The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran an interesting story recently titled “We fell in love before we met: Wisconsin Man sues over visa denial for his Chinese Fiance”. The article is about an American man who is trying to compel the U.S.government to reactivate a fiance visa application after a fiance visa denial.
The article quoted Edward Fallone, a Marquette Law School professor who taught immigration law for years, saying that he’s not surprised at (the U.S. Citizen’s) predicament, given the current policies on immigration.
“Definitely, any opportunity for a discretionary denial, that’s going to be exercised against the immigrant and their admission,” Fallone said. (Discretionary means that it is left up to individual choice or judgment.)
The article cited the Center for Immigration Studies stating that foreign national fiancée visas were approved about 99% of the time by consulates in 2015 but dropped to about 80% in 2016 and so far this year (2018) is running about 67%. (This would appear to mean that in 2015 if a fiance visa case made it through the USCIS level and the National Visa Center (NVC) level the case would almost certainly( 99% chance) make it through at the final embassy/consulate level.)
I would expect this number to continue to decline as we move forward and I would not be surprised , given the current political climate, that this number dips into the 50 percent range over the next year or two. (Update: according to a report the number has in fact dropped into the 50 percent range in late 2018)
The decline began before the current President took office, in part due to the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., in December 2015. One of the shooters, Tasheen Malik, had entered the U.S. on a K-1 visa. She and her husband died in a shootout with police after the couple killed 14 people and wounded 22 others. After this incident USCIS started looking more carefully at fiance visa cases. This coupled with the current political climate in the U.S. are likely key reasons why the current approval rate for fiance visas is in the 50% range.