Understanding The DCF Philippines USCIS Phase
US Spouse Visa DCF Philippines USCIS Phase Summary
To start the US Spouse DCF Philippines USCIS Phase application process, you first submit an I-130 Petition for Alien Spouse to the US Embassy in Manila. In particular, it goes to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) field office at the embassy.
For this purpose, this page outlines the process with advice on how to submit your DCF Philippines USCIS Phase IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa application petition to the embassy for your spouse. Also, this section outlines the process of the IR-2/CR-2 Visa USCIS Phase for any unmarried children under the age of 21 of the spouse that are not a blood relative of the US citizen petitioner.
The IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa DCF Philippines USCIS Phase process includes:
- Gathering Documents
- Completing Forms
- Assembling the Petition Package
- Submitting Petition to US Embassy Manila and Paying Fee
- USCIS Manila Embassy Field Office Processing
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Proof of Living in the Philippines
Specifically, the U.S. citizen must show proof of their living status in the Philippines for at least 6 months or more when filing DCF Philippines USCIS Phase.
For example, acceptable methods of proof of living in the Philippines for the DCF Philippines USCIS Phase include combinations of the following:
- Tourist Visa extensions in U.S. Passport
- Balik Bayan stamp and/or extension
- 13A Permanent Resident Visa
- Retirement Resident Visa and ID Card
- ACR I-Card
- Home or condo mortgage, lease or rental agreement
- Apartment rental agreement
- Philippines driver’s license
The U.S. citizen really needs to show evidence that they truly live in the Philippines currently and previously for 6 months or more. Conversely, just traveling around the Philippines as a tourist does not qualify for DCF Philippines.
Some people think that you must only have a 13A permanent Resident Visa to apply DCF Philippines for a U.S. Spousal Visa. However, that is not true. In fact most Ex Pats in the Philippines, including married U.S. citizens, still use tourist visa extensions to stay there. U.S. citizens living in the Philippines have done DCF Philippines for a Spouse Visa when using tourist visa extensions, Balik Bayan Stamp, 13A visa and retirement visas.
Regarding residing in the Philippines for 6 months or more, see our previous blog post, “Philippine Visa Requirements- Extend Beyond 30 Days“.
Documents for the I-130 Petition Package
Gather together and prepare the following supporting documentation to be submitted with your petition at the DCF Philippines USCIS Phase :
USCIS Filing Fee
Pay the USCIS Filing Fee of $535 (as of December 2016) due at the embassy when you submit your I-130 package. The fee is paid at the U.S. Embassy cashier. The embassy takes a credit card (Visa, MasterCard American Express or Diner’s Club); cash with U.S. dollars or Philippine pesos; U.S. Postal Money Order in the exact amount; or traveler’s check (at least 60 percent must be paid in traveler’s checks to receive change in U.S. dollars or Philippine pesos).
Proof of US Citizenship
Submit a copy of the Petitioner’s (U.S. Citizen’s) birth certificate (front and back) or a copy of all pages of the US Citizen’s passport issued with a validity of at least 5 years or a copy of the US Citizen’s naturalization certificate (front and back). These are specifically to establish proof of citizenship.
Prior Marriage Terminations
Submit proof of legal termination of all prior marriages for both the Petitioner and the Beneficiary, if applicable. For example, copy of divorce decree, annulment or death certificate are all acceptable.
Passport Type Photographs
Obtain two passport type photographs (see photo specifications)of the petitioner (U.S. Citizen) and the beneficiaries (Spouse and children, if applicable). Next, write the full name of the person on the back of each photo. Finally, place the photos in a zip lock bag and include in the submission package.
Bring the original and a copy of your NSO certified marriage certificate.
Bring the original and a copy of your CEMAR obtained from NSO.
Evidence of Boni Fide Marriage
Submit other required evidence verifying a Bona Fide marriage. Specifically, see the I-130 Instructions to determine what pertains to you. For example, should submit one or more of the following types of documentation that prove you have a bona fide marriage including:
- Documentation showing joint ownership of property.
- A lease showing joint tenancy of a common residence, meaning you both live at the same address together.
- Documentation showing that you and your spouse have combined your financial resources.
- Birth certificates of children born to you and your spouse together. In addition, bring the child or children’s CRBA and passport. See our blog post, “CRBA, US Passport and Dual Citizenship“.
- Affidavits sworn to or affirmed by third parties having personal knowledge of the bona fides of the marital relationship. Each affidavit must contain the full name and address of the person making the affidavit, date and place of birth of the person making the affidavit, and complete information and details explaining how the person acquired his or her knowledge of your marriage. See our blog post “Third Party Affidavit Affirming Bona Fide Marriage Example for USCIS I-130 Petition for Alien Spouse, IR-1 and CR-1 Spouse Visa“.
- Any other relevant documentation to establish that there is an ongoing marital union. If none of the additional items listed pertain to you, include a second evidence like a certified statement from a relative stating that they were at your wedding and have seen you living as a married couple. See our blog post “Prove Bona Fide Marriage- Other Relevant Documents for USCIS I-130 Petition for Alien Spouse, IR-1 and CR-1 Spouse Visa“.
Include 9-12 photographs of you with your spouse. Don’t send in a photo album. On the other hand, a photo album is a perfect thing for the embassy interview. For example, the best way is to use a blank sheet of paper and tape 3 photos per page. In addition, below each photo, name each person in the photo, the place and date. Also, include photos of you and your spouse with some of your fiance(e)’s family as a bonus.
The following forms need to be completed as part of the IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa DCF Philippines USCIS Phase:
- Form I-130, Petition for Alien Spouse: The I-130, Petition for Alien Spouse needs to be completed. Also, a separate I-130 needs to be completed for any children of the Beneficiary if you are intending an IR-2/CR-2 Visa for them. The petitioner (U.S. citizen) signs this form.
- Form I-130A, Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary: Specifically, this form is for supplemental information about the beneficiary spouse. Your beneficiary spouse must sign this form.
- G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance-(optional)- Specifically, this form is for the Petitioner or applicant in order to receive an electronic notifications from the embassy. Also, a separate G-1145 should to be completed for any children of the Beneficiary if you are intending an IR-2/CR-2 Visa for them.
Always check the USCIS site and get your forms from there so that you know that they are the most current.
The forms are downloaded using the links above, printed out on a computer printer and filled in. Fill them out with a pen in black ink if your hand writing is neat and legible. On the contrary, if your handwriting is not neat or legible, fill them out electronically using PDF writing type software.
Amazon has several free PDF editor software available:
Read and following the USCIS instructions for each of the forms for use in the DCF Philippines USCIS Phase:
Always check the USCIS site and get your instructions from there so that you know that they are the most current.
If this process seems too difficult for you, we recommend that you use a visa/immigration consultant for your IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa DCF Philippines USCIS Phase application. For this purpose, we recommend using Rapid Visa.
If you are able to do the application on your own and our site has been a great help to you, please consider donating to our site using the donate feature in the upper right. To this end, this helps us provide valuable content to you and others.
The fee for the IR-1 CR-1 Spouse DCF Philippines USCIS Phase is the USCIS Filing Fee of $535 (as of December 2016). The embassy takes a credit card (Visa, MasterCard American Express or Diner’s Club); cash with U.S. dollars or Philippine pesos; U.S. Postal Money Order in the exact amount; or traveler’s check (at least 60 percent must be paid in traveler’s checks to receive change in U.S. dollars or Philippine pesos).
See our blog post “IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa Application Assembling Tips- I-130, Petition for Alien Spouse“. However, we do not show the proof of living in the Philippines in this post. For this purpose, just add this proof.
If doing yourself, see USCIS’ “General Tips on Assembling Applications for Mailing“.
If using a visa/immigration consultant, they can assist you in assembling your IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa DCF Philippines USCIS Phase supporting documentation. For this purpose, we recommend using Rapid Visa for your IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa DCF Philippines USCIS Phase.
Assemble all of the forms and the supporting documents into one package with a fastener or large binder clip. Hence, this is your Petition for IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa. For example, follow this tips below:
- Do not use binders or folders that cannot be easily disassembled. Use file folders with top fasteners.
- Use ACCO fasteners or binder clips to hold together thick or bulky applications or petitions. Two-hole punching the top of the material for easy placement in the file is appreciated.
- The use of tabs assist in locating items listed as attachments. The tabs should be placed on the bottom and not the side for ease in filing.
Very Important: Make a copy of everything that you have assembled and USCIS.
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US Embassy Manila DCF Philippines USCIS Phase Package Submittal
The I-130 Spouse Visa DCF Philippines USCIS Phase petition package specifically needs to be submitted to the US Embassy in Manila, Philippines. The US Consulate in Cebu does not handle spouse visa applications.
The submission to the Manila Embassy may either be by mail, courier or in person with or without an appointment.
It is important to realize that in person submission is typically the best way. To explain, the consular officers at the embassy are usually very helpful in looking over your submittal. In other words, the consular officers usually let you know if your package has everything that you need. On the other hand, if you mail in the package, you miss this help.
For submission in person with or without appointments, the embassy is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon. However, the embassy is not open on Filipino and American holidays.
One way to submit the package at the embassy is to make an online appointment. Accordingly, bring a printout of your online appointment letter and a government-issued photo ID with you to the appointment.
Also, USCIS Manila accepts walk-ins. Walk-ins are served on a first come, first served basis with priority given to online appointment customers.
For the option of mailing the package, the US Embassy Manila address is shown below:
Field Office Director
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Embassy of the United States
1201 Roxas Boulevard, Ermita
Manila, 10000 Philippines
Hotel Recommendations Near US Embassy
If you are from outside Manila area and need a hotel near the Manila Embassy, see our blog post, “Top 3 Hotels Near the US Embassy Manila“.
Our recommendation is to stay at the Bayview Park Hotel as it is directly across the street from the US Embassy Manila.
Check availability, prices and book Bayview Park Hotel Manila through our Expedia partner.
Also, check availability, prices and book Bayview Park Hotel Manila through our TravelbookPH partner.
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US Embassy Manila DCF Philippines USCIS Phase Processing
Processing Time Frame
The IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa by DCF Philippines USCIS Phase is very quick compared to the stateside filing. Normally, the average DCF Philippines USCIS Phase processing time is 1 to 2 months. On the other hand the USCIS processing time stateside is typically between 5 – 8 months.
For the purpose of checking the current DCF Philippines USCIS Phase processing time, go to the USCIS Processing Time Information for International Operations Offices web page. To begin with, select “Manila Philippines” from the drop down menu. Afterwards, click on the “International Processing Time” box. As a result, the current DCF Philippines USCIS Phase processing time is shown.
What to Do Now- Prepare for DCF Philippines Embassy Phase
The next phase (DCF Philippines Embassy Phase) also goes fast However, there is a lot you need to do to prepare for this phase. If you want to shorten your overall time frame, the best thing to do while waiting on DCF Philippines USCIS Phase approval is to gather and prepare your supporting documents for the DCF Philippines Embassy Phase.
For this purpose, we recommend that you start to prepare your supporting documents for the DCF Philippines Embassy Phase now by gathering the following supporting documents:
- Have your spouse write down the addresses that he or she has lived at, schooling information, and previous work history in preparation for completing the DS-260 (On-line Immigrant Visa Application) online. See our blog post on the DS-260, On-line Immigrant Visa Application.
- Obtain a Filipino Passport for your Spouse, if he or she does not already have one. Also, get a new one if it is expired or about to be expired.
- Get four more 2″ x 2″ passport type photographs of your spouse. These are requirements for the SLEC medical exam and the embassy interview.
- Fill out an application and obtain your spouse’s NBI (Philippine National Police Report).
- Apply for and obtain any other country police reports if your spouse has lived in another country abroad for more than 6 months.
- Check to if you meet the minimum income requirement. See our blog post on the Minimum Income Requirement.
- Complete your Affidavit of Support. See the DCF Philippines Embassy Phase page for more information.
- Gather your financial back-up information. Also, see the DCF Philippines Embassy Phase page for more information.
DCF Philippines USCIS Phase Approval, RFE or Denial
If your petition is approved, USCIS issues an approval notice by email.
If USCIS US Embassy Manila deems that it requires more information to approve your application, it sends the Petitioner a Notice of Additional Processing Requirements. consequently, they list the items that are outstanding.
Subsequently, if your additional information satisfies USCIS US Embassy Manila, then they send you an approval notice like above.
Afterwards, US Embassy Manila sends you an email with your case number. The case number specifically starts with MNL followed by 10 numbers. This case number is your “ticket to start the DCF Philippines Embassy Phase.
In addition, US Embassy Manila sends you an email about how to start and prepare for the embassy phase.
The email gives information and explains how to do the following:
- Complete DS-260 online
- Schedule your US Embassy Interview
- Select your courier option
- Find the interview preparation instructions an Immigrant Visa US Embassy interview. For this purpose, we also provide the checklists
If USCIS denies your petition, it sends you a denial letter. In addition, they state the reasons why and explain your options for appeal.