Immigration Rules for Philippine Brides

By Mallory Ferland
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A woman from the Philippines either engaged or already married to a U.S. citizen is subject to the same procedures (and rights) as any other immigrating fiancé(e) or spouse regardless of nationality. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not discriminate or make preference for any nationality or race.

Fiancée

Philippine women who are engaged but not yet married to a U.S. citizen must obtain a K-1 Fiancé(e) visa before entering the United States. The visa begins with a petition (I-129F) submitted by the U.S. citizen's fiancé on behalf of his alien fiancée. After the petition is approved, the alien fiancée must attend a K-1 visa appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Manila. At the appointment, the applicant must submit all required material. At the appointment, the alien fiancée must be able to prove the validity of their engagement to the consular officer. This includes providing personal details about the fiancé and their family, providing photographs, letters, holiday cards, plane ticket receipts, phone records, instant messaging records and even a time line illustrating the course of the relationship. If the consular officer believes the engagement valid, a visa to enter the United States and marry is granted.

Spouse

If a Philippine woman and U.S. citizen are already married outside of the United States, the immigration process changes to that of an alien family member. The direct immigrant visa for such a case is filing I-130 Petition for Alien Relative as an IR1 immigrant. Once this petition is approved, the alien spouse (wife) must attend an interview appointment at the U.S. consulate in the country where the marriage took place even if the marriage took place outside the Philippines. Another option for immigrants who are already married is the K-3 visa which allows alien spouses to enter the United States to wait for their immigrant visa (I-130) to be processed. Both options achieve the same end result.

Entering the U.S.

After a K-1 fiancée (Philippine bride) enters the United States, she must marry her U.S. citizen fiancé within 90 days. If she does not legally marry her fiancé within the time frame, she will be deported back to the Philippines. After marriage, she must file for permanent residence (green card) by submitting form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence with the USCIS. Those who enter the United States as spouses (wives of U.S. citizens) also must file I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence.

Two-Year Condition

Those who immigrate to the United States through marriage, either as a fiancé(e) or spouse, have a two year condition placed on their green card (the condition does not apply to those who married outside of the United States for a period of three years or more). The condition requires that the couple must jointly file to remove the conditions of the green card with the USCIS (I-751) to ensure they are still married by the two-year mark.