Nevada among top states for ‘fiancé visa’ use due to Filipinos
LAS VEGAS — Nevada is one of the most popular states for couples who originally met across international borders and are reuniting via fiancé visas in the U.S.
Nevada has one of the highest rates per capita of K-1 visa recipients in the country, according to a recent study by Washington, D.C. research firm Causal Design. The K-1 visa, also referred to as a “fiancé visa,” allows nonresidents to enter the United States to marry a U.S. citizen.
RapidVisa, a company that helps with the visa application process, commissioned the Causal Design study. The study shows that for admissions per 100,000 residents, Nevada is ahead of every state besides Washington, Alaska and Hawaii, and Washington, D.C. In 2017, the state admitted over 513 residents on the special visa, according to a Las Vegas Sun report.
Ben Ives, founder and CEO of RapidVisa, and his wife, Jocelyn, who immigrated from the Philippines, have been married for 11 years. People that make use of his company’s services meet in multiple ways, Ives said, including while serving in the military, on student visas, through work or, most prevalently, on online dating sites.
“Right from the start it’s been predominantly people meeting online,” he told Las Vegas Sun.
How a K-1 visa works
Getting the visa is not simple. Green card holders cannot make use of it, only U.S. citizens can. Couples who seek the fiancé visa must provide proof of their relationship, such as plane tickets, photographs together and written testimony from friends. The relationship must be real, said Ives.
Generally, the couple must have proof that they have met in person in the last two years. The partner that is a citizen must also show that their income is above the federal poverty line. Couples using the fiancé visa must get married within 90 days of entering the country. Same-sex couples can also make use of it
How many K-1 visas are approved
In 2017, the K-1 visa made up only .05% of all nonimmigrant visas in the country, around 35,000.
K-1 visas used to take around six months to clear, but in the last couple years they’ve taken seven-10 months. But Ives said while the process may be taking longer, the outcomes aren’t changing that much.
Why Nevada is a favored destination
One possible reason for the high rate of fiancé visa use in Nevada is its large Filipino population – 132,000 in 2013 – and Filipinos make up by far the single largest group that uses the K-1 visa.
The state’s diverse population and the state’s job market is an attraction. Immigrants make up a quarter of the Nevada workforce.