Option for US citizen spouse while I-130 is pending
US IMMIGRATION NOTES - Atty. Marco F.G. Tomakin (The Freeman) - August 11, 2019 - 12:00am

One of the frustrations of filing a spousal petition is the long wait for the whole process to complete. After the American husband and the Filipino wife get married in the Philippines, the American comes back to the US and files the I-130. Typically, or would take almost more than six months for USCIS to approve the petition, then another 30 days for the file to be sent to the National Visa Center then, depending how soon the documents are submitted to the NVC, the file would then have to be sent to Manila for consulate interview. Roughly, it would be a little more than a year for this process comes to full completion which we mean to say, the spouse is issued her immigrant visa.

For one client, let’s name him Bill, an American citizen, he cannot endure the suffering of this separation from his wife. So Bill thought of staying in the Philippines while waiting for his petition to be processed at the consulate. Of course not every petitioner has the luxury of having the resources to leave their jobs and businesses in the US just to go back to the Philippines and wait it out. However, for Bill, who in the meantime learned that his wife is pregnant three months after their wedding, there is no other greater joy than to be with his wife and family.

So what we identified for him as his option was to contact the Philippine consulate in the US and apply for a Philippine visa for him as a non-immigrant. There is also an immigrant visa available as a spouse of a Filipino citizen but Bill prefers to just stay in the Philippines as a non-immigrant. As an American he is allowed to stay for three months in the Philippines and could be renewed for another six months if requested at the Bureau of Immigration in Manila.

However, this option is also available to those foreigners not based in the Philippines. All they have to do is go the consulate website, or better yet contact the Philippine consulate on the specific requirements in obtaining the longer stay, non-immigrant visa.

The above option deserves a worthwhile consideration if like Bill, there are other factors that require a US citizen to stay longer in the Philippines with his Filipina wife while waiting for his I-130 to be approved.


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