With Emphasis on Marrying in
This page is designed to help
others who are going through the
process of petitioning a spouse they have married overseas and what is
involved in petitioning him/her via the I-130 immigrant petition.
My Wife lives in the Philippines, and we are still undergoing the heartache
of separation. I am by no means an Immigration expert, but will document
my experience so far in this long and difficult journey our Government forces us
to go through.
*Note This page was started in early 1999 and has not been updated since early 2000. It reflects my experience at the time.
Some proceedures may have changed. If you are going through the process and you see anything on this page that has changed or is now inaccurate, please e-mail me so I can make needed updates.
Ivy Marsha and Ed Peirce
First Step for marriage in the Philippines.
OBTAIN LEGAL CAPACITY TO MARRY DOCUMENT FROM THE U.S. EMBASSY
This is Important, because you won't be able to be married unless you and your spouse
go to the Embassy and get this document. It shows you and your spouse are free to marry.
My Wife, who was my Fiancé at the time went to the Embassy on a weekday morning at about
10:00 a.m. I submitted my passport and we were given a number and told to wait our turn.
About 3 hours later, we were called into a booth where there was a consular on the other side of
the glass. He asked a few questions like how we met, and how long we've known each other. He asked
to see letters we had written each other and for phone bills that showed communication with
her. This is Important, because I saw couples ahead of us turned away because they didn't
have enough documentation (photos, phone bills, pictures, etc.) to establish their relationship.
After he read a couple of the letters she had wrote to me, and looked at my phone bill, he gave me
a paper to take to the cashier and after I paid, I'd be able to pick up our Legal Capacity to Marry
Document. The fee was $55.00. Finally we passed that hurdle. Now we were ready to marry.
10 DAY WAITING PERIOD
After you receive the Legal Capacity Document Go to the Town where you are to marry
and apply for a Marriage Certificate. The waiting period is 10 days to receive this license
so be sure to plan your trip to leave plenty of time in your schedule to do this. Some people
are lucky, and manage to waive this 10 day period, but don't count on it. Have your Fiancé
check out what the requirements will be if your going to have a religious wedding. The Catholic
Church has other requirements to fulfill if your going to have a Catholic Wedding. Much of that
can be done while your waiting the 10 days.
AFTER MARRIAGE. FILE THE I-130
There is some great info on the Web on filing your I-130, instead of giving a long description of
these requirements please check out the I-130 Immigration Help site page. You want to do this
immediately after marriage, because this is where the waiting begins. Unfortunately It could take
up to a year or even longer if you live in a state covered by the Texas INS service center. Ive
seen it take up to two years for people going through Texas, but 18 months would be average
for those folks. PLEASE NOTE, THIS WEB PAGE WAS WRITTEN IN EARLY 1999
AND REFLECTS HOW THE I-130 PROCESS WAS AT THE TIME. SINCE THEN, I
UNDERSTAND THE TEXAS SERVICE CENTER HAS PICKED UP. CHECK MY TIMELINE
ACCEPTANCE LINK BELOW TO SEE EXAMPLES OF OTHERS WAITING TIMES.
Remember you need to file your I-130 to the processing center to the Center that has
jurisdiction over your state. Check out my link below for *Carl Shustermans web site for information
THE CFO CLASS (Commission for Filipinos Overseas)
For marriages in the Philippines,
Your wife will need to attend this class before she gets her Filipino Passport.
This can only be done in Manila and Cebu. Check out my links for more info on this.
AFTER THE I-130 is approved
After approval, the petition will be sent to the NVC
(National Visa Processing Center) in New Hampshire. For those who are Married in the
Philippines, they will send you the I-864 Affidavit of Support you will need to fill out and send
back. Be sure to include 3 years of your tax returns, w-2's, letter from your employer stating
employment status. If you haven't held a job for the last 3 years or make below the poverty
line, your I-864 will be rejected and you will need to find a co-sponser. I know this is unfair
to many, but our govenment wants to make sure your spouse won't become a public charge,
You are promising to be financially responsible for your spouse until he/she becomes a U.S.
Citizen, or he/she completes 40 quarters of full time employment (10 years).
IMPORTANT! Be Sure to be 100% and complete in filling out these forms. Put a N/A in
boxes or lines that don't pertain to you or your spouse. Haveing the NVC return your forms
will add months more to the process, because they will place your case back at the bottom of the stack.
They will also send your spouse the OF-169 and OF-230 part 1. I got these forms in advance
by downloading them from the NVC's web page. I had them already filled out before INS had
our approval. Don't send them to the NVC until you have a case# from them. Write your case #
at the top of every form you send them also! For other countries the procedure is a little
different. The NVC only pre-screens packet 3 for certain countries with a high immigrant load.
Mexico, the Philippines and Domimican Republic are 3 or them. After the NVC
processes your petition, they will send the package to the embassy of the country your spouse is
from. They will send her her instructions of what she needs for her interview and tell her
an interview date, In our case, my wife needs to bring her birth cerificate, passport,
Police certificate (NBI for the Philippines) 2 photos and Marriage certificate.. Before the
interview, your spouse will need a complete physical exam. The results of this exam will need to be
taken to the interview. In the Philippines, the Medical exam is done at the St. Lukes Hospital
in Manila and cost $85. If all goes well, your spouse will pass the interview, and after paying
the $365 in fees, your spouse is set for coming to the United States.
don't take my Web Page as Gospel, This is knowledge I've learned from going
this myself from other sources on the net and correspondence with others who have or have gone
through this journey. To help guide you through all this, I've included links below that have helped
me a great deal.
My other web page detailing the story of my wife and I and how we met.
Xnavman's Web page
Newsgroup devoted to Marriage and Visa issues
(If you don't have a newsreader or
are unfamiliar with how to access them, interbulletin.com provides and easy way to view
newsgroups over the web. just type in "marriage based visa" in the search
window to be directed to that discussion group.
How Long will it take and where do I file the
INS time estimation courtesy of Carl Shusterman, Immigration attourney.
Immigration Processing times
See a comparison of wait times from I-130 submittal
to interview date
at the Timeline for acceptance page.
Timeline acceptance for I-130
The best I-130 site on the NET
The I-130 Immigration Help-site
The Immigration and Naturalization Service
The National Visa Processing Center. Where
your I-130 will go after INS approval
Immigration Visa Kit. I wanted to make
sure I had all the right forms to fill out
along with instructions on filling them out, so I forked out the dough and paid this place
to send me the forms I needed along with a booklet on filling out my I-130. Kind of
like an "Immigration guide for dummies" You don't need this, but is helpful if you can spare
and extra $69. And No, I'm not getting paid to mention them.
Do it yourself immigration kit
Great Immigration info here from the law offices
of *Carl Shusterman.
Contains info on
where to file your I-130 and processing times.
IMMIGRATION: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO IMMIGRATING TO THE U.S.
MAG-Anak (means family in Filipino). This is
a listserve dedicated to those who are who are
marrying in the Philippines. You will be able to communicate with many others going
through the same thing. the Mag-anak web page also provides a wealth of great information.
If you join the listserve, I recommend you learn how to use folders and filters with your
e-mail because you will get lots of it
The Jeff Hollis Page. Jeff Hollis has detailed
his experience of his marriage in the
Philippines. The best biography on the net in the process of marrying a Filipina.
The Official Home Page of Jeffrey Lee Hollis
Well Folks, Hopefully this info helps. I sure
enjoyed the help of the internet
in this long process of being back together with the one I love. Feel free to
e-mail me with any questions you may have.
Ed and Marsha Peirce