Can I get a K1 Visa for my girlfriend if I'm a student? Posted on July 05, 2011

I am about to start the process of trying to get my girlfriend a K1 visa, but have some questions about the requirements. First I want to provide some quick background about my situation. I am a 27-year-old American citizen and my girlfriend is a 25-year-old Chinese citizen. I have been living in China for the past three years and have been with my girlfriend for most of my time living in China. We can easily prove our relationship from vacation photos, flights and trips together outside China, shared lease contracts, etc. We previously tried to get her a tourist B-2 visa, but she was refused at the Shanghai Consulate due to not being able to demonstrate sufficient ties to China. The main issue is about the financial requirements. I am now returning to the US to attend graduate school and would like to bring my girlfriend with me through a K1 visa or similar. However, since I will be a student, I will no longer have any income. Additionally, while working in China, my income was lower than the federal poverty minimum income for two people, so according to my tax returns for the past few years, I would not meet the financial requirements. Previously in 2006 - 2008, I had salary above the requirement, but I'm not sure if that would help. I know it's possible to have someone else sponsor her for the financial part, but unfortunately my Dad lost his job during the financial crisis and as a result my parents have had a low income the past few years as well, so they probably wouldn't be able to sponsor her either. What options do I meet the requirements of the K1 visa based on this information? Can I say that I will be able to support the both of us through student loans? I will be attending a relatively prestigious university (Duke University), would that help at all? Are there any other alternative visa options we could consider (such as getting her a student visa through a community college)?

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