Eliminating the K-1 Visa Could Bring $100 Million to Our Ailing Airlines

By David North on October 24, 2020

A recent court case about a visa reminded me of a partial answer to the financial plight of our airlines, a program we propose here that would not cost the taxpayers one thin dime.

The case involves the K-1 (fiancée) nonimmigrant visa, and how rapidly, or slowly, the government is to issue it, and I will get back to that shortly.

At the moment, the airlines have not become involved in the case, but they should because the abolition of the visa could bring them $100 million a year in additional revenues. How would that work? You see, alone of all American visas, the K-1 visa is totally extraneous. If the couple that wants to be married are not now both in America, or both in some other country, they can seek the K-1 visa to bring the fiancée to the U.S. for a marriage. But that is not their only option.

The other possibility is that the citizen flies abroad to marry the alien, and then they both return to this country, he (the citizen is usually a male) using his U.S. passport and she an immigrant visa as the new spouse of a citizen.

The latter strategy, if one thinks about it, is better for the airlines, because it involves a round trip by the citizen, plus a one-way flight for the alien, or three flights in all. Using the K-1 visa means a single trip. Thus, the airlines lose two overseas flights for every K-1 visa issued.

Since there are about 50,000 K-1 visas a year, and let's price a one-way international flight at roughly $1,000, that means that the 100,000 extra flights would bring the airlines $100 million each year. Or it could bring them $80 million a year if the tickets cost $800 on average.

The K-1 visa is often used in connection with cases in which the newly arrived alien spouse turns around and accuses the U.S. citizen of abuse, putting the alien on the road to a "self-petitioning" green card. As we have frequently reported, DHS usually lets this happen without even consulting the citizen in the case.

Several would-be married couples, involving a citizen and an alien in each, have sued the U.S. State Department in the federal district court for the District of Columbia, saying that the department was being too slow in its issuance of K-1 visas, as reported by Law360 behind a partial pay wall. No decision has yet been made by the presiding judge, James E. Boasberg.