I’m a Filipina OFW – Where Should I File My K1 Visa?

Okay. Next question comes from Chabyl. “My fiancé wants to start to file the K1 visa. I’m a Filipino but I’m here in Lebanon, so I will process my papers here in Lebanon. My question, is it easier to process here in Lebanon or in my country in the Philippines?”

Well, basically, with our service, you’re going to process, complete the questionnaire online and then, you can generate the petition from our site, but really you’re going to process the petition where you’re residing or working at. That’s where you’re going to attend the interview. Now, unless you plan on moving back to the Philippines, you would use your address there in Lebanon and you’d go to the embassy providing that they are processing immigrant visas there. I know the K1 fiancé visa is a non-immigrant visa, but they process it like an immigrant visa, but it really doesn’t make any difference where you process it at because you can list an address on your petition, say like in the Philippines but they’re going to send your paperwork where you’re residing at.

A lot of times, we’ve had cases where somebody tried to change the address or tried to change the embassy selection, but they ended up sending the paperwork to the embassy where they were working or residing. I recall the customer was upset on that thinking they wanted it to go to the Philippines.

Yeah, this can be a tricky one. There’s a few things to consider. Number one, of course, we’re assuming that you are legally resident in Lebanon because you can’t … They’re not going to do it if you’re in a country, say out of status or you’re not legally there. Another thing to worry about or think about is if you’re there on a work contract, when does that contract end? Typically, the employer holds your passport, which is I don’t think strictly allowed but they seem to always do it. You’re going to need that to go to the interview.

The interview is usually going to be … You can select what embassy you would like to do your interview. That’s in the documents that are filed. However, our experience is they completely ignore that and they schedule your interview in the country of where you say is your residence, so if you list your residence Lebanon, it’s probably going to go to Lebanon. You need to look at your contract. All of these jobs that I’ve ever heard of anyway are contract jobs, and so when is your contract over? You need to figure out the timing here because if your contract ends and you leave Lebanon and now you’re back in Philippines and your case gets scheduled in Lebanon, then now you’ve got to ask them to reassign it and that will cause you a few months delay. It could be as long as three or four months. You would think they can send it right over. It’s not that easy.

My advice would be almost if your case is straightforward and normal, almost all of these K1s are approved, so we get people saying, “It’s such a great job. I don’t want to give it up until I know I’m approved.” Unfortunately, it’s difficult to hedge your bet like that. You kind of have to make a decision. Are you committed to marrying your fiancé and coming to the United States? If you are, then it’s best to let that contract lapse, go back to the Philippines and do it there. It’s going to be a whole lot easier for you. Philippines does a whole lot more than any country … Philippines does more fiancé visas than the next four countries combined, and yes, that includes Mexico, China. Add them all up, it’s still not as many fiancé visas as are done in the Philippines. They’re far and away the best at it, and so you being a Filipino, if there’s any way you get back there, I would recommend you get back there and do it there.

Anyway, all those factors, you need to think about. Are you still going to be in Lebanon at the end of six to nine months from now? If you’re not or if your contract ends in the next six months or anywhere close to that, I would seriously consider having your interview back in the Philippines. It’s just going to make everything easier for you. We’ve seen this a lot. The Philippines, of course, has a significant number OFWs working around the world or especially in the Asia region and we see this all the time.

Many times, I don’t want to overstate it and scare you, but many times people end up with this exact dilemma. They end up with a problem. They were in Hong Kong. Contract expired. Go back to Philippines. The interview got scheduled in Hong Kong or vice versa. They’re still in Hong Kong, the interview got scheduled in the Philippines and they can’t leave because they’re under contract and they don’t have access to the passport and all these things.

It’s a fragile road you’re on. If there’s any way to get out of this contract or end or not renew it, I would definitely recommend that. Again, I understand that people want to preserve their job just in case. What I would say is almost all of these fiancé visas are approved if everything’s straight up with your case. There’s no weird situations going on. Our advice, our best advice after doing thousands and thousands of these especially from the Philippines is if there’s any way to get back to the Philippines, I would do that. Can you make it work otherwise? Yes, you can but you’re going to need some more patience. It’s going to be frustrating and it’s probably going to take longer.

Disclaimer: The information herein is not intended as legal advice and is provided for general information only.Questions involving interpretation of specific U.S. laws should be addressed to an attorney and/or government officials.

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