Apply for a U.S. Visa
in the Philippines
Immigrant Visa Information
In general, a person who wishes to immigrate to the United States must have a petition approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before applying for an immigrant visa. The petition is filed either by a relative or a potential employer at a USCIS office in the United States. Specific information about filing immigrant petitions is available on the USCIS website. An individual with an approved petition and a priority date that is current for processing is eligible to apply for an immigrant visa or K nonimmigrant visa.
The U.S. Embassy in Manila has a USCIS office that accepts and adjudicates U.S. immigration benefits filed by residents of: The Philippines, New Guinea, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Wallis, Futuna, New Caledonia, Pitcairn Island, Overseas French territories of French Polynesia, and most island nations in the Pacific region that are not covered by the other Field Offices in the Bangkok District. For information on how to contact USCIS Manila and to learn more about the services they provide, please click here.
- A beneficiary of an approved Form I-130 petition must apply for the appropriate immigrant visa under the Family-Sponsored (IR or F) categories. The Form I-130 is filed by a relative who is either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (LPR) at a USCIS office in the United States. In certain cases where the sponsoring U.S. citizen resides in the Philippines, the I-130 petition may be filed at the USCIS office at the Embassy in Manila.
- A beneficiary of an approved Form I-140 petition must apply for the appropriate immigrant visa under the Employment-Based (E) category. The prospective U.S. employer files the I-140 petition and must obtain a certification from the U.S. Department of Labor that states that there are no qualified workers available in the United States for the proposed employment.
- For the Special Immigrant visa category, with the exception of a qualified current or former U.S. Government employee, an applicant needs an approved I-360 petition from the USCIS. Special workers in a religious occupation or vocation, qualified U.S. government employees, Amerasians and widowers of American citizens fall under this classification.
- Certain individuals may qualify under the visa lottery system. For more information, please visit the diversity visa website at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov.
- Investors must file a Form I-526 petition with the USCIS.
- A spouse or fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen may apply for a nonimmigrant K visa with an approved I-129F petition. The K visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows beneficiaries to join their petitioners sooner. Persons who enter the United States with K visa must apply at USCIS to change their status from a nonimmigrant to a lawful permanent resident (LPR).
Required Documents for Visa Applications
When a beneficiary is eligible to apply for an immigrant or fiancé(e) visa (that is, the priority date becomes current and all the pre-processing requirements have been met), the National Visa Center (NVC) queues the beneficiary for a visa interview. The NVC will send the applicant a packet with the visa interview appointment date, information, the application forms and a list of required documents. It is important that visa applicants submit all documentary requirements to NVC so they are "documentarily qualified" for the visa interview; otherwise, they will be found ineligible for visa issuance and be asked to return to the Embassy for another appointment. The basic documents that an applicant must submit are:
- PASSPORT: Each visa applicant must have a passport valid for at least six (6) months from the time of the visa issuance. Filipino citizens can apply for a passport at the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of Consular Affairs (DFA-OCA), Aseana Business Park, Bradco Avenue corner Macapagal Boulevard, Paranaque City. Applicants may set an appointment by going on line at www.passport.com.ph or call 02-737-1000.
- DS-230 Parts I and II: Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Forms. These forms are sent to applicants along with their appointment letters. Each family member applying for an immigrant visa is required to complete these forms.
- BIRTH CERTIFICATE: Each visa applicant must have a birth certificate issued by the National Statistics Office (NSO) on security paper. Copies are needed for principal applicants and derivative family members and petitioners who were born in the Philippines. You may call the NSO Information Center at (02) 737-1111 or visit their e-census webpage to inquire about how to secure a birth certificate. If the NSO does not have a copy of the birth certificate, you must obtain a statement about its unavailability from the NSO and a certified birth certificate from the local registrar in the town where you were born.
- NBI CLEARANCE: Applicants aged 16 years and older must have a valid Record Clearance for Travel Abroad Purposes from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). Clearances should be in the applicant’s current name, birth certificate name, maiden name, married name, and any aliases or nicknames ever used, including different spellings of all names ever used. An official letter of explanation from the NBI is required for any notation of “No criminal record”, "No pending criminal case” or “With derogatory record.” For immigration purposes, an NBI clearance is considered valid only for one year from the date it is issued. The NBI Clearance Center is located at 5th Floor, Victory Central Mall, Old Victory Compound, Rizal Avenue, Monumento, Caloocan City. You may contact NBI at (632) 523-82-31 to 38. The NBI web site is http://www.nbi.gov.ph.
POLICE CERTIFICATES: A police certificate is required from a country in which the applicant lived for more than one year (six months if you are applying for a K visa) after turning 16 years of age. As with NBI clearances, foreign police certificates should be obtained in any maiden names, married names, aliases or nicknames ever used while in the country in question, including different spellings of all names ever used. Information on how to secure police certificates from countries where these are available may be obtained by contacting U.S. Embassy Manila’s Immigrant Visa Branch or an Embassy of the country from which the police certificate is required.
The State Department's Visa Office offers online information on the availability of country documents (including police certificates) through its Country Document Finder. Click on the letter that begins the country name, select the country and scroll down to "Documents".
- MARRIAGE RECORDS (if applicable): For Philippine marriages, the copy of the marriage certificate must be printed on National Statistics Office (NSO) security paper. If the marriage ended by divorce, annulment, disappearance or death of the spouse, legal and/or civil documentation must be presented attesting to the termination of the marriage (annulment decree, death certificate issued by NSO and printed on security paper, a foreign divorce decree, or foreign death certificate).
- MILITARY RECORD: Applicants who have served in the military should present a certified copy of their military records.
- SUPPORTING EVIDENCE OF IDENTITY AND/OR RELATIONSHIP: Applicants should be prepared to submit documents that further establish their identity and/or their relationship with the petitioner or the principal applicant. Six (6) or more photographs with family members together, taken over a period of time, may help to establish the existence of a relationship. Personal correspondence, home telephone records, bank records, proof of joint property ownership and/or joint financial obligations, original baptismal records, medical records and adoption decrees are often useful.
EVIDENCE OF FINANCIAL SUPPORT
Form I-864 Affidavit of Support (AOS): The I-864 AOS is required for visa applicants in the IR, F and certain E visa categories, and follow-to-join derivative family members of employment-based (E) applicants complete with copies of your sponsor’s latest U.S. Federal income tax return (ITR) and wage statements (Form W-2s). Please note that your petitioner must provide an Affidavit of Support, even if they do not meet the income requirements and even if a joint sponsor’s Affidavit of Support will be providing all of the actual financial support.
The I-864 AOS is NOW VALID INDEFINITELY ONCE IT HAS BEEN SIGNED (this is a change from the previous requirement of being valid for one year). In other words, applicants will no longer need to submit a new I-864 AOS or new tax forms due to long processing delays between the date of the signature of the I-864 AOS and the date of the interview. However, applicants may be asked by the consular officer, if they are needed.
Additionally, petitioners (or joint sponsors, if needed) filing an I-864 AOS are required to submit ONLY ONE YEAR'S TAX RETURN, THE MOST RECENT AVAILABLE AS OF THE DATE THE SUBMITTED I-864 AOS WAS SIGNED (this is a change from the previous requirement of submitting tax returns from the three most recent tax years).
The actual signed I-864 AOS must be an original copy. However, faxed copies of tax returns are acceptable. The tax return or copy should be signed.
- Form I-864EZ Affidavit of Support: A sponsor may use the shorter form I-864EZ in place of Form I-864 if all of the following applies:
- The sponsor is the visa petitioner (who filed the Form I-130 petition);
- There is no need for a joint sponsor or a Form I-864A;
- The affidavit of support is filed on behalf of only one intending immigrant;
- The sponsor is seeking to qualify based on the sponsor's own income alone (not on the basis of assets);
- All of the sponsor's income being counted on the AOS is shown on IRS Form W-2.
Form I-134 Affidavit of Support: The I-134 Affidavit of Support is required for returning residents (SB-1), fiancé(e)s or spouses of U.S. citizens (K1, K3), children of K1 and K3 applicants, spouses and children of lawful permanent residents (LPRs), and applicants with special immigrant status. A copy of the sponsor's most recent Federal income tax return (Form 1040) should accompany the I-134. Faxed copies of the ITR are acceptable.
- VISA PHOTOGRAPHS: Three (3) colored photographs printed according to specifications, provided in the visa application packet.
- EMPLOYMENT BASED APPLICANTS require the following additional documents:
- Official Job Offer with the salary stated from the potential U.S. employer, issued less than one (1)year prior to visa application
- Visa Screen Certificate (for nurses and physical therapists)
- Old and current professional identification cards.
- CERTIFICATE OF NO MARRIAGE RECORD (CENOMAR). If you have never contracted a marriage, a CENOMAR (Singleness) issued by the National Statistics Office (NSO) and printed on NSO security paper should be submitted. You may call the NSO Information Center at 02-737-1111 to inquire on securing a CENOMAR or visit their web site at http://www.census.gov.ph.
Immigrant and "K" Visa Applicant Appointment Packets: You may download the appropriate appointment package by clicking here.
Any document not in English must be accompanied by an English translation. A competent translator must certify the translations.
Consular officers may require additional documentation to adjudicate your application.
Consular officers may ask to see originals of documents. The applicant may submit a photocopy of a document along with the visa application, but should bring the original document for the officer’s inspection.
All visa applicants, regardless of age, need to complete a medical examination at the St. Luke’s Medical Center Extension Clinic (SLMCEC) before the visa interview. Applicants are advised to have their medical examinations done at least one (1) week before their interview appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Manila.?
SLMCEC is located at 1177 J. Bocobo Street, Ermita, Manila. They can be reached by telephone at (632) 521-0020 and (632) 521-8647. SLMCEC is open from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. It is best to arrive for your medical examination between 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. Applicants are served on a first come, first served basis, but the order of release of the medical reports will depend on the complexity of the results of the medical examination.
What is the cost of the medical examination at SLMCEC?
- The medical exam fee is U.S. $213.35 for adults (15 years and older) and U.S. $185.35 for children (under 15 years of age).
- SLMCEC does not accept credit card or dollar payments. The fees must be paid in Philippine pesos at the prevailing exchange rate.
What is the validity of the medical examination?
Medical examinations are generally valid for six (6) months.
Will chest x-rays be required?
- Children younger than 15 years old will not need a chest X-ray or serological test unless required by the doctor, but will instead undergo a Tuberculin Skin Test.
- According to the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), chest X-rays for pregnant women are not dangerous if taken with the proper shielding.
- If you have had previous X-rays, please bring them along for a comparative study.
What should I bring to my medical examination?
- Appointment letter sent by the National Visa Center or an e-mail print out of your appointment from the Visa Information and Appointment Service.
- Appropriate medical examination fee.
- Passport (valid for at least six  months)
- Two (2) colored pictures (2 inches x 2 inches) with a white background
What happens after I have my medical examination?
- The medical report, passport and visa pictures are normally submitted by SLMCEC to the U.S. Embassy in Manila. In most cases, only the chest x-ray film and immunization form are given to the applicants in the SLMCEC releasing section.
- The medical examination usually takes two to three working days to process, but can extend up to a few months if there are required tests that need to be completed.
What do I do if I miss my interview appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Manila because of prolonged and/or additional tests conducted by SLMCEC?
Upon the release of your medical report, SLMCEC will give you information on how to schedule your appointment.
NEW IMMIGRANT VISA FEES EFFECTIVE JULY 13, 2010
|Immigrant Visa Fees||Previous Fee||New Fee|
|Immediate relative and family preference cases||$355||$330|
|Other immigrant visa applications:|
|Diversity Visa applicants||$355||$305|
|Special Immigrant Visa applicants||$355||$305|
|Immigrant Visa Security Surcharge||$45||$74|
|Certain Iraqi and Afghan special immigrant visa applications||No fee||No fee|
|Diversity Visa Lottery Fee||$375||$440|
|Domestic Review Affidavit of Support||$70||$88|
|Special Visa Services: Determine Returning Resident Status||$400||$380|
Immigrant visa application fees may be paid in cash, traveler's check, U.S. Postal Money Order, or major credit cards at the Embassy's consular cashier if these have not been paid already to the National Visa Center (NVC) in the U.S. Payments at the Embassy may be in U.S. dollars or in Philippine pesos at the prevailing Embassy exchange rate. Each applicant, regardless of age, will require a separate fee payment. Fees are non-refundable for applications submitted and processed.
Applicants for K visas must pay a U.S. $350 nonimmigrant visa application fee. The application fee for nonimmigrant visas must be paid prior to scheduling a visa interview appointment. For information on payments options, please Bank and Payment Options.
Medical Examination Fee:
St. Luke's Medical Center Extension Clinic (SLMCEC), the Embassy's accredited medical facility, charged U.S. $213.35 for adults (15 years and older) and U.S. $185.35 for children (under 15 years of age) for the medical examination fee.
SLMCEC does not accept credit card or dollar payments. The fees must be paid in Philippine pesos at the prevailing exchange rate.
If you missed your visa interview appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Manila because of additional medical tests, St. Luke’s, after determining that you are clear to travel, will instruct you to request a visa appointment by visiting the online appointment link on this website or by calling the new Visa Information and Appointment Service at (632) 982-5555. Callers in the U.S. should call (214) 571-1600. The Visa Information and Appointment Service is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. except on U.S. and Philippine holidays. Callers may speak with an English-, Tagalog-, Ilocano- or Cebuano-speaking operator.
COURIER DELIVERY OF ISSUED IMMIGRANT VISA
The Immigrant Visa unit uses a guaranteed courier service to deliver issued visas. 2GO commercial courier is the authorized courier service provider for the visa units. Visas are delivered directly to the applicant’s designated address at no additional cost. Applicants also have the option to pick up the visas at the nearest 2GO branch.
Change Courier Address
Applicants who have already scheduled an appointment online, but who wish to modify their courier address, can click herethe below link to proceed. Change of courier address or courier office location for collection of your passport will be accepted up until 11:59 on the day of your interview.
Return of Passports by Courier Service
If your application is approved, you will receive your passport through the 2GO courier service at the address provided when you scheduled your appointment. You have several options for tracking your passport:
Chat: Please click here to start a session with the Chat Service.
E-mail: Please write to us at email@example.com, we respond to e-mail inquiries within two working days, Monday through Friday.
Online: To track your passport status online, please click here.
Telephone: Please contact us at (632) 982-5555 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
For a list of all visa application fees and other types of visa processing fees collected by the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security, click here.
Filipino Spouses and Fiance(e)s
Love and Marriage and Migrating to the U.S.
A Practical Guide to Immigration for Filipino Spouses and Fiancé(e)s of American Citizens
U.S. citizens have a number of options to bring their Filipino spouses or fiancé(e)s and their children to the United States to become lawful permanent residents. These options fall under the IR, CR and K visa categories, each having its own set of requirements and procedures.
Bringing the Filipino Spouse to the United States
Marriage to a U.S. citizen does not automatically grant U.S. residence or citizenship to the Filipino spouse. He or she must be petitioned by the American spouse and apply for a visa to enter the United States. The Filipino spouse may enter the United States on a K-3 nonimmigrant visa, CR1 immigrant visa or IR1 immigrant visa. These three spouse based petitions are issued to qualified beneficiaries of American citizens only. Individuals who are petitioned for by lawful permanent residents do not qualify for a K3, CR or IR visa.
The IR Visa
A spouse of a U.S. citizen is considered an immediate relative (IR) and is immediately eligible to apply for an immigrant visa under the IR category. The Filipino spouse must be the beneficiary of an I-130 approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This petition must be filed at the USCIS office that has jurisdiction over the petitioner's (American spouse) place of residence. NOTE: Active-duty U.S. military personnel and other U.S Government personnel are considered domiciled in the United States while serving overseas.
Children (below 21 years of age and unmarried) of the Filipino spouse are also eligible to apply for IR visas if individual petitions are filed on their behalf by the U.S. citizen spouse. Under U.S. immigration law, only children under the age of 18 at the time their natural parent married to a U.S. citizen are considered “step-children” for immigration purpose. Children who were 18 years or older at the time of the marriage may not be petitioned as step-children. They may be petitioned by the Filipino parent after he/she becomes a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States.
Once an I-130 petition is approved, the National Visa Center (NVC) in the United States notifies the petitioner and provides guidance on how the Filipino spouse and children can apply for IR1 and IR2 visas, respectively. The NVC schedules the the applicant(s) for an interview and forwards the approved petition to the Embassy in Manila. The NVC will likewise notify the applicant(s) when they are scheduled to report for the medical examination and visa interview.
Petitioners and beneficiaries are encouraged to submit complete documentation at the earliest possible time prior to the interview appointment. Submission of incomplete documentation could result in delays with processing of the immigrant visa. For more information regarding the IR1 visa, please click here.
The USCIS website offers more information on how to petition alien spouses to live in the United States.
The CR Visa
If the basis for immigration is a marriage that was entered into less than two years prior to the date of the visa issuance and the petition that was filed is an I-130, the spouse of a U.S. citizen or the child of a U.S. citizen is classified as conditional immigrant at the time of visa issuance. The visa category for the spouse is CR1 while that of the child is CR2. For more information about CR1 visa, please click here.
The K (nonimmigrant) Visa
The K visa is a nonimmigrant visa. It does not automatically grant U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident (LPR) status to the beneficiaries. Those who qualify for K visas will be able to join their partners in the United States as a nonimmigrant, without the potentially long period of separation during the petition process. They will need to adjust their immigration status in the United States to become lawful permanent residents. K visas can be for spouses or fiancés of U.S. citizens.
The K visa for the spouse of a U.S. citizen is a “K-3”, and the visa for minor children (unmarried and below 21 years of age) of a K-3 applicant is a "K-4".
U.S. citizens who wish to bring their Filipino spouse to the United States on a K-3 visa must file both the I-129F and I-130 petitions. These petitions are filed at the USCIS office that has jurisdiction over the petitioner's place of residence.
Effective February 1, 2010, when both the I-129F and I-30 visa petitions have been approved by USCIS and sent to NVC, the I-129F is administratively closed. NVC will send the I-130 petition to the Embassy in Manila as soon as it is documentarily complete and is scheduled for an immigrant visa interview.
If no I-130 petition is received with the I-129F petition, NVC will process the I-129F petition and send to the Embassy for standard K visa processing, scheduling and adjudication.
K visa fee payment
K visa applicants, who have been notified by the Embassy to prepare for their interview, must pay the visa application fee before they can schedule a visa appointment via the online appointment website or the Visa Information and Appointment Service. There are three ways to pay the K visa application fee:
- Cash payment at any Bank of the Philippine Island (BPI) branch;
- Online payment bill option provided by BPI to their clients
- Online payment through Bancnet.
Scheduling an appointment for a K visa interview
K visa applicants may request a visa appointment by visiting the online appointment website or by calling the new Visa Information and Appointment Service at (632) 982-5555. Callers in the U.S. may contact the Call Center at (214) 571-1600. The Call Center is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. except on U.S. and Philippine holidays. Callers may speak with an English, Tagalog, Ilocano or Cebuano-speaking operator.
On the day of the visa interview and at the discretion of the adjudicating consular officer, K-3/K-4 applicants may be asked to present secondary documents to support the claimed marital relationship. These documents may include letters, photographs, joint ownership of assets, bank accounts, and telephone bills. Otherwise, the documents for a K visa application are the same as those for immigrant visa applications.
Petitioners and beneficiaries are encouraged to gather complete documentation prior the interview appointment. Submission of incomplete documentation could result in delays with processing of the K-3 visa.
Minor children of a K-3 applicant may derive immigration benefits from the same approved I-129F petition and are issued “K-4” visas. The children may apply for visas at the same time as the principal applicant parent or may be following-to-join derivatives of a K-3 applicant, even after the principal alien has acquired lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. However, the cutoff date for issuance of a K-4 visa is one year from the date of the issuance of the K-3 visa to the principal alien.
If an immigrant visa based on the I-130 petition for the spouse has already been denied, then the spouse and the spouse’s children will not qualify for a K-3 or K-4 visa, respectively.
(Note: Filipino spouses married to their petitioners for less than two years are given a conditional LPR status upon entry to the U.S. To remove the conditional status, the couple must establish the bona fides of their marital relationship).
K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa
U.S. citizens who plan to marry their Filipino fiancé(e) in the United States must file an I-129F petition with the USCIS office that has jurisdiction over the petitioner's place of residence.
Once approved, the I-129F petition is sent to NVC, which forwards it to the Embassy in Manila. The Embassy will send the Filipino fiancé(e) information on how to apply for the K-1 visa, including the medical examination and the visa interview.
K visa applicants, who have been notified by the Embassy to prepare for their interview, must pay the visa application fee before they can schedule an appointment for a visa interview. There are three ways to pay the K visa application fee:
- Cash payment at any Bank of the Philippine Island (BPI) branch;
- Online payment bill option provided by BPI to their clients
- Online payment through Bancnet.
K visa applicants may schedule an appointment for the visa interview by visiting the Visa Information and Appointment Service here or by calling (632) 982-5555. Callers in the U.S. should call (214) 571-1600. The Visa Information and Appointment Service is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. except on U.S. and Philippine holidays. Callers may speak with an English-, Tagalog-, Ilocano- or Cebuano-speaking operator.
Petitioners and beneficiaries are encouraged to gather complete documentation prior the interview appointment. Submission of incomplete documentation could result in delays with processing of the K-1 visa.
Children (unmarried and below 21 years of age) of a K-1 applicant may derive immigration benefits from the same I-129F petition and are issued “K-2” visas. Children identified in the approved I-129F petition are called “derivatives”. Derivatives may apply at the same time as the principal applicant parent or may apply later, but must be issued K-2 visas within one year from the date the K-1 visa was issued to the principal applicant parent. Derivatives who are following-to-join the principal applicant parent must apply for their K-2 visas in a timely manner to allow visa issuance within the required period.
The I-129F fiancé(e) petition is a single entry visa that is valid for six (6) months from the date of its approval. If the petition expires, a consular officer may revalidate it for another four (4) months (provided that both parties remain legally free to marry).
Application Procedures for the K Visa
STEP 1: File the Petition: File the I-129F petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office that covers your permanent place of residence. The Form I-129F is available at the Department of Homeland Security's public queries window or Window 35 at Embassy Manila. The petition must be filed in the United States.
STEP 2: USCIS approves the petition: Once the petition is approved, USCIS sends it to the National Visa Center (NVC). NVC forwards the petition to the Embassy in Manila.
NOTE: Approval of a visa petition does not necessarily mean a visa will be issued. Only a consular officer at the Embassy may determine a person’s eligibility to receive a visa.
STEP 3: The applicant is notified: When the Embassy receives the approved petition from the NVC, it notifies the applicant of the medical examination and visa interview.
K visa applicants, who have been notified by the Embassy to prepare for their interview, must pay the visa application fee before they can schedule an appointment for a visa interview. There are three ways to pay the K visa application fee:
- Cash payment at any Bank of the Philippine Island (BPI) branch;
- Online payment bill option provided by BPI to their clients
- Online payment through Bancnet.
K visa applicants may schedule an appointment for the visa interview by visiting the Visa Information and Appointment Services here or by calling (632) 982-5555. Callers in the U.S. should call (214) 571-1600. The Visa Information and Appointment Service is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. except on U.S. and Philippine holidays. Callers may speak with an English-, Tagalog-, Ilocano- or Cebuano-speaking operator.
STEP 4: Apply for the visa: After the applicant pays the non-refundable application/processing fee and completes the required medical examination at St. Luke's Medical Center Extension Clinic, he/she appears at the Embassy for the scheduled visa interview with all the required documents.
Information Regarding Immigrant Visa Refusals
The U.S. Embassy may issue a “221(g)” letter directing you to submit additional documents or information related to your visa application. Your application will be kept on hold at the Embassy until such a time as you submit those documents. All additional documents and information asked for by the Embassy in a 221(g) letter should be submitted at the nearest courier location as soon as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions About the K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa
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 a fiancé(e) petition. This is done at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office 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 documents similar to 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 (if applicable); NBI clearance; police certificates from all foreign countries where the applicant lived for at least six (6) months starting at 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. Evidence must be presented that the couple met in person within the past two years before the petition was filed.
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 contact the Visa Information and Appointment Service here or call (632) 982-5555. Callers in the U.S. may call (214) 571-1600 to request an earlier appointment. Requests for earlier appointments are granted only if there are available slots.
How much time is given to complete the K-1 visa application?
A K-1 petition is valid for six (6) 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. It is recommended to gather all the necessary documents for the visa interview appointment as soon as possible.
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 contact 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 after two years of marriage to the U.S. citizen spouse.
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. For further information, please click here
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 (1) 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 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 BPI. 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). For more information about paying application fees, please see Bank and Payment Options.
What if the fiancé(e) must delay their arrival in the U.S.?
The K-1 visa is valid for a maximum of six (6) months. 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 and the payment of another application fee of U.S. $350.
Where can I find additional information?
For general visa information about K-1, K-2, K-3, K-4 or IR-1 visas visit or call:
- The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website.
- The Embassy’s Visa Information and Appointment Service or call (632) 982-5555. Callers in the U.S. should call (214) 571-1600.
- 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 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website and the Department of Homeland Security/USCIS office at the Embassy in Manila, Window 35 (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.
|K-1 VISA||K-3 VISA||IR-1 VISA|
|Where do I file the petition?||Only in U.S.||Only in U.S.||May file abroad|
|What petition form do I file?||I-129F only||I-129F and I-130||I-130 only|
|Are there any major restrictions I should know about?||Single entry. Valid for 6 months; to marry petitioner within 90 days of entry to the United States and must adjust status.||Multiple entry. Valid for two years, but must adjust status within 2 years.||LPR status. Processing for green card begins on entry|
|Can my fiancée/fiancé or spouse take her/his children?||Yes. Only unmarried children under 21 but must be issued K-2 visa within one year of the K-1 issuance.||Yes. Only unmarried children under 21.||Yes, but separate IR-2 petitions must be filed for each child. Stepchild must be younger than 18 years old at time of parent's marriage.|
|Is an interview required?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Which Affidavit of Support do I use?||I-134||I-134||I-864|
|Does the Embassy need the original petition & documents from USCIS?||Yes.||Yes.||Yes.|
The spouse and children of a principal applicant are entitled to derive immigration benefits from their principal’s approved visa petition and may travel to the United States at a later date. Under no circumstance will the derivative spouse or child be allowed to travel to the U.S. ahead of the principal applicant.
Following-to-join applicants may derive immigration benefits only if:
- The spouse or children were acquired before the principal applicant’s admission into the United States; and
- The principal applicant gained lawful permanent resident (LPR) status or was issued an immigrant visa under the family-preference (F) or employment-based (E) visa categories or was issued a non-immigrant K or V visa. Foreign nationals who immigrated to the U.S. under an immediate relative (IR) visa category need to file a separate Form I-130 visa petition on behalf of their spouses and children.
- The principal applicant has not naturalized. Once the principal applicant becomes a U.S. citizen, a separate visa petition needs to be filed on behalf of the spouse and/or children to qualify for immigration benefits again.
Following-to-join derivative beneficiaries must present documentation establishing the principal applicant’s immigration status in the United States and their relationship to their principal. These include:
- A copy of the child’s birth certificate issued by the National Statistics Office;
- A copy of the marriage certificate issued by the National Statistics Office;
- A copy of the principal alien’s registration receipt card or I-551 or a copy of the principal alien’s passport pages indicating admission to the U.S. as an immigrant; and
- If applicable, Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition.
To register a family member as a following-to-join derivative, the above documents may be faxed to the Immigrant Visa Section at (632) 301-2591 or mailed to the Operations Unit, Immigrant Visa Branch, U.S. Embassy, 1201 Roxas Blvd., Ermita, Metro Manila 1000. The documents must come with a letter of request clearly indicating the name of the applicant(s) and the applicant(s)' contact address and telephone number.
Once the Embassy ascertains the eligibility for following-to-join derivative status, it will provide instructions on how to apply for the visas.
It is important to remember that a child is only eligible for following-to-join benefits if he or she is a child, step-child or adopted child in accordance with U.S. immigration law.
Following-to-join family members whose Principal Applicant had Adjusted Status in the U.S.
The State Department’s National Visa Center (NVC) has been processing all following-to-join (FTJ) cases for derivative family members whose principal applicant had adjusted status in the United States. All FTJ case processing for Manila, including appointment scheduling, is now done at NVC. NVC is responsible for the collection of visa processing fees and documentation in support of immigrant visa applications. Applicants may wish to submit a copy of the Form I-824 to NVC to determine the applicant’s entitlement to derivative status and initiate processing the visa application. The NVC mailing address is 32 Rochester Avenue, Portsmouth, New Hampshire 03801-2909. The NVC may be reached by email at NVCInquiry@state.gov.
Inter-country Adoption of a Child from the Philippines
The United States is now a full member of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption. The Convention governs all adoptions between the United States and the nearly 75 countries party to the Convention, including The Philippines.
The Hague Convention seeks to prevent the abduction, sale, or trafficking of children. It establishes international norms and procedures for processing inter-country adoption cases involving other Convention members, and protects the rights of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents while promoting transparency, accountability, and ethical practices among adoption service providers. For more information about the Convention, link to: http://adoption.state.gov/.
Who May be Adopted?
The Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(b)(1)(G), in part, defines "child”as:
- The child is under the age of 16 on the filing date of the petition (but see specific country requirements below).
- The child habitually resides in a Convention country.
- The U.S. citizen habitually resides in the U.S. and either adopts child in a Convention country or brings the child to a Convention country for adoption.
- Adoption abroad or custody abroad for U.S. adoption must be by the U.S. citizen and spouse jointly, or an unmarried U.S. citizen at least 25 years old as of the filing date of the petition (but see specific country requirements below).
- The child's natural parents (or parent, in the case of a child who has one sole or surviving parent because of the death, disappearance, abandonment, or desertion by the other parent), or other persons or institutions that retain legal custody of the child, have freely given their written irrevocable consent to the termination of their legal relationship with the child and to the child's emigration and adoption.
- If a child has two living natural parents, the natural parents are incapable of providing proper care for the child.
- The purpose of the adoption is to form a bona fide parent-child relationship; the child’s relationship with the natural parents has been terminated.
- In the case of a child who has not been adopted, the prospective adoptive parents must ensure that: (i) the competent authority of the foreign state has approved the child's emigration to the United States for the purpose of adoption, (ii) the prospective adoptive parents have complied with the pre-adoption requirements of the child's proposed residence, if any, and (iii) no natural parent or prior adoptive parent of the child retains, by virtue of such parentage, any right, privilege, or status in connection with the child.
- Release must be freely given and verified by the Central Authority of the child's country.
The following procedures for inter-country adoptions now apply to any citizen or couple residing in the United States who wish to adopt a child in the Philippines:
- The child must be under the age of 15.
- The adoptive parents must be at least 27 years old, and at least 16 years older than the child to be adopted.
- Adoption cases must be handled by federally accredited adoption service providers (ASP). For a list of accredited service providers, see http://adoption.state.gov/
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rules require prospective adoptive parents to identify in their initial application the country from which they plan to adopt a child.
- Form I-800A must be filed prior to Form I-800.
- The matching of the child to the parents must be made by the Central Authority of the country where the child resides.
- A consular officer must determine whether the child meets the criteria of visa eligibility before the adoption is finalized or custody is granted in the country of origin. In cases where the adoption or grant of custody has met the requirements of the Convention and the Inter-country Adoption Act, consular officers in Convention countries will issue a Hague Adoption Certificate or Hague Custody Certificate and grant a visa. New visa categories, IH-3 and IH-4, will be used in Convention adoption cases.
If you have general questions on inter-country adoption or how current adoption procedures have changed under the Convention, please visit the Department’s website, http://travel.state.gov. You may also call the Bureau of Consular Affairs in the United States at 202-736-9130. Or you may fax questions to 202-736-9080.
Steps to Adopt a Child under the Hague Convention
The prospective adoptive parents must file an Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country (I-800A) with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) office having jurisdiction over their usual place of residence (see www.uscis.gov). Adoptive parents must also submit the completed I-800A form, Supplement 1 (listing all adult members of the household), and related supplements and forms.
The filing fee is $670. An additional biometrics fingerprint fee of $80 must be paid for each person residing in the household who is 18 or older.
All Hague Convention adoption cases are processed by the USCIS National Benefits Center at the following address:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
P.O. Box 805695
Chicago, IL 60680-4118
If the adoptive parents consent for USCIS to disclose information about their case to their Adoption Service Provider (ASP), they should complete Form I-800A, Supplement 2, Consent to Disclose Information. The adoptive parents may also arrange for the ASP to submit the approval notice, the accompanying home study, and other supporting evidence to the Central Authority in the Convention country in which the parents plan to adopt.
Note: Some states require a review of the home study by state authorities prior to submission to USCIS (e.g., Alabama, Colorado, Guam, Illinois, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). In such cases, the adoptive parents may file the Form I-800A without the home study, which can be forwarded to USCIS later.
The Convention country’s Central Authority matches the prospective adoptive parents with a child. The Central Authority prepares a report that determines that: the child is adoptable, the envisaged placement is in the best interest of the child, the birth parent or legal custodian has freely consented in writing to the adoption, and no payment has been made to obtain the consent necessary for the adoption to be completed.
The adoptive parents file the Form I-800 petition with USCIS, including the Central Authority’s report on the child. Form I-800 is used to determine whether the child qualifies as a Convention adoptee. The petition is provisionally approved in accordance with USCIS regulations and forwarded to the respective U.S. Embassy via the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing.
The adoptive parents must comply with the above procedures and file the Form I-800 before they adopt or obtain legal custody of the child. Also, Form I-800 must be filed before the expiration of the notice of the approval (or extension of) Form I-800A, and before the child's 16th birthday.
Following the provisional approval by USCIS, the petition is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). NVC notifies the respective Embassy and forwards the Form I-800. The biographic data form (DS-230) and information regarding required photographs, medical report, birth certificate and visa fees are mailed to the adoptive parents. The parents, or the ASP acting on their behalf, should bring these documents to the Embassy, where the Biographic Data Form DS-230 Part II is signed in the presence of a Consular Officer. The personal appearance of the child is required.
After the Consular Officer reviews the application and determines no ineligibility exists, the Consular Officer issues a letter under Article 5 of the Hague Convention to the parents and the ASP, which must be forwarded to the Convention country's Central Authority. The letter states that the adoptive parents appear to be eligible for the adoption, and the child will most likely be authorized to enter and reside in the United States. The Intercountry Adoption Board of the Philippines (ICAB) grants temporary legal custody in accordance with the Convention.
If all Hague requirements are satisfied, the Consular Officer grants final approval of Form I-800 and issues a certificate stating that the adoption or the grant of legal custody meets the requirements of the Convention and the IAA. Finally, an immigrant visa is issued to the child. At this point, the adoption process is complete and the adoptive parents may return to the U.S. with their child.
ICAB monitors the case for six months. If the parent-child relationship appears to be thriving and all requirements are met, the ICAB will notify the parents that they may finalize the adoption. Once the adoption is complete, ICAB issues a Certificate of Conformity of Intercountry Adoption.
If you have general questions on inter-country adoption or how current adoption procedures have changed under the Convention, call the Bureau Office of Consular Affairs in the United States at 1-888-407-4747/ 202-501-4444. Or you may fax questions to 202-736-9080.
U.S. Department of State
Office of Children’s Issues
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
AskCI@state.gov (General Questions)
AdoptionUSCA@state.gov (Hague Adoption Convention Questions)
1-888-407-4747 (From the U.S. or Canada)
1-202-501-4444 (Outside the U.S. or Canada)
Domestic Adoptions (Not for Immigration Purposes)
U.S. citizens residing in the Philippines who are interested in adopting a Filipino child through the Philippine Courts must meet the following conditions pursuant to Philippine adoption law:
- Be resident in the Philippines for at least three (3) years prior to the filing of the adoption petition and maintain such residence until the adoption decree is entered by the Philippine court. The residency requirement is met if at least one of the prospective adoptive parents is Filipino.
- Possess a certification of legal capacity to adopt issued by the appropriate government agency from your state of residence.
- A former Filipino citizen who seeks to adopt a relative within the fourth degree of consanguinity, as defined under Philippines law; or
- A person who seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of his/her Filipino spouse
IMPORTANT NOTICE TO PARENTS ABOUT DOMESTIC ADOPTIONS
U.S immigration law has clear and specific provisions regarding qualifications for immigration. If you are attempting to bring someone who is not your child by birth, the following conditions must be met before that child is eligible for an immigrant visa:
- The child must have been legally adopted before the age of 16 (or be the sibling of a child who was adopted by the same parents while under the age of 18). The adoption must be legal and final. Simply providing financially for the child does not satisfy the legal adoption requirement. To satisfy U.S. visa requirements, the child must have been legally adopted pursuant to a final decree issued by a court having jurisdiction over the matter.
- In addition to the adoption decree, there are two additional requirements that must be met to be eligible for a U.S. immigrant visa as the child of an American citizen:
- The adoptive parents must have had legal custody of the child for at least two years. “Legal custody” must be awarded by order of a court or recognized government entity. The start of legal custody begins the date the adoptive parents were granted legal custody of the child, or the date the adoption was finalized, whichever comes first (in the Philippines, the grant of custody is retroactive to the date the petition was filed). An informal custodial or guardianship document, such as a sworn affidavit signed before a notary public, is insufficient for this purpose.
- The child must have physically resided with the adoptive parents for at least two years prior to immigration. During this time, the adoptive parents must exercise primary parental control. Evidence must be presented to establish that the child and the adoptive parents had a bona fide parent-child relationship during any periods they resided separately.
Finally, the child must satisfy all primary documentary requirements for an immigrant visa, and provide the following documents to establish their legal status as a child of the petitioner:
- A certified copy of the adoption decree
- A certified copy of the Certificate of Finality of the adoption,
- A certified copy of the child’s original birth certificate before the adoption,
- A certified copy of the child’s birth certificate amended after the adoption,
- The legal custody decree (if custody was awarded before the adoption),
- Evidence that the child resided with the adoptive parents for at least two years, during which time they exercised primary parental control, and
- If the child was adopted at age 16 or 17 years, evidence that the child was adopted together with, or subsequent to, the adoption of a natural sibling who was under age 16 by the same adoptive parent(s).
Can visa applications be reinstated?
Immigrant visa applications that are left inactive for a year are subject to termination procedures in accordance to the provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Visa applicants are advised to be timely in their responses and action to avoid termination of their application and eventual cancellation of the visa petition.
A Notice of Termination of Registration is sent if, after one year, the beneficiary fails to:
- Apply for an immigrant visa despite official notification from the National Visa Center or the Embassy to apply or respond to Packet 3;
- Show up for the visa interview without any prior written advise; or
- Take further action on his/her visa application that had been refused under INA 221(g) or due to lack of documentation.
Beneficiaries, however, may request reinstatement of their immigrant visa applications if, within a year of the termination notice, they are able to satisfactorily explain that their failure to pursue the application was for reasons beyond their control. Otherwise, visa applications will continue to be subject to cancellation procedures in accordance to U.S. immigration laws and regulations.
If applicants are not responsive despite a termination notice, a Final Notice of Cancellation is sent. The visa petition and its supporting documents are then purged.
Forms and Packets
If you have been scheduled for an interview, you may print and download the appropriate instructions and forms by clicking on the links below:
- K1/K2 Interview Preparation Instructions (English) (PDF - 279 KB)
- K1/K2 Interview Preparation Instructions (Tagalog) (PDF - 298 KB)
- IV Applicants' Interview Preparation Instructions (English) (PDF - 316 KB)
- IV Applicants' Interview Preparation Instructions (Tagalog) (PDF - 361 KB)
- K3/K4 Interview Preparation Instructions (English) (PDF - 289 KB)
- K3/K4 Interview Preparation Instructions (Tagalog) (PDF - 293 KB)
IMPORTANT NOTICE: All immigrant visa applicants must arrange for courier return of their issued visa using this service. This courier delivery is provided at no additional fee. Prior to your appointment date, click here to provide your courier address. Applicants or their representatives must have the applicant’s Immigrant Case Number as given in the Embassy notification letter available when they call to register their courier address.
Report for your interview at the U.S. Embassy fifteen (15) minutes before your appointment. Please note the security restrictions on what you can bring in with you to your appointment. You should bring your appointment letter and the documents required for your visa class.
Approved visas are returned by courier. Click here to track your passport.
Every immigrant visa case is different, so it is difficult to estimate how long the process will take for any individual. Once interviewed, the Immigrant Visa unit recommends that applicants do not purchase airline tickets until they have received their visa in hand. In general, there are three factors that contribute to the time required:
- Time required to process petition. The time it takes for USCIS to approve a petition varies according to the type of petition and the specific USCIS office involved. Estimates for specific offices are available here.
- Time to process through NVC and the Embassy. Once a petition is approved, if it is in an immediate relative category or has a current priority date, it is largely up to you how long it takes to get an interview appointment. The more quickly you follow the instructions provided by the National Visa Center and submit all requested documents, the sooner an appointment can be scheduled. Appointments are usually scheduled for the month after all documents are submitted. Visas are normally available within a few days of the interview.
- Time for case to become current. For certain categories of immigrants, the law allows only a limited number of visas to be issued each year. These cases are processed strictly in order of the date the petition was filed (the priority date). Visas cannot be issued until an applicant's priority date is reached (becomes current). This could take several years. While it is impossible to say exactly how long it will take, the Visa Bulletin, published monthly, lists the priority dates currently being processed, which may provide an indication.
NOTE: When the petitioner naturalizes, all F2A petitions (spouse or minor child of a permanent resident) are automatically converted to IR1 (spouse of an American) or IR2 (child of an American) petitions. These visa categories are not subject to the visa quota system and will, therefore, always have visas available for the beneficiaries’ use if they qualify for visa issuance. Contact the Embassy for more information.
Petitioning for an Immigrant Visa
The U.S. Embassy in Manila has a United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) office that accepts and adjudicates U.S. immigration benefits filed by residents of: The Philippines, New Guinea, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Wallis, Futuna, New Caledonia, Pitcairn Island, Overseas French territories of French Polynesia, and most island nations in the Pacific region that are not covered by the other Field Offices in the Bangkok District. For information on how to contact USCIS Manila and to learn more about the services they provide, please click here.
USCIS Manila accepts I-130 petitions for immediate relative immigrant classification from U.S. Citizens who are resident in the Philippines. To demonstrate residency, the U.S. Citizen petitioner must be able to show permission to reside in the Philippines (e.g. Permanent Resident status) and must have been resident in the Philippines for at least six months before filing the petition. U.S. citizens who are in the Philippines on temporary status, such as students or tourists, do not meet the residency standard and must file their petitions directly with the domestic United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office having jurisdiction over the U.S. citizen's place of residence. For further information please click here.