Knowing what to expect on how long it will take for your Fiance visa to go from submission of application through to USA arrival of your partner is very important for you to know.
You need to know when you can expect your partner to arrive as that determines when and where and how you get married, where you go on honeymoon, probably where you will live, and hundreds of other important details for a couple planning their future lives together to consider.
You have to budget monies to pay for the visa, for travel, for the wedding and honeymoon. Maybe you need time to find a nicer place to live, or to renovate your existing residence So your Fiance will feel happy and comfortable on arrival. A lot needs to be done, and you need to know how much time you have.
In this video I am going to break the timeline down into its different stages
so you have a good idea how long each will take, and by adding all together
you can estimate how long the total process should take.
Two separate departments of the US government USCIS (United States citizenship and immigration service) and the US Department of State are going to handle your case , one after the other.
First your application is mailed to USCIS to their lockbox in Dallas Texas.
This location is basically a mailroom/sorting facility. Mailroom clerks in Dallas will decide which regional center to send your case to for processing.
The notice you receive after the case finally arrives at its final destination,
will confirm which center your case was assigned to, either California,
District of Columbia,Missouri, Nebraska, Texas or Vermont.
USCIS officers will carefully review your application. inspecting your documents and evidence to confirm eligibility. During processing, the FBI will be tasked to conduct a criminal background check.
Currently in 2022, USCIS is taking on average 9 to 11 months to complete
their review on a fiance visa case. This general timing is slower than their optimum policy processing time by a few months. This delay is primarily due to covid which has reduced the number of USCIS workers and their efficiency.
In addition in 2021 once international travel increased, couples who had been waiting to meet did so, then immediately submitted their immigration applications. The combination of less efficient staff and larger case load has led to these delays.
Most cases USCIS will probably fall within the 9 to 11 months range. Some cases may go faster and some may take longer. How long your specific case will take is a function of the quality and completeness of your petition,
how busy the processing center is, how up to date and empty your FBI file is, and finally who is assigned to review your case. Some reviewers are quite professional and work efficiently, but unfortunately not all work to that same standard.
Common and avoidable sources of delay are caused by incorrectly filling
in the forms, and/or not submitting required evidence.
When USCIS comes across such applications, processing grinds to a halt. Sometimes errors are so blatant that the reviewer doesn’t even bother offering a chance to fix the problem, instead simply denies the case outright.
Once USCIS finishes their review. USCIS issues a notice, “approving”
the case for the next 4 months. The validity time is intentionally made so short, to encourage sincere applicants to move their cases forward as quickly as is possible.
Next your case is passed to the US Department of State.
The Department of State has a processing center in New Hampshire,
called the National Visa Center or NVC.
For a fiance visa, nvc’s involvement is relatively short. NVC reviews the case, just long enough to identify which consulate should be assigned for final interview and Visa issuance.
Then sends the case file via diplomatic pouch to the American Consulate
responsible to interview your fiancee.
Under normal circumstances, the fiance visa case is only at NVC for a month or less.
What can affect how long a case remains at NVC is what is happening at the
If the consulate is all caught up and ready to interview new fiance visa cases, the time spent at NVC is very short. However if the consulate has a backlog, then typically the case will remain at NVC, in essence warehoused there, until the consulate is ready to schedule more interviews.
Under covid, many consulates were temporarily closed, and even today many have not yet reopened, or have only partially reopened.
After the delay caused at USCIS, availability of interview time slots at the consulate will have biggest effect on the timeline and possible additional delays to get your visa.
For example the Philippines has had very rigid quarantines for the past two years, and currently there is about a full years worth of Philippines cases,
currently waiting at NVC for their turn to be sent to Manila.
Once your case has left NVC, a week later it should arrive at the consulate.
The cases details are entered into the consulate’s database and within a few weeks, the consulate should contact your Fiancee advising that the consulate is “Ready” for your interview.
Some consulates are busier, more efficient, and or work faster than others.
In the Philippines when there is no covid related backlog, the process is normally very efficient and fast. Normally after arrival it only takes about two to three months to get the interview.
By comparison Vietnam and China typically take twice as long to get an interview date.
The Approval/Denial decision is made during the interview. Then it takes about two more weeks to print the Visa and return it and passport to your fiance.
To summarize the different stages, the recent timeline breaks down as follows:
9 to 11 months at USCIS
1/2 month at NVC
2 to 3 months at the Consulate/Interview stage
11-15 Months Total
If in 2022 you anticipate your case to take roughly a
Year you probably won’t be too far off.
And Sorry, but no one has control or can speed up how long US government will take to process your case.
The only control that you or VisaCoach has is over is the quality and strength of your application. Fast or slow processing, a well prepared, front loaded application consistently leads to visa approval.
This was Fred Wahl, The VisaCoach,