Written by Yuri & Rob
As of 28 May, 2014 we received the NOA2 I-797, Notice of Action Approval. We submitted our application on the 19th of April 2014. We researched the process ourselves on using random blogs and of course the US Citizenship and Immigration Services government site. But what really helped us was a site called Visa Journey. Thanks to the INCREDIBLE site Visa Journey we have been able to get everything (so far) done without “professional” help.
Step 1. I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance
First Step: I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)
The first form we did is called I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance. The I-129F application is more work than you might think because you must provide supporting documents: Divorce decree, intention to marry (from both parties), proof of having met (tickets, receipts), G-325A, Biographic Information (with passport type photo and birth certificate). By the time you are done with it, its a package. We will list all the main supporting documents:
- Provide Proof of having met within the last 2 years
- Divorce decree / Certificate of No marriage (Philippines)
- Letter of intent to marry within 90 days of arrival within the US (2)
- Declaration of How you met
- $340 USD (check, money Order)
- G-325A – Biographic Information (with passport photo / birth certificates (2)
- *MAKE AT LEAST TWO COPIES OVER ALL WORK – YOU WILL NEED IT ALL FOR THE VISA INTERVIEW
At first we thought, the I-129f was a one page document. But for us it ended up being a full binder that took 3 days+ days to put together with very little sleep. Once the package is done, you send it to USCIS HERE>
Step 2. Notice of Action Approval – NOA2 i797
We got the NOA1, Receipt maybe 9 days after filing. Its just a notice that tells you they received the package and payment. The NOA1 has a receipt number that allows the petitioner and beneficiary (you and your fiance) to check the status of your K1 Fiance package: https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do (edit – 5/26/2015).
We received the Notice of Action Approval (NOA2) on 28 May 2014, only 36 days after submission of the I-129F, Petition for alien fiance visa to USCIS.
So our next step was to call the National Visa Center (NVC) and get our Case Number. At this stage, the K-1 Visa is transferred from Department of Homeland Security/US Citizenship and Immigration Services to the Department of State/National Visa Center.
Our package was quickly on its way to the applicable US Embassy. For us that is US Embassy Manila. According to Visa Journeys exhaustive data, it only takes about 2 weeks to go from NVC to the Embassy. For us, it only took 1 week.
One week after receiving the NOA2 we contacted the NVC to see if they have received our approved I-129F. We called at 603 334-0700 to get our Visa case number. The number was busy, but we kept calling until we got through. They gave us a Case #. about a day after that, the package was on its way to the embassy.
Things to remember when calling National Visa Center:
- The line may be busy. Keep calling
- You may be on hold for a long time (I was on hold for 30 minutes)
- Don’t give up
You can also email the National Visa Center NVCInquiry@state.gov (don’t expect a quick response):
Subject: NOA1 receipt #WXX8888888855
- Name of the person submitting the inquiry
- NVC case number or USCIS receipt number
- Petitioner’s name
- Principal Applicant’s name and date of birth
If you don’t have all this information then they will not answer you until you give it to them. You will NEED your Case number to go much further, but in the meantime you can at least start the next step. Which is to do your DS160. After you have your Case Number you can check the Visa Status:
You can check the status of your packages progress at:
Step 3. Beneficiary Preparation After NOA2 i797
Once we had our case number we started preparing for the “Interview“. Before the Interview we know we needed several things: Medical review ($240USD), DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa application payment ($250USD). Here is a list of things to do after NOA2 is received and the package is on the way to the Embassy:
- DS-160 – Nonimmigrant Visa Application is an online form you must complete, submit and print out
- Nonimmigrant Visa Application Fee
- I-134 – Affidavit of Support. Proof of Petitioners ability to support the beneficiary
- National Bureau of Investigation (Philippines Only) – must be processed for all Filippino citizens departing the country.
- Prepare Interview Package – this is mostly a copy of the your I129, but with DS-160, Medical completion, I-134, NBI and paid visa application fee (need ORIGINAL copy of birth certificate and Certificate of No marriage/Divorce from previous)
- Schedule Interview & Schedule Medical (see step 4)
DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application – We found that you can actually start this BEFORE you get the case number and BEFORE the package is sent to the embassy. But is probably best to wait just in case your package is not sent by NVC to the embassy.
According to the Department of State “On this website, you can apply for a U.S. nonimmigrant visa. Filling out the application on our site is the first step in the process. After you submit your application, you can move on to the next steps, such as signing up for an interview.”
Things you need for the DS-160: Passport, resume, copy of I-129, Application Receipt/Petition Number (NOA1 – this is a 13 character long number * there is some confusion on which 13 digit number to use Visa Case number from NVC or NOA1 receipt. We used NOA1 # and it worked). More information here at DS-160 Frequently Asked Questions.
- PERSONAL Informaiton
- ADDRESS & PHONE
- PASSPORT INFO – number, where issued, date issued and expiration date.
- TRAVEL – purpose of trip to US and when and where
- TRAVEL COMPANIONS – person traveling with you.
- PREVIOUS US TRAVEL
- US CONTACT – name and address
- FAMILY – father and mothers names and dates of birth, children or ex-spouse.
- WORK/EDUCATION/TRAINING – current employment and previous. travel to any other countries?
- SECURITY & BACKGROUND – bunch of Yes/No questions.
Print a copy of the DS-160 after you submit it and keep it for your interview.
Nonimmigrant Visa Application – The cost is different for each type of Visa. For K-1, Fiance visa currently costs $240USD. More information at US Embassy.
Methods of Nonimmigrant Visa Application Payment
- Cash payment can be made at Bank of the Philippine Island (BPI) branch and Bancnet. Please note that beginning September 3, 2012, K (fiancé(e) and K3) visa applicants are required to present a U.S. visa application deposit slip to pay the K visa fee. Click here for a detailed BPI payment instruction.
- Online payment bill option provided by BPI to their clients.
- Online payment through Bancnet.
Before going to the bank, K (fiancée and K3) visa applicants must print the applicable U.S. visa application deposit slip. The visa application deposit slip can be downloaded from the online appointment site: website:http://ustraveldocs.com/ph/ph-niv-paymentinfo.asp.
There are three things you should have with you before you go to the BPI bank to pay the visa fee:
1. Prepare 2 copies of your US visa application deposit slip .
2. Prepare 1 passport photocopy.
3. At the back of your deposit slip, write the following:
I-134 – Affidavit of Support. (Download ad fill out here) This is a pretty straightforward document that needs to be completed by the Petitioner so the beneficiary can present it to the Visa interviewer. He or she is a basically telling how they will support the beneficiary, with what income and where will they live. They practical questions. The US is trying to make sure the beneficiary will have financial support upon arrival and not living on the streets. I-135 requires supporting documents:
- Statement from an officer of the bank or other financial institutions with deposits detailing:
- Date account Opened
- Total Amount Deposited for the last year
- Present Balance
- Statement from your employer (with business letterhead)
- Date of employment
- Salary paid
- Whether the position is temp or perm
- For Self-employed
- Copy of last tax return
- Report of commercial rating concern
- Further instruction on I-134, Affidavit of Support
National Bureau of Investigation – NBI Clearance must be prepared before your interview. NBI locations, NBI online form and guidelines here.
Step 4. Schedule an Appointment for Embassy Interview
The next step is to schedule an appointment for your visa interview. Prior to the interview, you will need to have medical done. Typically, the visa interview is scheduled and then the medical.. however, we called St. Luke’s Medical Center Extension Clinic (SLMCEC) (Philippines) and they said its possible to do the medical without having the visa interview scheduled (make sure you call and confirm before you do).
Scheduling the Interview is one of the last and most frustrating steps. Its frustrating because you are so close, you have paid hundreds of USD in fees, you have done all the paperwork and you have waited and now you have to wait longer to get your appointment.
Don’t be discouraged and don’t wait. Be persistent and get that appointment for your Visa Interview.
How the Process works:
- Sign up/Register at the US Embassy Site (for your country)
- Select an Available slot
You can call or email, but you will have to do it when slots are available… and that is the tricky part.
Different US Embassy in different countries have different frequencies of schedules. You have to go to the site to find out when the schedules are up.
In some cases, like the Philippines US Embassy in Manila, they processes literally thousands of immigrants a month going to the US, so when a slot becomes open, its like bloody meat being put into a pool of hungry sharks. Available slots are gone in MINUTES (literally).
In the Philippines, Slots go so fast that beneficiaries and petitioners have resorted to software to find available slots faster:
The Firefox browser has a plug-in called Check 4 Change (C4C) at http://www.check4change.com/ ). Its a software that you can configure to check any site when it changes. You can set up the software to check every few seconds, minutes or hours. So what people do is install C4C and set it up to what the dashboard of their ustraveldocs.com site.
*Note: we did this.. it got us an appointment within a week… it really works.
If the site is giving you grief you can also try calling. But good luck with that. They are only responsive when slots are open. The best way to check is ustraveldocs.com
Scheduling Appointments for IV or K Petitions
To schedule a visa appointment for IV or K petitions, please contact the Embassy’s Visa Information and Appointment Service at (632) 982-5555 or (632) 902-8930. The Visa Information and Appointment Service is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Manila time), except on Philippine and U.S. holidays. Callers in the U.S should call (214) 571-1600, from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time).
You must have the case number, passport number, and passport expiry date for each applicant (principal applicant and derivative family members) ready when requesting for a visa appointment.
You can also get information and book an appointment online athttp://www.ustraveldocs.com/ph.
For US Embassy Philippines ONLY
1. Schedule an appointment through the website.
2. Register through the website as a new user if you don’t have a previous account.
- For more details regarding K visa payment options, please visithttp://www.ustraveldocs.com/ph and click Bank and Payment Options.
3. Always check the website for an available slot because it gets filled fast.
Medical Examination Fee: St. Luke’s Medical Center Extension Clinic (SLMCEC), the Embassy’s accredited medical facility, charged US$223.35 for adults (15 years and older) and US$185.35 for children (under 15 years of age) for the medical examination fee.
Reference: More information on US Embassy Process
Get Your Interview Package Ready