change of heart

After approval of their K-1 visa, it seems like no one changes their mind. From the Dep’t of Homeland Security’s website on I-94 Admissions of K-1 visa applicants , almost 100% of the approved visas are used to enter the U.S. In short, it means everyone approved ends up coming to the U.S.

From the Dept of Homeland Security, this table illustrates that almost 100% of k1 visas granted are used right away

Since the K-1 visa has a short expiration date it must be used within 6 months — which means that the numbers are more accurate for each fiscal year. The slight differences in the numbers are due to the accounting of “fiscal year”. That means visas granted in a calendar year may be used a few months later in the next year.

K-1 visa Statistics by Country

Here are some interesting figures from the different countries and regions around the world. Surely, it’s worth comparing your case with the “typical” numbers of others in your country.

Again, you can verify these numbers from the Report of Visa office (statistics) page of the Department of State (responsible for visa oversight).

This table compares the fiance visas issued to different regions of the world

The DOS does not publish refusal rates in each country. They only let us know refusals of the total world.

The winner is…

The Philippines (19% of world Total K Visas). Wait, it gets even better. The Philippines is also the highest in Asia with 45% of Asian totals. For a very long time, the Philippines in the reigning champion of Fiance visa approvals.

Let’s take a look at the regions around the world

African nations

Approvals: Had 4,213 Fiance K-1 (and K-2) Visas issued in 2016. Shockingly, some nations had as few as 0-1 visa each year. Nigeria accounts for 26% of the Fiance visas issued in Africa.

Asian nations

Approvals: Had over 18,000 Fiance visas issued in 2016. The vast majority was in one nation alone: the Philippines (45%) of total Asian K visas issued. The Philippines is a popular country where K-1 visas are in high demand. Followed by Vietnam, Mainland China and India.

European Countries

Approvals: Saw a total of 7,414 visas granted in 2016. The United Kingdom (U.K.) receives the highest with 19% of those approved. Followed only by Ukraine with a similar percent.

North America and Caribbean

Approvals: Received 9,903 approved fiance visas. The number 1 position is the Dominican Republic (26%) of those visas. Followed by Mexico, Haiti and Canada.

South America

Approvals: Had 3,755 Fiance visas issued in 2016. The vast majority came from Colombia (42%) of the approved visas.

This post originally appeared on Law Professor Blogs © 2014-2017 by Law Professor Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

About The Author

Prem Kumar Prem ​Kumar writes about the Fiance visa process, sharing insights from real-world experience as well as immigration law. He enjoys helping tens of thousands of readers a month navigate their K-1 process in his blog, visatutor.com.​ ​Prem has a Masters of Science in Civil Engineering

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.