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Step 2 – The consulate

Once your I-129F petition is approved by USCIS your case is heading off to the Department of State (DOS) and to U.S. consulate in your fiancee’s home country. In this section I’ll give a high-level overview of what this looks like from a procedural standpoint. Most of the nitty-gritty details that you will need to handle are the same in fiancee- and marriage-based visa cases. So I’ve consolidated that advice in a chapter later in this resource – “National Visa Center & U.S. Consulate.”

Understanding where you are now.

Your initial petition is now been approved. This essentially means that you have demonstrated the minimum qualifications for your fiancee to apply for a K-1 visa. It’s like you’ve managed to run a fast enough time to qualify for the Boston Marathon… but that just gets you to the start of the Boston Marathon, which you still have to run. The consular stage is where the your fiance submits her actual visa application via the online Form DS–160. In terms of getting your fiancee to the U.S. you are – roughly speaking – 2/3 through the process in terms of time and 1/3 in terms of effort.

Before you can file anything for this step of the process, USCIS has to transfer your Form I-129F packet over to DOS. The packet will be bundled up and physically shipped over to the National Visa Center (NVC), which is a massive document clearinghouse for DOS. Once the NVC has the packet, it forwards it to the appropriate U.S. consulate. Unlike marriage-based visa cases, you do not have to deal directly with the NVC in fiancee cases. With that being said, there are frequent delays in the transfer of files to the NVC. If that happens in your case please review the section, Dealing with delays at the National Visa Center (NVC).

<<Immigration lawyer tip: Don’t wait for your I-129F to get approved before starting your work. You can do most of the legwork for the consular step of your case long before you are actually able to file anything. Using our DS-160 prep sheet you can be ready to complete the online form. And you can begin collecting the required documents. Be mindful that both police certificates and medical examinations expire after 12 months, so you do not want to request these too far in advance. Likewise – depending on the consulate – you may be unable to request those two items until you have a “live” DS-160 visa case with the consulate. But do what you can to prevent a last-minute sprint when your petition finally goes through.>>

Once the U.S. consulate has your case file they will send you a copy of the consulate’s current K-1 visa application instructions. These will include guidelines for completing the DS-160, scheduling your interview, obtaining a medical exam, and submitting your supporting documents.

Major action items for the step.

Here are the main things that will demand most of your time at this step. As explained below, the procedures for completing these various items vary significantly between different consulate.

1 – DS-160 visa application.

The fiancee visa application is fully online. That’s great news for you, because it makes the process faster and easier than it used to me. The application asks both for information that was included on the Form I-129F and also for a significant amount of new material. The application is quite time-consuming so get started as soon as feasible.

2 – Medical examination.

Your fiancee will need to complete a medical examination with the doctor certified by the Department of State. Because the doctors licensed to perform these evaluations may be inconveniently located, you will want to plan ahead. I have written an entire section on medical examinations later in this resource – take a look at it now.

3 – Police certificates.

Your fiancee is required to provide criminal background reports from everywhere she has lived since age 16. These reports, called police certificates, can be time-consuming to obtain. In the procedures for requesting the certificates depend on the place where the records are held.

How to submit documents for the DS-160.

For most consulates, before you can actually schedule your interview you will need to submit the required list of supporting documents. That will include the police report on medical examination described above.

Scheduling the interview. After completing all of your legwork, the consulate will allow you to schedule your interview. Again, the procedure will depend on the consulate. Normally, interviews are available within the span of a few weeks so this is nothing like the time span of many months that you become accustomed to.

Getting started with the consular work.

First off is an important step that most resources fail to tell you about: you need to locate the application instructions for your specific consulate. These will eventually be sent to you after the consulate receives your case. But they are publicly available on consulate websites, so you can easily access them ahead of time.

First, navigate to and search for the website for your consulate.

All U.S. consulates have official websites with domains such as (for the Philippines). In the top navigation bar, select “Visa” then “Immigrant Visa.” Even though fiancee visas are technically classified as non-immigrant (temporary) visas, they are processed by the immigrant (permanent) visa sector of the consulate. There will then normally be a page with a short menu, with fiancee visas as an option. This will link to instructions on such things as scheduling interviews and checking case status.

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All Sound Immigration attorneys are members of the American Immigration Lawyers Associations. They practice immigration law exclusively, focusing on helping families start new lives in the United States.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Hi,

    I am a Polish national who has lived and worked in the United Kingdom for the last 12 years.

    I am a B1/B2 visa holder (obtained in March 2018) as I wanted to travel to US to visit my best friend I met online in an Insomnia Support group. We both don’t sleep much. We have developed a strong friendship over the months as we were both in need of support going through a rough times in our personal lives. When I visited in April we were just friends. Then we made plans to travel a bit more in July-September. He wanted to show me the US etc. I worked really hard to afford this holiday but when I arrived at the border I was issued a limited stay (2 weeks) and the whole process was frankly traumatising.

    During the period of those two weeks we actually became a couple. I guess the limitations to my travel made us realise we want to be together as a couple.

    We are madly in love. And last week he purposed to me during our holiday to my home country!

    We are now looking into filling for Alien Fiancée visa but finding it a little overwhelming.

    • How likely it is for us to get approved since we have been communicating online for July 2017 till now. Mainly I massage but most of all hours of FaceTime calls (the FT call history doesn’t go further than a month on our phones). Dues to the insomnia we often talk over FaceTime 10h/day everyday. We were also friends for majority of that time to start with.

    • Since I already have B1/B2 visa do I have to reapply if fiancée visa application is Approved?

    • Would I be going to my Fiancée Visa interview in the UK since I reside here or Poland?

    I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

    Kind regards


    1. Congrats! What I always advise my own clients is this: if your relationship is genuine then the case should be approvable (absent other concerns). Indeed, the majority of our clients meet online and often have limited in person contact. If you plan to travel to the US again with a pending I-129f then you have to ensure that you have a valid B2. But with what you describe I would likely meet in the UK instead of possible.

      Normally the consulate in London will decline to process your DS-160 as a third country national, absent extraordinary circumstances. (Check their immigrant visa page for current rules or contact them). So normally you’d have to return to Poland.

      Good luck!

  2. i applied my husband visa 2016 everything is finish the consulate told my husband the banned muslim if anything changes call the embassay is their any chance that my husbad he get his visa

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