Many couples are seeking to have K-1 visas processed, but restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus have kept processing slow. In March 2020, the pandemic led to the Department of State temporarily ceasing routine international visa services. Although the Department of State made a formal announcement in July that U.S. Consulates and Embassies would initiate a gradual continuation of visa services, the process has remained sluggish as couples hope to be reunited.
Continued Suspension of Routine Visa Services
Most visa services, including those regarding family immigration, have been suspended all over the world at U.S. Embassies and Consulates, with the exception of instances involving mission-critical or emergency visa requirements, or in other cases warranting the acceleration of the interview process.
Additionally, certain Presidential Proclamations pertaining to the pandemic still prevent foreign nationals from entering the country if they have been present in the U.K., Ireland, the Schengen Area, China, Brazil, and Iran within the 14 days leading up to their attempted entry or entry into the country. To this date, these foreign nationals remain unable to enter the U.S. with the exception of those who have certain qualifications. Otherwise, they are unable to enter until the President has chosen to lift the Proclamations in place.
In addition to other visas, these restrictions have largely impacted K-1 visas for fiances. As a result, many couples have been unable to reunite.
K-1 Visas Take High Priority
On August 31, 2020, the Department of State officially announced that as of August 28 K visa cases would take “high priority.” The announcement came soon after a K-1 class action lawsuit came about. Additionally, the Department of State detailed that individuals applying for K visas aren’t affected by Presidential Proclamation 10014. They are able to receive visas and gain entry into the U.S. provided they don’t fall under other types of COVID-19 restrictions.
Despite this announcement, the U.S. Consulates have continued to bar entry for individuals awaiting processing for K-1 and other K visas. Even if people have managed to secure interviews, it appears that many fiances are still struggling to gain entry.
Although the Department of State has prioritized K visas, including K-1 visas, couples are still waiting for either the Consulates to begin processing or for the Biden administration to help make K visa appointments more available.