First.. find a fiance. Find someone who loves you, and wants to marry you and have a life together with you.
AFTER you do that, not before, I can help you bring her or him to the USA.
Your foreign Fiancee needs permission from the US government to allow her or him to enter the USA. This is called a K1 Fiancee visa.
To obtain the visa, it starts when we submit a fairly complicated application package to homeland security here in the USA.
This package identifies you and your fiance with a required stack of civil documents and evidence that a recent face-to-face meeting has taken place.
This is where a lot of couples who don’t get help and do this themselves get into trouble.
The forms .. look deceptively simple. They ask for “name, rank serial number”. This often leads to overconfidence. Couples who really don’t understand what all is really required, fill in the blanks, submit, and usually end up disappointed.
Lack of experience and a minimal application often leads to the number one cause of visa denial, which is failure to convince the consular officer your relationship is genuine, is “bona fide”.
What makes the current system so hard, is that for most visas, US immigration relies on clear and simple tests. If one applies for a parent, brother, child, the simple proof of eligibility is a birth certificate or DNA test. Right away the officer knows who is eligible and who is not.
But for a “fiance” visa, there is no simple test. The officer must basically take the couples word for it that they are bona fide, and that they plan a sincere life together in the USA.
Sadly, the Bad Guys were ahead of you. They figured out that this was a chink in US immigration’s armor. An applicant could pretend to be in love, even trick his or her partner, and lie to Immigration about how solid the plans were for a married life in USA. Then quickly after arrival get divorce and move on. The goal for the bad guys was to get a “golden ticket” to a better life style in the USA.Gold diggers, gigolos, con-men even terrorists have used fiance visas as a back door into the USA.
These “rotten apples” have spoiled the barrel for honest folks. Reeling from being tricked so many times, finally in frustration, US immigration has decided that since there is no simple test, that instead they will treat all applicants as “guilty until proven innocent”, and give everyone a hard time, and a severe scrutiny before approving a Fiance visa.
Now the reason, I mention preparing the application which happens at the beginning of the process, and now at the same talk about what happens many months later at the end of the process at the consular interview, is because the application we send in to homeland security at the start, ends up on the desk of the interviewing officer at the US embassy or consulate at the end. He or she reviews it just before calling your Fiance in for the interview. Imagine it as a time capsule. It is sealed when you ship it off, and eventually reopened on the big day. What the officer finds inside sets the tone for the interview to follow.
This is how a lot of couples get in trouble. Because they are “IN LOVE”, they assume no special effort to prove their situation is needed. And they submit a minimal application.
Minimal “bare bones” applications, are usually enough to get one’s “foot in the door”. It’s usually enough to get your fiancee sitting opposite a consular officer for the interview.
Sadly, just having your “chance at bat”, chance to interview, is NOt enough win approval. It is not enough to demonstrate that your application is “bona fide”.
Since the application does not hold many clues as to what the couples situation is, the consular officer, will be forced to ask some hard and fast questions to try to figure out what is going on,
That is where things can go wrong..
If he is short of time, or impatient or close minded or in a bad mood, or if your Fiance is not fast and fluent enough to provide convincing answers, well, the safest course for the officer, the safer course that does not risk his career or professional reputation is to deny. After all if the couple is really bona fide they can apply again. But if he allows himself to be tricked that looks bad for him
My point is the original application submitted sets the tone for the interview for good or bad. We have a golden opportunity to make things go well by touching all the bases when putting together the application.
At VisaCoach, we, I, believe that it is critical to ones success that the original application MUST include plenty of good quality evidences and information, all designed to convince the officer he wants to say “yes”. Don’t hope he will be friendly, don’t hope your fiance will be extra charming, instead make sure the application anticipates everything the officer needs to make his decision easy and simple and in your favor.
So when I work with a couple, and ideally they start with me early, so we have time to take corrective actions if needed, I first discuss with them what they have been doing, then I explain what the officer they will think about their situation, and I will advise them what in the mind of the officer, what he expects a “bona fide” couple to be like. Then I suggest what actions the couple should take, that will help meet the reviewers expectations.
But Doing the right thing however is not good enough.
Next we need to DOCUMENT that the right thing was done. I teach my clients ways to create evidences that show the right thing was done, and I review their evidences to choose the best ones to tell a winning story..
But having evidences that the right thing was done still isn’t good enough.
Last, we have got to make sure the officer has the right evidences on his desk.
That’s what a bare bones DIY or cheap form filing service misses, they do not lay on the officer desk a full set of well thought out, well selected, and properly presented persuasive evidences of a couple’s bona fides.
But that is exactly what a VisaCoach does. We front load every application with high quality evidences, specifically demonstrating that you have a bona fide relationship.
So long story short, to be successful, the original application touch all bases to set the tone for the interviewer, to convince him he wants to say “yes”.
The petition package is mailed to USCIS, the United States Customs and Immigration Service, to their offices in Dallas Texas.
Currently USCIS takes about 5 to 6 months to review and approve. This includes a criminal background check conducted on YOU, by the FBI.
This is vastly slower than in recent years, and is due to the executive orders issued by President Trump for USCIS to conduct more vigorous reviews, so called “extreme vetting” of all cases.
When finished, USCIS hands the case over to the US State Department’s National Visa Center (NVC) based in New Hampshire.
Fiance visa applications are held only briefly at NVC, usually a few weeks, just long enough for NVC to assign a new case number and forward your file via diplomatic pouch to the consulate assigned to your Fiancee.
About the same time your case is on it’s way to the overseas consulate, I update you on what the current procedures are at the consulate.
I guide you and your fiance on what needs to be done at your Fiancee’s country, how to schedule the interview, where to take the medical, what final fees are needed, and how to obtain required official documents such as Police Clearances and Certificates of Singleness or No Marriage.
Here in the USA, I guide you as to what financial evidences you must send your fiance as well as preparing the affidavit of support for your signature.
Finally in the run up to the interview, I provide a detailed, personalized checklist on what all your Fiance should bring with him or her to the consulate on the day of the interview.
This is especially important, as forgetting to bring a required document can cause, weeks of delays, as even if a missing document is provided the following day, the consulate officers have already moved on to new cases, and they make it a very low priority to re-open a case to verify a case is complete after a late submission.
One to two weeks before the interview your Fiance must undergo, a thorough medical exam and review of his or her vaccinations at a clinic appointed by the consulate.
Finally your Fiance attends the interview at the US consulate.
This is the BIG event.
During the interview, the consular officer must be CONVINCED your the relationship is bona fide and not a sham for immigration purposes.
As previously mentioned, at the interview, is where the high quality VisaCoach “front loaded application” typically wins the day.
The consular officer always reviews the case file before the interview starts. We craft your application so that he finds many good reasons why he should trust you and approve the visa. Even before he invites your Fiance to sit in front of his desk, we want him to have seen our carefully selected and presented evidences and be mentally prepared to say “yes”.
Typically, the interview turns into a fast and friendly, formality. Most VisaCoach clients hear “Welcome to the USA” in just 3 to 4 minutes
One to Two weeks later your Fiancee’s passport with visa are delivered, and your Fiancee has six months to start the trip to join you in the USA.
After arrival to the USA you have 90 days to marry.
Sorry, but even though, you have persevered and gotten the Fiance Visa, and your fiance has come to the USA, and you have had your wedding and honeymoon, US immigration is still not done with you.
We overcame their skepticism and convinced them that your relationship was bona fide so they issued the Fiance Visa. But I am afraid we have to do it all over again. And not once but twice.
After the wedding your Fiance does not have to leave the country, she or he can remain with you as your spouse, IF you apply to US immigration for permission for her to remain in the USA as a lawful permanent resident. This is called Adjustment of Status. Your new spouse adjusts her or his status from that of a temporary 90 day fiance visa visitor to a permanent resident.
At the end of the Adjustment of Status application process your spouse gets what is known as the Green Card.
But US immigration is still cautious, still skeptical. The Green card that is granted is only “conditional”. Meaning it is good for only two years.
Before the two years is up we apply once again. This time it is called “Application for Removal of Conditions on Residence” We apply, it is granted and now your spouse gets a regular Green Card that does not have any time limitation.
A year later, your spouse, IF your partner WANTS, she or he is eligible to apply for US citizenship and can travel using a US passport.
And don’t worry. Even though there are many steps, VisaCoach is ready to help you through each and every step, from Fiance Visa through to Conditional Green Card then Un-conditional Green Card and finally to US Citizenship
This is because we provide the information we want the consular officer to see, ‘up front’ as part of the petition submitted originally to USCIS. The consular officer will typically review the package prior to the interview. When he reads the extensive and persuasive evidence that we have logically laid out for him, he should be convinced of the ‘bona fides’ of the relationship before the interview even starts.
This makes asking any remaining questions more a formality than a fact finding, interrogation, and leaves very little for the consular officer to say besides ‘Welcome to America’.
It certainly requires extra work and effort, to produce a 100 to 150 page petition, versus a few dozen pages that most un-motivated preparers are willing to submit, but the benefit is PRICELESS as it results in of taking the pressure off of the fiancee to :”PERFORM” at the interview, thus improves chance of SUCCESS.
By Fred Wahl