How does one apply for a K-1 visa ?
A Filipino fiancé(e) needs an approved I-129F petition to apply for a “K-1” visa. Only a U.S. citizen may file the I-129F / fiancé(e) petition. This must be done at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in the United States that has jurisdiction over the place where the U.S. citizen resides.
What are the documents a K-1 applicant needs to submit?
A fiancé(e) is considered an intending immigrant and therefore must present basically the same documents as those required for an immigrant visa applicant. These include: a valid Philippine passport; a copy of the applicant’s birth certificate issued by the National Statistics Office (NSO) and printed on NSO security paper; legal documents proving the termination of a previous marriage; NBI clearance; police certificates from all foreign countries where the applicant lived for at least six months after the age of 16; evidence of the relationship with the petitioner; evidence of financial support; a medical examination completed by St. Luke’s Medical Center Extension Clinic and visa photographs.
Can an applicant request an earlier visa appointment?
If an applicant wishes to advance the visa interview appointment, he/she should write the Embassy or call the Immigrant Visa Call Center to request an earlier appointment. Requests for earlier appointments are granted only if there is a space available.
How much time is given to complete the K-1 visa application?
A K-1 petition is valid for six months from the date of its approval. But this may be revalidated by a consular officer provided that both parties are still legally free to marry. Your beneficiary should gather all the necessary documents for the visa interview appointment as soon as possible after the petitioner receives his approval notice from USCIS.
Does the “K-1” visa grant an immigrant status and entitle the Filipino fiancé(e) to a green card?
No, it does not. The K-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, which allows the holder to stay in the United States on a temporary basis. After the marriage takes place, the alien spouse must file with the USCIS to obtain conditional permanent residence status. The Filipino spouse may apply for removal of the conditional status and become a lawful permanent resident three months before the second anniversary of the issuance of her green card.
What should the Filipino fiancé(e) do upon entry into the United States?
The Filipino fiancé(e) has 90 days from admission into the United States to marry his/her petitioner. The K-1 visa does not allow the bearer to marry anyone other than the petitioner. After the marriage, the couple must contact the USCIS to register for conditional permanent resident status for the Filipino spouse. Contact the USCIS in the United States for further information regarding the K-1 visa bearer’s status while in the United States.
Can the K-1 visa be used to travel in and out of the United States?
No. The K-1 visa is a single-entry visa, which means that the K-1 bearer who leaves the United States without changing marital and immigration status will not be able to re-enter the country on the same visa. A new petition and visa would be required
What are the main reasons a K-1 visa is denied?
K-1 applications are subject to the same review standards as immigrant visa applications. The main reasons for visa refusal are: lacking documentation; need to review or verify evidence; lack of a petitionable relationship; misrepresentation of the facts; medical concerns; criminal grounds and potential public charge.
A common basis for refusal is a prior marriage for the beneficiary or the petitioner that has not been legally terminated. There is no divorce in the Philippines. A consular officer will only accept a death certificate or a court ruling of annulment or of presumptive death as evidence that a Filipino marriage has been terminated. An American may terminate a Filipino marriage through a U.S. divorce.
Can family members of the Filipino fiancé(e) be included in the petition?
Only the unmarried, minor children (below 21 years old) of the Filipino fiancé(e) can be included in the K-1 petition. They are eligible to apply for a K-2 visa. If they are unable to depart with their Filipino parent, children who are named in the petition have one year (from the time the K-1 visa is issued) to be issued K-2 visas. They must apply for visas in a timely manner to allow visa issuance within the required time. Otherwise, the children will no longer be able to derive any immigration benefit from their parent’s K-1 visa and new immigrant visa petitions need to be filed on their behalf.
Can the Filipino fiancé(e) work in the U.S. with a K-1 visa?
Yes. When the fiancé(e) enters the United States he/she will be eligible to apply for a work permit with the USCIS.
What fees are involved in obtaining a K visa?
There is a $350.00 non-refundable application/processing fee for each K visa applicant. This fee is payable in U.S. dollars or its current peso equivalent. This is paid at an accredited branch of the Bank of the Philippine Islands. The required medical examination costs are U.S. U.S. $213.35 for adults (15 years and older) and U.S. $185.35 for children (under 15 years of age).
What if the fiancé(e) must delay their arrival in the U.S.?
The K-1 visa is valid for a maximum of four months from issuance. If the visa bearer is unable to leave for the United States immediately and the visa expires, a new one may be issued upon written request to the Embassy.
Where can I find additional information?
For general visa information about K-1, K-2, or IR1/CR1 visas visit or call:
The USCIS website U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
The Embassy’s Immigrant Visa Information Call Center in Manila at 1-909-101-7878. Callers in the USA can also contact the Call Center at 1-888-877-9888. There is a fee charged to callers by the Call Center for its services. You may call Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Cost is about 53 pesos per minute. This number can be reached from the Philippines using a PLDT or SMART telephone line with NDD access.
The State Department’s National Visa Center in New Hampshire can be reached at (603) 334-0700. The NVC handles petitions before they are sent to the Embassy in Manila.
Information about immigrant visa petitions is available at:
The US Embassy Manilawebsite and the Department of Homeland Security office at the Embassy in Manila, Window 44 (open Monday to Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Tel. no: (632) 301-2000, Ext. 2224).
Information regarding the “Affidavit in Lieu of a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage” is available from the Embassy’s American Citizen Services Unit at (632) 301-2000, Ext. 4106.