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2017 Fiance Visa processing timeline

Two separate departments of the US government are involved. USCIS (homeland security) and the Department of State.

USCIS = United States Customs and Immigration Service
NVC = National Visa Center = Operated by US Department of State
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Couple submit I129F Petition Package to USCIS

1 - 2 weeks

USCIS confirms receipt of Fiance Visa Petition

3 - 4 Months

USCIS approves case and passes it on to NVC

2 weeks

NVC confirms case has been forwarded to US consulate in Fiancee's country

+1 - 2 weeks

US consulate receives case

1 - 2 Months

Fiance has medical + consulate interview (brings to consulate second package of documents and evidences)

+1 - 2 weeks

Passport is returned to Fiance with K1 Visa attached


AVERAGE TIME: 5-6 months, from submission to receipt of visa



As of August 2017, the answer is 5 to 6 months on average.

3 - 4 months USCIS

1/2 month NVC

1 - 2 months Consulate

I regularly get calls from people saying those numbers must be wrong, because they found a website or person who promised a MUCH shorter processing time

so whats their secret?

Well the secret is they are either telling you what "you want to hear" so they can get your money, or just referring to one step of the process, not combining and adding up ALL the steps from initial submission of your petition, to visa embossed onto your fiancee's passport

When I give time estimates I always use what is relevant to the couple, and that is starting from the day USCIS receives the petition, ending on the day your foreign fiancee gets the visa.

Two separate departments of the US government are involved.

USCIS (homeland security) and the Department of State.

USCIS has now tasked 5 centers around the USA to process Fiance Visas. These are located in California, Nebraska, Texas, Vermont and Missouri.

In general, Homeland Security recently is getting their job done EXTREMELY fast, in only 3 to 4 months (this compares to a 5 month processing Policy standard they have set for themselves..

Processing includes a backround check by the FBI

What determines how long it takes for USCIS to approve your case is a function of how complete your petition is, how busy the processing center is, how current your FBI file is, and a bit of luck.

The most obvious source of delay is caused by incomplete and sloppy petitions. When USCIS finds a problem, processing grinds to a halt, and it is stopped until the problem is fixed. Sometimes the errors are so big that they don't bother asking for corrections and simply deny a case outright.

California is consistently the processing center that works the fastest. Because they are so efficient, they seem to currently be getting most of the Fiance Visa Cases, so chances are good your case will get assigned there regardless of where in USA you live.

Once USCIS finishes their part, the case is passed to the US Department of State. The Department of State has a processing center in New Hampshire, called the National Visa Center or NVC.

NVC basically assigns a new Department of State case number, then forwards the file on to the American Consulate reponsible to issue the visa.

Last year NVC was quite slow and taking a few months to do their bit, fortunately today there have been improvements and on average they are getting the job done in a couple of weeks.

Once NVC has completed their actions, a few weeks later the case file physically arrives at the consulate assigned to process your Fiancee.

Within a few weeks, the consulate contacts your Fiancee directly with instructions on booking the interview, attending the medical and final document checklists.

Some consulates are busier, more efficient, and or work faster than others.

In Philippines the process is very efficient and fast. Interviews can be booked by the fiancee about a month later.

In Vietnam and China it may be 2 to 3 months later before the consulate advises the interview can be scheduled.

The Approval/Denial decision is made during the interview. Then in about 2 weeks the passport with its new K1 visa is returned.

Just as in medicine commercials on TV. "Your results may vary".

Some of my clients get their visas faster, some slower.

If in 2017 you anticipate 5 to 6 months average K1 Fiance Visa processing time, you won't be far off.

Regardless of how fast or slow the process goes, do not book air tickets, nor wedding chapels, until after the visa is actually in the hands of your fiance AND double checked for correct spelling of her or his name.

By Fred Wahl

Questions? call 1-800-806-3210 ext , or Tel/Fax 1-213-341-0808, Open 7 Days a Week
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