Integrity Legal

28th Feb 2010

In a recent posting on this blog we discussed a recent internal rule change at the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC announced that effective February 1, 2010 they will no longer process I-129f petitions for marriage visa benefits if the underlying I-130 petition arrives prior to, or at the same time as, the supplemental I-129f petition. There are those who are wondering what impact this will have upon visa seekers. For those seeking a K-3 visa, the impact of this recent announcement is very important because in many cases, the NVC will require couples to seek immigrant spouse visas such as the IR-1 visa and the CR-1 visa rather than the expedited K3 visa. However, some may be confused about how this new rule will impact those seeking a fiance visa.

In order to obtain a fiance visa, the US Citizen must file an I-129f petition for a K1 visa. If the initial petition is approved, then it will be forwarded to the National Visa Center for a security clearance. After a security clearance, it will be forwarded to the US Embassy or US Consulate with proper jurisdiction. Confusion may arise because some may be placed under the mistaken impression that the I-129f petition will be administratively closed by NVC in a fiance visa case. This is not the truth, as administrative closures of I-129f petitions are only to happen in the context of applications for the K3 visa and not the K1 visa. This recent rule change will likely have no impact upon the K1 visa process as the rule is designed to change the K3 visa process exclusively.

One upshot of this recent development is that the resources that NVC was expending in processing I-129f petitions for K-3 visas may be diverted to processing Immigrant visas or K1 visas. That being said, it is this author’s opinion that the K1 visa process is quite efficient and NVC usually takes very little time to process K1 visa applications. In most cases where the visa application is to be processed by the US Embassy Thailand, there is a two week waiting time between I-129f petition approval by USCIS and the forwarding of the file from NVC to the US Embassy. By most people’s estimate, this is a reasonable period of time to wait. In the case of Immigrant visas, the NVC processing time is considerably longer as the NVC requires more documentation in Immigrant visa matters compared to non-immigrant visa cases.

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