A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Friday, November 1, 2013

K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa Processing at Guangzhou - Update

One of the many benefits of being a U.S. citizen is that one may bring his or her fiancé(e) to the U.S. by means of the K-1 visa.  There are no numerical limitations on the K-1 visa.  Processing of the K-1 visa is usually faster than an immigrant visa.  For U.S. citizens who would like to bring their fiancé(e)s from China to the U.S., they must go through the U.S. Embassy in Guangzhou.

Form I-129F Processing
Regardless of where ones’ fiancé(e) is, the first step of the immigration process is the filing of the I-129F Petition for Fiancé(e).   The application form must be filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the correct filing address.  Currently the form should be sent to USCIS, P.O. Box 660151, Dallas, TX, 75266.  The current filing fee is now US$340.   One must use the current version of the I-129F form dated 06/13/2013.  The form edition, filing address and the fee are all subject to change.

It is important to note that the I-129F form is also used  by U.S. citizens to bring their spouses and children to the U.S. first while waiting for the immigrant visa petitions to be processed.  Therefore, it is important to answer the questions in the form correctly to avoid mistakes.

The USCIS will review the I-129F form based on the preliminary documents and evidence submitted by the applicant.  If there is sufficient evidence to move forward, it will be approved relatively quickly.  Right now, it is taking about 3 to 4 months to process the I-129F.  Sometimes the application is transferred to another USCIS Service Center to process.  This is just normal workload balance.  If a formal Request for Evidence (RFE) is issued, the petitioner must respond to it before the deadline, or else the application will be denied.

Guangzhou Fiance(e) Visa Processing
The approved I-129F fiancé(e) petition will then be sent to the National Visa Center  in Missouri (a branch of the U.S. Department of State) for case registration.  The case file will then be forwarded to Guangzhou, China, via courier delivery services.  Usually within 2-3 weeks, the Embassy will send out notification email or letters to the petitioner and the fiancé(e) with further instructions.

The parties should immediately register their information online, choose a document pick-up location (for their approved visa), schedule a visa interview, pay a processing fee, download the K Visa Instruction Packet and then follow the instructions to prepare all applications and supporting documentation.  Currently interviews can be scheduled within two months from the time of registration.

Note: Recently the State Department has required that all K-1 visa applicants must use the DS-160 form.

At this time, the fiancé(e) should also schedule a medical examination and vaccination appointment with one of the Embassy’s designated panel physicians prior to the visa interview. The U.S. citizen petitioner is not required to be present at the interview.

On the date of the interview, the fiancé(e) must bring all documents, evidence, and the Embassy letter to the U.S. Embassy in Guangzhou at the scheduled time.   Note: The address of the Consular Section holding the interviews was changed recently to Tian Yu Garden (Phase II) 5th Floor 136-142 Lin He Zhong Lu, Tian He District, Guangzhou (See this link)

The visa interview is usually very short and the applicant will be notified of the decision immediately.  If a K- 1 visa is not approved, one must act quickly to try to respond to the reasons for denial before the case is returned  to the USCIS. 

If approved, the visa and passport will be sent to the applicant via EMS services within a few days. The applicant/fiancé(e) may now purchase their plane ticket and plan their trip to fly to the U.S.  

Upon arrival in the U.S., the fiancé(e) must marry the U.S. petitioner within 90 days before he or she may apply for lawful permanent resident status. 

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