K1 FIANCE VISA JOURNEY AND EXPERIENCE
If you are looking for a blog about K1-Fiance Visa, then keep reading. This blog is long overdue but I’m so glad i’m finally writing this because I know there are a lot of couple who are currently going through the same process we did, and I know blogs entries like this lighten up the stress load.
Terms to remember:
K1 - Fiance Visa | Petitioner - American Citizen | Beneficiary - Alien Fiancé
it’s important to know that you are free to marry and intend to marry within 90 days once you step in the USA. Don’t try to do any other type of marriage license before that to avoid visa cancellation. The Fiancé Visa process vary from person to person, country to country, situation to situation, etc. As per standard process, K1 Visa takes about 6 to 9 months (start to finish) but that clearly was not our case. There is honestly no guaranteed timeline and USCIS only provides general information. You will have a hard time connecting to an officer so don’t even bother calling for an update.
Side note: right after Julian and I got engaged, I applied for CENOMAR in the Philippines because it was one of the requirements needed for the interview.
Here’s the timeline of our Fiance Visa experience.
Julian filled up the Form NOA1 which is a Notice of Action that he is intending to apply for a Fiance Visa. This process took about 2 weeks and once his NOA1 was received by USCIS, he was then instructed to apply for the Form 129-F
July 21 2017. Submission of our Fiance Visa
Julian filled up the Form 129-F along with the documents below.
Evidence of his USA Citizenship
Proof of Relationship (30 pages screenshot of our private conversations, pictures, videos, blogs & vlogs, magazine features, plane tickets, etc.)
Passport Pictures of Petitioner and Beneficiary
Letter of Intent that we intend to marry within 90 days
Evidence that we met in person within 2 years
After submitting all these documents, the longest wait started. The website says it will take around 5 to 7 months to receive an update from USCIS and you can expect three things: (1) USCIS Approval (2) RFE (Request For more Evidence) (3) Denial
While waiting for an update, my local post office accidentally tore my CENOMAR which make or breaks our process. I kept my head up and prayed hard that they would still accept it regardless of the situation.
February 9, 2018. We received an RFE email from USCIS
This means that they needed extra information from us and it could be anything. It could be more relationship receipts, lost forms, or honestly anything. Julian received a mail after 2 days regarding the RFE details. He skipped filling up the Consular Processing Information and forgot to review it before sending it to them, so basically the main reason why we received an RFE was because of a missing information. Julian misunderstood the section and thought that he didn’t need to fill it up because he was the one applying and not me. Lesson learned, do not skip anything!
We sent the RFE letter along with this remaining information 5 days after we received the RFE instruction. Then, it was waiting game all over again.
March 15, 2018. We received an email that our Fiance Visa petition has been approved and they are going to proceed with the next step followed by a simple instruction “please do not follow up with an email or call”.
April 11, 2018. National Visa Center (NVC) sent our visa application to the USA Embassy in my country (UAE).
We were finally seeing progress and we were beyond excited when they told us that I will soon be contacted (in a week) to schedule my interview.
2 months has passed, and there was no update from the USA Embassy in the UAE. I started to doubt the process and lost hope because it had been almost a year of waiting with promises that we didn’t see happening. We tried sending multiple emails (which we were advised not to do but did it anyway) to get an update but there was no luck. We even tried to walk-in at the embassy but they did not entertain us. It felt really slow and unproductive that I cried myself to sleep for almost 3 weeks because of stress and frustration.
June 19, 2018. We received an email that we can finally schedule my interview at the USA Embassy.
It was a random Saturday when Julian and I got this email and we both didn’t know how to react on it. Everything flash-backed from the beginning of this process and I felt like I was gonna faint. That night, I checked the website they gave us to schedule my interview and I started crying because of mixed emotions. I was crying happy tears because we were finally moving forward and God has answered our prayers but I was also crying sad tears because I realized that I will soon be leaving my family. I was hyperventilating that night and I just had to pause and pray because I was so overwhelmed. As I was booking my interview, the next available interview date was July 26, 2018.
Along with the email confirmation of USA interview, we received the following instructions and information on what to do before the interview and what to bring on the day:
Instructions on how to make an appointment
Physician list on where to get my Medical Report (required papers for the interview)
Original Birth Certificate
Evidence of Relationship (yes! we printed 30 pages of proof again)
Police Records (you will need to apply it at your local police station and it takes about a week to get one; you also have to consider getting a police record from the country you stayed for more than 6 months after 16 years old)
Evidence of Support : Form I-134 filled up by Petitioner and Sponsor
1. Tax and Financial support of the Petitioner
2. Tax and Financial support of the Sponsor (if applicable). In our case, we needed to submit these files because Julian was a freelancer and our application needed a sponsor to claim that I will be taken care of when I move to the USA. This does not mean that Julian didn’t have enough money, but formalities require x amount of income recorded on the tax hence the sponsor.
Sealed Medical Examination (see point 2)
Photographs (I brought 8 passport pictures and they used all)
Fees (if the website did not request for a payment)
I made sure that I have all these ready and completed before the interview because we were not going to accept a denied visa.
July 26, 2018. Interview day.
We traveled to Abu Dhabi, UAE the day before the interview since we were scheduled to come in at 8AM. Me, my sister, and Julian stayed at Aloft Al Ain which was the closest hotel from the embassy. The night before the interview, we made sure that everything is with us and we prayed for my interview. I wore a very smart casual outfit (black long sleeve blouse, black baton pants, and black loafers).
7:15 AM We arrived at the USA Embassy. Guests are not allowed inside if not scheduled for anything so Julian had to wait for me outside. I was not allowed to bring my purse, my phone, and paper bag so I took out all my documents and carried it by hand. After first screening, we were asked to wait (seated) until our appointment time. I know I had an appointment at 8AM but there were 4 people who arrived before me and their appointment was at 9AM, however they got to first. So I would suggest, come as early as you can if you want to be the first in line. I was 5th in line and it wasn’t really a big deal so
8:00 AM They started calling the first batch (including me to proceed to the interview room/panel)
8:30 AM My token number was called and I was asked to present all the documents I have mentioned above. The lady who was screening my papers was a little grumpy so it made me really nervous but I was still looking confident because I knew I had everything. Until she asked where my Philippines Police Records where. I told her that I never really stayed in the Philippines therefore I didn’t need to get one. She took all the documents she needed and asked me to take a seat. (At this point, if they are still keeping you, it means that you will proceed to the final interview)
9:00 AM I was called to scan my finger prints and wait for my actual interview.
While I was waiting for my turn, I strategically sat in front of a counter panel where they interview immigrant visa applications (Fiance Visa falls on the same category). I didn’t really hear the questions the interviewer was asking but I could definitely hear the answer of the applicant. I based my confidence from her answers and I felt relieved because I basically know everything about Julian. I read that the questions they will be asking me will be all about my fiancé and his living status in the USA. The average interview lasts about 10-15 minutes so I was already conditioned for my turn.
9:45 AM My token number was called.
I walked with confidence to the counter then I saw 4 people across the counter (1 main interviewer, 3 panels). My heart started beating so fast! All those who got interviewed before me only got one interviewer. Why am I faced with 4? It was nerve-wracking! I braved the situation and stood there with confidence ready to answer the questions I thought he was gonna ask until he said, "Please tell me about your love story from the day you started talking”. Whoa. wait what? So I then proceeded and the interviewer was listing down the dates I mentioned and questioning the gaps of those dates, our relationship timeline, our engagement timeline, and why we decided to date even when we haven’t met in person yet, etc. As I answer, he turns and look at the three other panels and all I see were faces expressing different reactions because I couldn’t really hear them. The whole interview took 45 minutes and then he handed me this white slip:
“Congratulations! Please expect to pick up your passport next week”, he said. I said Thank you with a smile on my face but I was actually screaming inside me. Our Fiance Visa got approved after waiting for 1 year and 1 month that was supposed to only take 9 months.
July 31, 2018. I have received my passport with my USA visa and that means I could fly even the next day. But I obviously didn’t because I wanted to spend a little more time with my family and well… pack my stuff.
August 9, 2018. Julian and I flew from the UAE to JFK Airport and the rest was history.
After scheduling my interview, time went by so fast that I couldn’t catch up with all the farewell greetings and parties. We tried our best to not talk about it at home but I could definitely feel that everyone was trying to keep their emotions. It was the most challenging year for me, Julian, and my family. God has stretched us so much and taught me about patience and waiting and I honestly wouldn’t want it another way.
The moment you get that interview scheduled, spend time with your loved ones because that’s what you’ll miss the most.
I hope this blog helps and encourages you if you are currently waiting for your Fiance Visa approval. If you are applying for one, there are a lot of websites available on google that will help you and I would suggest that you join a forum so you can read and ask people who are going through the same situation as yours.
If you are still reading this, thanks for sticking around. Share this to a friend or someone you know who needs basic information about K1 FIANCE VISA. ✨
Let me know if you have any other questions and I will try my best to answer it! ☺️