Fiance OR Spouse Visa 101

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Fiance or Spouse Visa 101: How to bring your Fiance or Spouse to the USA

Fiance or Spouse Visa 101: How to bring your Fiance or Spouse to the USA


VisaCoach has all the answers for your questions about Comparing Spouse Versus Fiance Visa Processing Speeds and Comparing Spouse versus Fiance Visas.



Spouse Visa is Better Than Fiance Visa

CR1 Spouse Visa is Better than K1 Fiance Visa

I get calls every day. And the conversation usually starts with no preamble but “I have a girl or boy friend overseas, please tell me, what is the BEST visa to get him or her here, Fiance or Spouse?”

My answer always is “well, it depends upon your situation and what your priorities are. It depends on what is important to you. Is it fastest speed? Lowest Cost? Relative simplicity? Are children involved? How old are they? Do you have enough income to self sponsor or do you need a co-sponsor?” And so on.

Only after I understand what the person’s situation is, and what his or her priorities are, can I suggest what visa might fit.



On reviewing annual US immigration statistics comparing how many K1 fiance visas are issued, compared to CR1 spouse visas, there is no clear cut winner in the “which is better” contest. Continue reading “Spouse Visa is Better Than Fiance Visa”

Why is Spouse Visa Slower?

Spouse visas take 8 or more months longer for processing than Fiance Visas: Why?

Todays topic is: Why does it take longer to get a spouse visa than a fiance visa? Currently Fiance Visas take about 7-9 months for processing, spouse visas 14 to 18 months for processing.

Why is there an 8 month penalty?


On the face, it seems counter intuitive. If you are married to someone you would think it would be faster to bring THEM home,someone you had really committed too, versus bringing home someone you basically are only dating.

The answer lies in the nature of the two visas.
Continue reading “Why is Spouse Visa Slower?”

Marriage to Prove Bona Fides

Getting married to “prove” your relationship is genuine (bona fide)

I always hope that a couple reaches out to me for a free consultation before they make their final decisions and take actions that can’t be changed. This is especially important when deciding whether to marry outside the USA then apply for a spouse visa or to marry within the USA after arrival on a fiance visa.

In choosing between pursuing a fiance or spouse visa there is a lot to be considered as far as speed, expense, and overall complexity that can make one path decidedly more attractive than another.

Sometimes the first call I get from a couple is after they have made their decisions and have already limited their available options. They often say: “We got married because this proves how serious a couple we are”

Well, No, Not really.


Well Congratulations! it is a super big and important step that you got married. In your eyes and that of your family, friends, and church your relationship is Rock Solid.

Immigration is not impressed. Continue reading “Marriage to Prove Bona Fides”

K1 Fiance vs CR1 Spouse Visa Process: Explained

How to bring your Partner (Fiance or Spouse) to the USA on K1 Fiance or CR1 Spouse Visas

You have fallen in love, Your special someone lives in a different country. You want to marry.
You want to have a life together, You want to be a family with her or him here in the USA. What do you do?

Well, the answer is, you need to successfully navigate a complicated and difficult immigration system
to bring your partner to the USA.

There are only two paths to choose from, either marry, then apply for an immigrant visa for your new spouse,
or propose marriage, get engaged to marry,then apply for a visa for your new fiancee.

Today, I am going to explain how both the fiancé and spouse visa processes work,
so that you can make an informed decision on which path to embark upon.

Continue reading “K1 Fiance vs CR1 Spouse Visa Process: Explained”

5 Things you Must Know before applying for visa

Get your FREE copy of 5 Things You must Know before Starting
PLUS FREE Monthly Updates On Fiance + Marriage Based immigration



5 Things You must Know before Starting




Hi. My name is Fred Wahl – I am the Visa Coach, known in the field of fiance and spouse immigration for the fast and easy approval,

and personal one-on-one attention, my clients enjoy and for crafting winning “front loaded” petitions that ease approval, while avoiding hi fees, delays or denial

Approval or denial, success or failure, all hinge upon the consular interview. The interview is the final challenge before a visa or green card is approved. The officer must be convinced the couple has a bona fide relationship, and the applicant is of good moral character.

Sometimes even genuine couples, get tripped up during the interview. I ensure my clients success by crafting for them a persuasive “front loaded” petition, that answers all the consular officers questions before he asks any,

To get your FREE COPY of this essential Getting Started tool, plus free monthly emailed updates on marriage based immigration, Just type your name and email below.

See you on the other side.

By Fred Wahl


K1 or CR1 Comparison?

What is Better? Fiance or Spouse Visa?


First. how Each Path Works



Actually there are just three main Questions that each couple should ask themselves to decide what they want to do.

How soon should the foreign partner arrive to the USA?
The fiancée visa process is usually faster than a spouse visa. Currently fiancée visas take about  16 to 18 months compared to spouse visas that take 18 to 22 months.

Where should the wedding take place?
One of you probably has a strong preference of where and how to get married.  It’s usually a good idea to go with the stronger desires.

How soon does the foreign partner want to work after arrival in the USA? 
A spouse visa permits the foreign spouse to work as early as on the day of arrival. This compares with a fiancé visa where the fiancé typically cannot work for at least eight months.

When bringing your partner to live with you in the United States, you have two choices and they both include marriage.

Sorry, but US immigration does not offer a boy or girlfriend visas.

Lets start by comparing the K-1 and the CR-1.

Click here for information on the Top Reasons K1 Fiance visa is better

Click here for information on the Top Reasons CR1 Spouse visa is better

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

Continue reading “K1 or CR1 Comparison?”

Fiancee visa is better than spouse visa

Top Reasons: why those who choose Fiance Visas, Choose them over Spouse Visas

I get calls every day. And the conversation usually starts with no preamble but “I have a girl or boy friend overseas, please tell me, what is the BEST visa to get him or her here, Fiance or Spouse?”

My answer always is “well, it depends upon your situation and what your priorities are. It depends on what is important to you. Is it fastest speed? Lowest Cost? Relative simplicity? Are children involved? How old are they? Do you have enough income to self sponsor or do you need a co-sponsor?” And so on.

Only after I understand what the person’s situation is, and what his or her priorities are, can I suggest what visa might fit.


On reviewing annual US immigration statistics comparing how many K1 fiance visas are issued, compared to CR1 spouse visas, there is no clear cut winner in the “which is better” contest.

Amazingly enough it’s a TIE !

In recent experience about 40,000 of EACH are issued annually.

Again the real answer is “it depends”. That is one of the main reasons I invite future clients to first book a free case evaluation with me. Besides giving us the chance to get to know each other, and feel if we can work together, it gives me the opportunity to learn what is going on, and what the person wants. Then together we discuss the pros and cons and figure out which of the two visas best fits.

But today, I am going to list just the PROS, the TOP positive reasons why most who choose the Fiance Visa path, actually choose it. Next month I will take the other side and list the top reasons why a Spouse visa path is chosen instead.

Reason #1. Fiance visa is twice as fast

In 2018 this means while a spouse visa takes 14 to 18 months on average, a Fiance visa will get your fiancee to the US much sooner, in half the time, only 8 to 9 months on average.

The reason the spouse visa takes longer than the fiance visa, is because the time to approve permanent residency is included in the spouse visas processing time.

A K1 Fiancee visa is considered a non-immigrant visa. Non-immigrant means it is only for a short and temporary stay, and that is only 90 days. This compares to a regular immigration visa like a CR1 Spouse Visa which not only gives the person permission to enter the USA, but also grants permission to remain permanently as a lawful permanent green card holding resident.

A fiance visa does not need to include the the time it takes to review for permanent residency and green card approval, only approval for a short 90 day visit instead. And immigration knows that their fiance visa review can be less vigorous and thus faster because they understand, that if the fiancee marries and applies to remain in the USA, there will be a second chance to review the applicant all over again, when the new bride or groom applies for permanent residency after arrival, after the wedding.

Reason #2. Wedding in USA

The second reason a fiance visa is better is when the couple wants to celebrate their wedding in the United States. Usually this means they want to share their happiness with their American family and friends.

Reason #3. Fiance’s Children ages 18 to 21 are still eligible to immigrate with Parent

The third reason that a fiancee visa is better is when the foreign fiance wants to bring his or her children to the USA, who are 18 years of age or older.

When applying for a fiance or spouse visa the American sponsor can also at the same time apply to bring to the USA the dependent children of his or her fiance or spouse.

If the wedding has taken place, the American sponsor can apply for a spouse visa, and regular immigration for any child who was under 18 years old on the day of the wedding. The American Spouse is limited to only apply for the under 18 year old’s. Any children aged 18 to 21 would be left behind.

However, if the couple is not married, and instead applying for a Fiance Visa, then the American can sponsor the older children too, up to 21 years of age.

Reason #4. Single trip Engagement appears more bona fide vs single trip Wedding.

Finally a fiance visa may be better than a spouse visa, when a couple plans to only meet once, only make one trip, and only meet a single time and then apply for the visa. This is because the timeline of their relationship will seem to make more common sense. The couple who makes a marriage proposal, after meeting face to face, that then applies for a visa have followed a more normal courtship progression of getting to know each other first, before making life changing decisions. And if their acquaintance has been short, they still have more time to get to know each other, while the fiance visa is pending before having to make the final commitment at the altar.

This compares to a couple who has never met, and sight unseen, agree to marry, make arrangements in advance of the trip, and then almost without catching breath to get over jet lag move directly from arrivals at the airport to the altar.

Remember the consular officer making the approve or deny decision, does not know you. Does not know how honest and sincere you are. However, he is aware of some dishonest people who offer money and a free overseas trip, to an American willing to marry, then sponsor a foreigner for immigration.

If your genuine relationship follows the same apparent course that some common sham applications follow, the consular officer might not be able to identify yours from the other. And for a consular officer, “when in doubt, the safest decision, is to deny”

To summarize, Couples who only have ONE TRIP, to meet in person, then propose, then apply for fiance visa, will appear to a skeptical consular officer more Bona Fide, than a couple who only have ONE TRIP, where all marriage plans, had been made and committed to in advance of the first in-person meeting, and who carried out those prearranged plans immediately upon arrival.

Next time I will describe the top good reasons why a CR1 Spouse Visa is better.

By Fred Wahl
the VisaCoach

Eligibility for Visas

Visa Eligibility Requirements: For Fiancee + Spouse Visas

Eligibility for a K-1 Fiancee Visa

To be successful to obtain a Fiance Visa the following K1 Eligibility Requirements must be met.

Sponsor is US Citizen
U.S. citizens ONLY, can sponsor an Alien Fiancee. Legal permanent residents are NOT eligible.

Free to Marry
You and your fiancé(e) must both be free to marry, at the time you submit your petition. This means that both of you are unmarried, or that any previous marriages have ended through divorce, annulment or death.

Face to Face Meeting
You must also have met with your fiancé(e) in person, “face to face” within the last two years before filing.

Planning to Marry 
You must affirm that you both intend to marry during your fiancee’s stay in the USA

Bona Fide Relationship
You must be able to convince immigration that your relationship is genuine.

Financial Eligibility
To meet the K1 visa financial eligibility requirements, you must be able to prove your annual income is enough to support your entire household at at lease 100% of the Federal poverty Guidelines..



Eligibility for a CR-1 Spouse Visa

To be successful to obtain a Spouse Visa the following Spouse Visa Eligibility requirements must be met.

Continue reading “Eligibility for Visas”

Fiance versus spouse visa? Choosing which is best

Today’s minute topic is “What is Best, Fiance or spouse visa?

Today’s question is: “What is best, fiancé or spouse Visa?

In reality,there is no simple answer.

There is only choosing the path that matches what your and your partners personal preferences are.

Actually there are just three main Questions that each couple should ask themselves to decide what they want to do.

Number One: How soon should the foreign partner arrive to the USA?

The fiancée visa process is twice as fast as a spouse visa. Currently fiancée visas take about 7 to 9 months compared to spouse visas that take 14 to 18 months.

Number 2: Where should the wedding take place?

One of you probably has a strong preference of where and how to get married.

It’s usually a good idea to go with the stronger desires.

Number 3:  How soon does the foreign partner want to work after arrival in the USA?

A spouse visa permits the foreign spouse to work as early as on the day of arrival.

This compares with a fiancée visa where the fiancé typically cannot work for at least eight months.

This was Fred Wahl the Visacoach

Which is faster: fiancee Visa or Spouse Visa?


The Fiance Visa is faster.

Fiance visa processing time is currently about 7 to 9 months and is twice
as fast as the spouse visa processing time that takes 14 to 18 months.

Spouse visas take longer because your spouse is also being approved for permanent residency, so his or her Green Card will be waiting
on arrival.

Proxy Marriage for US Immigration

Does a proxy marriage make me eligible to apply for spouse visa?

A proxy marriage, is a ceremony that unites two people in marriage, while at least one of them is physically absent
from the proceedings. So instead of both of the intending couple being physically present, at least one of them,
and in some cases both are absent, and instead a proxy representative attends on his or her behalf.

It is often used for those in military service, imprisonment, or facing travel restrictions; or when it is difficult to
legally marry where one or the other lives..

Military personnel regularly avail themselves of proxy weddings, as it allows them to immediately access enhanced financial benefits
such as family medical, dental and vision insurance as well as increased basic housing allowances.

Now under Covid, with travel restrictions, and quarantines. As you are unable to keep to plans made before the pandemic happened,
you might be considering a proxy marriage.

The good news is that you can wed, right away. And you enjoy that pleasure of being married. You skip the long flights, quarantines,
health risks, and avoid the sometimes lengthy and rigorous formalities needed to get married outside the USA.

The bad news is that, for US immigration purposes, having that piece of paper showing you are now legally married, is not enough.
There is one more condition that must be met in order to be able to apply for immigration for your new spouse.

The condition is: that you must have “consummated” the marriage. That means, now or later, finally, getting on the plane and meeting
in-person.before you can apply for immigration.

So to clarify: The proxy marriage does work as a shortcut so you can be married right away. You can apply for some married benefits
right away, avoid the complexity of foreign marriage formalities, update your facebook profile.

But to accomplish the ultimate goal of immigration to the USA, you will still need to make that journey to spend time together in-person.

Once you are legally married, and “consummated” your marriage can the your application for spouse visa be submitted.


Philippines 9a Visa for USA spouses during Covid

If you have been keen to travel to the Philippines, now you can. 

Spouses of Philippine citizens are now allowed in. No longer banned from travel due to Covid 19.

So if you are married to a Philippine citizen and ready to travel, now you can.  

This really is great news. 

To the great frustration of all, since Covid quarantine started, nobody except Philippine citizens have been allowed to enter the Philippines.

Until recently.

Starting in August 2021, after 15 months of Tight lockdown, the Philippines immigration service finally announced that they would start issuing visitor Visas to American citizens who are married to Philippine nationals. 

This includes those who got online marriages and may not have even met in person yet.

For details on how to obtain an online marriage for $100 

The visa now available to allow American spouses travel to the Philippines, is called a 9a temporary visitor visa. 

To apply for it, reach out to the nearest Philippines consulate, fill in an application form, pay $30, and provide  supporting documents and evidence.

Last week, I got calls from two of my clients who had successfully accomplished this. They were on their way to the Philippines.

And of course, immediately on return To the USA,from this honeymoon trip we will apply for their spouse visas. 

Previously They had to put their plans to submit CR1 spouse visa applications on hold, because US immigration only approves spouse visa applications when there is proof that the couple has met in person, AFTER the wedding has taken place.

So not only are these couples on the way to their honeymoons, but are finally making progress to complete the necessary steps to have a Life together In the USA !!

For those who don’t know about online marriages, this is what they are and how an American can obtain one.. 

An officiant based in Utah can conduct a lawful marriage ceremony over a zoom conference. 

This is called a “web conference” wedding. It is not a proxy wedding. As a proxy wedding means one of the couple is absent and someone else is standing in as a representative, a “proxy” at the ceremony.

At the “web conference” wedding everyone is present, bride, groom, officiant, and witnesses all via a Zoom video conference.

The result of this wedding is a binding and acceptable marriage certificate. And it does not mention that the ceremony took place online. It reads the same as any marriage certificate proving a lawful marriage has been entered into.

And this proof of marriage is totally acceptable to the Philippines and can be registered in the Philippines at the PSA, the Philippines statistics authority.

But for US immigration purposes, you are not quite there yet. US immigration requires this piece of paper proving a lawful ceremony has taken place, AND on top of that also requires proof that the couple spent time together in person after the ceremony.

Due to Covid this in person requirement has been very hard to satisfy. 

Until now!

Here is how you you apply for your Philippines visa

Your marriage needs to be recognized by the Philippines government. If you married in the Philippines this should have followed as a matter of course. Obtain a certificate that confirms your marriage from the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA). 

If you married outside the Philippines then register your foreign wedding certificate at PSA and wait on them to issue their corresponding certificate.

Do a google search on what Philippines Embassy or Consulate location is responsible for handling cases from the State where you reside and download from the consulate an application form for the 9a Temporary Visitor Visa. Fill it in.

Gather the documents and evidence needed for your application. Usually this includes your Passport, your PSA marriage certificate, proof of income, visa photo, and an invitation letter from your spouse. Unfortunately the application process is still in its early stages, and there is no uniform set of requirements yet. Each consulate appears to have slightly different requirements. So obtain the list of supporting documents that is needed from the consulate you will be working with and follow their individual procedures..

Send in your completed application package and include a self addressed prepaid return envelope.

Be patient.

Feedback so far is that it takes awhile for the consulate to process your application, And I have received multiple reports that the consulate’s seem to change the goal posts during the process asking for more materials than which were instructed to you at the start. Bear with it and eventually your visa will be on its way to you.

Once you receive the visa, Jump on a flight to the Philippines, and enjoy quality time with your spouse and her family in person. If you had married over the internet and this is your time to meet then also enjoy your honeymoon and collect and bring back proofs to apply for a CR1 spouse visa. Ideally you hired me and the VisaCoach staff to prepare your application.

This was Fred Wahl, The VisaCoach,  here to personally guide you on this journey.

Spouse + Fiancee Visa Service for Ex-pats

VisaCoach’s assistance for American Ex-pats to apply for Spouse or Fiancee visas while remaining outside the USA during the process

If you are currently outside the USA, living together with your foreign partner and now are ready to relocate back to the USA and bring your partner with you.

I have good news.

You do not need to leave him or her, return alone to the USA, then apply for them to eventually follow. Instead you can apply for the fiance or spouse visa from outside the USA.
You don’t have to separate. You can remain together for the entire process.

I was an ex-pat living in Asia myself for about 20 years. I did this for myself and my wife Joyce.

I can help you too.

Most couples we help are involved in long distance romances. They communicate via webcam and text,
and only get the once in a while, rare opportunity, to spend in-person time together after long trips over
international waters.

But some lucky couples, like you, are not separated by international borders. Instead they live together, outside the USA.
And once they are ready to relocate to the USA, they ask :
“Must the American return to the USA alone to apply for a fiance or spouse visa? Is there a away they can avoid long separations?’

The happy answer is they Can remain together. No long separation is necessary.

Your visa application can be submitted while they remain outside the USA. And once your fiance or spouse visa is issued,  you as a couple, hand in hand, can together can board the flight to your future lives in the USA.

I lived as an expat, living outside the USA, primarily in Taiwan and Hong Kong for about 20 years. I am very familiar with that lifestyle and the issue of bringing one’s spouse and family back to the USA. In my case when my oldest child was 6 years old I knew it was time to return as I wanted to enroll him in kindergarten and public school in the USA.

I regularly help expatriate couples prepare their petitions while they are living together outside the USA. We work together using email, Internet (I provide a password access page for you where I post specific instructions and documents for your case), and by priority mail or courier.
This is the procedure VisaCoach follows for Ex-pat cases, that allows the you to remain outside the USA for the whole process.

1. After I get to know you and your partner I set up an account page for you online at There I post a personalized checklist of all documents and evidence needed for successful preparation of your case. I also prepare all the forms needed for the application which require your signature.

2. You follow your checklist and collect the civil documents, evidence, photographs and various proofs of bona fides. You print out the documents that have been prepared for your signature and sign them. You combine all into a single envelope, then send to my offices via international courier such as DHL or Fedex.

3. On receiving your envelope, I carefully comb through it’s contents to prepare your application. If you were living in the USA I would mail the application directly to you. But as you are overseas that is not convenient, as it means two more times passing through international customs, to send the application to you, and then for you to send it back to USA to USCIS’s offices. So what we do instead is scan the completed application package into a pdf and post it at your VisaCoach account page for you to review.

4. If you find anything you wish to change, you let me know, and these changes are made immediately, posted online. Again for you to review. Finally, once you are 100% satisfied, we mail the approved application directly to USCIS on your behalf.

5. Eventually your case will arrive to the US State Department’s National Visa Center (NVC). I will guide you through that stage. This one can be done all online.

6. NVC will forward your case to the consulate assigned for your partner’s interview. In the run up to the interview I will guide you on preparation for the interview. Such as practice questions, final checklists and how and where to arrange the interview.

7. On completion of the interview, I guide you through arranging for your partners green card.

8. That only leaves it for you to settle your affairs outside the USA, book your flights and return to USA to start this next chapter in your lives.

For an ex-pat there are two important issues that need to be planned for the interview.

How can you pass the financial eligibility requirement?


How can you demonstrate your “intent” to relocate to USA

Financial Eligibility

An ex-pat you probably are earning your living by working outside the USA. Well, that means that once your partner gets approved for her or his visa, you are going planning to quit your foreign job and find a new one in the USA. This means that as far as supporting your family the foreign income goes away. You will have to show you are financially eligible by some other way.

Usually this means already having enough cash assets in USA financial accounts or equity in a your home located in the USA, or asking for help from a friend or family member living in the USA to be your financial joint-sponsor. If none of these methods are available, then you will have to consider returning to USA early and find a job there.

Intent to Relocate to USA

US immigration takes immigrating to USA very seriously indeed. And when approving your fiancee or spouse’s visa must be convinced that the visa is going to be used for the correct purpose, for relocation and permanent residence in the USA. Some expat couples only want to visit the USA temporarily, perhaps for shopping, meeting relatives, for an occasional “home leave” and would like to have the “green card” to make that possible. Sorry, but for that is not considered acceptable by US immigration. They MUST be convinced you plan to relocate permanently.

So you will be required as an expat to demonstrate your sincere intention to relocate to USA by presenting evidence of your plans to move home, such as correspondences on potential places to live, to work, or to attend school. US based bank accounts, proof of disposing foreign assets, transferring monies to your USA accounts, drivers licence, voting records and
quotations from moving companies are all useful for this purpose,

This was Fred Wahl, The VisaCoach

Expedite your K1 Fiancee or Spouse Visa

Expediting your Fiancee or Spouse Visa Application

Getting your case processed and getting your partner to the USA faster than average is not possible for most. 99% must wait in line like everyone else.

However in a few cases if a couple has a legitimate reason, US immigration will grant special treatment to expedite their case skipping to the head of the line.

US immigration may agree to expedite your case, for one of the following reasons:

Imminent US Military deployment

  • Medical Emergency
  • Imminent Danger
  • Fiancées Child in danger of ageing out
  • Extreme Hardship
  • Let’s talk about each in turn.

Imminent US Military deployment

If the American sponsor is on active duty, and has orders cut for deployment, or is in a category that faces immediate deployment on short notice, US immigration is willing to expedite the case so that the service man or woman has time to settle his partner in the USA before
deployment begins.

For such cases, we submit copies of deployment orders, or proof that the service men’s skill set was such even while no deployment was currently in the works, it might happen on short notice.

All imminent deployment type waiver requests we have submitted were granted.

Medical Emergency

What if you or your partner suffer a serious medical issue?

In some cases that would be deemed acceptable to allow expedited processing.

For example, perhaps your foreign partner has a condition that requires the type of medical assistance or expertise, only offered in the USA.  One of VisaCoach’s clients needed treatment at the Mayo Clinic and her case was approved for expedite.  And we have had cases where the US sponsor is hospitalized, and upon discharge needs full time home care
to aid in his recovery.

Imminent Danger

Imminent danger usually means that the foreign partner’s life is in danger.
This could be due to direct or indirect threats, civil unrest, and/ or natural disasters.

The more specific we can prove that the threat is personal to the individual, the better the chance the request for expedite will be granted.

Fiancées Child in danger of ageing out

When applying for a K1 fiance visa, the foreign fiancee’s children can be included in the same application. However the child is only considered a child until his or her 21’st birthday.  This means the application process must be complete, the interview held, the visa issued, and the child on the
flight to USA before midnight on the 21’st birthday.

So if a case has been in process and it appears likely that the child will “age out”, US immigration will put that case ahead of the others in order to allow the fiance parent and children to arrive to USA together. Last summer at the height of Covid quarantines shut downs in Vietnam, we successfully not only got the consulate to expedite our case, but to allow the interview while
officially the consulate was closed and not providing any interviews.

Extreme Hardship

Extreme hardship, is a catchall category, that allows US immigration to expedite a case, to alleviate the extreme hardship of either you or your foreign partner is experiencing.

Emphasis is on the word “extreme”. They do understand that being separated from your partner, with your life’s on hold waiting for the wheels of immigration to turn is a hardship. But that is a normal and expected hardship one accepts when entering into a long distance romance, not considered “extreme”.

As an sample of an “extreme” hardship that we have worked on was when
the home of my client’s Philippine fiancé was destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda. The entire town she lived in was declared a disaster area. We immediately submitted evidence of what was happening and her case was expedited. In another recent case, my American client was suffering extreme stress and anxiety attacks from being separated from his partner. We submitted his diagnosis and doctors recommendations and his request to expedite was granted.

I have helped prepare expedite requests for many VisaCoach clients.

In order to be successful, our requests had to be for legitimate and compelling reasons, that US immigration would understand and relate to, and each request had to be supported with solid verifiable evidence.

Do not submit a Frivolous Expedite Request

It is tempting to submit an expedite request, just to see if it will work, even
though the underlying reason and evidence really are not enough.

Well, submitting such a request is a bad idea. In good faith US immigration takes all requests for expedite seriously. On receipt of an expedite request,
a case is taken out of the normal processing line up and given to specialized reviewers. For example if the request was based on medical reasons it will be taken aside and reviewed by Medical experts.

If the request is legitimate, then all is well and the case remains outside the normal queue and zooms to the top of the processing pile.

But if the case is not found to provide acceptable reasons, then it is be returned back to the regular processing queue back to whatever stage it was in.

All the time needed, and this can be many months to evaluate a request basically ends up added to the the time the case would have normally experienced if left to process as normal.

So instead of saving time, a frivolous request ends up lengthening how long you are separated from your partner.

This was Fred Wahl, The VisaCoach,
here to personally guide you on this journey.


End to consulate backlogs:K1 Fiance Visa + CR1 Spouse Visas

US Immigration to clear K1 Fiance Visa + CR1 Spouse Visa Pending Interview Backlogs

Good News, the US Government is taking action to clear Fiance + Spouse Visa applicants who have been waiting on Consular Interviews. After 15 months of curtailment

of consulate services, US immigration has about 500,000 cases on hold pending interviews. To address this issue, $5.6 billion dollars is budgeted by Department of State and $345 million is budgeted by USCIS for manpower and facilities to help clear the backlog.

It has been a rough ride for the past 15 months for Fiancee and Spouse visa applicants.

On March 18, 2020 in fear of the spread of Covid 19, US Embassies and Consulates around the world
locked their doors to the public, cancelling all scheduled visa interviews.

Some of my clients had even traveled long distances to attend their interviews, and without
receiving any warning from the Embassy arrived in time for their interviews only to find the gates to the consulate locked
and were turned away by the guards.

And very sadly some of these clients, who at that time were at their very end of their application process and had only the
interview remaining are still waiting even today.

Normally with a Fiancee or Spouse visa case once it leaves USCIS it goes to the State Departments
offices in New Hampshire called the National Visa Center or NVC. The cases usually don’t stay at NVC
for very long, before being forwarded overseas to the destination consulate for the interview.

Well due to Covid 19, instead of NVC being just a short layover for a case, NVC has become a warehouse.

Cases are being held, stockpiled at NVC awaiting good news from consulates advising that they have resumed normal operations
and are open to the public for interviews.

Some consulates reopened within a few months. some consulates still remain closed..

In February 2017 at the beginning of President Trumps presidency,
there were almost 3,000 cases in process, temporarily on hold at NVC.

this February 2021, due to Covid 19’s throttling down of consulate operations, there are now roughly100 times more, about 300,000 cases
on hold, warehoused at NVC.

So what can be done?

Well, good news. Plans are in the works to address the problem.

And this is the same problem and the same solution we have all experienced at our local grocery store.

You’ve done your shopping and you want to pay. Well the checkout line is long,
and it’s taking forever to finish your transaction and get out of there. So what
does the store management do. Do they let customers leave without paying? No.
What they do is put another cashier on the till and open another checkout line.

US immigration is going to do the same thing. They are not going to let applicants
skip the interview, but what they are going to do is open up more facilities, and
hire more officers to conduct interviews and issue visas.

President Biden’s current budget proposal is to grant the US state department
$5.4 Billion to hire 1,200 officer and expand facilities. Also added to the budget
is $345 million for USCIS to address their backlog as well.

So far already, the State Department has doubled up on interview availability in
Mexico, by now opening up the US embassy in Mexico City to also conduct visa
interviews in addition to the consulate in Juarez, which previously had be the
only location were immigrant visas were issued. I expect that this trend
will continue where additional secure locations are found to help add more
“check out lines” for visa interviews to take place.

This was Fred Wahl, The VisaCoach,
here to personally guide you on this journey.