Fiancé(e) Visa Program Under Scrutiny After San Bernardino Shooting

The fiancé(e) visa program of the U.S. that allows fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens to come here and get married to them, is now under scrutiny. Tashfeen Malik who came to the U.S. on a K-1 fiancé(e) visa, slaughtered 14 people in San Bernardino, California, along with her husband Syek Farook. Farook, a naturalized U.S. citizen, worked with the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health. The terrorist duo killed people when the government healthcare center had a holiday gathering.

Farook who also took part in the gathering, left abruptly and came back with his wife Malik. The heavily armed duo opened fire killing 14 people who were there at the holiday gathering. Farook and Malik were later killed by police near their home.

Malik is a Pakistani national who Farook sponsored for a fiancé(e) visa. Only U.S. citizens can bring their  fiancé(e)s to the U.S. on temporary visas and get married to them in the U.S. Once they get married, they can apply for and get green cards in the U.S. As Farook was a naturalized U.S. citizen, he was able to bring Malik to the U.S. on a K-1 visa.

It is not so easy to get a fiancé(e) visa as the couple will be screened by U.S. authorities for authenticity of their relationship. Those seeking K-1 visas need to submit proof that they will get married within 90 days of entering the U.S. Background checks will be conducted to make sure they are not criminals and have no ties with terrorist organizations.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) takes around five months to review fiancé(e) visa applications. Followed by that, U.S. Department of State (DOS) will review those applications. The review process will include police checks, interviews and medical examinations. Only those who successfully complete all these steps will be issued K-1 visas. According to immigration attorneys, the fiancé(e) visa application process is very strict. However, many now believe that the fiancé(e) visa program needs to be reevaluated.

The House lawmakers recently passed a legislation to tighten the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) that allows nationals of certain countries to come here without nonimmigrant visas. Some lawmakers now want to re-examine and tighten the fiancé(e) visa program, as well.