For Free Consultation
1-800-806-3210 x

Which is better? Fiancee or Spousal Visa

Choosing between Fiancee and Spousal Visa: Which is better?

 


Each week I speak to callers who are  trying to figure out what could work
the best for them, getting married overseas or in the USA, applying for spousal or fiancee visas?

This is what I tell them:

To bring your lover to the USA you have two real choices, apply for a K1 Fiancee Visa,  planning to marry once she arrives, or marry first, then apply for a CR1 Spousal Visa.

I say ‘real’ choices because attempting to bring her here on a tourist, work, or student visa is as likely as winning the lottery, its just not going to happen.

If you want to save yourself some time reading, this is all you really need to know:

Fiancee visa  is about 6 months faster, but costs about $1,000 more.

And if you prefer to listen/see a presentation, I have just updated the video
I originally recorded in 2010 and have posted the latest version at

http://www.visacoach.com/fiancee-or-spouse-visa-video.html

If a couple wants to be united as soon as possible, the fiancee visa is the preferred choice.

For couples who prefer to save some money and don’t mind the longer separation, or who prefer to celebrate their wedding in front of her family and neighbors, the spousal visa is their choice.

The K-1 Fiancee visa is like a tourist visa on steroids.

It allows the holder to enter the USA and visit here for up to 90 days. AND includes eligibility to apply for permanent residency. If the wedding occurs within the 90 days alloted, the bride is eligible to apply to remain in the USA permanently. This is called Adjustment of Status. She may “adjust” her status from a temporary K1 visitor to that of a Permanent Resident. The id card she gets stating she is legally permitted to stay is called the “Green Card”. The K1 visa is valid for 6 months. Your fiancee must begin her travel before it expires.

Two departments of the US government will handle your case, first USCIS in the USA, then the US Department of State at NVC in Vermont, and the consulates and embassies overseas.

USCIS = United States Customs and Immigration Service
NVC = National Visa Center = Operated by US Department of State

K1 Fiancee Visa Timeline:

0 week: Couple submit I-129F Petition Package to USCIS
+1-2 weeks: USCIS confirms receipt of Petition
+12-24 weeks: USCIS approves case and passes it on to NVC
+1-2 weeks: NVC confirms case has been sent  to US consulate in her country
+1-2 weeks: US consulate receives case
+4-12 weeks: Fiancee has medical + consulate interview
(brings to consulate second package of documents and evidences)
+1-2 weeks: Passport is returned to Fiancee with K1 Visa attached

AVERAGE TIME: 6-8 months, from submission to receipt of visa

Costs:
$340 Fiancee visa filing fee, attached to I-129F petition
$200 Medical exam fee, just prior to the interview at the consulate
$240 Visa application fee, prior to interview at the consulate
$100 Medical exam fee, to verify inoculations, conducted in USA
$1,070 Green Card application fee

Total: $1,950 thru to Permanent Residency

The CR-1 Spousal visa is a visa for permanent immigration to the USA. It is valid for 6 months,and allows the holder to enter the USA, in order to reside here permanently. Permanent residence is already approved, and no adjustment of status is needed. The visa holder gets her green card after a few simple formalities.

CR1 Spousal Visa Timeline:

0 week:  Couple submit I-130 Petition Package to USCIS
+1-2 weeks: USCIS confirms receipt of Petition
+12-24 weeks: USCIS approves case
+3-6 weeks: NVC requests foreign spouse choose her “Agent” in USA
+1-2 weeks: NVC requests Sponsor to pay online $80, Affidavit of Support Fee
+2-6 weeks: NVC requests Sponsor to pay online $230, visa application fee
+0 weeks: After Sponsor pays fees, he submits Package of Civil documents to NVC, including his Affidavit of Support
+3-6 weeks: NVC confirms all needed documents have been verified
+0: NVC schedules appointment at US consulate, or advises that US consulate will contact foreign spouse directly
+4-12 weeks: Foreign Spouse has medical + consulate  interview (brings to consulate final package of documents and evidences)
+1-2 weeks: Passport is returned to Fiancee with K1 Visa attached

AVERAGE TIME: 10-14 months, from submission to receipt of visa

Costs:
$420 Spousal visa filing fee, when you originally apply to USCIS
$80 Affidavit of Support Fee, paid to Department of State (National Visa Center), about 7 months
$230 Visa application fee, paid to Department of State (National Visa Center), about 8 months
$200 medical exam fee, just prior to your interview at the consulate

Total:  $930 thru to Permanent Residency

Comparison

A. The proof that you have a “bone fide” relationship is the same.
See how to prove your relationship is bone fide:
http://www.visacoach.com/genuine-relationship-video.html

B. Spousal Visa takes at about 6 months longer

C.  Paperwork: Fiancee Visa: 2 document submissions, Spousal Visa: 3 document submissions.

D. Minimum Income Eligibility is $18,913 annual income for Spouse versus $15,130 for Fiancee

K1 Fiancee Visa

Pro: You can apply as soon as you have met ‘face to face’
Con: If your income is below the minimum, and you need a joint-sponsor, check with the consulate first, as
some consulates DO NOT permit use of a financial joint-sponsor

CR1 Spousal Visa

Pro: Green card is included, you save about $1,000 in fees.
Pro: If you do not meet financial eligibility: Use of a financial joint-sponsor is always allowed
Pro: Her family attends wedding
Con: You must marry first before submitting.
Con: Takes about 6 months longer
Con: Three sets of documents to prepare

Watch the NEW K1 vs CR1 video at

http://www.visacoach.com/fiancee-or-spouse-visa-video.html

Or call me directly at 1-800-806-3210 x702 to discuss your options.

Frequently Asked Questions:

After she gets her fiancee visa, can we marry in her country, then travel together to the USA?

No. When she travels using the K1 fiancee visa, she MUST at that time be unmarried. If she becomes legally married before the visa is used, it must be abandoned. And you would have to start all over again, this time applying for a Spousal Visa. You MAY have a celebration, or cultural or religious ceremony providing it is NOT considered by the government of her residence country as a legal marriage.

We are already married, I don’t want to wait 12 months, Can we apply for a Fiancee Visa?

No. Once married, the option to apply for a fiancee visa is taken off of the table. She must be unmarried to apply for, as well as use the fiancee visa.

We plan to marry in six months, can we apply for the spousal visa now?

No. You must wait until after the wedding, and you have your marriage certificate BEFORE submit the Spousal Visa Petition package.

by Fred Wahl
Fiancee Visa Coach

Share

Using Skype or Facebook to Prove your Relationship

Presenting Skype or Facebook evidences

My philosophy for successfully demonstrating the bone fides of a couples relationship ( for background details watch this video http://www.visacoach.com/genuine-relationship-video.html
includes presenting to immigration, itemized logs or samples of communications. This is in order to demonstrate the couple has been talking on an ongoing and regular basis. An itemized telephone bill, or a detailed log from an emails sent folder is fairly easy to generate. But Skype and Facebook provide a long continuous ‘blog like’ record which is not so easy to work with.

When working with my clients, I prepare for them for them a personalized,  check list of the different ways to prove their relationship. They gather their proofs and we submit these evidences as part of the I-129F or I-130 petition we send to USCIS to apply for for Fiancee or Spousal visas. Also an updated set will be hand carried later to the consulate for the visa interview.  I call the package of evidences and documents the US sponsor sends me his ‘shoebox’. I go over each page carefully and select the most useful to include as part of his petition. While he was working on his ‘shoebox’, a client recently asked me this question.

Jason: I’m still in the process of compiling my shoebox and I have a quick question regarding taking the screen shots of the chat logs. Most of our conversations have been on Skype. Must I take the screen shots of our conversations from the skype program? or can I copy/paste them into a word doc and take pictures that way?

Fred Wahl:  When presenting evidences, you should never NEVER put them through, or into an editable, word processed document. WE know you are not editing, or falsifying the evidences, but we DO NOT want to take any chance to cause the consular officer to have any doubts himself. The proof you present should be as close to the original document, desktop, screen, or view as possible, without manipulation.

If the evidence is displayed on your computer monitor, the better procedure is to print out a ScreenShot or ScreenCapture of your actual computer screen. Open your skype, chat, email, facebook,  bank statement, phone bill, or other internet based evidence. Then take a screencapture image that shows the pertinent section (message, text, date, etc) as well as enough of the surrounding borders, graphics, captions, and even advertisements, so that it will be clear to anyone who sees your image, exactly where the image came from, what it is about, and what Internet service you were using. Save the screencapture in an image processing software like photoshop, pixia, photoscape, picasa. Then print out hard copies for your shoebox.

By including the identifiable surrounding elements, you clearly demonstrate the “PROVENANCE” of the evidence, (exactly where it came from).

To be most effective, try resizing the windows, to make the crucial portions (the text portions you want to show) as large as possible  (while still retaining enough of outside edges and borders to make the source recognizable).

Also make sure that the CALENDAR DATE when the communication occurred is clearly visible, and legible especially AFTER printing. Sometimes
the quality of the printing, or the colors used for text make the date hard to read. Correct this, as the date is the most important element on the page.

Remember: When it comes to sampling Chats, we DO NOT want to see the ENTIRE chat session. Only one page, generally just the first page (as it most often shows the date) is enough. It should provide enough information, so as to identify you, her, the date, and a few words shared between the two of you. It is not so important exactly what you were saying, but that you were communicating together on a regular and ongoing basis.  Then scroll a week or more in time, find another sample, and take a screencapture of that page and so on.

A simple sampling procedure:

Start by taking a sample of your earliest session, then depending on how long your records go back, take regular samplings of  4 times, 3 times,  twice or once each month.

Depending on how many months you have corresponded, I recommend the following  sampling intervals

 

under 9 months: 4 samples each month, the first page of a chat taking place near the 7’th, 14th, 21’st, and 28th .
9 – 18 months: 3 samples each month, the first page of a chat taking place near the 10’th, 20th, 30’th
18 – 24 months: 2 samples each month, the first page of a chat taking place near the 15’th, or 30’th
over 24 months: 1 sample each month, the first page of a chat taking place near the 15’th of each month

 

Then top off the stack with an image of the first page of  your most recent chat , taken just before you mail me your shoebox.

At the end of the day this is the way to put together a well documented, understandable and believable package of proofs and evidences. So far following my philosophies, I have had all petitions approved at BOTH the USCIS AND Consulate stages.

by Fred Wahl
Fiancee Visa Coach

Share

Visa Denied: What to do now?

Petition Denied: What to do next?

I get phone calls from strangers, (strangers for they weren’t my clients, they prepared their petitions themselfs, or used an attorney), who call to share their shock and disappointment after hearing from their heartbroken fiancee that their petition was denied.  They ask: Can we sue the consulate? Can we appeal? Can my Congressman help? Yes, to all these questions. But going down that path is simply a waste of time and money, as none of these actions will bring your lover closer to reunion with you in the USA.

What can be done,  that is USEFUL?

Short answer:  Don’t get Denied in the first place.

The first time you apply should be the ONLY time you need to apply. Do your research, see why the consulate rejected couples in the past, then avoid repeating the same mistakes. If the consulate expects a formal engagement, or multiple trips, or a long courtship …. do what is needed before you submit your petition. And  make sure you provide abundant and believable proof that that there is no fraud, that you are a pure, genuine, ‘bone fide’ couple planning a future life together. While it is certainly inexpensive to prepare all  the paperwork yourself, I recommend you hire me to personally help you. My record is 100% approval. More info is at http://www.visacoach.com/ or speak with me at 1-800-806-3210 x702 to discuss.

Long answer:  Start Over

If denied, your only effective option is to start over, repeating the ENTIRE process again. You must do a better job this time. On the plus side: you have more longevity in your relationship, you have more evidences, and the fact you are persisting and trying again adds to your credibility.

Study your mistakes.

Sometimes, the consulate provides a letter, describing in detail why the petition was denied. This should be studied carefully and action taken to correct what you can. That which can not be directly corrected, can be generally overcome due to the fact that your relationship now has much more longevity (at least a year) the second time you apply.

Often however, the vague reason given for denial is ‘the couple was not found bone fide’. Basically that means that the consular officer’s intuition told him to deny. You don’t have any real solid facts to go on. However you should try your best to figure out what went wrong. Ask your fiancee to describe the interview in detail:  What questions were asked, what comments were made, what body language occurred? Try to determine what was it that the consulate officer was concerned about, found suspicious or reacted negatively to? Did he ask a lot of questions about your ex-wife? details about the marriage proposal? wanted to know about finances? Who introduced you and why? Commented on the courtship going on before the divorce was final?  Whatever seemed to go wrong, that is something you will have to correct and address, for the next time.

Use additional evidence to best advantage:

You should have done a full and complete job in providing evidences of your relationship when you filed your original petition. But many of the callers I get, mention they made the ‘rookie’ mistake of not providing adequate supporting evidences of their relationship. If you did not do that job well the first time, now is your chance to do it correctly. Or ask for my help. I strongly believe the most important aspect of the petition is the evidence of the ‘bone fides’ of your relationship, this is where I personally spend the most time and effort when working with clients. Helping them to tell their story in a logical and convincing manner. As your relationship is at least a year older then at the time it you first applied, you now have an entire years worth of additional evidences to add to your petition.  See my video On How to Prove a Genuine Relationship 

Enlist Support of your Congressman

You could ask your Congressman to help get an explanation of why you were denied. I have seen this done, but usually with no worthwhile results. Generally the answer obtained is ‘they were not believed to be bone fide’, full stop.

A better use of your Congressman is to contact him once your fiancee’s second interview is scheduled, tell him the details of your case, explain how sincere and bone fide your relationship is, and ask for his help.

This usually results in an email from his office to the consulate a few days before the interview, advising that the Congressman is personally interested in your case, and asking the consulate to advise the results after the interview. This is not a message from the Congressman endorsing your case. But it serves to put the consular reviewing officer on notice that should the case be denied, he will be expected to report a solid, documented reason. Many cases are rejected based upon the ‘intuition’ of the reviewing officer. The expectation that detailed written documentation will be needed in case of denial tends to influence the consulate reviewer to find a solid reason for denial, and if he is unable to do so, then to approve.

Request Waiver

The recent IMBRA laws restrict the use of Fiancee visas by American sponsors. Two restrictions are that an American is limited to two fiancee visa petitions in his lifetime, and they can not be submitted within two years of each other. So when applying immediately, the second time, for your Fiancee your petition will need to include a request for waiver from at least one of these IMBRA restrictions, even though you are applying for your SAME fiancee.

Fiancee or Spousal Visa

Either visa needs the same amount of evidences. If you are living together, getting married does look better than only staying engaged. However if the relationship is long distance, getting married but still living far apart only marginally makes your relationship appear more sincere. The spousal visa takes about 12 – 14 months to process while the Fiancee visa takes only 5- 7 months to process.  In general I recommend couples whose Fiancee Visa has been denied, to apply for the fiancee visa again as it is faster.

by Fred Wahl
Fiancee Visa Coach

Share

Will one way air ticket cause a problem at immigration?

I am almost there on bringing my fiancee to the USA! Later this month he will have his interview in Telgucigualpa, Honduras. Do i have to buy a round plane trip ticket ?  Can buy a one way ticket only? Will i have a problem with immigration if a one way ticket is bought for his trip?

A one way ticket is fine.

US Immigration understands that the real purpose of the trip is to marry you and remain permanently in the USA.

 

by Fred Wahl
Fiancee Visa Coach

Share

Fiancee Petition Denied: What to do next?

 

 

I get phone calls from strangers, (strangers for they weren’t my clients, they prepared their petitions themselves, or used an attorney), who call to share their shock and disappointment after hearing from their heartbroken fiancee that their petition was denied.  They ask: Can we sue the consulate? Can we appeal? Can my Congressman help? Yes, to all these questions. But going down that path is simply a waste of time and money, as none of these actions will bring your lover closer to reunion with you in the USA.

 

What can be done,  that is USEFUL?

Short answer:  Don’t get Denied in the first place.

The first time you apply should be the ONLY time you need to apply. Do your research, see why the consulate rejected couples in the past, then avoid repeating the same mistakes. If the consulate expects a formal engagement, or multiple trips, or a long courtship …. do what is needed before you submit your petition. And  make sure you provide abundant and believable proof that that there is no fraud, that you are a pure, genuine, ‘bone fide’ couple planning a future life together. While it is certainly inexpensive to prepare all  the paperwork yourself, I recommend you hire me to personally help you. My record is 100% approval. More info is at http://www.visacoach.com or speak with me at 1-800-806-3210 x702 to discuss.

 

 

Long answer:  Start Over

If denied, your only effective option is to start over, repeating the ENTIRE process again. You must do a better job this time. On the plus side: you have more longevity in your relationship, you have more evidences, and the fact you are persisting and trying again adds to your credibility.

Study your mistakes.

Sometimes, the consulate provides a letter, describing in detail why the petition was denied. This should be studied carefully and action taken to correct what you can. That which can not be directly corrected, can be generally overcome due to the fact that your relationship now has much more longevity (at least a year) the second time you apply.

Often however, the vague reason given for denial is ‘the couple was not found bone fide’. Basically that means that the consular officer’s intuition told him to deny. You don’t have any real solid facts to go on. However you should try your best to figure out what went wrong. Ask your fiancee to describe the interview in detail:  What questions were asked, what comments were made, what body language occurred? Try to determine what was it that the consulate officer was concerned about, found suspicious or reacted negatively to? Did he ask a lot of questions about your ex-wife? details about the marriage proposal? wanted to know about finances? Who introduced you and why? Commented on the courtship going on before the divorce was final?  Whatever seemed to go wrong, that is something you will have to correct and address, for the next time.

Use additional evidence to best advantage:

You should have done a full and complete job in providing evidences of your relationship when you filed your original petition. But many of the callers I get, mention they made the ‘rookie’ mistake of not providing adequate supporting evidences of their relationship. If you did not do that job well the first time, now is your chance to do it correctly. Or ask for my help. I strongly believe the most important aspect of the petition is the evidence of the ‘bone fides’ of your relationship, this is where I personally spend the most time and effort when working with clients. Helping them to tell their story in a logical and convincing manner. As your relationship is at least a year older then at the time it you first applied, you now have an entire years worth of additional evidences to add to your petition.  See my video On How to Prove a Genuine Relationship

Enlist Support of your Congressman

You could ask your Congressman to help get an explanation of why you were denied. I have seen this done, but usually with no worthwhile results. Generally the answer obtained is ‘they were not believed to be bone fide’, full stop.

A better use of your Congressman is to contact him once your fiancee’s second interview is scheduled, tell him the details of your case, explain how sincere and bone fide your relationship is, and ask for his help.

This usually results in an email from his office to the consulate a few days before the interview, advising that the Congressman is personally interested in your case, and asking the consulate to advise the results after the interview. This is not a message from the Congressman endorsing your case. But it serves to put the consular reviewing officer on notice that should the case be denied, he will be expected to report a solid, documented reason. Many cases are rejected based upon the ‘intuition’ of the reviewing officer. The expectation that detailed written documentation will be needed in case of denial tends to influence the consulate reviewer to find a solid reason for denial, and if he is unable to do so, then to approve.

Request Waiver

The recent IMBRA laws restrict the use of Fiancee visas by American sponsors. Two restrictions are that an American is limited to two fiancee visa petitions in his lifetime, and they can not be submitted within two years of each other. So when applying immediately, the second time, for your Fiancee your petition will need to include a request for waiver from at least one of these IMBRA restrictions, even though you are applying for your SAME fiancee.

Fiancee or Spousal Visa

Either visa needs the same amount of evidences. If you are living together, getting married does look better than only staying engaged. However if the relationship is long distance, getting married but still living far apart only marginally makes your relationship appear more sincere. The spousal visa takes about 12 – 14 months to process while the Fiancee visa takes only 5- 7 months to process.  In general I recommend couples whose Fiancee Visa has been denied, to apply for the fiancee visa again as it is faster.

 

by Fred Wahl
Fiancee Visa Coach

Share

No Photos of Face to Face for Vietnam Fiancee

Comments: I met a lady who was a tour guide in The Mekong Delta for our group.  I did NOT have a photo taken of the two of us because I didn’t have a plan to bring her over here at that time.  Is it mandatory that I go BACK to The Mekong Delta in Vietnam to have ONE or more photos taken of us together?  This is NOT fraud…just circumstances as I would prefer to spend the air fare money to bring the lady here rather than for me to go back and forth myself.  Thanks for all the good work you do.  John 91320

The generic answer is, you could get the people who were on your tour to write affidavits and swear that you and her were on the tour together, and that they saw you spending time together. Such affidavits could be used in place of a photo to prove to prove you actually met in person.

The specific answer for Vietnam is: Vietnam is the most difficult post to get a fiancee visa from. The proof you must provide to have any chance of approval, is much more burdensome than just proving you and her were in the same place at the same time.

The HCM consulate reviewers expect you to make more than one trip, expect a long courtship before a proposal of marriage, and expect a formal engagement party, Vietnam style.

If you are serious about marrying this gal, or any gal from Vietnam you will have to put in time, effort and money.

Sorry to bring bad news, but I always tell clients  “like it really is”, even if it is not what they want to hear.

Assuming you choose to proceed (I can help you whether you take my advice more trips or ignore it)

Get more info at http://www.visacoach.com

by Fred Wahl
Fiancee Visa Coach

Share

K1 Fiance Visa Process

Timeline + Costs for K1 Fiancee Visa

First: Couple has a genuine relationship (courtship). They have recently met face-to-face. They are both ‘free to marry’. They intend to marry.
.
The US Citizen submits the Fiancee Visa Petition to USCIS (Homeland Security).

Fee: $240

USCIS reviews the petition and the FBI conducts a background check.

Currently USCIS takes 4 – 6 months (on average) to complete their review and approve the case.

The case is passed on to the US Department of State’s National Visa Center, in Vermont (NVC). NVC sends the US Citizen notice they have taken over processing, and have sent it to the US Consulate nearest the Fiancee.

It takes about 1 month from the time USCIS approves till the Consulate receives the case.

 

 

 

 

 

Then the Consulate contacts the Fiancee via mail, telephone, or not at all (sometimes she is expected to contact them first). She gets additional instructions and more government forms to fill out.

Usually, the interview is scheduled 1 to 2 months later.

In Philippines the process is very efficient and fast. Interviews can be arranged as fast as 3 to 5 WEEKS after USCIS Homeland Security approves. In Vietnam it may take 2 to 4 months later before the interview is scheduled.

A week or so prior to the interview, she attends a medical at a clinic approved by the Consulate. The clinic fees vary between $150 to $200.

Also, prior to the interview, she pays to the Consulate a visa application fee of $350. This is typically paid at a local bank, post office or at the consulate.

At the interview she will be asked to present identification documents, forms required by the consulate, an Affidavit of Support and income proof from her US Fiance (showing his income is sufficient) as well as proof of her ‘bone fide’ relationship with the sponsor. The consular officer asks various questions to confirm (in his opinion) that the relationship is genuine.

The decision to grant the visa is normally made ‘on the spot’. Her passport and visa is returned by courier usually within a week of the interview.

The visa is good for 6 months. She must start her journey to the USA before the 6 months is over.

Once she arrives in the USA she has 90 days to marry her Fiance, or return home.

After marriage, the final step is to apply for Adjustment of Status to be approved for permanent residency. The couple submits yet another important petition to USCIS (Homeland Security).

Filing cost is $1,070.
Doctor’s review of her Vaccinations $100

After about 1 month she visits a USCIS office for fingerprinting and photo.

Finally, 3 to 6 months later, she gets her Green Card which proves she has permission to remain permanently in the USA.

By Fred Wahl
Fiancee Visa Coach

 

Share

Children of your Fiancee or Spouse

If your Fiancee or Spouse has young children, the question always is: Do we apply for Mother and child at the same time, or is it better to bring the Mother to the USA first, then apply for the children later? It costs extra money to petition for the children, and new couples want ‘private time’.

Petitioning Later, is a much SLOWER process

What most couples do NOT know, is that petitioning for the children later, is a much SLOWER process. Currently the wait is 3 to 4 years. The time needed, is based on changing annual immigration quotas. And until recently it was even slower: 4 to 8 years. What it will be next year is not yet known.

Don’t separate Mother from Child

As a matchmaker I advise any new husband who hopes for a happy marriage,
to avoid separating a mother from her children for such long times.

The most important thing to know, is that if the children are eligible, their permission to enter the USA will be approved JUST AS FAST as the Mother’s visa is approved. If however, the Mother enters the USA, and then the children are applied for, the time needed for approval for the Children is much longer. Depending on the the country they are coming from, the current delay is about 3 to 4 years, from the time the mother applies, which is AFTER she gets her Green Card.

The reason Mom and child together are processed much faster than Child alone is because of who is the official sponsor of the petition. If an American citizen sponsors his Fiancee and her child, or his new Spouse and her child, the US Government extends to the US citizen a ‘courtesy’ by expediting his request. Fiancee visas currently take 5 to 8 months, and Spousal visas take 12 to 14 months. For the husband and wife these seem like long times to wait. But as far as immigration is concerned these are quite fast processing times. The American citizen whether he appreciates it or not, is getting special treatment.

No Expedited Service for Legal Permanent Residents

After the mother has entered the USA, marries and receives her Green Card, she is now a ‘Legal Permanent Resident’. She is allowed to live in the USA
but she is not a US citizen. If the children are applied for later, it is NOT the
US citizen step-father sponsoring the petition, but it is the Mother who is THE official sponsor. Since she is only a ‘Legal Permanent Resident’, she is not entitled to ‘expedited treatment’. Her request is lumped in with all the other brothers, sisters, parents, cousins, etc from her country who want to immigrate to the USA. Each year quotas are set for how many immigrants from each country are allowed in. Each year the quota changes, and each year the processing delay time varies up or down.

Fiancee Visa Petition easily includes Children.

The Fiancee Visa petition is specifically designed to easily include dependent children (under the age of 21). There is no extra charge when filing the I-129F petition to USCIS ($340 with or without children). The children get approved as quickly as it takes for the mother to be approved, only 5 to 8 months. The child does not have to travel immediately with the mother and can join her in the USA up to a year later.

Spousal Visa is NOT Child Friendly.

The Spousal visa CR-1 is a request for immigration, for one person only, the spouse of the US citizen. If there are also dependent children to immigrate (under the age of 18), the US sponsor must submit additional I-130 petitions,
one for each person (Mother plus each child). The cost is $350 to USCIS per individual. The petitions if submitted together, should be processed and approved together, in only 12 to 14 months. The child has 6 months after issuance of the visa to enter the USA.

I recommend:

Include the children at the time you apply for the mother. Don’t start your marriage off on the ‘wrong foot’ by separating mother from Child.

Due to its faster processing time, and its ease to include the children, I recommend getting engaged, applying for a Fiancee Visa, followed by marriage in the USA. If ‘alone time’ is needed, the children can begin their trip to reunite with the mother up to a year after her Fiancee visa is granted.

By Fred Wahl
Fiancee Visa Coach

Share

Simple USCIS forms are misleading

Simple forms don’t mean Simple Process

Visit USCIS.gov. The forms there make applying for a Fiancee or Spousal visa look as simple as applying for a drivers license. Anyone can fill in his name, address, Mother’s birth date, pay a fee and a few months later his bride arrives. Easy-Peasy.

Where most petitioners get into trouble is they do not notice that somewhere in the middle of all of these ‘fill in the blank’ questions, is one terribly important ‘essay question’. This must be answered completely and well. If not done right the entire petition may fail.
Provide EVIDENCE you have a genuine relationship

I got a call from a man who had just returned from Vietnam. He had spent a half year with his girl friend, was there for the delivery of their baby. But he did not provide enough evidence with his original petition, and apparently they did not believe they needed to bring much with the fiancee to the consulate interview. His petition was summarily denied. I am now working with him to submit a proper petition. (he had done his denied petition himself). I hope within a year, his fiancee and child will be reunited with him.

I also got a call from a gal, a naturalized American originally from India, her fiancee had just been given a blue slip in Mumbai. The blue slip asked the same critical question ‘provide evidence you have a genuine relationship’. They were lucky, as they were given a second chance to provide it.
Most couples in similar circumstances just get denied.

I helped her assemble a proper package of evidence, and convinced her to travel back to India with the ‘mini petition’ I had prepared to demonstrate by her presence, her sincerity in support of the petition. It was approved and she and her fiance traveled together back to Los Angeles.

Petitioners who submit only the basic USCIS forms, plus the ‘usual’ suspects of identity documents, but who neglect to provide ample supporting evidence of the relationship, are putting their petition in jeopardy. Providing the bare minimum of documentation, then wishfully thinking, ‘my fiancée will be able to explain everything during her interview’, gets couples into trouble.

A good petition, a Front Loaded Petition,  ‘Prepares the beach’ with ample, well selected, compelling proof, so that the consular officer after he reviews the file prior to the meeting, starts the session with ‘a good feeling’ about the couple.

 

 

For specific details on what evidences to provide that ‘Demonstrate a Genuine relationship’ watch this video http://www.visacoach.com/genuine-relationship-video.html

If enough good evidence is presented properly the girl should have a pleasant ‘soft ball’ interview. If not, she could leave the consulate in tears.

No matter what, whether your fiancee can ‘think on her feet’, whether you assume it is ‘obvious to anyone’ your relationship is genuine, even if you plan to attend the interview yourself, make sure you provide abundant and quality evidence in your petition to demonstrate the bona fides of your relationship.

By Fred Wahl
Fiancee Visa Coach

Share

Choosing Photos for Fiancee Visa Petition

Preparing a successful visa petition is both ‘Art’ and ‘Science’. The science is filling in the blanks correctly, and remembering to attach all the official documents that are needed. The ‘Art’ comes in when you choose what evidence to present and how much to present, in order to prove to a possibly unfriendly stranger that you are a bona fide couple.

One element of the rainbow of evidence, are photographs, of the two of you as a couple. Imagine this as if you were giving slide show, but you only have a few minutes to tell your whole story. Choosing the ‘right’ photos to show to immigration is very important.

To see samples of photos, and a video presentation that describes how to choose your photos go to:
http://www.visacoach.com/petition-photographs-video.html

Simple Purpose:

1. To prove you have met ‘face to face’

Key purpose is your Opportunity

2. To demonstrate you have a ‘bona fide’ relationship

Easy to accomplish #1, #2 is more Art than Science.
You want to tell a story. The story should be about a genuine, ‘in love’ couple that wants to spend the rest of their lives together.

What should be in the photos?

Couple Should Be in the Photo:
This is all about the two of you, so both of you should be in each photo.

Positive Body Language:
Smiling, holding hands, leaning in to each
other. One of my clients took pictures of him and his gf on his first trip to meet each other. It was obvious from the photos that they were strangers, and a bit uncomfortable with each other. Her arms were always crossed across her chest, and they always kept as much distance between them as they could. I insisted that he go on a second trip, and get more photos and proof of the bona fides. And it worked just great. They ended up very happy to take more time to build their relationship and enjoy their engagement. The photos from the second trip showed a real couple, who were happy to be together and comfortable in each others company.

Mid-distance shots.
Another client gave me a bunch of photos of he and
his fiancee, taken when he was holding the camera at arms length away from his body pointing back at the couples faces. Such a photo accomplishes #1 that the couple met. but does nothing to prove bona fides.
Better the shot is taken at a farther distance and the background is easily identifiable. These close up face shots could have, and probably were taken all at the same time, which is a red flag.

Identifiable Backgrounds.
Make sure there are easily identifiable landmarks
or events going on in the background. If a couple are trying to trick immigration and pretend a sham marriage in order to obtain a passport, typically the tricksters don’t spend too much time together. So there photos would usually be taken all at once, one afternoon. So instead you want to make sure it
is obvious you have spent a lot of time together and shared some travel and activities. So presenting a photo in front of downtown, another at the zoo, another at the aquarium, another at a historical site or in front of a ‘Welcome to Our town’ sign, for a town far away from the city she lives in, another in the countryside, mountains, lake, beach all add up to ‘tell the story’ that you have a genuine relationship.

Seasons, Events, Holidays:
If you make multiple trips. Try to vary the time of year you go, so that the background of the photos clearly indicate this was a totally different trip. For example if the fiancee’s country has winter and summer, some photos with snow in the background, or wearing heavy coats easily delineate from another trip taken during the heat of summer. If the seasons
look similar, try to find backgrounds that indicate a seasonal holiday. The background might have a decorated Christmas Tree, or a Happy New Years
banner, or show an independence day, Kings Birthday or other national holiday, or celebration.

Time of Day:
Vary the time of day. Choose some photos taken at day and some at night.

Date Stamping:
Having your camera automatically insert the month,
day and year onto each photo. Is the simplest, and most effective way to demonstrate when your photos have been taken and that they have been taken on different days. Another way to also show the date is to find a background that shows the date, a sign in front of a wedding party, or a sign in a hotel lobby often show the date.

Clothing:
Vary the clothing you wear. Again you want to dispel any suggestion that you are taking all the photos on the same day. So each day of your trip vary the wardrobe that you and your partner are wearing.
So each photo that you say is taken on a different day, looks consistent with another day.

Friends or Coworkers:
If a couple is genuine, one would expect the proud
fiancee to ‘show off’ and introduce her fiance to her friends or coworkers or fellow students. So a group photo at her place of study, work or leisure with
her peers is a good choice.

Family:
A serious fiance will meet his new ‘in laws’ and especially want to meet her parents or family elders to ‘ask for her hand’. A photo showing the couple together with her happy ‘on board’ family is a must.

Less is More:
Don’t be repetitive. One of my clients gave me 12 pictures of him and his fiancee at a single restaurant. Of course, every single picture was precious to him and his fiancee. But they should be saved for the
family album not used for the visa petition. One, possibly two pictures telling about a moment in your time together is interesting. 10 pictures repeating the same story is boring and not effective at all. Better to share 12 photos that each and every one tell of a
different activity or event that occurred while the couple was enjoying their time together.

What you should Avoid:

You want to keep the Consular officer who is reviewing your petition and preparing to interview your fiancee, friendly and on your side, interested and feeling positively about you and your fiancee when he sees your photos. Each photo should bring him closer to identifying with you as a genuine couple. He may have strong moral, racial, religious and/s cultural biases. Be extra careful not to inadvertently offend him. If he feels offended, or that something is wrong, he will dig for problems until he finds justification to deny your case. Make sure your entire petition consistently leads him to be utterly convinced you are a bona fide couple

No Sexually Charged Images:
No Kissing or groping. My clients present me with a lot of photos with them kissing, hugging, the girl sitting on his lap, laying on a bed together or simply obviously in a hotel room. While none of these so far has been X rated, I am a liberal person, but I would be
uncomfortable if my daughter was in those pictures. Just show normal happy, friendly, comfortable couples.

No King Kong carrying Fay Raye, images:
When I see a 6 foot tall, 270 pound man, bear hugging while towering completely over a tiny 5′, 100 pound, girl. I can’t help but feel uncomfortable for her. Try to minimize size differences. Try mid range shots, or have both sitting down side by side, so their heads are about the same level.

Avoid Negative Body language:
Any negative body language by the couple obviously should be avoided. In addition look how the other people in the photo appear. I got one photo of a couple with her parents. The couple was smiling but the parents were scowling. Perhaps that’s the way the
parents always look. We will never know. But that particular photo made it appear they were not happy with the engagement. That could be a red flag.

Avoid Culturally Offensive Images:
I got a photo and the couple were in front of a statue of a character out of her countries cultural history. The couple made hand gestures like the character was wearing horns. Perhaps the CO would have thought that funny, like the couple did. Or perhaps he would have been offended. I would not take the chance.

Don’t cheat:
Every week I catch one of my clients faking the dates on his trip photos. He took a few photos on one day, then falsely claimed they were taken on different days, so he could (he believed) tell a better story
about his trip. Ever CO carefully looks at the clothing the couple is wearing and the backgrounds in each picture. If told two pictures were supposedly taken a week apart, but the couple is wearing exactly the same outfit, the CO knows there is fraud going on. Don’t attempt to use photo processing software to fake photos. Once caught in even the smallest
misrepresentation, the entire petition is put in question. My clients were lucky I caught their ill advised attempt and stopped it before it could get
them into trouble.

My imaginary ideal of the timeline of a genuine romantic engagement

My ideal couple have been corresponding for 6 months or MORE. The man flys to meet her for the first time. They spend a week getting to know each other. She shows him her country. They are in love.

3 to 6 months later, he can’t bear to be apart from her any longer and flys back to her country. He stays longer this time. He meets her family. He gives her a ring. They have an engagement party. She shows him
more of her country.

Upon his return to the USA he submits the petition.

The photos this couple should attach to their Fiancee or Spousal, I-129F or I-130 petition are:

From First trip:
Photos of the couple together on different days, wearing different cloths, in various identifiable locations.

Second trip:
Same: Photos of the couple together on different days,
wearing different cloths, in various identifiable locations. Now added are photos with her family, and/or friends. An engagement party. She wearing the ring.

Certainly not everyone’s experience is like this ‘ideal case’. But the closer your courtship and engagement appears to be like that of other genuine
couples from her country and culture, the better.

When you choose the right photos, and tell a clear and compelling story, the more likely it is your petition will have smooth sailing.

To see samples of photos, and a video presentation that describes how to choose your photos go to:

http://www.visacoach.com/petition-photographs-video.html

Transcript of the Video

 

In preparing a fiance or spousal visa petition for USCIS it’s important to include some photos that proves that you and your life partner have met each other.

In addition you have the opportunity here to tell the story about your relationship and to to give the impression how sincere your relationship is. So it is important to choose the right photos and that’s what this presentation is all about.

My name is Fred Wahl and i am the Matchmaker and Webmaster at the Heart of Asia Romance Network.

We’ve been online for about fifteen years now and have helped thousands of couples usually from USA to overseas to Asia Pacific find each other and to get married and start families.

Almost everyday i get many phone calls from people advising the of their happiness, their success and asking questions about the Fiancee Visa process. It’s a bit complicated it needs to be done properly the first time. I’ve put together this presentation to help answer a lot of questions up front. I hope you enjoy and good luck in starting this adventure.I am not an attorney. I do not work for the US Government, I you need legal advice, please go to an attorney or to the Government.
What i provide here is practical, useful advice.

A successful visa petition is both art and science. The science is filling the blanks correctly and remembering to attach all of the required documents. The art comes in when you choose evidence to present that will convince even the most unfriendly and skeptical consular officer that you were a bona fide couple.

One element of the rainbow of evidence sources you have are the photographs that you send in. Imagine this as if you were giving a very short slideshow of holy amended too and you’re using that opportunity to tell your whole story. Choosing the right photos to show to immigration is extremely important. The simple purpose
of the photo is to show that the two of you have met face to face that’s accomplished with one photo, but to demonstrate your bona fide relationship you need to tell a complete story and this is going to be about choosing which photos to tell the story and even more importantly to talk about which photos NOT to share, which would hurt your chances.

It may seem pretty obvious in the photos you send them both you and your fiance should be visible in the photo. Only choose those photos that show positive body language between you and your Fiance.

Look at the couple on the left. They’re both smiling. They’re both leaning towards each other. They are in body contact. They obviously by their body language, by their posture show they are a happy couple. Compare this to the picture on the right, where it looks like they just had an argument.

If you only have tight tonight close-ups on the couple’s faces, the story is very limited. It shows the two of you together but you’ve already said that
a hundred times, so better that you pulled the frame out a little bit. Take the photos at mid-range so that we can identify the couple together as WELL as where you were and what you were doing. This shows that you spent time together and most importantly shows that you traveled and you did activities together and you were happy in each others presence
while you were doing it.

Try to go on more trips to visit your fiancee and if possible go at different times of the year is so your photos will reflect different seasons, or the different events or festivals for holidays that are going on so that they will be very clear when the picture was taken.

Take photos at different times of the day to show that you spent a lot of time together.

Having your camera automatically insert the month day and the year into each photo is the simplest and most effective way to demonstrate when your photos have been taken and that they have been taken over more than one day.

Pick some shots with friends or co-workers. If a couple is genuine one would expect the proud fiancee to show off and introduce her fiance to her friends or co-workers or fellow students.

A group photo at her place of study, work or leisure with her peers is a good choice.

A serious Fiance will meet his new in-laws and especially would want to meet her parents and or family elders to officially ask for her hand.

Photos showing the couple together with her happy and “all on board” family is of value.

Don’t be repetitive. One of my clients keep me twelve pictures of him and his fiancee at a single restaurant. Of course, each one of these pictures was very precious to him and his fiance. He should have saved these for the family album, not used for the purpose of the petition.

One possibly two pictures that tell about a particular moment in your time together is interesting and effective.

The consular officer will be reviewing your petition and then sitting down with your fiance interview her about your relationship. You want to make sure the photos that he sees, keep him friendly, and interested on your side: that he has a positive feeling about you and your fiance.

This person may have strong moral, racial, religious or cultural biases. Be extra careful not to inadvertently offend him. Do not allow any suggestion of sex, NO MATTER HOW SUBTLE, into the photos few you choose. No hugging, no pictures in the bedroom.

Avoid looking like King Kong with a tiny Faye Ray. Organize the photos so that you don’t seem to be overwhelming and overpowering to your Fiancee. Try mid-range shots, perhaps with both of you sitting down together so your heads are side by side.

Avoid negative body language shown by the OTHER people in the Photo. I got one photo of a couple with her parents. The couple is smiling, but the parents were scowling. Perhaps that’s the way the parents always look. I will never know, but that particular photo made it appear that the parents were not happy with the engagement. Such a photo should be avoided.

Be sure not to be culturally offensive. I got one photo and the couple were in front of a statue of the character out of her country’s cultural history. The couple were making hand gestures like the character was wearing horns.

Perhaps the consular officer would’ve thought that was funny, like the couple did or perhaps he would have been offended. I would not want to take that chance.

And also don’t cheat.

I’ve seen many photos where people have faked the date stamps on the photos. This will always get caught. Please don’t even attempt this.

Everyone’s case is going to be different, but my imaginary ideal of a timeline of an authentically romantic engagement would be as follows:

My ideal couple has been corresponding for six months or more. The man flies to meet her for the first time. They spend a week getting to know each other. She shows him her country. They are in love. Three to six months later he can’t bear to be apart from her any longer and flies back to her country. He stays longer this time and he meets her family her friends. He gives her her a ring. They are formally engaged. She shows him more of her country and upon his return to the USA he submits the Fiancee Visa petition.

Now the photos I would like to see from the first trip are just simple photos of the couple together, on different days, wearing different clothing in various identifiable locations. From the second trip, somewhat the same idea, again photos of the couple together on different days, different clothing, different locations but also added would be photos with her and her family with their friends, with an engagement party, she wearing the engagement ring.

If you need assistance to prepare your petition come to VisaCoach.com

For do-it- yourselfers, I will review your package and give you my comments before you submit to immigration. and finally also for do-it-yourselfers I have a two e- books one for Fiancee Visa applicants and another for Spousal Visa applicants.

By Fred Wahl
Fiancee Visa Coach

Share