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Fiance Visas for Burmese Nationals

This writer is hoepful that this post will provide some insight into the K-1 visa process for those Americans wishing to bring their Burmese fiance back to the USA.

Those unfamiliar with the K1 visa process should note that the process usually begins at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). This agency is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security and is tasked with adjudicating petitions and applications for immigration benefits. Some are under the mistaken impression that USCIS adjudication is a “formality”. In fact, officers at USCIS scrutinize visa petitions carefully in an effort to make an adjudication based upon US Immigration law in the form of statutes and the regulations springing therefrom.

Assuming that a USCIS adjudication culminates in approval, the petition file will be sent to the US State Department’s National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing. Department of State personnel will usually initiate a security clearance during the NVC phase of the process. NVC acts as a sort of clearinghouse for K1 visa applications as this agency is responsible for ensuring that the case file arrives at the proper American Embassy or Consulate overseas.

Burmese fiance visas are somewhat unique in that a disproportionately large number of applicants apply at Missions outside of Burma (officially named the Union of Myanmar). That said, the overall integrity of the process remains the same regardless of the location where adjudication takes place. Another distinctive aspect of Burmese fiance visa matters is the fact that many of the proposed beneficiaries are without a passport from the Union of Myanmar due to the fact that the government authorities in Myanmar issue relatively few of these travel documents compared to other countries. Thus, obtaining a K-1 visa for a loved one from Myanmar might be cumbersome if the loved one in question does not have a passport from Myanmar.

The final phase of the K1 visa process is the Consular Processing phase. A Burmese fiancee may schedule an appointment with an American Embassy or Consulate overseas in order to present themselves for interview. A visa interview can be long or short depending upon the facts of the case and the adjudicating officer. The application could receive approval or a refusal may be promulgated that may be remedied only by presenting further documentation. Should a Consular Officer find that a legal ground of inadmissibility exists, then the interviewing officer could deny the visa application. Should a visa denial occur pursuant to a finding of legal inadmissibility, then a remedy may be sought in the form of either an I-601 waiver or an I-212 waiver depending upon the facts of the case.

Ben Hart is an American lawyer and the Managing Director of Integrity Legal (Thailand) Co. Ltd. Contact details: 1-877-231-7533, +66 (0)2-266-3698, +44 203-002-3837, or For more information please see: K1 Visa Burma . For information about professional assistance with Consular Processing please see: US Embassy Myanmar .