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The K3 Visa Family Unification Process: How Is It Working for You? Questions And Answers from CIS Ombudsman's Teleconference on January 31, 2008

The following are questions discussed during the January 31, 2008 teleconference. Corresponding answers follow. Please email us at, if you have additional comments on this issue.

1. Administrative Closures of I-129Fs? – One caller noted that USCIS’ National Customer Service Center is providing different information on the I-130/I-129F process. One customer service representative stated that the I-129F is administratively closed after the I-130 is approved. Another representative stated that I-129Fs are not closed and USCIS is continuing to process the I-129F. Is USCIS administratively closing the I-129F application if the I-130 has been approved? Can USCIS provide clarification on this process?

2. Cancellation of I-129Fs? – One caller asked if the California Service Center is canceling I-129Fs since there is not a fee for this form and the forms are sent to the same service center as the underlying Form I-130. The caller noted a case where California cancelled the I-129F before the I-130 was approved. Has USCIS changed its policy regarding I-129Fs? Are the California and Vermont Service Center following the same procedure?

3. I-129F Processing Times Not Posted – – A caller mentioned that it is difficult to know which process is more efficient, Form I-130 or Form I-129F, because USCIS does not post Form I-129F processing times. Does USCIS plan to post processing times for the I-129F?

4. I-129F or I-130 Receipt Date for Processing Times? – Callers mentioned that it is unclear whether USCIS uses the receipt date on the I-129F or I-130 to begin processing the case. Does the I-129F receipt date control the processing time? Does the I-129F receipt date control the processing time even when USCIS administratively closed that case when the I-130 was approved?

5. Permanent Resident to U.S. Citizen – – One caller explained that he filed an I-130 petition for his non-citizen spouse as a permanent resident in 2005, but is now a U.S. citizen. Is it beneficial to now file an I-129F for his spouse to join him more quickly?

6.Transfers to Department of State’s National Visa Center – One caller explained that her I-129F petition was approved in September 2007, but as of January 2008 the National Visa Center (NVC) did not have the petition. USCIS’ National Customer Service Center representative told her to call back in one month. The caller recommended that USCIS send a notice to the applicant when a file is transferred to the NVC to better inform the applicant of case status.

7. Streamlining the Process – One caller suggested a new procedure where applicants could send the I-130 receipt notice directly to the appropriate consulate or embassy to eliminate duplicative filings and effort.

8. Transparency – One caller stated that the adjudication and processing of I-129Fs and I-130s is unclear. Case status on-line is not frequently updated and does not provide accurate information. Callers noted that they go to unofficial websites because USCIS does not provide accurate or timely information. Can USCIS provide a breakdown of the number of I-130s for spouses adjudicated at the California and Vermont Service Centers and provide the actual processing times for these applications?

9. I-130 Filed Before New Fee Rule– I-129F Filed After Fee Rule – Effective July 30, 2007, USCIS now charges no fee for a K-3 spouse who is the beneficiary of an I-130 immigration petition filed by a U.S. citizen spouse. One caller asked if there was an I-129F fee due if the I-130 was filed before July 30 and the I-129F after July 30. Does USCIS require applicants to pay the additional fee for the I-129F under these circumstances?

10. Working with Department of State – One caller said that some consulates are more efficient at processing the I-129F, which may negatively affect applicants whose I-129F petition was administratively closed by USCIS with the I-130 approval. Does USCIS notify the Department of State if the agency administratively closes the I-129F? How else do USCIS and the Department of State work together on the issues of reuniting foreign national and U.S. citizen spouses?

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