Integrity Legal

5th August 2010

This blog routinely discusses both the US Marriage Visa and the US fiance visa as these are popular travel documents for the loved ones of Americans Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents. The Fiancee visa is generally referred to as the K1 visa while many refer to the US Marriage Visa as the K3 Visa. Strictly speaking, this is not the correct appellation as the K3 Visa is a special non-immigrant marriage visa that has been phased out through the National Visa Center’s use of “Administrative Closure”.

Those who file for a classic US marriage visa are likely to have noted that the petition was sent to a “lockbox” of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). These “lockboxes” are used to receive documentation. In a way, they are something of a clearinghouse for visa petitions as they receipt the petitions in, assign them a number, and forward the file on to the appropriate service center.

In the recent past, this was not the way in which I-129f visa petitions were submitted to USCIS. In the past, the petitioner would submit the petition directly to the appropriate service center. However, a recent announcement from USCIS confirmed that this will no longer be the procedure for filing petitions for an American fiance visa. To quote directly from the USCIS press release:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced a change in filing location instructions and addresses for the Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) (Form I-129F). The new instructions, dated 6/14/10, are part of an overall effort to transition the intake of forms from Service Centers to USCIS Lockbox facilities. Centralizing form and fee intake to a Lockbox environment allows USCIS to provide customers with more efficient and effective initial processing of applications/petitions and fees.

Many feel that utilization of a “lockbox” facility will help streamline the adjudication process for fiancee visa petitions. Every year, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service processes a large number of fiance visa petitions. The caseload is currently rather bifurcated as these petitions are sent directly to a service center (currently there is one service center in Vermont and one in California). However, this method is rather cumbersome. Hopefully, by receiving all I-129f petitions in one centralized facility the process will be streamlined and made more efficient as cases can be sent to the service center with the capacity to handle the caseload.

For more about USCIS processing of K1 visa petitions please see: processing times.


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