Understanding The Fiancé/Fiancée Visa Timeline

The Fiancé/Fiancée Visa timeline

If you are an American citizen contemplating marriage with a foreign national, you should fully understand the process for obtaining a K-1 Fiancé/Fiancée Visa, including all the stages that make up the timeline. Working through this process on your own can be a time-consuming, frustrating experience.

To assist you with your case in the K-1 process, shorten preparation time and eliminate delays, especially when dealing the government agencies, we recommend retaining Olvis Immigration & Visa Services at the very start of the process. We specialize in obtaining K-1 Fiancé/Fiancée Visas and will guide you through all the required steps, enabling you and your fiancé/fiancée to enjoy this time in your lives knowing that you are in good hands with the oldest and most experienced company of this kind in the Philippines.

We will work with you from the preliminary planning stages all the way through to the issuance of the K-1 Visa. We start the process with the preparation of the application and verifying and authenticating the various required documents as well as preparing you for the required evidence of relationship and support.

Timeline for the K1 Visa process.

Step One – United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

Your case will be on its way to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services as soon as you sign the completed petition which has been prepared by our office. After USCIS receives the case, it takes anywhere from 3 months on the fast side to as long as 7 months on the long side, the average time for the last 3 years or so has been 5 to 6 months, depending upon the amount of backlog at the particular USCIS service center. Each petition has its own level of complexity. The Approvals do not arrive in the order that the cases are filed.

Step Two – National Visa Center (NVC)

The Approved petition is then mailed from the USCIS to the NVC or National Visa Center. Once approved you will be notified by mail and then the NVC will forward your case to the appropriate United States Embassy in your beneficiaries country of residence. This step usually takes two to three weeks.

Step Three – U.S. Embassy Interview

This is most complex stage of the K-1 Fiancé/Fiancée Visa process as each embassy has different requirements, depending upon the country. U.S. embassies in most countries require a wait time of six to eight weeks until the interview date; however, there are some countries such as Mexico, Philippines, and Ukraine that allow scheduling an interview as soon all documents are obtained. Specifics vary by country; for example:

Applicants from Philippines may schedule an interview date at their convenience as soon as they receive a notice from the NVC that the petition has been sent to Manila. It may be possible with the U.S Embassy in Manila for the interview date to be set in as little as 2 weeks.

  • The Majority of embassies assign an interview date for you only upon receipt of the biographical forms (for example: UK, China). All supporting documentation must be taken directly to the interview. The wait time can be anywhere from four to eight weeks when dealing with this type of embassies handling.
  • The U.S. embassies in some countries allow to select an interview date through their online interface (Russia, Brazil). This is a new method of handling the K-1 Visa process by the embassies, which proves to be very convenient for the applicants.

Step Four – K-1 Visa is Issued

After the interview takes place, upon approval, the embassy will issue the visa. The Passport with the visa and prepared documents in a sealed envelope will be delivered to your Fiancé/Fiancée via courier service within seven to ten days. The visa will be valid for a period of six months from the date of issuance and is good for one entry to the United States. Upon entry under a K-1 Visa your Fiancé/Fiancée is required to marry the American Petitioner within 90 days of the arrival date.


In most cases, the entire process can take anywhere from three to seven months.  To obtain the current processing times for USCIS and US Embassy in the Philippines please feel free to contact our office.

Retaining our experienced firm to help you through every step of the K-1 visa process, rather than attempting to struggle through alone (or hiring preparation-only consulting services), can save you months of frustration. Please contact our office with any questions you may have.


Our Services

Do you have a loved one in the Philippines that you wish to bring to your home country?

Are you considering the assistance of a travel agency, an immigration lawyer, or a self-proclaimed immigration expert—or take the risk of spending too much for a fly-by-night service?

Let our 30 years of immigration experience speak for itself. Here at Olvis Immigration and Travel Service, we assure you of nothing but complete, personalized, paperwork preparation and professional support services for all phases of immigration and travel for USA, Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

We have handled immigration cases every day for the last 30 years and have never been unsuccessful.

Our Services:

  • Professional staff fluent in the native language and experts in immigration paperwork—for your partner’s guidance
  • Online processing for out-of-area clients, servicing all areas in the Philippines. This means that neither you or your partner ever have to come to our centrally located office for any part of the process as everything can be done online.
  • 24-hour toll free hotlines from the US and Canada and instant messaging for real-time customer support
  • Travel assistance such as flight bookings and deep discount airfares.
  • Immigrant status adjustment, employment authorization, and other post-arrival paperwork

With offices located in the U.S. and the Philippines, we can assure quick and trouble-free visa and immigration processing. Best of all, our comprehensive services come at a very reasonable cost. We accept all major credit and debit cards, including MasterCard, VISA, American Express, and Discover.

Be sure and ask about our various financing programs

The immigration process is complex and frustrating and can cost you valuable time and money, but Olvis Immigration and Travel is dedicated to helping couples start their lives together. We make it easy to bring your fiancée or spouse home.

Why do it myself

Like complicated tax returns, filling out visa and immigration paperwork can be a stressful and intimidating process. One simple mistake or oversight will result in costly, complex and lengthy delays. Having to re-do and re-submit your visa and immigration application papers will make you wait many extra months for your fiancée’s immigration approval and, in some instances, jeopardize the entire procedure.

This is a situation where it pays you to work with a professional – someone who deals with every aspect of the immigration and visa application process from K-1 Fiancée, Spousal or the new K-3 visa. Someone that does these applications on a daily basis. Someone who will get it done for you quickly, and most importantly, correctly, the first time, every time. That’s our promise and commitment to our valued clients.



There are many attorneys who advertise visa services for the Philippines and these are fine (at substantially higher prices) as far as they go. What they don’t tell you about, and can’t offer, are the additional full support services that Olvis provides for you and your fiancée, both in the U.S. and in the Philippines, throughout the entire immigration process.

We work directly with the various governmental agencies involved on a daily basis. We know all the local laws, regulations and requirements for immigration firsthand, and stay up to date on any changes in those requirements as they may occur. We are right here to assist both you and your fiancée through each step of the process.

Our Philippine staff is fluent in your fiancée’s native dialect, so she will feel comfortable and confident as we assist her through all the visa application steps that she will need to take.



With 30+ years of experience, offices in both the U.S. and the Philippines, and lower prices than attorneys charge for just completing the INS paperwork, Olvis Immigration and Travel handles the entire immigration process for you, from the time you first contact us until the time your spouse or fiancée arrives in the USA. Our services include assistance with the following required items, passports, police clearances, authenticated documents, medical, CFO classes and all other documents required by both the Philippine and United States governments.

Speed, accuracy, and full comprehensive immigration services at low, truly affordable prices, that’s what the friendly and professional staff at Olvis offers you. For questions and any unforeseen problems, we’re never more than a phone call away, any time, any day, until the whole process is complete.

Hire a lawyer, an agent, or process the visa myself ?

Should I hire a lawyer, an agent, or process the visa myself?

Only you can answer that question. I will explain the differences to help you come to your own conclusion.

Hiring a lawyer. Most lawyers will charge anywhere from $2000 to $7000+ to process a simple fiancé visa or spousal visa, even more if there are complications involved, such as children, multiple petitions, co-sponsors, etc. We get many inquiries from people who have hired lawyers, wanting information on the interview process. This is because these lawyers will often only FILE the petition for $2000, they know very little about the process at the individual embassy interview level. Each embassy has slightly different requirements. What is worse, usually these lawyers never even look at your petition, they have their paralegals do it for them. So while you may be paying the lawyer $300+ per hour, he is paying someone $10/hr to actually submit your petition. Once it leaves the NVC, you are dropped cold, that is where their assistance ends. However, the filing of the visa is the easy part, preparing proper documentation and preparing for the interview is more complicated, and more important. Some of the biggest errors, and the simplest errors to prevent, were done by people who had hired lawyers, and by doing so thought they would be taken care of to the end. A lawyer cannot “speed up” the process any more than someone who has done proper research, nor can a lawyer “guarantee” you a visa. So unless your case is very complicated, hiring a lawyer may create problems for you that you might not have had doing it yourself.

Can I do it myself?

Again, only you can answer that question. I would like to tell you that you that you need hire us. However, truthfully speaking almost anyone can do this process and get through it on their own, The only question is this, how many times do you want to do this and how much time and money do you want to spend trying to do something that you are only going to do once in your life? Do you really want her here with you NOW or can you wait to correct any mistakes that you could make during the process? There is a lot of information available on the internet, much of it is just plain wrong put up by some one that wants to be an expert that may have done his own paperwork and gotten it done successfully. Did this supposed expert tell you that he spent many dollars and it took him 2 or three years to get it done? There is a lot of bad info out there, so expect to spend considerable time doing your research. Keep in mind that each small error or omission will cost many months of additional time.

Should I use an agent?

While hiring a lawyer is very expensive and can cause problems of it’s own, hiring the right agent can remove most of the stress from the process, and assure you the least amount of problems along the way. What should you look for in an agent? You should look for an agent that specializes in the type of visa you are applying for, and from the country you want to immigrate from. Immigration laws can be very complex, and someone who specializes can stay abreast of all the current changes and requirements for specific visas from specific countries. Beware of agents that tell you they have a proven track record in dealing with the U.S. Embassy in Manila and have built a strong, professional relationship with the U.S. Embassy staff.  By saying this they are trying to imply that they have connections at the embassy, let me make this one point perfectly clear when someone tells you this, they are lying as no one has any pull with the embassy. Beware of agents who process many types of visas and/or visas from many countries, as there is way too much information for an individual or a small company to stay abreast of. Beware of agents who have little track record, or those that advertise they can guarantee a visa (Nobody can guarantee you a visa). Beware of those whose prices seem too low, or use pushy sales tactics. Stay away from those who claim to be “high volume”, high volume generally can be translated into little personal service. Also beware of trick pricing, many agents will quote you a fee for filing the visa, and like many lawyers will leave you hanging after that, or charge separate fees for each additional stage of the process. So be sure you are comparing apples to apples, not comparing one agent’s quote for full service start to finish against another agent’s fee for filing of the petition only. Ask if the price includes adjustment of status after arrival in the US. Ask if the price includes interview preparation.

So look for an agent that specializes in the types of visa you are applying for, and processes only visas from the country you are immigrating from, preferably an agent who lives in the country you are immigrating from and has native language capabilities, to be close at hand when it comes interview time, as that is when you are going to need help the most.

International Mail Order Bride Law IMBRA and how it affects you

Re: International Marriage Broker Regulation Act Implementation Guidance

  1. Purpose

On January 5, 2006, the President signed the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (VAWA 2005), Pub. L. 109-162, 119 Stat. 2960 (2006) (codified at 8 USC 1375a). Title VIII of VAWA 2005 is entitled, “Protection of Battered and Trafficked Immigrants,” and contains Subtitle D, “International Marriage Broker Regulation” (IMBRA). This memorandum provides guidance to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officers in the field regarding the amendments made by IMBRA to sections 214(d) and 214(r) of the INA.

  1. Statutory Requirements and Adjudication Standards
  2. Mandatory Submission of Information on Criminal Convictions for Specified Crimes

IMBRA provides that a petitioner for a K nonimmigrant visa for an alien fiancé(e) (K-1) or alien spouse (K-3) must submit with his or her Form I-129F information on any criminal convictions of the petitioner for any of the following “specified crimes”:

  • Domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and neglect, dating violence, elder abuse, and stalking.1
  • Homicide, murder, manslaughter, rape, abusive sexual contact, sexual exploitation, incest, torture, trafficking, peonage, holding hostage, involuntary servitude, slave trade, kidnapping, abduction, unlawful criminal restraint, false imprisonment, or an attempt to commit any of these crimes.
  • Crimes relating to a controlled substance or alcohol where the petitioner has been convicted on at least three occasions and where such crimes did not arise from a single act.

If the petitioner indicates that he or she has been convicted by a court or by a military tribunal for one of the specified crimes by checking one or more of the boxes in Part C., question 2 of Form I-129F, or USCIS ascertains through relevant background checks that the petitioner has been convicted, the petitioner will be required to submit certified copies of all court and police records showing the charges and dispositions for every such conviction. This is required even if the petitioner’s records were sealed or otherwise cleared.  Such information shall become part of the petitioner’s Form I-129F.  If the petition is approved, the petitioner’s Form I-129F (including all criminal background information submitted by the petitioner and any related criminal conviction information that USCIS discovers during the course of conducting its routine background check) must be provided to the Department of State.  The Department of State will disclose this information to the beneficiary during the consular interview.

  1. Filing Limitations

IMBRA imposes limitations on the number of petitions a petitioner for a K nonimmigrant visa for an alien fiancé(e) (K-1) may file or have approved without seeking a waiver of the application of those limitations. If the petitioner has filed two or more K-1 visa petitions at any time in the past, or previously had a K-1 visa petition approved within two years prior to the filing of the current petition, the petitioner must request a waiver.  These limitations do not apply to petitioners for a K nonimmigrant visa for an alien spouse (K-3).

  1. General Waiver

The adjudicator may, in his or her discretion, waive the applicable time and/or numerical limitations if justification exists for such a waiver, except where the petitioner has a history of violent criminal offenses against a person or persons. The petitioner may request a waiver by attaching a signed and dated letter, requesting the waiver and explaining why a waiver would be appropriate in his or her circumstances, together with any evidence in support of the waiver request.

1 The terms ‘domestic violence’, ‘sexual assault’, ‘child abuse and neglect’, ‘dating violence’, ‘elder abuse’, and ‘stalking’ have the meaning given such terms in section 3 of VAWA 2005 (see attachment).

Factors the adjudicator should consider include, but are not limited to:

  • Whether unusual circumstances exist (e.g. death or incapacity of prior beneficiary(ies));
  • Whether the petitioner appears to have a history of domestic violence;
  • Whether it appears the petitioner has a pattern of filing multiple petitions for different beneficiaries at the same time, of filing and withdrawing petitions, or obtaining approvals of petitions every few years.

Examples of acceptable evidence to support a waiver request include, but are not limited to: a death certificate, police reports, news articles describing an accident which resulted in the beneficiary’s death or incapacity, or medical reports from a licensed medical professional regarding the death or incapacity of an alien approved for a prior K visa. The determination of what evidence is credible and the weight to be given that evidence shall be within the sole discretion of the adjudicator.

Some examples of possible scenarios are:

  • A petitioner who has no criminal history with regard to one of the specified crimes requests a waiver of the filing limitations. The petitioner has one prior approved Form I-129F for the same fiancé(e), and files a report from a physician detailing the illness of the beneficiary that rendered her unable to enter the United States within 90 days. Absent any other adverse factors, the waiver may be granted.
  • Conversely, a petitioner who has no criminal history with regard to one of the specified crimes requests a waiver of the filing limitations. The petitioner has previously filed a Form I-129F, for 12 different beneficiaries. The petitioner has submitted no supporting documentation explaining why a waiver of the filing limitations would be appropriate. Absent any favorable factors which may outweigh denial, the waiver should not be granted.
  1. Extraordinary Circumstances Waiver in Cases Involving a History of Violent Offenses

If the petitioner has a history of violent offenses, the adjudicator may not waive the filing limitations unless extraordinary circumstances exist in the petitioner’s case.  A violent offense is an offense that has as an element of the crime the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another. This includes any of the “specified crimes” identified earlier in this guidance, including crimes involving a controlled substance or alcohol if the offense included an element of intentional conduct that resulted in serious bodily injury or death.

If a petitioner with a history of violent offenses seeks a waiver, he or she must attach a signed and dated letter, requesting the waiver, together with evidence that extraordinary circumstances exist. Evidence of rehabilitation following the petitioner’s criminal conviction(s), combined with evidence of other compelling factors, may also be considered “extraordinary circumstances” that warrant the granting of a waiver. Examples of evidence establishing eligibility for a waiver based on extraordinary circumstances include, but are not limited to: police reports, court records, news articles, and trial transcripts reflecting the nature and circumstances surrounding the petitioner’s violent offense(s), his/her rehabilitation, ties to the community, or records demonstrating good conduct and exemplary service in the uniformed services. Some examples of possible scenarios are:

A petitioner files a second K-1 visa petition within 2 years of approval of the first petition and also submits evidence that he was convicted for a single violent offense at the age of 16. He is now 44 years of age and has had a clean record during the ensuing 28 years.  In support of his waiver request, he provides a statement giving details of the offense he committed, and states that his youth was a factor in the commission of the crime.  He submits evidence that he received a diverted sentence for the crime and served his time in a juvenile detention facility until age 21.  In addition, the petitioner establishes that he has been an exemplary citizen through service in the military, scholastic achievement, and contributions to the citizenry through recognized public works such as involvement in several philanthropic endeavors. To demonstrate his rehabilitation, he offers parole or probation records and credible affidavits from a social worker, his parole or probation officer, and members of his church and community in general.  USCIS background checks verify that he has no further criminal history.  A waiver may be granted.

  • A petitioner files a second K-1 visa petition within 2 years of approval of the first petition and also submits evidence that he had two felony convictions for aggravated burglary in 1995. He served 3 years and received early release and probation for remaining 2 years of a concurrent sentence. Since 2001, the petitioner claims he has been a model citizen and served his time, but since his release from prison he has been “unlucky” in love and has married and divorced 3 times, the last marriage to a foreign national whom he met through a marriage broker. The petitioner also submits evidence of his good conduct from his current employment and his landlord of 2 years. Absent additional favorable factors, this case does not reflect “extraordinary circumstances” or other compelling factors that would warrant approval of the waiver.
  • Adjudicators must obtain supervisory approval prior to granting an extraordinary circumstances waiver where violent offenses are involved. The determination of what evidence is credible and the weight to be given that evidence shall be within the sole discretion of the adjudicator. IMBRA requires that an adjudicator must approve a waiver request if the petitioner can establish that he or she: the time he or she committed the violent offense(s), and

3. Mandatory Waiver in Cases with a History of Violent Offenses Where Petitioner Was Subjected to Battery or Extreme Cruelty  

  • Was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by his or her spouse, parent, or adult child at
  • Was not the primary perpetrator of violence in the relationship;
  • Was acting in self-defense;
  • Violated a protection order intended for his or her protection; or
  • Committed, was arrested for, was convicted of, or plead guilty to committing a crime that did not result in serious bodily injury and there was a connection between the crime committed and the battery or extreme cruelty.

Examples of evidence that may be submitted to establish eligibility for this mandatory waiver include, but are not limited to: police reports, court records, trial transcripts, and newspaper articles that describe the nature of, and circumstances surrounding, the offense. The petitioner may also submit a statement regarding the events leading up to and surrounding the offense(s), and statements from other individuals with personal knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the offense(s). Adjudicators must consider any credible evidence relevant to the waiver request.  The determination of what evidence is credible and the weight to be given to that evidence shall be within the adjudicator’s sole discretion.

Whether there was a connection between the crime committed and the battery or extreme cruelty is a matter of evidentiary proof. In order for a crime committed to be considered sufficiently connected to the battery or extreme cruelty suffered by the petitioner, the evidence must establish:

  • The circumstances surrounding the crime committed, including the relationship of the abuser to, and his or her role in, the crime committed by the petitioner; and
  • The requisite causal relationship between the battery or extreme cruelty and the crime committed.

Some examples of possible scenarios are: A petitioner files a second K-1 visa petition within 2 years of approval of the first petition and also submits evidence that she committed a violent offense. With her request for a waiver of the filing limitations, she submits a statement describing years of physical abuse at the hands of the first beneficiary spouse on whose behalf she filed.  She also submits police reports and court records that indicate her conviction for felony assault came as a result of a domestic violence situation in which she was defending herself from the beneficiary spouse.  A waiver should be granted.

A petitioner files her third K-1 visa petition and submits evidence that she was arrested for a violent offense. The documentation provided in connection with her waiver request indicates that she was arrested for kidnapping. The police reports and court records indicate that the kidnapping was of her children and that she was reported to the police by a former husband, who is the father of those children. She also submits evidence that the children’s father regularly beat her and the children, had taken the children, and forbade her to see them.  The evidence establishes that the kidnapping charges were dropped and the former husband was prosecuted for battery. The crime did not result in bodily injury and was connected to the battery and extreme cruelty suffered by the petitioner.  The officer finds the evidence to be credible. A waiver should be granted. C. Mandatory Tracking

IMBRA requires USCIS to track repeated petitions for K visas. Upon approval of a second petition for a K-1 or K-3 visa filed by the same U.S. citizen petitioner, USCIS must notify the petitioner that information concerning the petitioner has been entered into a multiple visa petition tracking database. Once a petitioner has two petitions for a K-1 or K-3 visa approved, if he or she files a third petition less than ten years after the date the first petition was filed, USCIS must notify both the petitioner and the beneficiary of the number of previously approved fiancé(e) or spousal petitions. The numerical limitation and waiver provisions described in Section II, paragraph B of this memorandum, however, only apply to individuals filing a petition on behalf of a fiancé(e) (seeking a K-1 visa).  Guidance regarding these notification requirements will be issued separately.

III. Procedural Guidance

The provisions of IMBRA became effective sixty days after the date of enactment, or March 6, 2006. While USCIS was amending Form I-129F to reflect the new data collection requirements mandated by IMBRA and preparing to issue implementing field guidance, field offices were instructed to hold in abeyance all cases filed on or after that date. The succeeding paragraphs provide guidance on processing the held cases and new filings of Form I-129F.

  1. Treatment of Pending Cases Filed on or after March 6, 2006

Adjudicators must prepare a request for additional evidence (RFE) on all cases filed after March 6, 2006, that were not filed using a version of Form I-129F pre-dating the May 23, 2006, version and that were not accompanied by a sworn statement by the petitioner to the IMBRA questions. The RFE should include the background IMBRA information and required additional questions, as well as request any additional documentation lacking from the initial submission. The RFE template is attached and is labeled “Supplement to Form I-129F.”  Issuance of this RFE, which includes a request for any additional documentation lacking from the initial submission of the Form I-129F or completion of missing items on the Form I-129F, applies to all cases currently pending which have not received the IMBRA RFE as of the effective date of this memorandum.

When the RFE is returned, the adjudicator should review it to determine whether the petitioner has responded to all of the questions and submitted the requested additional information, including criminal history information, and an original signature in the attestation block. If the Form I-129F is not signed or is not complete (because all of the questions are not answered or because requested documentation is still missing), or if the petitioner fails to provide the requested information in response to the RFE, the adjudicator should deny the petition.

Adjudicators should review the Form I-129F for completeness, noting supporting documentation that is not present. At this stage, a second RFE may be required for missing items such as date of last meeting or the Form G-325A, Biographic Information.

If the application is approvable, the adjudicator should review CLAIMS mainframe for the number of previously filed I-129Fs. If the petitioner has filed two or more K-1 visa petitions at any time in the past or previously had a K-1 visa petition approved within the two years prior to the filing of this petition, the petition may not be approved without a waiver.  If this is the first petition the petitioner has filed, or the petitioner’s second approved petition (as long as the first was not approved in the two years immediately preceding this approval), the adjudicator may approve the petition assuming all other eligibility requirements are met.  If not, a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) should be issued, detailing the waiver process.

  1. Treatment of Forms I-129F approved after March 6, 2006

Cases that were approved in error after the effective date of IMBRA have been identified and returned to USCIS by the Department of State. For such cases, adjudicators should complete a Service Motion to Reopen and Reconsider. The adjudicator should then issue the same RFE described in section A above.

  1. Treatment of Forms I-129F filed after approval of revised Form I-129F

The revised Form I-129F became available to the public on June 15, 2006. USCIS will continue to accept older versions of Form I-129F for 30 days following that date (i.e. if post-marked on or before July 15, 2006).  The revised Form I-129F has an expiration date of December 31, 2006, and indicates that prior versions will not be accepted.  Therefore, after July 15, 2006, all new filings

2 RFEs issued prior to the effective date of this memorandum were not based on a review of the pending initial Form I-129F and

supporting documentation. In such cases where an RFE was issued prior to the effective date of this memorandum, the Form I-129F

should not be denied but a second RFE should be issued to address any deficiencies in the initial filing. A second RFE is not required

for cases that were previously approved but reopened for issuance of the IMBRA RFE, where the petitioner fails to respond to the

RFE or provide the required criminal history information.

made on older versions of Form I-129F must be rejected. Petitioners should be directed to the USCIS website or forms request line to obtain the new form.

  1. Use

This memorandum is intended solely for the guidance of USCIS personnel in performing their duties relative to adjudications of applications. It is not intended to, does not, and may not be relied upon to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law of by any individual or other party in removal proceedings, in litigation with the United States, or in any other form or manner.

  1. Further Information

The provisions of IMBRA apply to all petitions filed on or after March 6, 2006. Personnel with questions regarding this memorandum, please contact the Office of Regulatory and Product Management by electronic mail.

IMBRA ‘Specified Crime’ Definitions contained in VAWA 2005

Domestic violence: The term ‘domestic violence’ includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.

Sexual assault: The term ‘sexual assault’ means any conduct prescribed by chapter 109A of title 18 U.S. Code, whether or not the conduct occurs in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in a Federal prison and includes both assaults committed by offenders who are strangers to the victim and assaults committed by offenders who are known or related by blood or marriage to the victim.

Child abuse and neglect: The term ‘child abuse and neglect’ means any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caregiver with intent to cause death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm. This definition shall not be construed to mean that failure to leave an abusive relationship, in the absence of other action constituting abuse or neglect, is itself abuse or neglect.

Beware of the scammers

It’s a sad fact of life that wherever you go there’s somebody willing to con you. Unfortunately this is as true in the Philippines as anywhere else.

Not surprisingly, a lot of men are interested in Filipinas but we strongly urge you to be cautious.

If you have any doubts about your chat mate from Cebu, you would be wise to read the following before you send money or travel to Cebu to meet her.

One way to learn more about the person is to have them checked out. Obviously, as a foreigner living thousands of miles away, this is nigh on impossible for you to organise yourself. However, help is at hand!

If you like, we can arrange a meeting with your chat mate and get actual photos of the person you have been corresponding with for a small fee. For details drop us a line after reading this and we can discuss how we can help you.

There are thousands of cons that girls, posing as chat mates from the Philippines, use to lure and manipulate unsuspecting foreigners out of their money. The most common being the use of an attractive young girl’s or movie star’s photo as their own (the hook).

After corresponding for a while, the chances are you will be asked for money for a hospital emergency, essential medication, school tuition, a new cell phone or any number of other vital things. At first, you will have great empathy and will probably shell out the cash.

However, after the second or third request, the majority of foreigners will begin to suspect that they are being taken advantage of or conned. You may ask for some photos of the girl, thinking perhaps that will reassure you of her sincerity. She will likely send topless or nude photos explaining she would only do this for you “the love of her life”. You will not want to offend your chat mate so you will continue sending money.

Now a year or so has gone by, you have sent thousands of dollars and are finally ready to make the trip to Cebu to meet the girl of your dreams. You email your chat mate and inform her that you will be arriving soon with the sole purpose of meeting her. If you get a response at all, it is most likely to be a request for financial assistance for one last matter that must be taken care of before you arrive. A common request in these circumstances is for funds to buy new clothing so you will not be disappointed with her appearance when you meet her or for her transportation expenses to come and meet you. And of course, because you’re now so smitten, you’ll send her the money. She then promises to meet you at the airport when you arrive.

Finally, the long awaited day arrives, you spend thousands of dollars, fly half way around the world and there is no one waiting for you at the airport. You call the cell number she sent you, but there’s no reply. You then spend your entire vacation sitting in your hotel room, bored to death, feeling like a complete fool.

This is just one example of a common con, played out daily in the Philippines. Many of these girls have several foreign chat mates at a time. This is how they support themselves, SO BEWARE!

If any of this sounds familiar, and you would like help verifying your chat mate before you fly half way around the world, drop us a line and we can discuss your situation and tell you how we can assist you during your stay. You may call me TOLL FREE personally at 1-866-636-8666 from the USA to my office in Cebu City from 10 am until 5 pm every day except Sunday.

More than 50,000 Immigrant Visas Processed Every Year

The Consular Section of the United States Embassy in Manila processes applications for both nonimmigrant and immigrant visas to the U.S.

Nonimmigrant visas are for people visiting the U.S. temporarily for tourism, business, education, medical treatment, or petition-based employment. The type of visa required depends on your purpose of travel. The Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV) Unit processes more than 200,000 applications each year.

Immigrant visas are for applicants planning to permanently relocate to the United States. The Immigrant Visa (IV) Unit processes over 50,000 IV applications and more than 11,000 fiancé(e) and spouse visa applications each year, reuniting families as intended by U.S. immigration law.

If you need to process a spousal, fiancée, or tourist visa, ask Olvis Immigration and Travel Service for more information!

How much does it cost for a Spouse or alien relative visa


A common question my potential clients ask me is how much an immigrant petition often filed under Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative that involves consular processing petition for a spouse or relative usually costs. This is a question that the prospective petitioner must ask to get an idea how much money will be needed to prepare for the whole process.

USCIS fees change from time to time so the various costs can and does frequently change.  Make sure that the I-130 fee you are about to pay is correct. Or else, USCIS will reject your petition. Currently, the I-130 fee is $535.00.

Once the I-130 is approved, your file will then be sent to the National Visa Center. Depending on the availability of the visa for your specific category, NVC then sends you an Invoice for payment of another set of fees. The first invoice you will receive is the Affidavit of Support Fee it is $120.00.The Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee is $325.00 and Depending on the number of beneficiaries you have, principal and other derivative beneficiaries, the total could add up. These fees are paid electronically using your bank account number and routing number. Without paying these fees, you cannot start filling in the online Immigrant Visa Application Form and you also cannot submit your civil documents.

After you have submitted all your documents to the NVC and it has been reviewed as complete and ready, your file will then be sent to the consulate and you will also received a notice for interview appointment. Before the date of interview, the beneficiary or the immigrant visa applicant has to take a medical examination at the St. Luke`s Medical Center Extension Clinic. Presently, the fee for each US visa applicant is P16, 042.50. Children 14 years old and younger are charged at P8, 600.00.

When the beneficiary is issued the immigrant visa, there is another fee that has to be paid before he or she receives the green card. The visa is just a document that allows you to enter the US. The green card is the document that evidences your legal status in the US. The green card will be issued to the legal permanent resident after the USCIS Immigrant Fee of $220.00 is paid. It can be paid online before or after the immigrant arrives in the US.

These are only the basic costs associated with filling a petition that have to be paid. We have not counted yet the other expenses such as passport applications; requesting civil documents e.g. birth certificates, CENOMAR, etc; court fees for annulments and changes of names; NBI clearances; photos; airfare and hotel expenses for the medical exam and the consulate interview and if you hire an immigration professional, his professional fees as well. Filling appeals and responding to Requests for further Evidence can also dramatically increase your costs further. And of course, don’t forget the airfare when the beneficiary finally comes to the US for the first time as an immigrant!

Family-based petitions as simple as a straightforward I-130 filing can be very expensive. So in order not to waste your money, make sure your I-130 is prepared thoroughly from the start and all supporting documents and evidence are available to ensure a smooth process.

Annulments in the Philippines

The Philippines and Vatican City are the only countries/places in the world that do not have divorce laws.  Therefore, in order for a previously married Filipino person, whose spouse is still alive, to be able to marry again is to get a legal civil annulment.

If an annulment is what you require then it is best to have an idea of what the process is in order to be prepared as much as possible.  We at Olvis, the Immigration, Visa and Travel Experts in the Philippines, cannot offer legal advice as we are not lawyers, however based on our knowledge and experience with assisting personnel with marriage, immigration and visa matters, we would like to explain the generally-accepted process of civil annulment.

Step 1 is to consult with and hire an attorney. An attorney’s fees for an annulment can range from 70,000 pesos (approximately 1,600 USD) to 120,000 pesos (approximately 2,700 USD). One should be careful to ensure the hiring of an actual certified lawyer as there are many people in the Philippines that will offer to handle the annulment quickly for a larger amount of money, but in fact will most likely do nothing or come back with reasons why they need a little more money and time.

The time it takes to complete the annulment process is another non-exact amount.  This will depend on the talent and abilities of the lawyer as well as the court schedules.  The time can be from 6 months to 4 years for an uncontested annulment case (when the spouse does not show up in court) depending on the availability of witnesses, custody of children or property issues to name a few.  If the spouse does appear and any issues are contested then it may take even longer.

In order to ensure things stay on track and get accomplished it is important to frequently follow up with your lawyer.

Step 2 is to document the relationship and marital history from beginning to end. It should include a detailed description of the circumstances in which the couple first met, the relationship after marriage and details of separation and end of the relationship.

Chapter 3: Void and Voidable Marriages of Executive Order 209 (The Family Code of the Philippines) describes the conditions of which a marriage may be invalid from the start and/or become voidable after the marriage in Articles 35 through 44.

Article 45 of Chapter 3 states that a marriage may be annulled for any of the following causes, existing at the time of the marriage:

(1) That the party in whose behalf it is sought to have the marriage annulled was eighteen years of age or over but below twenty-one, and the marriage was solemnized without the consent of the parents, guardian or person having substitute parental authority over the party, in that order, unless after attaining the age of twenty-one, such party freely cohabited with the other and both lived together as husband and wife;

(2) That either party was of unsound mind, unless such party after coming to reason, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;

(3) That the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such party afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;

(4) That the consent of either party was obtained by force, intimidation or undue influence, unless the same having disappeared or ceased, such party thereafter freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;

(5) That either party was physically incapable of consummating the marriage with the other, and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable; or

(6) That either party was afflicted with a sexually-transmissible disease found to be serious and appears to be incurable.

Psychological Incapacity is commonly used in the Philippines as grounds for an annulment and is covered in Article 36 of the Family Code.

Step 3 is the psychological evaluation process. The person filing the annulment must undergo a psychological evaluation. Your lawyer can recommend a psychologist/psychiatrist to conduct the evaluation and be a witness in court. The evaluation may cost from 15,000 pesos to as high as 40,000 pesos. This may or may not include an appearance in court fee.  Frequently these fees are included in the attorneys initial fee, be sure to ask.

Step 4 is for the lawyer to draft and file the petition, which the requesting party must sign, with the court system.   Once filed, the case will be assigned to a branch of the Regional Trial Court. The non-filing spouse will then be notified by summons to answer the petition within a number of days from receipt of the summons.

Collusion of marriage is when both parties agree to file an annulment. This will be investigated by a public prosecutor that is assigned to the court and will be asked to determine if the parties involved are conspiring to file a case.  Collusion – mutually agreed-upon separation – is not an acceptable condition and will result in a dismissal of the annulment petition.

Once the case goes to trial witnesses will be called that normally includes the petitioning party, a corroborating witness (who knew the couple and what happened to the marriage), and the psychologist who will testify on the evaluation made. Questions will also be asked by the public prosecutor representing the Government.

At the completion of the trial the case is then submitted for a decision. This may take 90 days or more.

Note: The presence of the non-filing spouse at the trial is not required.  In fact, in the majority of annulment proceedings the non-filing spouse does not participate at all.  This actually makes the process faster as there is no need for questioning the non-filing spouse or their witnesses.

Disclaimer:  The information above provided by Olvis, the Immigration, Visa and Travel Experts in the Philippines, is for informational purposes only as we strive to assist our customers as best we can and in no way should be construed as actual legal advice.