Sometimes after the K1 Fiance visa interview, the Embassy will delay making a decision on the visa and place the matter into something we call Administrative Processing.
Administrative Processing essentially means that the Embassy wants more time to consider the merits of your K1 Fiance application. Sometimes they need more documents and place your case into Administrative Processing to allow the Petitioner or Beneficiary more time to obtain and submit the additional documents. Sometimes the Embassy needs more time to review the merits of the application and wishes to investigate matters pertaining to the application. None of this is good news to the applicants, but if there is a silver lining to Administrative Processing, its that Administrative Processing is not a denial. Its a delay and most times it all woks out just fine.
The amount of time that the Embassy takes during Administrative Processing can vary widely. Most times the delay is for about 30-60 days. Sometimes, the delay is much longer. From my experience, other than providing any extra documentation that is requested by the Embassy, there is not much you can do except to be patient. You just have to trust that the Embassy will carefully review your case and ultimately make the right decision.

Once you have received your approval from USCIS, you will need to take certain steps and actions to obtain your K1 Fiance Visa.
After getting notice of your USCIS approval, you will then receive an email or letter from The National Visa Center letting you know that your case has been sent to the US Embassy in Manila. You will also get a local case number starting with the letters MNL. You will need this case number so save your letter or email.
The first step is to prepare your online DS 160 form. Once completed and submitted, you will next want to prepare and finalize your I-134 Affidavit of Support form.  Once the I-134 Affidavit of Support form has been completed and is “in hand” with all the supporting financial documents from the US Citizen, it’s time to create a profile with the Embassy.  You can create a profile by visiting the following link: http://www.ustraveldocs.com/ph. After creating your profile, you will then schedule your interview through this site.

Once your fiancé enters the US on a K1 Fiance Visa, you have 90 days to get married.  After getting married on the K1 Fiance Visa, your new spouse must take steps to apply for his or her Legal Permanent Residency. This is also referred to sometimes as getting your “Green Card”. It is at this time that I also recommend that you apply for your work authorization as well.

When your fiancé enters the United States, US Customs will stamp your fiance’s visa and passport for a period of 90 days. In years past, I have always advised my clients not to be too concerned with the 90 day period so long as they get married within the 90 days. And then, as soon as conveniently possible, apply for your Green Card and Work Authorization. So long as you didn’t put it off for months after getting married, there really wouldn’t be a problem. Recently however, I have had two K1 Fiance Visa clients visited by ICE after getting married because they did not file their Adjustment of Status within 90 days of arriving in the US. In both cases, once the Adjustment of Status was filed, there was no more issue with ICE. Nevertheless, there appears to be a much more careful review of fiances coming into the US on a Fiance Visa and for that reason, I now recommend that you take quick steps after getting married to file for your Adjustment of Status and Work Authorization. There is no need to panic, nor do I think a Fiance would ever be removed from the US after getting married for simply failing to file their Adjustment of Status within 90 days after entering the US. But, its is clear that the US Government is watching some of these cases much more closely than ever before.

If you have any questions about the Fiance Visa or Adjusting Status to obtain legal permanent residency after getting married, please don’t hesitate to call me toll free at 1-888-515-3529.

There is no legal requirement that you have a wedding ceremony, reception and honeymoon planned and reserved before you can be issued a K1 Fiance Visa. It is still perfectly acceptable to make plans once your fiancé has arrived in the states to either get married at the “Court House” or have a so called “Church Wedding”. How you chose to get married is really up to you. However, if you have already made some decisions about how you wish to get married and can submit some paperwork at the Embassy interview to show how you will get married in the US, I think that would be helpful to getting your approval. For example, if you have make arrangement to have a church wedding and have reserved a date, get a letter from the church showing that you have their facility reserved for your wedding. If you have made plans to have a reception, or dinner out for friends and family, get something from the reception hall or restaurant showing that you have made reservations. Same for any hotels stays for trips and honeymoons.  If on the other hand, you plan to get married at a local court house, print off the court rules and instructions for getting married at the court house and any marriage license requirements. Show these materials at your Embassy interview. At the very least, this will show that you are thinking about and working towards getting married after getting your K1 Fiance Visa.  Again, you are not required to do any of this, but based on my experience in helping couples get their K1 Fiance Visas, I think these are all good ideas because it will be helpful to getting your approval.

If you have any questions about the K1 Fiance Visa, you are welcome to call me toll free at 1-888-515-3529.   I am always happy to help.

Attorney Jeff Pettys

Many of my clients who file for a K1 Fiance Visa, also wish to have a wedding in their fiance’s home country before using the K1 Fiance Visa and traveling to the US. Its understandable that your fiancé would like his or her family to participate in this joyous occasion, but technically, this cannot not be done. The reason you cannot get married before using the fiancé visa is because once legally married, your fiance is no longer a fiancé, but now a spouse. The K1 Fiance Visa can only be used by a fiance. However, there may be a compromise that you might consider. Instead of a wedding, have an engagement ceremony. Your engagement ceremony can look and feel a lot like a wedding, it just can be a legal marriage. Your family can attend, celebrate your expected union and be a part of your great moment.
So you don’t make any mistakes, I recommend that you determine what legal steps you would normally have to take to become legally married in the country of your finace and make sure you don’t follow those requirements. For example, if a marriage license is required to get legally married in your fiance’s country, don’t apply for one. If becoming legally married requires ceratin paperwork to be filed after the ceremony, don’t fill out the paperwork and ceratinly dont file it. Remember, to qualify for a Fiance Visa, you cannot be married.

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The issuance of K1 Fiance Visas were down sharply in 2017 by nearly 33%. This trend seems to be continuing in 2018. This downward trend in approvals is due to tougher standards of proof and a slow down in processing times.

To meet these new challenges, I recommend that each applicant provide more proof of their relationship and further take steps to plan your wedding in the US. Additional proof would include more examples of your online communications while apart, a history of love letters and cards, and now maybe more than one in person meeting. Although only one meeting in person is still the requirement (within a 2 year period), proof of more than one in person meeting would be very helpful. As the US Citizen Petitioner, you might consider making a second trip a week or two before your fiance’s interview, so that he or she can provide the Embassy with addition pictures of the two of you together.

I would also suggest making more formal wedding or reception plans in the US. Once approved, many of my clients have simply gotten married at a local court house instead of spending for an elaborate wedding. This is still ok. But, I would now take steps to at least plan and secure a date for a small reception or dinner party at a special restaurant or reception hall to show the Embassy that you are treating your marriage as a special occasion. I would then provide proof of a deposit or reservation at the Embassy interview. Continue reading →

Recent efforts by various US Embassies to more closely scrutinize K1 Fiance Visa applications has resulted in some unexpected delays and holds on the issuance of certain requested visas, while additional evidence is requested.  This heightened scrutiny or extreme vetting is coming from places in the world where a suspicion of fraud is high and/or where the couple appear to be ignoring established cultural norms for marriages and weddings. In such cases, the petitioner and beneficiary may need to present additional evidence to obtain their desired approval. In these cases, be prepared to provide the following additional evidence to obtain your K1 Fiance Visa approval:
  • Access to all social media accounts
  • Proof of continuous communications between the couple while apart
  • Additional photographs showing that the couple have spent meaningful time together
  • Evidence that a marriage license has been applied for in the US
  • Evidence of a marriage date
  • Evidence that accommodations have been reserved for a wedding ceremony and reception
  • List of guests with contact information
  • Affidavits or sworn statements from parents stating that they are aware of the wedding plans of their child and approve of the marriage
If this information is available at the inception of the application, I recommend submitting it along with all your forms, documents and other evidence.

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To begin with, a prenuptial agreement is a contract made between a couple getting married which typically sets forth how they will divide assets, property and income in the event the marriage breaks up. Many couples elect to enter into a prenuptial agreement before getting married.
The I-864 Affidavit of Support is a contract between the Sponsor of an Immigrant Visa and the US Government that requires the sponsor promise to provide whatever amount of financial support is needed to insure that the immigrant is financially taken care of by the Sponsor and that the Immigrant will not require government support.  It is required for all CR1 Marriage Visas and when applying for an Adjustment of Status to become a Legal Permanent Resident of the US. Pursuant to the terms of the I-864 Affidavit of Support, if the sponsor fails to support the immigrant as required and the immigrant incurs debt or seeks financial assistance from the government, the sponsor can be held liable for the debt or the government’s assistance. In other wards, the government can sue the sponsor for reimbursement of any funds or expenses it incurs on behalf of the Immigrant.
The existence of a pre nuptial agreement does not affect or invalidate the terms of the I-864 Affidavit of Support. This is because the I-864 Affidavit is an agreement between the Sponsor and the US Government. It is seperate and distinct agreement from any contract the parties to a marriage may have entered into on their own.
In fact, the I-864 remains in affect until one of these factors occurs:
  • The Immigrant is no longer a Legal Permanent Resident and has departed the US;
  • The immigrant becomes a US Citizen;
  • The Immigrant has worked for 40 quarters (10 years) of coverage under the Social Security Act.
  • The Immigrant Dies

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Filing for a K1 Fiancé Visa while working and living overseas is fairly common, but the process can become a bit more complicated then when applying while living and working in the US.

First, I always recommend to my overseas clients that they establish or use a mailing address in the US to receive their Immigration notices. Receiving mail overseas can sometimes be a real problem depending on the country and location. To reduce the risk that you will miss a notice, establish a mailing address in the US and a plan for receiving your mail.  A PO Box or the address of a family member should work just fine.

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All K1 fiancé beneficiaries must undergo a medical exam by a US Embassy approved Medical facility before being issued a K1 Fiance Visa. 

The medical examination will include a review of your medical history, a present physical examination, X- rays and blood tests for drug use and identification of communicable diseases. The physical exam will look at a beneficiary’s eyes, ears, nose, throat, lungs, heart, extremities, abdomen, lymph nodes and external genitalia.  Continue reading →