The following requirements for a fiancee visa apply to both the petitioner and beneficiary.
Neither the petitioner or beneficiary can have serious criminal backgrounds.
If the petitioner of the fiance visa has a serious criminal background that includes violence the fiancee visa application will be denied, however if the petitioner was acting in self defense or if there was a connection between the crime committed and the petitioner having been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty an exception may be made.
Other than violent crimes: If the petitioner has three or more convictions for crimes relating to a controlled substance or alcohol not arising from a single act the fiancee visas petition will be denied.
For the beneficiary of a fiance visa petition: As stated above the beneficiary or fiancee can not have a serious criminal background. While there are some exceptions which we will explore in a moment, the general rule is: the crime for which the beneficiary has been convicted of or admits to can not carry a maximum penalty of more than one year imprisonment, not withstanding the actual penalty imposed.
Waivers are available to beneficiary’s of fiance visas for certain types of crimes.
Example: prostitution, whether or not your fiancee has been arrested for and/or convicted of the crime. If a consular officer suspects your fiancee has engaged in prostitution the visa can be denied or referred to the fraud prevention unit. If your fiancee is truthful and tells the consular officer that she has engaged in prostitution the consular officer will inform your fiancee that she qualifies to apply for a waiver.
Example: crimes involving controlled substances. Beneficiary’s of a fiance visas who have been arrested and convicted of a controlled substance violation are ineligible to receive a visa. There is one exception to this rule. The beneficiary of a fiance visa can qualify to apply for a waiver for simple possession of 50 grams or less of marijuana.
Example: crimes involving moral turpitude. Just what crimes fall under the category of moral turpitude. The DOS maintains a list of crimes but not all crimes are included on this list as falling under the category or not. Some crimes on the list clearly indicate violence which will not be waived. In general beneficiary’s of a fiancee visa are not eligible to be issued a visa when convicted of crimes or when having admitted to committing crimes involving morale turpitude when the crime for which the beneficiary has been convicted or admits to committing carries a maximum penalty of more than one year imprisonment, not withstanding the actual penalty imposed.
Exception: If the crime was committed when the beneficiary was under 18 years of age and the crime was committed more than 5 years before the date of application for the fiancee’ visa, then the visa can be issued.
Qualifying financially to sponsor your fiancee:
In order to financially qualify to sponsor your fiancee you must have a documented minimum income that is based on the size of your family.
For example: if you are single and only want to sponsor your fiancee (no children of your fiancee) this makes you a family of two, making the required minimum income $18,212.50. $20,950.00 if you live in Hawaii. $22,762.00 if you live in Alaska.
If you add a child of your own or a child of your fiancee or any other dependent as stated on your tax return this will make you a family of three making the required minimum income $22,887.00. $26,325.00 if you live in Hawaii. $28,612.00 if you live in Alaska.
The above figures are in effect until the Spring of 2011.