This article will break down what you will need to do in order to obtain a fiance visa from the Philippines to USA.
We have handled many cases from the Philippines over the past 25 years. The process for obtaining a fiance visa from the Philippines to the USA is basically the same as how you would get a fiance visa from anywhere else in the World. However, there are a few notable differences. These differences will be illustrated through a real life example of an American Citizen who did a petition for his Filipina Fiance.
Frank is a U.S. Citizen. He had been single for most of his life. He was now 40 and wished to settle down with a nice woman and start a family. He was also a nice person but he could not find the right person in the United States to share his life with.
His best friend Danilo was from the Philippines and had become a U.S. Citizen. Frank loved spending time with him. He went to many family gatherings and parties with Danilo. Through Danilo Frank fell in love with the culture of the Philippines. Frank decided to try to find a wife from the Philippines.
Frank met Corazon on a dating website. He did not pay a fee and the website was IMBRA compliant. Frank and Corazon were just friends at first but after a while Frank realized that he wanted to get to know Corazon more. He thought (hoped) that they could end up as more than friends.
Danilo (a U.S. Citizen) had brought his fiance (now wife) over from the Philippines several years before using a fiance visa. He knew all about the process of doing a fiance visa from the Philippines to USA. He told Frank that the fiance visa process could be the fastest way to bring Corazon to the United States if things worked out romantically between them. He also told him to think about possibly getting married in the Philippines and filing an I-130 case for Corazon. The I-130 case would take several months longer but Corazon would enter the United States with a green card and would not have to go through the adjustment of status process in the United States. And unlike someone who enters with a fiance visa she would not have to wait 3-5 months in order to be able to work. Danilo also told Frank, that whatever route he took, to be sure to use the services of an experienced Immigration Attorney.
Danilo wasn’t sure if he had used an immigration consultant, paralegal, notario or immigration advisor but things had not worked out well during his first fiance visa process. He had gone through most of the process when things fell apart. The fiance visa had not been granted and he had wasted 8 months of his life without his fiance (now wife). Danilo then hired an American Fiance Visa Attorney who was able to handle everything correctly. The attorney told him that some people, in an effort to save some money, hired non-attorneys to handle their fiance visa cases. Unfortunately, many times these cases did not go well. He also mentioned that if the case did not work out there was little that could be done.
Fortunately, unlike what the attorney had seen in some other cases, no long-term damage had been done by the immigration consultant. The attorney then filed a well prepared fiance visa case for Danilo. As a result Danilo’s fiance was able to promptly come to the United States. Once in the United States Danilo married her and was able to obtain a green card for her via the adjustment of status process. They had lived (were living) happily ever after.
Frank was grateful for the advice as he had never even had heard of a fiance visa. He went to visit Corazon. She was attractive, very nice, smart and devoted to her family. She was everything he wanted. Frank met her family and went to many family functions with Corazon. He was in love. He decided that he did not want to live without her. He proposed to her. Corazon loved Frank. She said yes. Frank did not know a lot about fiance visas but he knew once he got back to the United States he would hire an American Immigration Attorney and file for a fiance visa. He wanted to do a fiance visa case instead of an I-130 case as he knew the fiance visa process was faster. He wanted Corazon in the United States as soon as possible. The thought of living in the United States without her made him sad.
Once back in the United States, Frank hired a very experienced Immigration Attorney to help him with the fiance visa process. The attorney confirmed that Frank was a U.S. Citizen; that Frank and Corazon were both free to marry (as they both had never been married before); that they had met face-to-face in the past 2 years; that Frank was making over $16,400 a year (as there were no other dependents for either him or Corazon); and that there was nothing in Corazon’s past (criminal matters, past immigration violations etc.) that would make her inadmissible.
The attorney knew that the embassy in the Philippines in Metro Manilla could be a difficult embassy to obtain a fiance visa from as there was a fair amount of fraudulent cases filed there. However, he had successfully obtained fiance visas there for almost 25 years. He felt confident that he would be able to reunite Frank and Corazon in the United States via a fiance visa.
The attorney gave them each a free fiance visa e-book (so they knew what to expect during the fiance visa process) suggested that they read the popular blog post: Top 10 Things You Should Know About the Fiance Visa Process and sent each of them their own questionnaire and a list of documents to obtain. With this information the attorney prepared an excellent case for Frank and Corazon. 7 months later Corazon arrived in the United States, married Frank went through the green card process and lived happily ever after with Frank.
Frank was very happy. He was glad he listened to Danilo’s advice and hired an experienced immigration attorney and as a result was able to bring Corazon to the United States as quickly as possible.
Filing for a fiance visa in the Philippines is similar to filing a fiance visa case anywhere else in the World. However, there are some differences.
Here are the things that are the same: The petitioner must be a U.S. Citizen (not a green card holder); you both must be free to marry (neither one of you is married to anyone else currently); you must have met each other face-to-face sometime in the last 2 years; you must not have any past immigration or criminal issues which would bar the issuance of the fiance visa; your
U.S. Citizen spouse must prove that he will be able to support you in the United States and that you will not be obtaining government benefits. To do this he must prove that he makes at least 100 percent of the poverty level required by the I-134.
When you file for a fiance visa from the Philippines to the USA you must realize a few things: if you have been married before, and you did not get an annulment or your spouse did not die, you should speak to an immigration attorney as the Philippines does not allow divorce. (It is apparently the only country in the World, besides the Vatican, that does not allow divorce.) This law may change in the future. However, currently the Philippines does not allow divorce.
Also the embassy in the Philippines does not allow your U.S. Citizen spouse to have a financial co-sponsor in order to meet the I-134 requirements (most of the rest of the world does allow a financial co-sponsor to be involved). This is probably because the I-134’s responsibilities are much more temporary and it is not nearly as enforceable as the I-864. The I-134 is what is used in fiance visa cases. If this is your situation please talk to an immigration attorney about potential options.
Finally, the medical examination fee in the Philippines is more expensive than many if not most places. Currently the medical examination fee is $335.00. Prices for the medical examination generally vary in the rest of the world from $65 to $335.00. As a side note, please make sure you do not open the sealed envelope you receive from your medical examination. You are likely going to be required to bring it, sealed, to your fiance visa interview at the end of the case.
According to the U.S. Department of State’s website bring the following to your medical examination:
All medical examination fees, including x-ray and blood test fees, must be paid directly to SLMCEC in Philippine pesos at the prevailing exchange rate. Refer to the SLMCEC website for information regarding the medical examination fees.
Requirements for the medical examination can change so make sure you visit their site prior to your interview to make sure you are in compliance.
As with fiance visas filed in the rest of the world, if you are missing evidence or have other mistakes in your case it is likely that your case will take longer than average. This is why it makes sense to at least consult with an experienced immigration attorney about your situation. The attorney will review you case and point out weak areas or areas which may cause your case to be delayed or denied. You can then take the steps to fix those areas prior to filing your case.
If you do everything right, just like Frank and Corazon, you can have the fiance visa granted, live together in the United States and live happily ever after.
This blog post is titled: Fiance Visa from Philippines to USA. If you are considering doing a fiance visa case please obtain our free fiance visa e-book or read our very popular blog post: Ten Things You Should Know About the Fiance Visa Process.
Lawrence Gruner is a Sacramento Immigration Lawyer with almost 25 years of experience handling immigration cases. His office handles cases in California, the United States, the Philippines, and the world. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 916-760-7270 or 888-801-6558. He would be very happy to talk to you about your fiance visa case.
This blog article is intended to be for general informational purposes only. Do not rely on it for legal advice as every case is different. Immigration laws can and do change regularly. You are strongly advised to always speak to an immigration attorney prior to filing any documents with USCIS as there can be serious consequences if your case is not filed or handled correctly.