Who Should Prepare The Fiance Visa Paperwork
There are a number of different ways to complete the paperwork for the K-1 Fiancé Visa or the K-3 Spousal Visa:
· One obvious way is for you to complete the paperwork by yourself
· Another way is to use a service to complete your paperwork
· Or you could hire an attorney to complete the paperwork
Each method has its good points and its bad points.
Completing it by yourself is the least expensive way to file your paperwork. But then again, you are going to spend a fair amount of time doing it by yourself.
There will be a fairly high learning curve, so you are going to be spending even more time learning how to complete the paperwork so you don’t screw it up.
Do It Yourself Fiance Visa Kit:
If you do decide to do the paperwork yourself, it is best to buy one of the “K-1 fiancé kits’ available. You will have complete instructions and all the forms necessary to complete your application.
Using a service is a higher cost than doing it by yourself. However, you aren’t going to invest as much time learning the ins and outs of the visa application process.
However, you are still going to be spending a lot of time getting the supporting documentation together. In fact, this is going to take a lot more time than it will to complete the forms.
A service can fill out the paperwork for you. They know more than you do about fiancé visas. But your the one who is going to be doing all the donkeywork.
The problem with fiancé visa services is that they are not regulated or licensed and you are at their mercy as to their level of competence.
If the service screws up my paperwork, they don’t have any legal liability. They don’t have any risk. “Sorry, better luck next time.”
Foreign visa service companies are the worst choice possible. Not only do they not have any legal liability, they are often ignorant of US law. The regulations that govern the processing of the Fiancé Visa are US law.
Using an attorney is going to be the most expensive process.
You probably are going to spend fifteen hundred to two thousand dollars for an attorney to complete your fiancé visa paperwork.
A service is probably going to be charging you about half of that. But the skill level of an attorney is greater than the skill level of a service. Right?
Maybe? It is if you use an attorney that specializes in immigration law, that uses a software program for preparing the paperwork; if he has a lot of clients emigrating from the CIS countries; and if he is conscientious in the completion of his paperwork and in staying on top of his client’s cases.
That’s a lot of ifs! I used an attorney – an immigration attorney – a nice guy who I personally like a lot. However, I was his first client applying under a fiancé visa who was emigrating from the CIS countries.
I live in California. His typical immigration client was a Mexican national who had immigration problems with the INS. He knew those cases cold.
My case was not his area of specialization. He went to school on me.
Secondly, I frequently knew more about how to get things done than he did. I knew about the problems with mail in CIS countries. We spent months while important documents went back and forth and got lost in the mail.
He made mistakes in the details. I had to proofread the forms he was submitting and make corrections. They weren’t horrible mistakes, but there shouldn’t have been any mistakes.
Have All Your Documents Ready For The Next Step:
Third, instead of having me garner documents for the next phase of the operation, he always waited to the last minute to tell me what I needed to get. There was always a waiting period to get the documents from overseas, when I could have already had them in hand.
I ended up generating my supporting documentation three times! One time with the original application. Another time for the embassy package to be presented at the interview.
And another time because our attorney said that the embassy couldn’t find our file. Of course, when I got to the embassy they had found all the missing documents (probably in their filing cabinet).
Of course I was the one doing all the donkeywork, getting the supporting documentation together. I had to badger him to keep the process moving. When we didn’t get an invitation from the embassy, he didn’t know how to resolve the problem. My fiancé kept calling until she got through and solved the problem.
He tried emailing and writing letters to the embassy, but he didn’t know how to effectively get their attention. She was the one who found out what the problem was and resolved it.
All in all, it took me nine and a half months to get my fiancé to America under the K-1 Visa provisions. I have never had anyone who I talked to who took longer to get to America under a Fiancé Visa.
Everything that could go wrong went wrong. And this is with me being as conscientious as I possibly could. I hired an attorney because I didn’t want anything to go wrong in the process.
Of course, a large part of the problem was the Belarusian post office, on whom I blame about two to three months of delays, my attorney who I blame for two months of delays, plus a whole lot of extra work and unnecessary stress, and of course, the INS and the US embassy, who are exactly what we expect – government agencies.
With the Belarusian Post Office and the US Government Agencies I expect delays. After all I wasn’t paying them any money.
But my attorney was the guy who was supposed to go to bat for me. I paid him eighteen hundred dollars for first class travel and got a second-class mule ride.
The delays almost led to the break up of our relationship. When my fiancé had waited nearly six months without getting any documentation or substantiation from the embassy or anyone, she started doubting my word.
Her friends were putting words in her ears like, “you know how American men are?”
Soon I was the devil personified. I had to make another trip to Belarus to keep our relationship together. Fortunately, we soon heard from the INS.
Delays Can Lead To The Breakup Of Your Relationship:
But then there were another three and a half months of agonizing tension trying to schedule the interview at the embassy.
I feel like I applied for the fiancé visa three times – mainly because I did the work to apply three times.
I feel as though I could not have completed the application quite as well as my attorney did. However, I do think I solved more problems and kept the process moving better than my attorney did.
As I see it, I was not just paying him to fill out the forms, but more importantly to fill them out properly so that I would have minimal problems.
I also feel that the reason that you hire an attorney is to help you resolve problems. They are supposed to know how to solve problems that come up.
Just so you don’t think I just like to whine about attorneys, my personal experience with attorneys has been excellent. They are not cheap, but the few times when I needed them, they were able to solve my problem quickly, effectively, and with excellent result.
I have only had two circumstances in my life with attorneys who I thought did a less than stellar job for me. This was one of those times.
All that being said, what is my recommendation? I still think it is best to hire an attorney. I know a number of people who have done the paperwork themselves with less than half the problems that I had and in half the time as my attorney was able to deliver.
Why do I recommend an attorney?:
Because of the downside risk. What is the result if you make a major blunder in applying for the fiancé visa? Your fiancé doesn’t get to America, that’s what.
You spent a lot of time finding her, courting her, wooing her, and winning her. You made a major investment in terms of time, money, and most of all your heart.
Are you willing to blow that all off because you’re too cheap to hire an attorney? You searched half way across the world for her. Don’t you want to make sure she gets here?
“I’m sorry, honey. I screwed up the visa. Better luck next time. Oh yeah, its your one and only chance to get a fiancé visa and I screwed it up for you. Bummer. Okay, see you later. When’s my next tour to Russia scheduled to leave?”
Not on my watch! I’m going down fighting for my woman!
So, yes. I recommend an attorney. A good one. An experienced one. One who specializes in fiancé visas from CIS countries. An attorney who knows how to solve problems when they come up.
You Don't Want A Fatal Mistake To Derail Your Fiance Visa Process
The main reasons for hiring an attorney is to eliminate the likelihood that you will make mistakes when completing the paperwork and to insure that your fiancé will be with you in the fastest manner possible.
Delays in the processing of fiancé visas are one of the main reasons that the relationships fall apart during the waiting period, and mistakes can add three to twelve months to getting your visa processed.
The reason for hiring an attorney is to make sure that the process goes smoothly. The reason why the right attorney is worth his weight in gold is that he makes sure that the fiancé visa petition is perfect when it is submitted to the INS and that he can monitor your case as it is moves through the bureaucratic system.
Problems can occur even when the petition is perfect. Your attorney must have the experience to solve any problem that may occur with the INS or the US embassy.
If a problem or delay does occur, you want to have someone representing you who knows exactly what to do to get the problem solved and keep the time of the delay to a minimum.
Delays are the number one reason that the romances fizzle out.
An attorney has a higher level of professionalism that they have to operate at than a service does. They have more at risk. They can be sued. So get an attorney. Just make sure you get a good one.
About the Author: John has been to Russia and CIS countries many times. He has been successfully married to his Belarussian wife for over five years. He will show you how to meet her, how to bring her home, and how to successfully survive marriage to a Russian woman.