In today’s world, it’s easy to meet people from all over the world with a simple click of a mouse, and more people resort to the Internet to find love. But when a relationship becomes more serious, borders between countries and bureaucratic regulations can become obstacles for those couples who want to stay together permanently and get married.
For example, when a Philippine citizen wants to travel to the United States to marry his partner, he or she needs to get a specific type of visa to enter the country.
This article summarizes the two most common types of visas required for those Filipino nationals who plan to travel to the United States with the purpose of marrying a U.S. citizen. It also provides detailed steps and requirements that need to be met by Filipino nationals in order to get these visas.
What is a CR1/IR1 Visa and How Do I Get One?
A CR1 (conditional resident) is a type of a visa that is issued in situations where a couple has been married for less than two years. The IR1 visa is similar, except it is intended for those applicants who have been married to a U.S. citizen for over two years.
Although these two types of visas are based on the same concept, there are slight differences. For example, if you have been married less than two years, or if the Philippine citizen wants to join his/her spouse in the U.S., they need a CR1 visa. If a couple has been married for more than two years, a Philippine citizen should apply for an IR1 visa.
The Process of Applying for a C1/IR1 Visa
- Fill out the application and send it to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The application form is available online on the USCIS website and also comes with detailed instructions.
- Wait for a Notice of Action to inform you when the USCIS has received your request. Wait for a second notice that will tell you whether your application has been approved or denied.
- Your petition will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) that will collect appropriate fees and documents.
- The Embassy will provide your next steps which typically include a Filipino citizen taking a medical exam and coming for an interview in the U.S. Embassy. Upon the successful completion of these steps, a Filipino citizen will have to pay appropriate fees and be issued a visa.
- Once this procedure is complete, a Filipino citizen will have six months to arrive in the United States. A green card will arrive in the mail to a permanent residency within a certain frame specified by the U.S. Embassy.
Processing Time for CR1 Visa: Philippines
As of 2021, it takes an average of 10 months to complete the entire process from filing an application to getting a CR1 visa.
Keep in mind that there are many external factors that could affect the processing time of your application. They include application revisions, overall office workload, U.S. immigration policy changes, and emergency events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and political conflicts. Your application process also could be subject to longer wait times caused by changes in the diplomatic relationships between the United States and the Philippines.
Plan accordingly and make sure to allocate enough time for your application process.
While waiting for a visa approval can be tough and emotionally draining for many couples, you can always check your application status at the USCIS website. Additionally, you can also contact a USCIS officer by submitting an online form, if your application is taking longer than the average amount of time listed on the USCIS website.
CR 1 Visa Cost: Philippines
Here’s a quick snapshot of the fees required for the CR 1 visa for Filipino citizens.
- USCIS Filing Fee: $560
- USCIS Immigrant Fee: $190
- NVC Fee: $445
Total cost: $1,195
Additional fees include medical exams (typically around $200), travel expenses for interviews in the U.S. Embassy, and attorney fees as many applicants require legal assistance to complete the application, which can be anywhere between $750-2,000.
What is a K1 Visa and How Do I Get One?
The K1 visa is often referred to as the fiancé visa because its purpose is to grant a foreign spouse entrance into the United States for the purpose of marriage.
The process of applying for a K1 is similar to that of the CR1/IR1, however, there are some differences.
The Requirements for Applying for a K1 Visa
The U.S. citizen has to fill out the application and meet a number of requirements:
- Be a legal U.S. citizen
- Intend to marry his/her Filipino fiancee within 90 days after their arrival to the United States. A U.S. citizen also must sign letter guaranteeing that they are going to do that
- Must have met his/her fiancé at least once within the last 2 years. The USCIS does not consider electronic communication such as email, Skype, WhatsApp or any other video chat applications valid for this application
- Have a steady income that can support the couple and others in the household (generally the threshold is around $18,000 a year which exceeds Federal Poverty Level Guidelines, however that amount could also depend on a specific state)
- In addition a Filipino citizen has to be legally “free to wed,” if he or she has been previously divorced. This can be especially tricky because of the divorce laws in the Philippines, so if your fiancé has been divorced, you need to make sure that the Philippine government recognizes it.
The Process of Acquiring a K1 Visa
The process for acquiring a K1 Visa is similar to that of the CR1/IR1:
- Apply with the I-129F visa application and send it to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Wait for a Notice of Action when the USCIS has received your request and a second notice informing you whether you have been approved or denied.
- The accepted petition will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) that will collect the appropriate fees and documents.
- The U.S. Embassy will receive your petition and will notify you about appropriate steps which includes providing appropriate documents and passing a preliminary background check completed, taking a medical exam and having an interview in the U.S. Embassy.
- Upon successfully completing the instructions, the foreign spouse must attend an interview in the U.S. Embassy within the Philippines.
- Once this procedure is complete, a Filipino citizen will have six months to arrive in the United States. A green card will arrive in the mail to his or her permanent residency within a certain frame specified by the U.S. Embassy.
Before starting an application, make sure that you have all necessary paperwork, because forgetting even one document could significantly delay the entire process.
In addition, avoid rehearsing your interview. Many couples stress about the process, however, an immigration officer wants to hear genuine answers rather than carefully rehearsed statements to see that you want to be with your fiancé because you love him/her. A well-rehearsed interview with canned answers could raise questions from an immigration officer.
Processing Time for K1 Visa: Philippines
It can take 8-10 months or longer from filing to completion of the I-129F, and a 4-6 months window to receive notice of the interview before the visa arrives.
The same factors that affect the CR1 visa program could also come into play during the K1 Visa application: application revisions, overall office workload, U.S. immigration policy changes and emergency events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, political conflicts. Your application process also could be subject to longer wait times caused by changes in the diplomatic relationships between the United States and the Philippines.
K1 Visa Cost: Philippines
- USCIS Filing Fee: $560
- Embassy Fee: $265
Total cost: $775
Similar to the CR1 visa, K1 visa application process could also require additional expenses such as medical exam (typically around $200), travel expenses for interviews at the U.S. Embassy, and attorney fees as many applicants require legal assistance to complete the application, which can be anywhere between $750-2,000.
Marriage Visa Helper is not affiliated with any government agency. Mariage Visa Helper does not offer any official government forms. You can get free blank immigration forms directly from the USCIS website with detailed instructions on how to fill them. Marriage Visa Helper is not a law firm nor does Marriage Visa Helper practice law in any of the US states or any Province within the Philippines.Marriage Visa Helper and its writers do not claim any special knowledge or expertise in immigration law. Marriage Visa Helper exists solely as a supplemental source of information for users seeking more information about immigration from the Philippines to the United states. Marriage Visa Helper curates content from various sources about US to Philippines Immigration and produces content such as articles, blog posts and newsletters for its users. Marriage Visa Helper also produces content about international dating specific to the US and Philippines, as it is relevant to certain immigration types and we believe a related topic.