Here’s another edition of “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at technology companies.
“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that allows people all over the world to rise above borders and pursue their dreams,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether you’re in people ops, a founder or seeking a job in Silicon Valley, I would love to answer your questions in my next column.”
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I sponsored my fiancé for a K-1 visa last year right before the pandemic. Unfortunately, the consulate canceled my fiancé’s visa interview and he hasn’t yet been able to get his visa.
Now that travel restrictions to the United States have been lifted, what’s the status of visa interviews?
— Pining in Pittsburgh
Thanks for reaching out to me with your question. While theoretically love knows no bounds, the U.S immigration system can sometimes assert otherwise. We are saddened to hear that you and your fiancé have been separated for so long! We have many clients in your situation, which we recently chatted about on the 100th episode of “Immigration Law for Tech Startups”. Rest assured, we’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
As always, I recommend consulting with an immigration attorney for specific guidance — every situation is different based on where you and your fiancé are located, and immigrants often say it’s very helpful to have an attorney throughout the K-1 visa process to answer questions and guide you, as well as to support with the adjustment of status process once you and your fiancé are married.
The good news is that starting in January 2022, all U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) personnel will be back in USCIS offices, working to get through the backlogs and reduce processing times that increased substantially during the pandemic. Abroad, however, cases and interviews at the State Department will likely continue to face delays. Many U.S. embassies and consulates remained closed, and those that have reopened have huge backlogs to work through.