Below is my video that explains what happens when your Fiancee attends her Interview at a US consulate or embassy for a final decision on your Fiancee Visa petition for immigration to the USA.
Each applicant must schedule an appointment at the consulate, and convince the consular officer that theirs is a “bone fide” genuine relationship, and that the purpose of the Fiancee Visa application is solely for sincere marriage.
This video is for couples who are applying for a fiancee visa for immigration to the United States and who wish to prepare for the interview at the U S Consulate in the fiance’s country.
This information is general, not specific to any particular embassy and will provide an accurate idea of what to expect.
Should you be interviewing in Manila, I have recorded another video that describes the Manila interview process in exact detail.
My name is Fred Wahl I am the matchmaker from HeartofAsiaOnline.com
Over the past thirty five years I have helped thousands of couples find each other.
I’m not an attorney. I cannot give legal advice. I do hope however that you will find this video entertaining and informative.
Let’s talk about the chain of events so far. About four to six months ago you submitted your I-129f petition to USCIS homeland security.
Eventually, USCIS approved the petition and sent you a notice telling you the good news. Also at the same time, they passed your petition on to the US Department of State, to their offices in Vermont called the NVC or National Visa Center.
About a week or two later, NVC sent you a letter, telling you that they had received your file and are forwarding it to the US Embassy that is situated closest to your fiance.
The letter tells you that you should standby and wait for the embassy to contact her directly with further instructions.
The consulate attempts to contact your Fiance directly and provide her with instructions and government forms.
They usually send these via postal mail. Sometimes now, Embassies are also using email and referring the Fiancee to go to the Embassy’s website to download the documents from the internet.
Sometimes they try to reach her by telephone. In some countries the postal mail is terrible. Items regularly get lost or stolen. In some of these countries the only dependable solution is for your Fiance to physically go to the embassy and pick up the package of instructions in person.
If your fiance has not received an email from the consulate after a few weeks, you should contact the consulate directly to chase the status.
The packet (or packets there may be more than one) that she receives, picks up, or downloads should contain general instructions and checklist from the Embassy, government forms, details on where and how she should pay the visa application fee, details on where to get the medical at the clinic that’s been selected, approved, by the consulate and finally details on how to contact the Embassy and schedule her interview.
The required forms that she should fill and then bring with her to her appointment at the Embassy,
or sometimes mail to the embassy (if that is what they request): are the DS-157, DS-156, DS-156K.
There is some variety among the different Embassies and some Embassies also require the DS-230.
The instruction packet will tell her exactly what to do and will have copies of the blank forms within it.
Each Embassy requires that your fiance bring with her, her passport, and birth certificate. Also she must contact per local police authority and obtain a police clearance certificate. This basically should show that she has no criminal record. And if after she was sixteen years old she ever lived in any other countries she will also have to obtain a police certificate from each country that she resided in.
To be eligible for a Fiancee visa, the Fiancee and the american Fiance must both be free to marry.
If the Fiancee has been previously married she must bring with her an original or certified copy of evidence to prove that her previous marriage was terminated: such as a divorce or annulment decree or death certificate.
In some countries it is the practice of the local government to issue a Certificate of No Marriage. This document shows that the fiance has always been single. If your fiancee’s country issues such a document the consulate will want to see it.
And finally, in some cases the American Fiance is also asked to provide original proof that he is free to marry too.
The american sponsor must prove that his annual income meets the minimum income requirements to be eligible for a Fiancee Visa.
To do so he must give his Fiancee his signed affidavit attesting to his income along with proof of the income such as his recent tax returns, a letter from his employer confirming what his job is and what the salary is, and three to six recent pay stubs. She will bring all these along with her to the consulate.
There are still more items for her to bring to the interview. She received an appointment letter and that confirms the date and time for interview she needs this to get into the embassy on her interview day, plus a few visa photos and the receipt showing that she paid the visa fee.
It is also a good idea to prepare a letter signed by the Fiance as well as one signed by the American sponsor confirming that the couple is still engaged and still plan to marry once she arrives into the USA.
Finally, she should bring with her the various proofs she has gathered that show that the couple is a genuine, bone fide couple.
There are various proofes of a bona fide relationship. The Fiancee should bring in whatever she has: such as photographs, samples of correspondences, travel itinerary showing that her American sponsor came to visit her or the two of them traveled together, telephone bills, histories of emails or chat sessions.
If there was an engagement: proof of the engagement such as the receipt from buying an engagement ring, photos of the party, or invitations that may have been sent to relatives and friends.
If the proof is a bit thin, then perhaps affidavits from people that the couple know, ideally those in a position of trust such as ministers, politicians, employers that know both of the couple and can attest that they are sincere couple but really don’t have any reason for misrepresentation.
And finally, if the American sponsor has been sending monies to his fiance on a regular basis, proof of those transfers is a good item to bring to the interview .
Once the fiance has everything ready or can reasonably estimate when the final documents will arrive, she should contact the embassy, in the way that the embassy requested (that could be by mail or fax or telephone or in person) to tell them she is ready to have her interview.
Then they will schedule an interview and send her a document, a letter confirming exactly when and where.
For some embassies they have a system where the American sponsor can pay eighteen dollars using his credit card, that gives him the privilege of telephoning the embassy directly to talk to someone at their American Fiance hotline.
He can talk to the embassy three times if he wants, to answer and ask all his questions. The most important feature is he can sit down and talk with the scheduling clerk to put his Fiancee onto the the embassies appointment calendar.
This may be the best eighteen dollars any American Fiance has spent.
Once her interview is scheduled she should attend a medical at the clinic designated by the consulate.
This should be accomplished at least a week prior to the interview. When she goes to the clinic she should bring with her proof that she is a Fiancee Visa candidate. That’s usually the letter that the embassy sent her. Plus her passport, any vaccination records she may have, some visa photos, and she’ll probably need cash to pay the clinics fees.
When the big day arrives she should arrive at the embassy early, bringing with her all the documents and evidences that she needs.
There will be security checkpoints long lines and she should mentally prepare herself to stay calm and poised, for the potentially long and frustrating day.
Some consulates recommend that the American sponsor attends the interview if that is the case you should do so, but today many of the consulates, most even, perhaps due to terrorists, will not even allow the American in the door.
He’ll have to wait outside the embassy for his Fiance to return with the final results.
Eventually your fiance’s number will be called and she’ll be asked to speak directly with the consular officer.
Perhaps they will be together in a cubby or perhaps facing each other through thick glass panels.
The consular officer will ask about the time-line of your relationship and ask detailed questions about the courtship, proposal and about each other.
It is very important that you and your Fiancee discuss and practice at the questions and answers in advance, so that your Fiancee will be relaxed and knowledgeable.
And in case you are both separately asked the same questions, your answers will be identical.
I have put together about one hundred and twenty typical questions and if you want to get a free copy please visit http://www.visacoach.com and subscribe to the free Fiancee Visa Secrets newsletter. The questions will be automatically sent to you.
Assuming the interview went well your Fiancee will be given a pink slip and advised that her visa will be ready a few days later. Sometimes she is instructed to return to the consulate a few business days later to pick up her passport or the passport is sent to her via a delivery service. She needs to fill out the delivery service forms before she leaves the embassy.
Once she receives her passport and visa she can start her trip to the USA anytime within the next six months.
Getting through immigration is one of the toughest obstacles most couples will face.
As a matchmaker my mission is to bring couples together as quickly and reliably as possible, by providing nurturing supportive responsive expert help.
If you’d like to speak about your situation please call me I would be very happy to speak with you directly.
By Fred Wahl
Fiancee Visa Coach
Photographic prints, showing the date when a photo was taken (Datestamping, normally on the bottom right corner), are increasingly hard to find today. While many generations of film cameras had this capability, most digital cameras do not. Even though datestamping is becoming rarer, it seems it is also becoming more IMPORTANT for immigration purposes.
Datestamping is Important for Immigration
One of my clients submitted photos without date stamps to USCIS. A few months later his petition was pulled from the processing que and an RFE (request for evidence) was sent to him. It read:
Though you have submitted photos of you with the beneficiary, they alone do not establish that you have met the beneficiary in person within the two-year period immediately preceding the filing of the petition. The photos are not electronically date stamped, so it is not possible to determine if the meeting was within the two-year period.
During the last 5 years he had made three trips to China. the first five years ago, another 3 years ago and the last one 1 year ago. His first face to face meeting with his fiancee took place during the last trip. So far so good. He submitted evidence of the trip from 1 year ago, the plane tickets, passport entry stamps, and the photos of he and his fiancee.
There are many eligibility requirements to be approved for a Fiancee Visa.
One requirement, is that the couple has had a “face to face” meeting within the 2 years prior to submitting the petition.
The RFE was sent because immigration was not confident that the photos they received were actually taken during the recent (eligible) trip. They suspect that the photos may be over two years old, taken during an earlier trip. Since photos are really the ‘best’ proof of a ‘face to face’ meeting, we were in trouble. We had to scramble to find additional proof that the meeting really took place.
IF the photos originally presented each had a date stamp, this would NOT
have happened. The process would not have been halted, not delayed, and no
‘cloud’ would have been attached to the petition.
Why are Date Stamps so rare?
In the old film days, most cameras came with a feature that could imprint a date stamp onto the photo. It was done by exposing the film with a small embedded LED display that could be turned on or off. Most digital cameras no longer have this function. However, date, time and other information IS retained. It is stored in the digital file ( .jpg, jpeg, gif) of the photo as embedded data, called EXIF tags. This means that the digital files of your photos STILL has the important information you need.
Digital datestamps can be resurrected
It is possible to extract the date from the EXIF tag, and then print it onto the
visible part of your photo, and it will look exactly as if you used an old film camera.
There are many software programs available to do this. The program can take each ( .jpg, jpeg, gif) , read the date information (EXIF tag), then paste the date onto the ‘front’ of the image, and finally save as a modified (.jpg, jpeg, or .gif) digital file. When your modified photo files are printed, the datestamp will be right where it belongs, where it can HELP your visa case.
All petitions benefit by datestamping
It is true that if you got your first passport, only ever traveled once, and that
was solely to meet your partner, date stamps would not be strictly necessary. If you only were there one week in October, that MUST be when all photos were taken.
However you should take the ‘long view’ you should planning that photos will again be needed for the Green card application, and if ‘heaven forbid’ your petition is delayed or denied, and more ‘face to face’ meetings, would be needed. Having your photos ALL have date stamps, will guarantee your petitions to immigration will be more convincing and won’t raise red flags.
For those who have many trips overseas, or who are together for extended visits, datestamping is even more important. This is the best way to provide definitive proof of the course of your courtship, and to tell the story in a thorough and easily understandable fashion.
There is much software on the internet that you can use to recover and print the EXIF data on your photos. With time, patience and savvy you can probably achieve this yourself.
By Fred Wahl
Fiancee Visa Coach
Last month I talked about the financial eligibility requirement for a Fiancée Visa, Spousal Visa or Green Card.
To recap: The US sponsor must demonstrate he has adequate income (or assets) in order to convince immigration he can keep his wife and family off of welfare, or if his wife goes on welfare, he has enough wherewithal so the Feds could ‘bill’ him for the welfare expenses.
The beneficiary, Fiancee or Spouse, must submit to immigration the affidavit of support of her American fiancé or husband, with proof of his income. The K1 Fiancee hand carries these to her consular interview. The CR-1 Spouse mails these to NVC. The Green Card spouse mails these to USCIS
As most US sponsors are regular full time employees, his income proof is most likely his recent Federal Tax Return 1040, 3 to 6 recent pay stubs (showing year to date earnings) and a letter from his employer stating the terms of his employment.
When the US Sponsor is a regular employee, and he has the standard proofs, the review of his documents is quick and simple. Within a few minutes the reviewing officer ‘ticks off’ he has seen the required documents and confirms that the sponsor has demonstrated financial eligibility.
But there are also cases where is not so ‘cut and dry’ and a more intensive review and possibly a ‘judgment call’ by the consular officer may be needed.
When a sponsor is a sole proprietor, independent contractor and owns his own business the proof of his income is generally more complicated. This is due to the fact that a small businessman will try to avoid paying taxes by deducting as many expenses as he can. This is both legal and prudent but it usually means that his Adjusted Gross Income (line #38) shown on his 1040 tax return is as low as he can make it.. In presenting income documents the ‘trick’ is to keep your evidence simple and to explain in ‘easy to understand’ terms what your real income would be if you were an employee, not the owner. You want to present what your gross income would be if you were not the owner and not able to use the deductions that you did. Usually this means enlisting the help of your accountant or bookkeeper to write a letter to clarify the evidence you provide.
Employed, Unemployed, Retired
When reviewing your income, Immigration attempts to forecast whether your income will be adequate not only today but will continue to be sufficient over the next TEN years.
Income was under the requirement last year, but OVER this year
Your present income has the most weight. If your income was low last year (you were a student, unemployed, disabled) it really won’t negatively effect you, as long as this year you have a solid permanent employment, have been on the job at least three months, and your income to date (shown on your pay stubs) shows you are on track to earn in excess of the eligibility requirement by the end of this year.
Income over the requirement last year, but UNDER this year
If the reverse is true: your income was good in previous years but now you are unemployed or a student, etc, you have a ‘Hard Sell’ to convince immigration you meet the financial requirement. If you do not want to use a co-sponsor, or are not permitted to use one, then the best you can do is adjust the timing of when you submit your petition.
By Fred Wahl
Fiancee Visa Coach
In order to successfully petition for your spouse or fiancee to come to the USA, or obtain a Green Card after marriage, the US sponsor must demonstrate to Immigration that he has enough income coming in, that he could support his wife, and household.
The threshold financial requirement is that the sponsor must have income equal to and preferably more than 125% of the poverty
income level where he lives.
Each year the Department of Health and Human Services
publishes their Poverty Guidelines. In 2009 and 2010 the guideline numbers did not change. So the eligibility thresholds (after adding 25%) were $18,300 per couple plus $4,700 per additional household member.
The new Poverty Guidelines published at
have risen about $100 per person. So today’s eligibility thresholds (after adding 25%) are now $18,400 per couple plus $4,800 per additional household member.
The way the financial eligibility calculation works:
The sponsor must have sufficient income or assets to indicate that he is financially able to support the fiancée in order to prevent the fiancée from becoming a ward of the state. The sponsor’s annual income based on the number of dependents his combined household will have, should be at least $125% of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) poverty guideline for his state. As of January 2011, for residents in the continental US the Financial Eligibility Thresholds for K1, CR-1 or Green Card are as follows.
Required Annual Income
$18,388, if 2 Persons in Family or Household
$23,163, if 3 Persons in Family or Household
$27,938, if 4 Persons in Family or Household
$32,713, if 5 Persons in Family or Household
$37,488, if 6 Persons in Family or Household
For each Additional person add $4,775
The Financial eligibility thresholds are lower for
active military, and higher for residents of Alaska or Hawaii.
How to prove your Income.
The way to demonstrate his income, the US sponsor
normally provides his most recent Federal Tax Return,
3 to 6 pay stubs showing ‘Year to date’ earnings,
plus a letter from his employer confirming his
job, and what the annual pay is.
Cash Assets count as an alternate to income.
In some cases a sponsors income may be low, but he has
‘money in the bank’. Cash assets, can be used as
a substitute for annual income. ‘Cash’ assets
are assets which can be easily converted (sold)
to cash. For example: stocks, bonds, certificates of
deposit, cash in a checking account can be used.
Other assets that can NOT be easily turned to cash
such as equity in real estate, are not useable.
Cash Asset Equivalents
For a Fiancee visa. $3 cash assets = $1 annual income
For a Spousal Visa or Adjustment of status (green card)
$6 cash assets = $1 annual income
For example, a retired Fiancee Visa sponsor living in California,
with no income, and no dependents would need to have $55,164
in cash assets to quality.
3 x $18,388 = $55,164
Alternatively a combination of income and assets will work. For example, if sponsors income is $10,000 per year, then he should have
$25,164 cash or convertible assets to qualify.
$18,388 – $10,000 = $8,388 x 3 = $ 25,164 cash assets needed.
Using a Financial Co-sponsor
If the sponsors income or assets are not enough to achieve the
eligibility threshold, the sponsor can ask a relative or friend
to act as a co-sponsor. Just like buying a car, a second person
could ‘co-sign’ your loan. In this case he is co-sponsoring
When a co-sponsor is used the size of the household increases.
The combined household (for the financial calculations) would include
the household size of the sponsor combined with the household size
of the co-sponsor.
For example, a college student petitioning for his fiancee, asks his father
to co-sponsor. Both the college student and the father would each complete an affidavit of support. The students household is just 2 persons, himself and his fiancee. The fathers household would be father, mother, and the two siblings still living at home. Thus the combined household would be 6 persons, and the combined income of both sponsor and co-sponsor would have to be $37,488 or more.
A co-sponsor can be used for any Spousal Visa or Adjustment of Status petition, and can be used for most Fiancee Visa petitions. Not all consulates allow the use of a co-sponsor for a Fiancee Visa.
Philippines, Vietnam, Nigeria do not.
If you are applying for a Fiancee visa and know you will need a co-sponsor, before filing the petition, best is to contact the consulate to confirm whether the consulate’s policies permit the use of a financial co-sponsor.
by Fred Wahl
Fiancee Visa Coach
A decade ago, the normal immigrant visa process, to get a your Spouse to the USA (CR1 Visa) was horribly slow. The Fiance (K1 visa) process was much faster. The Marriage (K3 visa) was invented to be faster than the Marriage (CR1), and in practice was faster than the Spousal (CR1) but slower than the Fiance (K1).
Fast forward to 2010. Currently USCIS and Department of State have greatly improved their processing times. Today the time to enter the USA for all three visa types is roughly the same, 7 – 8 months. The main difference between the visa types, is that the ‘K’ visas require a second petition to ‘Adjust Status’ after the fiancee or spouse enters the USA, to get her ‘Green Card’. The CR1 visa includes a Green Card.
By avoiding the Adjustment of Status petition, $1,010 of USCIS fees may be saved. Thus the CR1 visa is about $1,000 cheaper than the alternatives.
I have put together a new video presentation discussing which is the better visa to apply for
or Watch it at:http://www.visacoach.com/choosing-marriage-visas.html
Or call me directly at 1-800-806-3210 x702 to discuss your options.
by Fred Wahl
Fiancee Visa Coach