I Married My Fiancee in the Philippines: How Do I Bring My Spouse to the U.S.?

U.S. citizens who wish to bring their Filipino spouse to the United States on a K-3 visa must file both the I-129F and I-130 petitions. These petitions are filed at the USCIS office that has jurisdiction over the petitioner’s place of residence.

The approved I-129F petition is sent to NVC for processing, which then forwards it to the Embassy in Manila.

Starting March 19, 2008, those applying for K-3 and K-4 visas who have been notified by the Embassy to prepare for their interview can call 1-909-101-7878 (within the Philippines) to schedule an interview appointment at the U.S. Embassy. The cost of the 909 service is U.S. $0.98 per minute; this amount will be charged to your telephone bill. Applicants, Agents or Petitioners calling from within the United States will also be able to use this service by calling 1-888-877-9888. The cost of the 888 service from the United States is a U.S. $18 PIN payable using a Visa or MasterCard once you have called into the service.

Applicants or their representatives must have the applicant’s Immigrant Case Number as given in the Embassy notification letter available when they call to schedule an appointment. Callers can speak with an English or Tagalog speaking operator.  The service is available to the public from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, Manila local time.

On the day of the visa interview and at the discretion of the adjudicating consular officer, K-3/K-4 applicants may be asked to present secondary documents to support the claimed marital relationship. These documents may include letters, photographs, joint ownership of assets, bank accounts, and telephone bills. Otherwise, the documents for a K visa application are the same as those for immigrant visa applications.

It takes 6 to 12 months from the date the petition is approved for the K visa to be issued. If an investigation is required and if the applicant does not satisfy all the application requirements, visa issuance may take even longer. A U.S. citizen should not arrange to take the Filipino spouse back to the United States immediately following the marriage. No final travel plans should be made until a visa has been issued.

If approved, the K-3 visa can be used to enter and leave the United States for 24 months while the I-130 petition is being processed. Once the I-130 petition is approved, the Filipino spouse may adjust status to a lawful permanent resident.

Minor children of a K-3 applicant may derive immigration benefits from the same approved I-129F petition and are issued K-4 visas. The children may apply for visas at the same time as the principal applicant parent or may be following-to-join derivatives of a K-3 applicant, in which case they must apply for their K-4 visas before the principal applicant parent adjusts status in the United States.

The K petition is generally processed quicker than the IR petition. However, if the I-130 petition for the spouse is already at the Embassy, then it is advisable to pursue the IR application instead of the K-3. With an IR-1 visa, the beneficiary generally has no further processing requirements with the USCIS after arrival in the United States*.

For more information about the K-3 spousal visa for Filipino spouses of U.S. citizens, visit our law firm’s website at www.fianceevisa.ws We have been providing legal representation for U.S./Filipino couples since 1997.

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