The Visa Hour: Fiancé(e) Visas

[APPLAUSE] GREG: Welcome to the latest episode of The Visa Hour Today, we will discuss fiancé and marriage visas LAURIE: To join, submit your questions ‒ #TheVisaHour or post them on our Facebook page, Or on our Google Plus page, GREG: I’m Greg from the Immigrant Visa Section of the U.S. Embassy LAURIE: [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] Laurie [SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE] Greg GREG: Okay. So, the topic today is very popular here in the Philippines. It is fiancé and marriage visas And so we’re going to spend some time talking about both of these categories. First, we’re going to give a general overview of the process. And then we’ll get into the questions because I know there’s a lot of questions. And we’ll try to get to as many questions as we can In general, if someone in the Philippines is either married to a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, lawful permanent resident, in the U.S. or if they are engaged to get married to a U.S. citizen, there are ways they can get visas to travel to the U.S Just being married to a U.S citizen does not automatically qualify you for a visa. You do have to go through a process So first I’m going to talk a little bit about the spouse visas, and then I’ll let Laurie talk a little bit about the fiancé visas So the process to get an immigrant visa as a spouse, it actually starts with a petition And the petition has to be filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service You’ll hear us refer to that as USCIS The petition is filed in the United States USCIS then processes it. That time can take around five or six months Once they approve the petition, it goes to the National Visa Center, which is an office that’s part of the Department of State They will process it and then it will be sent to Manila And at some point in the process, you’ll be identified and contacted to schedule an appointment with us You will have to do some documents to prepare. You will also have to go get a medical exam at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Manila as part of the process Once all the documents are ready, once the case is ready and you have an appointment scheduled, then you come to the Embassy for the interview, at which point, that’s where we take over as consular officers We’ll do the interview We’ll review your documents, make sure everything is ready to approve If we need additional documents, we can then ask for them But the key to remember with the spouse visas, and also for children as well, if your fiancé or your spouse has children, is you do need to start the petition process with USCIS LAURIE: So, basically, Greg just outlined the overall process for both spouses as well as for fiancés The main difference obviously between the spouses and the fiancés is that the fiancé hasn’t quite married the U.S. citizen But the three requirements that a fiancé petition – the three requirements of a fiancé petition is that one party is a U.S. citizen; both parties need to be legally free to marry at the time that the petition is filed. So, for instance, if your annulment hasn’t quite gone through yet in the Philippines, you have to wait until that’s complete to show that you are legally free to marry The same thing with any prior marriages with the petitioner in the U.S And then the last requirement is that the fiancé and the petitioner need to be married within 90 days of the fiancé’s arrival to the United States So those are kind of the three processing differences compared to what an immigrant visa for the spouse would be But overall, the procedures are the same GREG: So, before we get to the questions, we do want to encourage you to go to our website because our website does have a lot of information on the steps in this process And that’s And if you’ve already started the application process and have questions about your specific case, there is an email address It’s Support-Philippines@USTravelDocs So that’s And, again, if you have specific questions about your case, the best thing to do is to contact us by email LAURIE: Another – one more plug about our website We have a lot of frequently asked questions listed on there So if potentially one of the questions that you have isn’t answered in this Visa Hour, please go there first and check out our list that we have because it’s pretty comprehensive GREG: Okay. So, at this point, we’re now ready to start

answering all of your questions LAURIE: Excellent. Okay So we have a question from [INAUDIBLE] Maria on Facebook She says that her husband is a U.S. citizen and he has petitioned for her and it’s already been approved. They have a child together but the CRBA for the child was unfortunately denied because the husband didn’t meet all the requirements to transmit citizenship So her question specifically is if they have enough time ‒ given that her petition has been approved – do they have enough time to travel with their child, who hasn’t quite started the process yet? And the answer is yes, of course Basically, there’s a couple of options for what can take place with your situation Your petition has been approved but if you haven’t been interviewed, you can wait for your interview in order to line up with your child So basically, the next step in the process would be that your petitioner, your husband, would need to file the petition for your child together. You would wait until the child’s petition is approved, sent to NVC, all the same steps that you went through And then once your child’s case is ready to be interviewed, you both can come to the Embassy together for your interview If, for some reason, you already had your medical done and you didn’t want it to expire, we would be able to work with you regarding certain circumstances. But if you’re still waiting to have your interview, there’s no reason why we can’t hold off on interviewing you until your baby is current and ready to be interviewed as well GREG: Okay. Next Janiski Bisa and Arline Bayline on Facebook ask, “Is it hard to get a fiancé visa and what are the qualifications to get a fiancé visa?” This is probably one of the most common questions that we do hear is how hard or how easy is it to get And there’s no real right or wrong answer to that Under U.S. immigration law, the thing we’re looking at the most in fiancé visas is, is it a bonafide genuine relationship And so, throughout the process from the petition all the way to the consular officer interviewing you, you have to be able to show that this really was a genuine relationship, that you do intend to get married within 90 days of arrival to the U.S So, after that, it does depend on do you have all your documents in order, what type of evidence of a relationship can you provide to show us. But I think last year, we issued almost 8,000 fiancé visas here in Manila. So we issue a lot of fiancé visas here. And so it is possible to get one Despite any myth or rumor you might hear, it is not impossible to get a fiancé visa You just have to go through the correct steps and be eligible under U.S. immigration law Now, as far as the qualifications, I think Laurie already hit on those a little bit. The fiancé and the petitioner have to have shown they’ve met face-to-face at least once in the two years prior to the visa petition being filed That’s under the immigration law That’s something that we as officers, we don’t have any say in that You do have to have met in person and show evidence of that, which here in the Philippines, it’s photos, photo albums, things like that is what we typically see Again, you have to be free to marry, which means if you’ve had a marriage before, it has to have either ended in annulment or the death or presumptive death of the spouse. And the petitioner in the U.S. has to be free to marry as well So, if anyone tells you that it’s difficult or impossible, that’s not the case. We see fiancé visas every day We approve them every day as part of our job And so we just encourage you to follow all the steps and have all of your documents and everything in order And that makes it as smooth as possible LAURIE: Okay. So our next question is from Abbis Alain on Facebook And her question is, “How long should we wait for a K1 fiancé visa?” The expiration of the petition letter she received says September, 2015, and she already passed the requirements, meaning she already had her interview She finished all the steps; she’s just waiting for her visa And so, Abbis, the answer I’m going to give you, it’s what Greg said at the beginning Your question is about your specific case, so we would encourage you to reach out to us via email We can’t tell you specifically the reason for why your case is not approved at this moment in time, but please email us at and we will be able to look into your case and give you a response regarding what’s happening with it GREG: Okay. Our next Facebook question is from Tommy Reid and he asks, “My wife still lives in the Philippines “I live in Okinawa, Japan, working for the U.S. military

“What other paperwork do I need for her to come up here? And do I need anything from the U.S. Embassy?” We actually see quite a few cases here where the petitioner is in the U.S. military, stationed in either Japan or Korea And there’s a couple different answers to give, Tommy If you’re wanting your spouse to join you in Okinawa – or if someone is stationed in Korea or somewhere else in Japan – and not immediately go to the U.S., I would encourage you to work with your military personnel command to get your spouse added to your orders They will then be able to advise you on the correct process to bring your spouse to join you at your location in Japan Now, if you’re thinking of her joining you once you rotate back to the United States, you still have to go through the same petition process we described. And I would encourage you to start at least nine to 12 months in advance because you will still have to go through the petition process, get it approved through USCIS Then it will go through NVC and come here to Manila There’s nothing we specifically do here in Manila to facilitate spouses going to a military location in Japan or in Korea That’s going to be up to your military command to work that out But if you’re already looking forward to your next duty assignment, if it’s back in the U.S., then you definitely want to go through that process through the petition Okay, we just have a live question from Google Plus So, the question is, “My fiancé and I are in the process of a “fiancé visa application We are in stage three of processing “and passed our application to USCIS on April 7, 2015 How long do we have to wait?” This is actually a good question We were talking about it earlier [BELL RINGS] Thank you. The wait time for USCIS to approve the petition once they receive it is roughly five to six months Once they’ve approved it and it goes to NVC, from there to the time it gets here, you’re looking at another possible three months Once we have a petition for a fiancé visa, you will be notified by the U.S. Embassy that you’re now ready to schedule the appointment And at that point, you will call our service center, our call desk, and they will be able to schedule that for you You’ll also need to make sure that you have gone to St. Luke’s to do your medical exam And I don’t believe that you have to make an appointment for that You can walk in and do that at St. Luke’s But in general, from the time you file the petition to the time you’re coming here to your interview, you’re looking at probably about nine months on average LAURIE: I will say, though, that depending on what service center they filed the petition in, you can go to USCIS’s website It’s easy. And it has the wait times laid out depending on the petition and depending on the service center that you filed in. So you can take a look there Greg’s estimates are correct, but potentially it might change over the course of the time that it’s pending. So if in a month from now, you’re kind of wondering what the wait time is, please feel free to go there because you’ll be able to find what the current wait time is for your specific application Okay, we have another question from Rona via Google Plus “How does having a pending immigrant petition affect a fiancé visa approval? “Should I cancel my EB3 petition prior to the K1 visa filing, or just let it be even if I get interviewed because of the K1 petition?” And you can let it be There’s no issue with having both types of petitions pending E petitions take a while to get processed So there’s a lot of people who have multiple E petitions even at the same time. So it’s perfectly okay to have both petitions going at the same time GREG: Okay LAURIE: That’s a good question GREG: Yes. Oh, yeah. [BELL RINGS] I’ll give you a ring too. [LAUGHING] LAURIE: That’s for Rona [LAUGHING] GREG: Okay, Rona. Alright So, our next question from Facebook is from Cheryl Morgan. And she asks, “How long does the I-130 petition process take? And do I need to sign a G-325A biographical information?” And I think we’ve kind of hit on this a little bit Again, the general timeline for a petition to be approved at USCIS is going to be approximately five to six months And in terms of the paperwork and everything, the only thing we’d say is complete as much of the paperwork as you can We do have staff that will review everything, make sure everything is correct. But anything that needs to be completed, needs to be signed, you definitely want to do that in advance if at all possible LAURIE: And USCIS’s petition requirements, they might be

a little bit different than what – once you get to our step in the processing here with the State Department, we have different requirements So make sure to read through everything that is required And a G-325 is required And so you’ll want to make sure that you’re checking their website and following through on what their application entails so that you don’t have to – you know, they’ll send you a letter saying it’s incomplete. Then you’ll have to send in more information So as thorough as you can be by following the information on the website, the better, the quicker your petition will be processed GREG: Okay LAURIE: Okay. [CROSSTALK] My turn? Okay So, Apollo Rosario asks on Facebook, “I am a disabled “U.S. military veteran. My fiancé and I were living here together “in the Philippines for eight years now We have two children together “Both already were given their CRBA certificates and their U.S passports issued here at the U.S. Embassy Manila.” Woo-Woo! “My question is, is my retired military pension alone acceptable to sustain and file the fiancé visa application?” So I’ll answer – there’s three questions here that were asked by Apollo So I’ll respond to the first one Whether military pension alone is sufficient, it depends on every individual case and the household members And so it’s kind of – it depends on each specific circumstance, so it’s difficult for me to say whether your specific military pension is sufficient without actually knowing how many people are in your household and what the actual amount is We look to the poverty guidelines to see what the actual income is versus the household membership And so it’s difficult to answer that question straightaway But your follow up question was whether you could submit the application here at the U.S. Embassy Manila And here at U.S. Embassy Manila, we receive – we do not receive those applications. You can file those in the U.S. We don’t receive any applications here at USCIS for fiancé or for immigrant GREG: Yeah, the fiancé visa petition has to be filed in the U.S It cannot be filed locally LAURIE: Okay. So then – thank you – now you’re – Apollo’s also saying that his fiancé asked him to return now to the U.S. with the second-grade son so that he could start attending school there And then he can file the fiancé petition with USCIS there in the U.S Would it be best and wise if we could all travel together going back to the U.S.? That’s definitely an “it depends” type of a question It’s 100 percent up to you what works out best for your family You can go to the U.S. with your U.S. citizen son and file a petition there That works out, no problem But it’s up to you whether you want to wait to travel together or whether you want to separate That definitely seems like it’s a personal choice GREG: Yep. Okay. Next Flordalina [INAUDIBLE] on Facebook asks, “My fiancé was in the U.S and he is always visiting me here “in the Philippines. And we were waiting for my annulment “to be done so that he can start petitioning for a fiancé visa “Our relationship is more than three years now. How long is “the processing for fiancé visa in the U.S.? And how long will we wait for it to be done?” The one thing I would encourage – and this is something that is somewhat unique here in the Philippines because of the marriage laws – is not to file the visa petition until your annulment is complete because, as we mentioned earlier, both parties have to be free to marry And if the annulment process has not been completed, then the petition is not going to be able to be approved by USCIS So how long the annulment process takes varies here in the Philippines But you definitely need to finish the annulment process first Once you’ve done that, then you can proceed. And the timelines we’ve outlined already will apply But the key is that you need to process the annulment first because without that, there’s really nothing that USCIS can do to approve your visa petition Okay, so we have another Facebook question “I’d like to ask how long it takes to have an appointment “for visa interview as an immediate family of a U.S. citizen “My husband received a letter from USCIS that they review all the docs received last April 20.” Okay, so… LAURIE: That looks like she’s at the start of the process GREG: Yeah LAURIE: They just received it April 20 So I think it kind of goes to what you said GREG: Yeah. I think you’re probably – they just started the process

Somewhere in the next – anywhere from a six to 12 months, you know, nine to 12 months. One thing that’s a little different with the spouse visas compared to the fiancé visas is if it’s a spouse visa, you will be notified of an appointment date by the National Visa Center for when you’re going to interview Fiancé visas – well actually you schedule those locally once we’ve contacted you to schedule The wait – I don’t know if we’ve said – the wait time for fiancé visas appointments is roughly two weeks right now That can vary, though, depending on the visa workload that we have here at the Embassy So, as a general rule, once we contact you about your fiancé visa, we hope that you could schedule within the next two weeks if all of your documents are in order If you’re contacted by NVC with an appointment date, we do ask that you keep that appointment date if at all possible. If you need to cancel it, you can, but you’ll then have to call the call center to reschedule If for some reason you want to expedite that appointment, if you need to go earlier than what NVC’s scheduled you for, then we do ask that you contact us to request an expedited appointment We can’t guarantee you it will be approved, but that is the way we handle that is if you contact us for an expedited appointment, it’ll be reviewed and you’ll be contacted LAURIE: I don’t know if we mentioned this, but for the spouse petition, after it is approved, once it goes to the Embassy, the wait time there, according to the NVC right now is about one to three months So if you haven’t – they advise if you haven’t heard from them within three months of knowing that your petition was transferred there, please reach out to them I think their email address is NVCInquiriesOnline. Let’s just find that really quickly It is NVC – oh, through online Just through online. [LAUGHING] NVC has their own – on our website, you will be able to find the NVC website where you can make that inquiry regarding your three month wait GREG: Okay LAURIE: Okay. We have another question from Facebook And he says, “Hi there. My girlfriend and I have been together for “a good while now And this coming October would mark our two-year anniversary.” GREG: Congratulations LAURIE: [LAUGHING] “Last January, we received ‒ her annulment processed “She was married previously He abandoned her and their “five-year-old daughter and moved to Dubai. So right now, “what would be the next step? Shall we wait for the annulment process “to finish before we can start with the K1? Is there anything my girlfriend should be doing while the annulment process is currently ongoing?” GREG: I think we… LAURIE: We just answered this question pretty much, which maybe we answered it while he was typing But basically, yes, we have – before filing a fiancé petition or any sort of spousal petition, you want to make sure that the fiancé, the person you are petitioning for, is legally free to marry And while the annulment is pending and not yet finalized, she’s technically not legally free to marry, so wait until that annulment goes through and then you can file the petition GREG: Okay LAURIE: Okay. One – oh, so, basically we just kind of want to let everybody know. We’ve received a lot of questions about the requirements of a fiancé visa. As you can tell, we’re getting more and more about timing and things like that So we’re not going to get into the requirements any more in this Visa Hour We encourage you to re-watch this episode after we’re finished and kind of listen again to the advice that we give you. But also remember to visit our website because we’ve got a lot of great information there, and USCIS has a lot of great information on their website as well GREG: Okay. So our next question is from Clabo Fields on Facebook He says, “I’m an American and my wife and sons are in the Philippines “I’m working on an appointment to report my son’s birth and get a passport “What will be the next step after that to get my family to the States when I return back to the U.S.?” And there’s actually a couple of different processes going on here. If you are – if you already are starting what we call the CRBA, the Consular Report of Birth Abroad process, that’s actually done through our American Citizen Services Unit here at the U.S. Embassy And that is if your children have claims to U.S. citizenship And I do believe if you go back and look at previous Visa Hours, we did have a CRBA Visa Hour about a year ago. But the website has a lot of information about the CRBA process. As a general rule, we are not allowed to issue visas to people who are U.S. citizens So we do encourage you to get your children’s citizenship claim resolved first because if they do have a claim to U.S. citizenship, then they can get the CRBA, they can get the U.S. passport

They don’t need the visa And so that’s one process Now the other process would be for your spouse, for your wife And you can do those processes simultaneously. You can start the petition process as we described You can start the petition with USCIS and start getting everything ready for your spouse while you are also waiting to get your children’s CRBAs and U.S. citizenship approved If for some reason the children do not meet the eligibility for U.S. citizenship through the CRBA, the CRBA process, you will then need to do a petition for them because children of – the children have to have separate petitions from the spouses. So that’s something that sometimes confuses people because they think that children can be added to a spouse petition But actually USCIS does require a separate petition for them So, again, we keep kind of pointing you back to our website, but our website does have a lot of information about both the CRBA and the visa process. So make sure you look at the requirements for both of them and we encourage you to get started as soon as possible LAURIE: The one thing I might add just about that is that here at post, if you were to file for your wife and the CRBA process was ongoing and we were doing her interview, we have a policy right now to wait to see what happens with the CRBA adjudication So, while you can petition for your wife first, really nothing will probably be finished until we know what happened with the CRBA adjudication. So just so you have that understanding GREG: Okay LAURIE: Okay. So, Celeste [INAUDIBLE] asks us through Facebook regarding her husband So her husband’s already in California and he applied for her marital spousal visa and it was received November 30, 2014. And Celeste is wondering, “When can we get the result or the approval for that petition? It’s already been five months.” So basically, that kind of goes back to what we’re saying Based on what we’ve reviewed before The Visa Hour today, the wait time was five months about for the spousal petitions So hopefully it’ll be coming through soon. “Sana.” But, you know, it might be something that takes a little bit longer Maybe the wait times are a little bit longer than what they have posted. But really, it’s – what we saw earlier today, it was five months for a spousal petition, but check USCIS’s website for the specific details GREG: Okay. So our next question is from Milligros Bandibas on Facebook “My fiancé plead no contest to a felony conviction that he fought “for over three years in January 2007 Discharged from parole on April 2012 “What kind of documents need to be submitted as evidence for applying for a fiancé visa?” So this is for a fiancé visa I’m not completely clear on this question if the fiancé in question is the petitioner or the applicant. What I would say is, if the petitioner – the U.S citizen petitioner of a fiancé has any criminal convictions, all of that, they can be listed on the petition. And we do encourage you to be truthful about anything because they do review – we do review the criminal background of any fiancé visa petitioner Now, if it’s – if the fiancé is the applicant and has a criminal conviction here in the Philippines, again, make sure you’re honest about that Put it on the visa application One of the things that we do require is an NBI – National Bureau of Investigation – police clearance And based on what is listed there, we might ask for additional evidence from NBI, possibly court records or transcripts, depending on the case And we can answer those questions specifically during an interview But the one thing I guess I would encourage all of these applicants is if you have any sort of criminal background or criminal history, do be honest about it. Put it in your visa application Discuss it with the officer Having a criminal conviction does not automatically disqualify everyone from a visa It can create ineligibilities, but there’s also waiver process Every case is different; it depends on what that criminal case was and how the U.S. immigration law views that case and that conviction So it’s hard to get into specifics without knowing exactly what was going on. But as a general rule, list everything and then once you get here for the interview, our staff will talk with you and we can give you what the next steps are

and how that could affect your ability to get a visa and travel to the U.S LAURIE: Alright. Looks like we just received this question on Facebook from Joan [INAUDIBLE] And it specifically says, “Should the filing of the fiancé visa be there in the U.S. or here in Manila? And can you give us useful tips on the go-abouts of the process?” So I’m going to – sorry Joan – or Jo-an – I don’t know We are going to give you the same instructions Why don’t you re-watch what we already said in The Visa Hour because we already discussed kind of what the go-abouts are and the process. But remember that it needs to be filed in the U.S It cannot be filed here in Manila But please file it if you guys are thinking about getting married GREG: Okay. So next, Rim [INAUDIBLE] on Twitter – another Twitter. Hashtag Okay. “If a fiancé visa was filed but we decided to get married in the Philippines, do we need to change our application to a spousal visa?” And this is actually a very good question. I’m going to go ahead and [BELL RINGS] ring the bell for that one because sometimes that does happen where people change their minds They decide, “You know what, we’d rather get married here with all of our family here instead of in the U.S.” or vice versa What I would say is if – the visa categories for fiancé visa and spouse visa are – they are different, and so if you had started the fiancé visa process and then decided to get married, my understanding is you do have to file a new petition with USCIS as a spouse. And so that could – unfortunately that could add time if you had already started the fiancé visa process But we talked earlier about just kind of personal choice of families And this is one of those personal choices If you decide to get married here, then you will probably have to change the type of visa you’re applying for because they do fall under different visa categories under U.S. immigration law LAURIE: And actually, I notice in this next question we have that kind of is a segue for this one from Cory Davis. He says, “I’m a U.S. citizen and I got married to my wife in the Philippines “My fiancé petition form and my I-130 form, my spouse petition form, “have both been approved What is the next step? And what are the documents that my wife needs?” So, right now, we’re going to say you filed two petitions, one for a fiancé and one for a spouse, both for the same person The fiancé one, the I-129F, that one no longer applies So please disregard that one, and nothing has to happen with that petition anymore We’re going to strictly work from the I-130. And so basically, they’ve been approved They’ve been sent to the NVC and the next step in the process is going to be that you’ll find out that you can schedule an appointment And the NVC will contact you and you’ll be able to schedule that appointment through the NVC. And, like I said before, it’s about one to three months that it takes to receive that notice that you’re ready to be scheduled for your interview GREG: Okay LAURIE: Regarding the documents that you’re asking that your wife needs, it’s kind of similar to what we talked about before. For here in Manila – you know, all posts are different – but here in Manila, we request the NBI clearance and we request potentially a CENOMAR if there have been previous marriages to show that there has been an annulment or a divorce We request a marriage certificate to show that you are married And these are all the original NSO copies That’s very important. We can’t have ones from years ago We want current, unexpired documents GREG: Birth certificates LAURIE: And then birth certificate, exactly. And not the local civil registrar copy We need the NSO copy So, for the most part, those are the core documents And like Greg mentioned before, there might be additional things that we need to request upon the interview So the one last thing I think that ends up [CROSSTALK] being a little bit – it gets missed a little bit – is a police clearance if ‒ for a spousal petition If your spouse has lived abroad for 12 months or longer, it’s important that they submit a police clearance from the country that they were living in If you’re filing a petition for a fiancé, it’s six months in another country that would require them to have a police clearance from that country. So you can start that step in the process right now so that it’s ready to go at the time of your interview GREG: And different – because there are so many overseas foreign workers from the Philippines all over the world, every country has different requirements for their police clearances Some countries, if you are no longer residing there, they may not issue you a police clearance In some of them, it doesn’t matter if you worked there 20 years ago, they can still issue that police clearance to you. So every country is going to have its own unique criteria And if you go to the State Department website,, you can find out the different procedures

for every country. Typically in the Philippines, we get a lot of people that have worked in the Middle East or other countries here in Asia And so go to and you can find out what the process is Some countries may want a letter from us at the Embassy, and so they may not be able to approve it yet until they know you’re applying for the visa Others, you can get it in advance The one thing I would say on most documents like police clearances is we do want them as current as possible So a 10-year-old police clearance is not going to be as useful to us as something that was in the last six months LAURIE: And one quick tip about when you’re at the website Go to the reciprocity table and you look up the country there in that listing and you’ll be able to scan through the documents that are available there in the country and how you can go about applying to have it sent to you or sent to us GREG: Yes. And just to give you our email address again, this is one of those questions that would be really good specifically to email us. And that is LAURIE: Support hyphen GREG: I’m sorry, what did I say? LAURIE: That’s okay GREG: Support-Philippines@ LAURIE: Okay GREG: Alright. It looks like – do we have another Twitter question? LAURIE: I think we do. Hashtag GREG: Hashtag. Oh, sorry. Hashtag [LAUGHING] You want to take this one? LAURIE: Sure. I’ll take this one So, okay. My – this is a four-part query, so we could… GREG: [CROSSTALK] We could split it up LAURIE: …take turns. Okay So, “My fiancé visa has been approved by USCIS.” I’m sorry It’s just taking me a minute So basically, I think this question is asking about, “How many days “or months will be given to me to complete my papers before the interview date?” GREG: And I – I think I’ll… LAURIE: Go ahead, please GREG: …take a stab at this one because one thing that is a little different on the fiancé visa petitions is they do have a set time that they’re valid from And people do worry about that And what my response would be is don’t worry about that We can actually revalidate the fiancé visa petition on an ongoing basis The key is we want you to get all of your documents in We want them to be current and as accurate as possible And how quickly you can do that is going to be up to you and your individual case But in general, the petition, it can be ongoing if there’s going to be some sort of delay LAURIE: I think the key is that you’re making progress If it expires, we are happy to revalidate it But we need to make sure that you’re still continuing on with making progress on your petition GREG: So, let’s see. The second part of that question “What if my passport’s not yet available and I have my scheduled date for an interview? What should I do?” That’s a good question LAURIE: Potentially. So, obviously we need your passport in order to issue your visa GREG: Yes. We can’t proceed without it LAURIE: So, it’s – one of the issues is that if you don’t have your passport, if you don’t have your med done, it’s – we won’t be able to do your interview You will have to go to the DFA to get that passport, and I heard the wait time is about a month or so But that – you’re going to need to take care of that because we need the passport and the med in order to do that interview So then we have, “Can I ask for an extension or reschedule my interview to work on my passport?” Okay, so it sounds like he needs a passport. [LAUGHING] GREG: Yes. And the best thing to do regarding scheduling is through our call center and just to contact our call center to reschedule that because fiancé visa cases are scheduled locally So if you work through our call center, we can then reschedule as the case may be But the key is you have to have a passport because we can’t do anything without that. Alright LAURIE: And then our last one? “Is there a separate expiration “date or time for completing my NVC requirements between the USCIS-given date?” I actually have no idea what that means. Do you? GREG: I’m assuming that is, again, referring to the validity of the fiancé petition, but to be honest, I’m not really sure LAURIE: Maybe – maybe that person can send a follow up question real quick so we can understand better what was being… GREG: Or email us LAURIE: Or email us. Yeah So, the other option that you could do actually is reach out to NVC. You can enter your inquiry just simply on the website And contact the NVC directly there GREG: Okay. I think the next question is for me

So Rain on Facebook asks, “I’m a K1 applicant My additional document NBI Clearance with AKA” – AKA stands for “also known as” – “was delivered on April 22 “I want to verify my visa status, if it is already reviewed and cleared How long should I wait to deliver my visa?” A couple of options One is our website If you go to – it’s CEAC, And that’s the same website you use to file your application So you should be familiar with that website You can go and it will tell you what the status is The other option being email us at Now, I will say – the second part, “How long should I wait to deliver my visa?” Our processing time varies greatly. It just depends on the workload here at the Embassy in the Immigrant Visa Unit We do our best to get to our cases as quickly as possible when additional documents have been submitted And we will try to process it as quickly as we can We encourage you, if you have any concerns, to follow up with us Once it’s been approved, once – if you go to that CEAC website or if you’ve been notified that it has been approved, as a general rule, it’s going to take seven to 10 business days to process the visa in terms of printing it, getting it in your passport, sending it back to you through courier So, as a general rule, once it’s been approved, probably a one to two week wait LAURIE: The one thing I think I will add just is simply, if you are aware that your medical is expiring within the next few weeks, we do our best to stay on top of all of that and keep track of it, but it’s possible that it might not get caught by us here in our office So please feel free to reach out to us, email us, and let us know that you’re aware your medical is going to be expiring. Let us know the date of the expiration because we make a priority to process the cases that potentially have some sort of a document expiring So feel free to reach out to us GREG: That’s a really good point because one thing that with the medical – the medical report has an expiration date And we cannot issue the visa that’s expired That’s one of the things that’s one of our hard and fast rules is you have to have a current medical clearance to immigrate to the U.S. And so, your visa expiration date is tied to the expiration date on your medical clearance And so that medical clearance expiration does become really critical in the processing And like Laurie said, if you know your medical clearance is going to expire soon, please contact us and we’ll see what we can do LAURIE: And actually, maybe one more helpful tip would be to jot all those things down If you know when you went for your medical and you know when it’s going to expire, make a note of that. Make a note of when your NBI clearance is going to expire. Make a note of when your CENOMAR is going to expire. Keeping track of all of those things – we do our best, but it’s definitely helpful if you all keep track of kind of when those things are going to expire so that when we get to processing your case, we don’t want to delay you any further because maybe your NBI has expired or – so if you are organized and you would like to kind of stay on top of that, that only helps us do a better job at making sure that your case doesn’t get further delayed GREG: Alright The next question is for you LAURIE: Me? GREG: Yes LAURIE: Okay. So this Facebook question is from ISK about Joint Sponsors Affidavit of Support So Affidavit of Supports Ah, they’re – [LAUGHING] – they are a very complicated thing GREG: Yes LAURIE: So, the question is, “Can the joint sponsor be a “resident of any U.S. state, or should he or she be a current “resident of the destination state of the petitioner, who is the American spouse and the Filipino spouse?” And the answer is that the joint sponsor can be a resident of any state, as long as they reside in the United States The purpose of the Affidavit of Support is to show that there is someone in the United States who can provide for you and is willing to provide for you if you were to need financial assistance GREG: Yeah. And I guess the only follow-up I would have to that one – going back to the earlier question I had about the U.S. military. If the military member is the petitioner and is petitioning for their spouse to go with them to the U.S., they can start the Affidavit of Support process, all the paperwork, even if they’re currently stationed overseas, or if they’re stationed on a boat with the U.S. Navy or something like that because we’ll still – the Affidavit of Support will still be accepted in those cases That’s probably one of the few times that the Affidavit of Support can be approved if the petitioner’s outside the U.S., is if it is a situation where the petitioner’s in the military

LAURIE: Excellent point [BELL RINGS] GREG: Alright. So, our next question from Rubin on Facebook He wants to know what the status of “issued” means in the CEAC website, and that was the website I just mentioned “How soon after it will the applicant receive their visa, after the status is changed from ‘administrative processing’ to ‘issued?’” I think I pretty much covered this one already. Issued means that it has been approved The visa has been approved We’ve started the process to get that visa physically printed and put in your passport and get all your immigration paperwork ready As I mentioned earlier, seven to 10 working days is the general guideline If for some reason, you haven’t received anything in two to three weeks, then you might want to follow up But as a general rule, we’re looking at one to two weeks I know I’ve given it before, but again, our email is Support-Philippines@ Alright LAURIE: Awesome. Alright, so now we have a question from Hanna Mae Alvaro on Facebook She says, “How many months “does it take for a K1 visa to be approved if a private lawyer “in the U.S. processed it, and what are the documents needed for the interview?” So we already talked about the documents So we’re not going to get into that But if you have an attorney who is helping you file a petition, everything is the same The timing is the same. You don’t get any special treatment It’s not expedited. There’s nothing magical that happens if you have an attorney do your case. So it’s important that you know that you can use an attorney or you can do it on your own and everyone is treated the same GREG: Yes. You are not required to have an immigration lawyer help you with the case You can if you wish, but it’s not a requirement LAURIE: Definitely GREG: Okay. Next, Peachy Blossom on Facebook asks, “Does ‘police certificate’ mean police clearance here in the Philippines or the NBI clearance?” And we were specifically talking about NBI clearance in the Philippines, National Bureau of Investigations We do not need a local police or a “barangay” clearance for the police clearance We only need the NBI clearance One thing is if – and we tend to see this most if people have been – for spouse cases. The NBI clearance needs to be both in your married name and your maiden name Or if a fiancé has been married before and had it annulled and has different names We do need the NBI clearance in any name that has legally been used So even if you’ve had a court-ordered name change – for some reason it was misspelled on your birth certificate, which we sometimes see – we do need the NBI clearance to show any possible legal name that’s been used But, so when we talk police certificate, we are talking about NBI And, again, we kind of hit on the foreign police clearance if you’ve ever lived or worked overseas And for that, again, if you were overseas working for six months or more as a fiancé, then we do need something from that country if it’s available LAURIE: One quick follow up to that is – now I forgot what I was going to say. Ooh, I know That’s another – what Greg just mentioned is really important [BELL RINGS] about the aliases, potential other names that are on your documents Take a look right now. If you’re applying, if you have applied, if you haven’t had your interview yet, look over your documents and see how your name was spelled Look at how it was amended Look at the marriage certificate Check how your name is written on your marriage certificate Check out how your name is written on your CENOMAR, things like that Double check all your documents, and if you have anything that was issued to you in a different version of your name, go ahead and make sure that you’ve got that NBI with those AKAs. Look at the name on your child’s birth certificate If you have children and you’re listed as the mother, if your name appears differently, that’s going to be another name check through NBI that we’re going to need So if you all want to go through the process as quickly as possible, take some time, look very closely at all the documents that you’re going to be submitting for your family and make sure that you’re aware of the variety of names so that when you request your NBI clearance it has everything listed on there for you. And then that makes our job all the easier GREG: And that’s a very good point because if you come to the interview and we find that you need more documents and we need additional NBI, that is definitely going to add time to the process. It’s going to add time with NBI to get it and then it’s going to add processing time once it comes back to us to review You don’t have to come back in person You can send your documents to us by courier. And anyone who has the interview gets instructions on how to do that. But the more you have ready at the time of the interview, the more likely it is that you’ll be approved at the time of the interview LAURIE: Definitely GREG: Okay. I think you’re next LAURIE: Me? Okay. So we have a question from M.J “Me and my fiancé got engaged last year. He is living

“in the Philippines and we were going to get married here “but he has to go back to the U.S. this month “I have a multiple-entry tourist visa, and my question is, is it easier “to get married in the U.S. under my tourist visa and file all the paperwork there?” So, I’m going to be incredibly careful when I answer this question You are allowed to travel to the U.S on a visitor visa and get married Say you want to be married at Disneyland. You can go as a visitor, marry, and then come back to the Philippines But the point of a visitor visa is it’s a visit and then it’s coming back here to the Philippines So you are not allowed to immigrate on a visitor visa You can’t go get married and stay [INAUDIBLE] So what you can do is you can go there, you can get married, but then return to the Philippines and then follow through the process the way that we have laid out. It’s called the immigration process because you are no longer a nonimmigrant You are going to become an immigrant So it’s very important to follow the rules that are associated and use your visitor visa properly But you can go and you can get married as long as you return GREG: Yes LAURIE: Correct? GREG: That is correct LAURIE: Okay GREG: We do have many people in the Philippines that have both nonimmigrant visas while they’re waiting for an immigrant visa petition There’s nothing wrong with that, but the thing that the U.S. government is going to ask is that you honor the conditions of those nonimmigrant visas, those visitor visas, like Laurie described Alright. Unfortunately, we don’t have time to answer everyone’s questions We’ve had a lot of questions and we wish we could have gotten to all of them, but unfortunately we are out of time. So, for any immigrant visa-related questions, once more – I’ll give it to you again – Support-Philippines@ LAURIE: Or you can post them, or any visa question honestly, to our Visa Wall on our Facebook page at GREG: And, if you’ve never visited our blog, we do have our blog called VISAtisfied – is that how we say it? VISAtisfied Voyager at And we want to thank everyone who posted their questions Wow, we’ve had a lot of people There’s Pearl and Janiski and Arlene and Abbis and Tommy You can see I’m not even mentioning the last names there. [LAUGHING] LAURIE: [APPLAUSE] Apollo, Flodelina, Flabo, Fair, Joann, Rim GREG: Celeste, Miligros, Cory, Rain, Rubin, Hanna Mae. [APPLAUSE] LAURIE: P.T. [INAUDIBLE], M.J Salvastion, [INAUDIBLE], Chero, Yisa GREG: Alright, so we’ve tried to give a shout out to everybody who’s asked us a question. So LAURIE: And you can watch the on demand version of this episode on our YouTube channel, GREG: Okay. You can find us on Facebook at LAURIE: Or follow us on Twitter as well. Hashtag GREG: And if you use Google Plus, you can add us to your circles on Google Plus at +USEmbassyManila LAURIE: And check us out on Instagram Search for U.S. Embassy Manila GREG: Again, thank you for joining us, and we hope to see everyone next episode of the Visa Hour LAURIE: Have a nice day [APPLAUSE]