Decrease in I-129F Processing Times Announced by USCIS Vermont Service Center

Post by Immigration Attorney John B. Buda
Buda Law Group
310-382-7349

Hello Friends:

This is John Buda, principal attorney of the Buda Law Group. I will be providing you with a monthly report on all legal matters that pertain to Fiance and Marriage Visas. Be sure to subscribe for new updates.

Below is some of the information I received recently about the USCIS Vermont Service Center. VT handles many family based immigration cases, especially fiance and marriage based visas, along with other USCIS Service Centers, TX, NE, and CA. Your questions and comments are welcomed below.

Processing Times for I-129 F and I-130 Immediate Relative Petitions

The Vermont Service Center recently announced that the processing times for form I-129F K1 Fiancé petitions have decreased from seven months to five months. This is consistent with the other USCIS Service Centers that work on Fiance Visas (CA and TX). The processing time for Immediate Relative petitions (I-130 marriage and other family) is current.

I-129F Approval Notice

I-129F Petitions for the K Fiancé Classifications

As a part of USCIS’s efforts to establish consistency and standardization, the Vermont Service Center has announced the following changes to the adjudication of the I-129F, K petitions:

  • Validity dates on approvals will now be 4 months minus 1 day instead of the previous 90-day validity period. What this means your fiance will have 4 months to schedule the interview in the U.S. foreign consulate instead of the previous 90 days.
  • There has also been a change in the manner that the petitioner must demonstrate that the couple has met within the last two years. Previously they accepted a statement from the petitioner that the couple had met within the preceding 2 years. Now they require evidence to demonstrate that the meeting has occurred, such as passport stamps, dated photos, airline tickets, etc. A statement alone will not be acceptable proof of meeting. Buda Law Group has always strongly recommended that our clients provide more than just     a statement.

New Filing instructions for I-130 Petitioners Abroad
Now, petitioners residing in countries without USCIS offices must file their Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) lockbox facility in Chicago. The main country this impacts is Iran.

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Also see: Specialized Services for China K1 Fiance Visas CR1-IR1 Marriage Visas

28 Responses to Decrease in I-129F Processing Times Announced by USCIS Vermont Service Center
  1. sarah klokpah
    November 26, 2012 | 11:40 pm

    my application was filed in the vermont service centre about five months ago and have not received any notice apart from my receipt letter.please help.

  2. R. Marsh
    November 27, 2012 | 6:59 am

    Hi Sarah, USCIS approval for both Marriage and Fiance petitions is running about 5.5 to 6 months currently. You may see a letter of approval soon.

  3. Phil Corn
    November 29, 2012 | 8:58 am

    My I-129F for my Japanese fiance went to the Vermont center on June 5, 2012. The USCIS website is showing processing times for that facility as being 5.6 months, but that number was posted on September 30. I called the National number yesterday to inquire about our case which will be at 6 months old on December 5. They told me they are processing apps from mid-April right now. I hope they speed up the process.

  4. John Buda
    November 29, 2012 | 10:44 am

    Hi Phil:

    Unfortunately we are all at their mercy. By the time you complain, or complain to your Congressperson and get them to act, you will be approved.

    The I-129F is taking about 6-8 months no matter what they say. It used to be 4-5, but it has stretched out probably because of a surge in other visa applications such as all the Dream Act Work Permits.

    Thanks for checking out our site. Please note that we are not limited to China fiances and spouses. Buda Law Group processes these visas all over the world.

  5. Phil Corn
    November 29, 2012 | 12:22 pm

    Thank you for your response John. So was the Decrease in Processing Time Announcement above just public relations? Was that a recent announcement? I didn’t see a date for it.

  6. R. Marsh
    November 29, 2012 | 12:53 pm

    Hi Phil, The original post was Dec. 2011. At that time it was note worthy so we could keep our subscribers informed. Buda Law Group at that time had several cases approved by Vermont in 4 months. One case you can read about here: http://chinesemarriageusa.com/testimonials/ For USCIS Case Processing Tables (Current) you can check here: https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/processTimesDisplayInit.do

  7. LMS saint
    January 5, 2013 | 2:21 pm

    Hi John,

    I’m from the Philippines. My fiance filed our K-1 visa case last May 2012 and we’re still waiting. My concern is this.
    Is it necessary for him to be with me during my interview?
    He stayed here for 9 months and left May 3, 2012. Will it have a bearing on my interview if he does not revisit?
    Would it be possible for us to expedite our interview schedule?
    Do I have to bring with me to the interview his tax returns for 2010 or would 2011 be just fine?
    I hope to hear from you soon John.Thanks so much.

  8. John Buda
    January 5, 2013 | 8:58 pm

    Dear LMS:

    You have waited a long time. Did the USCIS approve your I-129F? Or are you waiting for the Manila Embassy to schedule your interview?

    I don’t think his presence at the interview would mean too much. You can let the officer know he is there, but they won’t let him come to the interview. His presence for 9 months with you is a positive, but you have to have proof of that.

    Yes, for sure you need his 2011 taxes. Did you submit the I-134 already?

    John Buda

  9. Erlinda Alba
    January 12, 2013 | 12:24 am

    Good day!

    My fiance from the US submitted our application and we received the NOA1 on February 21, 2012. Up to now, we are still waiting for the NOA2. All we have been told is that we are still undergoing background check. I’m an editor from the Philippines and a holder of a US B2 visa valid until 2021. We have seen each other for six times already, 3 in the US and 3 in the Philippines. I visited him in the US last November 13 and stayed there for 2 weeks and he spent Christmas here in the Philippines and stayed here for 10 days. It’s very frustrating because we want to do the right thing from Day 1 but we are not getting any response from the USCIS.

    Have you helped cases such as ours? Our wait: 10 months and counting. Both of us are single and absolutely have no criminal record whatsoever. We have tried to ask help from his senator’s and congressman’s offices. But so far, nothing yet.

    Any thoughts on our case?

  10. John Buda
    January 12, 2013 | 7:25 am

    Dear Erlinda:

    Yes, I have helped with cases such as yours. The presence of an attorney often helps speed up the file. Congressional pressure usually doesn’t do very much.

    You may be close now. It may be that the holidays slowed down the process on your file, but 10 months is far outside their processing time.

    If you would like for me to get involved, please give me an email at john.buda@budalawgroup.net.

    Thank You,

  11. L. Hill
    February 2, 2013 | 4:24 am

    We submitted our 129F application on 6/24/12 and just received approval on 1/30/13. So it appears the 7 months in Vermont is a pretty safe bet. The waiting on the other hand is the hard part.

  12. JESSICA
    February 27, 2013 | 12:53 am

    Hello after you’ve received your I-129f approval then what’s next. Can your better half come now the the USA?

  13. T. Singh
    March 25, 2013 | 12:40 pm

    Recently USCIS CA Center increased the processing time from 5 to 5.5 months and now 6.6 months. I haven’t heard anything from USCIS after I got my receipt of notice. It has been two months since I got the acknowledgement. Do you have any update of CA Center? I live in California (US Citizen) and Petition is for Indian Citizen.

  14. A.Sayon
    March 25, 2013 | 6:40 pm

    From all of you comments i am seeing, its like i and my fiance just have to tightening our waiting belts as we filed in november 17 2012 and first notification came november 23 2012. Since then its 4months and our eyes are on the way so bad.So i guess we have to wait for 3months mnore or so for approvals. Oh my GUSh. What do you think needs to be done John Buda???

  15. R. Marsh
    March 26, 2013 | 10:35 am

    If it’s only been 4 months I don’t think you should be worried at this point. No one controls the work load of USCIS regional offices. That’s why processing times change month in and month out.

    This original post was Dec. 2011. At that time it was note worthy so we could keep our subscribers informed. Buda Law Group at that time had several cases approved by Vermont in 4 months. One case you can read about here: http://chinesemarriageusa.com/testimonials/ For USCIS Case Processing Tables (Current) you can check here: https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/processTimesDisplayInit.do

  16. R. Marsh
    March 26, 2013 | 10:39 am

    Yes, use the links in the comment above to check processing times. If you received a receipt notice 2 months ago take their word that it will be 5.5 or 6.6 before approval. Processing times are base on work load.

  17. R. Marsh
    March 26, 2013 | 10:52 am

    Hi Jessica,
    No. USCIS approval is the first of three steps. The National Visa Center will forward the petition to the U.S. Consulate/Embassy overseas where your fiance will provide documents and interview to prove their intentions on marriage. If successful your fiance will then be issued a K1 visa. When your fiance arrives in the United States you’ll have 90 days to marry and file all that paperwork all over again with USCIS. That’s why I like marriage visas better… Less paperwork, less stress, less fees.. OH yes, they say the fiance visa is quicker. I gladly wait an extra month to have my loved on issued a CR-1 Green Card.

  18. sarah klokpah
    April 18, 2013 | 3:17 pm

    my fiancee filed for me on 7/13/12 and received NOA1 ON 7/17/12.
    We sent RFE about 32days ago.when do we get our NOA2?

  19. R Del pilar
    July 8, 2013 | 3:13 pm

    my fiancee had a previous k 129F filed for he back in 2010 that relationship didn’t work out and she never went for her medical or interview because they ended their relationship.

    We filed our K 129F in July of 2012, After almost 1 year she finally had her interview (July 2013). They issued her a 221g form and said that she was ineligible due to having multiple petitioners, and that the case would be reviewed.

    The Manila embassy still showed the other case as active even after one year, is their a way that we can close that case? We have the old MNL Case number. Is there anything that we can do?

  20. james king
    August 26, 2013 | 10:21 pm

    I filed I-130 last week, i,m waiting on the receipt so i can file I=129 for K-3 visa for my wife. since I-129 takes a long time to be approved, and my wife is 10 weeks pregnant, is there any other way i can bring her here so she can get good medical care and deliver our baby here in the USA? I was thinking about going to the US embassy in my country and explain whats going on to see if they can issue my wife a visa. I’m a US citizen.

  21. R. Marsh
    August 28, 2013 | 4:11 am

    Closure of the K-3 Marriage Visa

    The K-3 visa was adopted by the Congress in 2000 under the “Life Act” and was modeled
    from the K-1 fiancé(e) visa. K-3 nonimmigrant marriage visa was popular until 2010 for its
    convenience of getting family members to the United States sooner. Before 2010 it would
    take up to two years to get an immigrant petition approved, the CR-1 or IR-1. But that was
    before NVC converted to electronic processing in 2010.

    Below is the “Notice” that USCIS and the National Visa Center (NVC) released in February
    of 2010.

    Effective February 1st, 2010, when both the I-129F petition for a
    nonimmigrant K visa and the I-130 petition for an IR-1 (or CR-1) spouse of a
    U.S. citizen visa have been approved by USCIS and sent to the National Visa
    Center (NVC), the availability as well as the need for a nonimmigrant K-3 visa
    ends. If the NVC receives both petitions:

    The nonimmigrant K visa will be administratively closed.
    The application process will not be applicable and cannot be used.
    The NVC will contact the petitioner with instructions for processing your IR-1
    (or CR-1) immigrant visa.

    The National Visa Center will process the I-129F; but when the I-130 is approved, the I-
    129F will be dropped. Now that the I-130 for an immigrant visa has a shorter approval
    time, it makes getting a K-3 visa virtually impossible.

    This is all really good news. By processing for an immigrant visa, the foreign spouse will
    have a Green Card in hand upon entering the U.S. It is also less costly than going through
    the “Adjustment of Status” process for nonimmigrant visas like the K-1 fiancé(e) visa and K-
    3 marriage visa.

  22. joey anderson
    July 30, 2014 | 8:56 pm

    I filed my I-129f and have heard the TSC is very slow can you give me an approx time frame i can expect my NOA2 letter?

  23. R. Marsh
    July 30, 2014 | 10:01 pm

    Hi Joey,

    Yes that is true for 2014 filings. Texas is running 5 to 6 months while applications at California have been approved in a little as 3.

  24. Trini
    August 15, 2014 | 6:08 pm

    I initially filed for my I-129f on May 8th 2014 to TSC the status has always said initial Review. August 11th 2014 I got a notice via Email and text and a letter stating that is have been transferred to California . I don’t know if this a good thing or bad but so far they haven’t asked for any references so that good. I want to know how long before approval.

  25. C. Apthorpe
    August 17, 2014 | 9:17 pm

    Hi Joey,

    I am also trying to find information about updated processing times. When filing my petition in June 2014, the only address I found anywhere was the Texas Service Center so that’s where I mailed mine, but now I have become aware of California and Vermont claiming to have much quicker processing times. Why are these other locations not listed on the USCIS website? Is there any way to move my application to Vermont? Getting trusted information feels impossible right now. Thank you for your help.

  26. Ajax
    September 5, 2014 | 7:35 am

    hey Joey,

    i filed for my fiancé june 12th, still waiting on my approval. went through TSC, called the 1800 number and they said the time frame is 4.5 months, but i am reading here that texas takes 5-6m. why is TSC the slowest center.

  27. Nick
    October 1, 2014 | 2:16 am

    I also submitted my petition in early July 2014 and was assigned to tsc a few days after sending i129f. In early October now and have heard nothing. I expect it will take till late November or early December at the latest hopefully.

  28. Estuardo
    October 10, 2014 | 4:24 pm

    I also send in my application on first wk of June, confirmation of receipt on mid June. current initial review has not change since than. We filed at the TSC people are very nice there, when you call the 1-800 number. When we applied we saw that it took 5.5 months but now is showing 5.9. Wish we would heard something, keep postponing wedding and the cost keep rising. Would of been better to just get married in the first place and file for a I-130 in stead. At least we would be married already and time would of not matter.

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