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K-1 Visa – Two Huge Problems To Avoid For Your Ukrainian Fiancee

There are two easily overlooked details in preparing papers for your fiancee’s K-1 visa if she is coming from Ukraine. Failure to attend to these details will result in her K-1 visa request being denied. This article will describe the problems and how to keep them from having your fiancee’s K-1 visa denied.

The first problem has to do with language translation of the papers she submits to the American embassy in Kiev for her K-1 visa. The embassy requires that all documents submitted for K-1 visa applications be accompanied by a translation into English. This applies to all official government documents such as passports, certificates of birth, marriage, divorce, etc.. This seemingly simple process of translating from one language to another has been made more complex by the forces of politics and culture in the history of Ukraine.

In 1991 the breakup of the USSR occurred. Ukraine declared independence on August 24, 1991 and overwhelmingly voted for this independent status in a national referendum on December 1, 1991. Finally the Ukrainian people, after several centuries, were able to realize the dream of their own Nation State. Very shortly after becoming independent, the Ukrainian Government declared that the official language of the country would be Ukrainian, not Russian. All official business and correspondence was to be conducted in Ukrainian. Further, official documents such as birth certificates for persons born in Ukraine during the years of Soviet control were to be converted from Russian to Ukrainian. And naturally, the passport of each person needed to be re-issued in the Ukrainian language.

To arrive at an English translation of your fiancee’s papers is NOT simply a matter of translating to English from Ukrainian instead of from Russian. That won’t work because many place names and personal names do not translate identically for Ukrainian to English versus Russian to English. Say for example that your fiancee was born in Russia and moved with her parents to Ukraine. She now has a Russian language birth certificate and a Ukrainian language passport. So what happens is that, depending on the names and places involved in your fiancee’s papers with regard to life in Russia and life in Ukraine, her K-1 visa documents could end up at the American embassy with person and place names on one document not matched to those same person and place names on another document. Her papers will be considered “not in order” and her K-1 visa request will be denied.

To avoid this problem her papers must go through a 2 stage translation process. The first stage is to perform the raw translation from Ukrainian or Russian for basic words such as birth, father, mother, etc.. The second stage resolves any differences in person and place names across documents.

Here’s an example of how this works. After the raw translation the name “Alexsey” from the Russian will be rendered as “Oleksiy” from the Ukrainian. The second translation will result in sub-documents that state “Alexsey” is the same as “Oleksiy.”

This is easy to do but the key is that translation of official documents can only be performed by Ukrainian Government approved entities (typically lawyers and their approved staff). These approved translators know about the “Alexsey” to “Oleksiy” thing and can provide the appropriate service to resolve differences.

So make sure your fiancee does two things; first, she must use ONLY the government approved translator services for her documents; and second, make certain that she asks for the “Alexsey” to “Oleksiy” resolution service though it will cost more.

The second problem is avoided by having an approved translator because this person will provide the official seals on the translated documents and sub-documents. This too is critical because the American Embassy will also deny her K-1 visa if her translated documents are not properly sealed.

So there you have it. By making certain that your fiancee’s documents are properly translated AND properly sealed, you should have no problems getting her K-1 visa approved.



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