The USA is clearly one of the top destinations for OFWs and other expats all over the world. It is quite competitive to enter the country though, and usually the steps are tedious and the requirements vast, although this hasn’t stopped nurses, engineers or caregivers from trying. At the end of the day, all that effort needed to get a visa to work in the USA is worth it.
There are many different types of visas to be able to go to the United States. One such visa is a K-1 Visa. This visa is for fiances immigrating to the USA. Specifically, this visa allows United States citizens to sponsor their fiances so that they can enter the country and get married. Moreover, this visa only applies when the partner is residing outside the United States and is engaged to be married. This doesn’t apply when you are already married with your U.S. citizen partner or if you already live in the United States.
Disclaimer: The information posted here is based on the personal experiences shared by the OFW in the video below. Please let this post serve as a guide only. If you have specific questions, you may ask the OFW by commenting on their video on their accounts.
How to Get a K-1 Visa, aka, a Fiance(e) Visa to the USA
This article is based on a YouTube video from the channel named LOVING’JESSA G. In this video, she talks about how to file a K1-Packet, including what forms to complete and sign, what fees to pay, what evidence and supporting documentation to present, and so on. If you want to learn more about these steps, you can watch the full video by clicking on the link below:
First of all, in terms of the petitioner, who is qualified to apply for a K1 Fiance(e) Visa? Here is the list:
- You must be a citizen of the United States of America
- You and your fiance(e) must be legally able to get married
- You must have the intention of getting married with your fiance(e) within the first 90 days of them coming to the U.S.
- You should not have any communicable diseases, criminal records, or any other conditions which may disqualify you from getting this visa
- You must have met your fiance(e) personally within the last two years before getting the visa.
- You must have an income that is above poverty level so that you can support your fiance(e)
What are the documents that you need to prepare and put in the packet (a folder that your American fiancé will submit for the visa)? First of all, there are two different kinds of requirements:
- Those submitted by the petitioner
- Those submitted by the beneficiary
What are the requirements you need to be qualified to process the K1-Packet?
- You need to have met in person with your fiancé.
- Filled up I-129 form
- 2×2 picture US Visa – this is both for the petitioner and beneficiary (2 pieces each)
- Intent to marry – one for the petitioner and one for the beneficiary
- Birth certificate – one for the petitioner and one for the beneficiary.
- Passport bio page – one for the petitioner and one for the beneficiary
- Cenomar – certificate of no marriage for the beneficiary. This proves that you are free to marry
- Proof of relationship
- Passport stamp
- W2 for the petitioner – actually this is not required for the visa, but the vlogger and her fiance just submitted this to be sure
- Fee stamp
- Payment for the petition
If your petitioner is a Filipino that is already in the U.S., he also needs to have a Cenomar. Even if he’s in the US, he can still get this document from the PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority) of the Philippines.
For Proof of relationship, you can supply the following:
- Pictures together – print out these photos. They prove that you have already met in person.
- Hotel reservations
- Plane ticket of petitioner
Travel tickets for you both when you traveled to different places/countries as a couple.
Receipts – for example, if you ate at restaurants, hotel receipts, watched movies together.
When it comes to hotel receipts, you and your fiance can tell the front desk to just write the name of your fiance on the receipt. This proves that he was in the Philippines with you.
Assembling the packet
In the case of the vlogger, her fiance bought a ring folder binder. The folder should be so that it is easy for the consul to take each document one by one. That way, don’t clip your folder wtih an alligator clip, for example.
It’s also helpful if you can attach labels that stick out of the folder so that the consul can see at a glance which pages contain what documents.
When your fiance, slash petitioner applies for the petition, you need to fill up the I-129f form. To get this form, just look it up on Google. You can also go to the USCIS website to get this form. You should also check if the form is already expired or if it is a recent form, because otherwise it wouldn’t be accepted.
You will fill up the following information at this form, also known as the Petition for Alien Fiance by the Department of Homeland Security:
- Information about you
- Information about your beneficiary
- Other information
- Biographic information
- Petitioner’s Statement, Contact Information, Declaration, Certification and Signature
- Interpreter’s Contact Information, Certification and Signature
- Contact Information, Declaration and Signature of the Person Preparing this Petition, if Other than the Petitioner
- Additional Information
When the vlogger’s husband filled up the I-129f, he sent her all questions in the form that are to be answered by the beneficiary. What she did is that she just answered them in a notepad file and just answered them. These beneficiary-related questions include the following:
- name and other basic information
- mailing address
- address history
- employment history
- beneficiary’s parents
- other information – this includes name of previous spouse if applicable, passport details, and more
- information about children of beneficiary
- address in the United States where you live
- name or address in the native alphabet
- international marriage broker information
All in all, the form is 10 pages long, and it should be filled up with information about the petitioner and the beneficiary. After filling up this form, insert it in your folder.
Both the petitioner and the beneficiary should also provide 2×2 pictures. The vlogger shows in the video that these pictures have a white background and they are wearing a collared shirt. Also, don’t forget to affix your name and signature at the back of the photo.
So how do you insert these photos in the folder? Well, the folder that the vlogger’s American husband bought already has a container for pictures. If you don’t have that, then just have a small transparent plastic and put it in one of the pages of the folder.
Another important document is the birth certificate. Make sure that it’s from the PSA. In addition, the petitioner’s birth certificate is also required. You put both in the same part of the folder.
Next, the passport bio page. It goes without saying, but if your petitioner is ready to apply for a petition, then you, as a beneficiary, should already have a passport as well. Here, scanned copies of the bio page of the passports of both the petitioner and the beneficiary are placed in the same section of the folder. The passport bio page is located in the front page of your passport. It is the one that contains all of your important personal details.
Next, you should provide a CENOMAR (Certificate of No Marriage). The petitioner gets it from PSA. If your petitioner is a U.S. citizen, then he or she is not required to get a CENOMAR.
Next are proofs of relationship. The vlogger showed the following documents for the video:
- Tickets for when the petitioner went to the Philippines. Specifically, these are ticket confirmations and online bookings.
- Pictures together. The vlogger said she submitted around 20 hard copies of their pictures together. He even has pictures with her parents.
- Receipts – receipts of hotels where they checked in, restaurants they ate in.
- Screenshots from messenger. They printed out their chat history from August 2018, including all sweet messages proving they’re a couple. They didn’t include all chats though; the vlogger said she only included around 6 screenshots per month.
Next is the Form W-2. This one is completed by the petitioner’s employer. Basically, it contains all the information to be able to complete a tax return. It includes the following:
- Total yearly wages
- Amount of taxes withheld from paycheck (including state taxes and federal taxes)
- 401(k) contributions
- Health savings account contributions
- Health coverage premiums from your employer
- other information
Similarly, included in the folder is the Income Tax Return document. It should be for three different documents, one for each of the last three years. Include the W2 and the income tax return document in the same section of the folder.
Next is the checking account of the petitioner. According to the vlogger, this document contains details of the payroll, how much his salary is, and other related information. The petitioner gets this from the company where he is working in.
Finally, after adding the passport stamps, you now have a complete packet that you need to apply for a K1 visa. The petitioner will then send this packet to the USCIS, short for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The petitioner will pay 530 USD once he submits the packet.
More about the K1 Visa
According to the vlogger, the K1 Visa is the easiest visa to process. In fact, it usually takes just around 6 to 12 months to process. You just have to comply with all the requirements. In addition, as a beneficiary, you don’t have to be in the Philippines to apply. You can be in any other country. The vlogger mentioned that she went home to the Philippines from Taiwan after her end of contract, but now realizes she could have just begun the process of applying for this visa while she was still there.
In fact, she had her interview in the Philippines, however, her papers were sent to Taiwan, so she just asked for these documents to be transferred to her location.
There is a similar visa called the spouse visa. So what are the differences between both visas? Here they are:
- The K1 visa requires that you get married in the U.S, while the spouse visa requires that you get married with your petitioner husband in the Philippines.
- The spouse visa is less expensive
- The spouse visa takes longer to process; around 2 years, while the K1 visa usually takes between 6 months to a years.
- With a spouse visa, the beneficiary gets to the U.S. with a green card holder.
- It takes a longer process to have a green card if you have a K1 visa; e.g. after marriage, you have to go through an adjustment of status phase, going through interviews, etc.
Possible Reasons for Denial
Here are some of the reasons why your K1 visa application could be denied:
- Some documents have not been submitted
- Some papers aren’t properly prepared
- Fiance(e) can have a very serious communicable sickness
- A huge gap in age can be a concern, although it has happened before and has been approved
- The interview didn’t go so well for the fiancee at the embassy in Manila
- The fiancee has been to the US before by overstaying with a tourist visa
- And so much more
Similar to how a J1 visa allows you to go to the USA as a teacher, the K1 visa allows you to enter the country under different circumstances. What is common in both is the fact that due diligence and patience is required. After all, the USA is perhaps one of the most sought-after countries to live in, work, or immigrate. The competition will be tough, but if you follow the steps carefully, you will achieve your goal.