Our experience with the K1 Visa process

This is an account of the process I had encountered in bringing my wife here on a K1 fiancee visa from the Philippines to the United States. Some of the things required for the filing of the K1 visa are: airline ticket stubs showing that you have traveled there in the last year, 10 pictures of you together (5 for each of you), written letters showing your relationship and some proposal of marriage.
In addition to showing proof of the relationship, you will have to also show that you can financially support your fiancee. Keep all of this documentation handy as you will need it again to file for adjustment of status after you are married.

The financial affidavit that you prepare will have to be sent to your fiancee in the Philippines before she has her interview at the embassy. The financial affidavit requires that you can show 3 years of income tax returns with a gross income of at least 125% of the poverty level. This number varies from year to year and may vary from state to state. If you cannot show 3 years, you must provide a letter explaning why, and you may be able to show assets. If you cannot show either then you may get a co-sponsor that can show the required income.

Also, your wife will need to get her passport, and at least 4 copies of her authenticated birth certificate. Make sure she has information correct on the authenticated birth certificate as it can take up to 2 months to make a correction. You will need this authenticated birth certificate for her to get her passport. She will need her passport before the interview at the embassy. While you are at it, make sure your wife has a vaild drivers license that will not be expiring for at least another year. She will be able to trade this in for a 1 year international license once she is in the states. If it is expired then she will not be able to do this, because it requires a non-expired license. Getting your license renewed requires your physical presence in the Philippines.

Before your wife gets her interview she will be sent a packet of information to fill out. If there is an option to state that she will work in the packet, please check this. Also if given the option to apply for a Social Security number check this also as it will save you time later. She will also be scheduled for a full medical exam. The medical exam in the Philippines usually occurs at St Lukes, and it costs around $120 USD. They will give her all the reuired vaccines and chest x-rays at this exam.

Make sure that your wife checks the spelling on the visa at the interview, and has it corrected. A misspelled name is more paper work to deal with later on. Also make sure that if your wife has been married before, that she has went through the proper divorce paperwork as they will know and will not grant her a visa.

Once she is granted a visa it will be valid for 180 days. However, when she enters the states, it will be stamped for 90 days. You have 90 days to get married and file for adjustment of status. The will put a I-94 form in her visa that will be required for this process. Also make sure she brings extra copies of her authenticated birth certificate as she will need these for filing for the adjustment of status (green card form I-485) after the wedding.

Also note, on the back of the I94 form in the attached to the passport, there is a stamp for work authorization. This will allow you to get a Social Security number needed for a US drivers license and to work. If you can apply for this in the packet you bring to the interview at the Embassy, it saves alot of time.  Do not wait to file for a Social Security card.  We made the mistake of waiting till 2 weeks before the date on the I-94 and were denied the ability to file due to bureauucracy.   We had to wait another 3 months for her work authorization before we could get a Social Security number.  Without a social security number, it is almost impossible to get a drivers license in most states.

Also once you are married, you will file for a EAD card (Work Authorization Card) this will give your fiancee something to do during the day while you are at work if you are not retired. To get this card, it takes about 90 days processing time, and the filing is done with the adjustment of status filed after the wedding.

There are a few other forms that need to be files that include a finger printing form that requires 2 copies of two forms. One filled out for you and One filled out for your wife. Then you have to sign one of hers and she one of yours. There are filiing fees for all these forms. I hired a lawyer to help me with the whole process.

The time of waiting for the temporary green card as of this writing was about 12 months from filing. That card is only good for 2 years once you get it. 90 days before it expires, you have to apply for a permanent card. 90 days before you have had your permanent card for 1 year you can file for citizenship.  If you divorce before your asawa has received their permanent green card, then your asawa will not be able to get a permanent card, and they will no longer have a legal status in the United States.
One other thing to note, you will need a new financial affidavit for the green card interview.  Please keep copies of all the initial affidavits as you will need some of the information again.

I hope this has helped many of you. Make sure you get your wife a Social Security number, and make sure she can get a license her. She will need some work. If you are fortunate to live in the Northeast where it snows and she comes here in the winter, be prepared for some difficult times. She will not want to go out in the cold, and you better have some work to keep her busy. It is tough being away from home and your family. Every Filipino I know has gone through some tough times when first coming here. I was fortunate to find some Filipinos close by that we made friends with. God Bless