How to Apply
To apply for a fiancée visa, follow the steps on the Fiancé(e) Visa Process on usvisas.state.gov.
Filing the I-129F Petition
You, the U.S. citizen sponsor, must file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), with the USCIS office that serves the area where you live. See Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) for information on where to file the petition. Further information is available on the USCIS website under Fiancé(e) Visas. Note: Form I-129F cannot be filed at a U.S. Embassy, Consulate, or USCIS office abroad. After USCIS approves the petition, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing, and NVC will send it to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where your fiancé(e) will apply for a K-1 nonimmigrant visa.
Step 1: Mailing Required Documents
After your petition for fiancé(e) visa has been approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and completed by the U.S. National Visa Center (NVC), NVC will send your case to our office for final processing.
At this step please follow the instructions below only after you have received a notification email from the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Tirana. Both the beneficiary and the petitioner must mail the original documents that apply in your case to the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Tirana via a courier service. Our mailing address is:
Rr. Stavro Vinjau, No. 14
Note: It is applicant’s responsibility to mail in all the documents listed below. The consular section will not schedule an interview date until you have mailed all the required documents listed below. DO NOT pay the visa fee before you receive specific instructions from the Consular Section.
DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application Electronic Form
Complete electronic Form DS-160, Non-immigrant Visa Application, (for each visa applicant) and print out its Confirmation Page. Make sure to upload a correct size photo, and include any other names you may have used in the past.
One original birth certificate for each applicant. It should read “Certificate of Birth”, not Personal Certificate (e.g., the certificate translated in six languages for use abroad reads “Certificate of Birth – Certifikatё Lindjeje”). Applicants not born in Albania must obtain a translated and notarized birth certificate from the country where they were born and an Albanian birth certificate. If you were born in Greece, you must obtain a special authenticating seal called “Apostille” over your certificate, and then have it translated in English by the Translation Services of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Please visit the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for more information.
Divorce or Death Certificate(s)
If previously married, please include proof of termination of that marriage whether by death or divorce (e.g., death certificate of previous spouse, translated final decree of divorce, etc.)
Judicial Status Certificate
Each applicant, 16 years of age or older, must apply for the judicial status certificate (in Albanian – Dёshmi Penaliteti) at the Albanian Post Office. Answer “U.S. Embassy” to the question “Institution requesting the certificate” of the application form for the judicial status certificate. Apply in current and in any former names, including maiden names. The Ministry of Justice certificates for U.S. visa applicants are transmitted to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tirana directly by the Ministry of Justice. U.S. Embassy Tirana will only accept certificates that are received by us directly from the Ministry of Justice.
Applicants may not present their own certificates to U.S. Embassy Tirana. In order to certify that you’ve applied for the Ministry of Justice certificate, please submit a copy of the receipt of payment for the criminal record, which you received from the Albanian Post Office. Please note that applicants are often refused for not submitting the certificate in all the names/surnames used.
Court Decision or District Prosecution Certificate(s):
- Persons convicted of a crime must obtain full court decisions from district courts, regardless of the visa applicant having been pardoned or granted amnesty, or the criminal conviction has been expunged.
- Persons currently under criminal investigation by a Prosecution office must submit a certificate from that office.
These documents must be translated into English and notarized.
Police Records from a Foreign Country (if applicable)
A translated and notarized Police Record from a foreign country for applicants 16 years of age and older, if the applicant is currently residing in that country for more than six months, or if the applicant has previously lived in that country for more than one year, in current and in any former names, including maiden names. For further information, please read the Police Certificates title of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs web page “U.S. Visa: Reciprocity and Civil Documents by Country.”
- Italian Police certificates: You must obtain (1) Certificato Generale del Casellario Giudiziale and (2) Certificato dei Carichi Pendenti. Read more on how to obtain it in the above link.
- Greek Police certificates: You are required to apply for a Penal record of Judicial use (“Antigrafo Pinikou Mitroou Dikastikis Hrisis”) from the Hellenic Ministry of Justice, Bureau of Penal Records for Foreigners (Ipiresia Pinikou Mitroou Allodapon), Mesogion 96, 101 79 Athens, Greece, tel. 210776-7300, 210776-7185, 210776-7186, & 210776-7043. You may apply in person, or through an authorized representative by completing an Authorization form (“Exousiodotisi”) notarized by the Greek Embassy in Tirana. On the Penal Record application, ensure you tick the box requesting a record for Judicial Use while in the last two boxes, “Reason for Issue” and “Description”, please write Request for a Visa and Request for a Visa from the U.S. Embassy, Athens, respectively. You do not return to the Bureau to collect your Penal Record. The Bureau will send your record to the U.S. Consulate in Athens.
Please note that applicants are often refused under INA 221(g), because of failing to submit the certificate(s) in all the names/last names they’ve used.
Albanian citizens: All male applicants born before September 1990, regardless of whether they have served or not in the military service, including all female applicants with prior military service must apply at the Albanian Post office for the military record. Third country applicants: a military record is required. Please refer to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs web page “U.S. Visa: Reciprocity and Civil Documents by Country.”
Other Civil Documents (if applicable)
Decisions issued by the responsible state authority regarding any name changes, age amendments, adoption and similar subjects must also be submitted.
Regardless of age, all U.S. Immigrant Visa applicants must present two color photographs, approximately 5 X 5 cm in size, taken in front of a plain white or off-white background. The photo must be taken in full-face view directly facing the camera, with the head centered in the frame. Photos must not be digitally enhanced or altered to change your appearance in any way. For more details please visit the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs web page “Photograph Requirements.” If the requirements are not met, the photo will not be accepted. The photo should be taken within the last six months.
You are not required to translate documents issued by the Albanian authorities, except for court decisions. Certified English translations must accompany all documents that are not in Albanian or in English. Translations must be certified by a competent translator and sworn before a Notary Public.
A photocopy of all applicants’ passports must be provided. The beneficiary’s passport must be valid for travel to the United States with at least one year validity beyond the issuance date of the visa. You must present your passport at the interview date. Passport must bear your current legal name.
Petitioner’s Evidence of Financial Support
- A signed Form I-134, Affidavit of Support. Regardless of whether the petitioner does or does not qualify to file, he or she must file Form I-134. This document must be less than 12 months old when submitted.
- A photocopy of petitioner’s U.S. passport, naturalization certificate, or U.S. birth certificate,
- A recently issued job letter, that includes information on length of employment and salary,
- An Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax return transcripts. Note: Tax return Form 1040 is not accepted.
- Most recent tax year W-2s for all jobs held,
Sponsor’s income must meet the requirements of 100 percent of the Poverty Guidelines, or, if the petitioner is not qualified to sponsor his/her relative financially, the petitioner will be required to find a joint sponsor (see below).
If petitioner’s income does not meet the requirements of 100 percent of the Poverty Guidelines, established annually by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or, if the petitioner is not qualified to sponsor his/her relative financially, s/he must find a joint sponsor, who must submit:
- A signed Form I-134, Affidavit of Support (in addition to petitioner’s I-134 Affidavit of Support). This document must be less than 12 months old when submitted.
- A photocopy of joint sponsor’s U.S. passport, naturalization certificate, U.S. birth certificate, or legal permanent resident card,
- A recently issued job letter, that includes information on length of employment and salary,
- An Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax return transcript. Note: Tax return, Form 1040 is not accepted.
- W-2s for the most recent tax year for all the jobs held,
- If the joint sponsor is married, his/her spouse should also submit his or her own signed Form I-134, accompanied by a photocopy of the U.S. passport or of the legal permanent resident card of the spouse of joint sponsor, regardless of joint sponsor’s spouse tax filing situation.
Evidence of Relationship (to your U.S. citizen fiancé(e))
On your interview day, bring evidence of relationship to petitioner, such as photographs, correspondence, or phone calls, which should clearly show petitioner and beneficiary; or other evidence of relationship over a period of time. Evidence that the petitioner visited Albania, such as ticket stubs or travel reservations. Note that electronic devices, including DVDs are not accepted and will be destroyed if submitted.
All documents must have been issued within one year from the interview date. Otherwise, your case will be refused until we receive all the renewed documents. Medical examination usually expires six months after the signing of the medical form by the applicant (three months for certain cases with TB findings, etc.).
Once your case is documentary complete, the consular section will notify you and/or the petitioner by e-mail, or by mail, on how to schedule a visa appointment date. Follow the instructions in the e-mail on how to schedule your appointment. DO NOT schedule an interview date before receiving specific instructions to do so, as it will be otherwise be cancelled.
Step 2: Scheduling an Interview Date
Once your case is documentary complete, the consular section will notify you and/or the petitioner by e-mail, or by mail, on how to schedule a visa appointment date. Follow the instructions in the e-mail on how to schedule your appointment. DO NOT schedule an interview date before receiving specific instructions to do so, as it will otherwise be cancelled. Furthermore, you will face difficulties in rescheduling your interview date when using the same fee receipt number in the appointment system.
Once you have received an email from our office, follow the below steps:
Before the Interview
Rights and Protections for Foreign-Citizen Fiancé(e)s of U.S. Citizens
You (The Visa Applicant) must read the Information on the Legal Rights Available to Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence in the United States and Facts about Immigrating on a Marriage-Based Visa. Failure to read this information may delay processing of your visa.
Each visa applicant, regardless of age, is required to undergo medical examination by the authorized panel physicians of the U.S. Embassy. You must read the information on the panel physicians’ website, and fill out the medical examination form, under “Apply for an Appointment”, and submit the form to one of the panel physicians three weeks prior to your visa interview appointment date (or immediately after you learn your visa interview date). The panel physician office will email you via the same email the medical appointment date. The applicant is responsible for the cost of the examination. A medical examination is also required for each accompanying child. You should bring the appointment letter with you on the day of the medical examination.
You may read the Medical Examination FAQs by visiting the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs web page “Medical Examination.”
Note: The validity of your visa will be limited to the validity of your medical report. Medical reports classified as “Class B (TB)” are valid for 3 months from the date on which the doctor signed the report. All other medical reports classified as “No apparent disease or defect” are valid for 6 months after the date on which the doctor signed the report. If your case is subject to further administrative processing, or if the processing of your file is delayed due to missing documents, the medical report may expire before your visa is issued. In that case, you will be required to renew the medical examination and submit an updated medical report to the Consular Section before you receive your visa.
You must submit your medical report to this office at the time of your interview, unless specifically instructed by our office to mail it prior to your interview date. Do not bring the X-ray CD to the Embassy.
Scheduling Your Interview
Follow the instructions provided in the e-mail sent to you on how to register for DHL, pay the fiancé(e) visa fee and schedule an appointment. Any appointment date scheduled before notification from the Consular Section will be CANCELLED.
Effective September 12, 2014, the fee for the Fiancé(e) Visa is $265.00 per person. Since the fees are subject to change, please visit the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs web page “Fees for Visa Services” for updated information on visa fees.
Print out the appointment letter and take it to the Embassy on the date of your visa appointment.
Appearing For Your Interview (Security Information)
The following items are not permitted in the Consular Section: cell phones, iPods, photo or video cameras, electronics such as radios, portable CD players or other equipment, including computers. Please do not bring any type of electronic equipment. Please do not bring large or bulky bags to the Consular Section, as there is no storage space for them. We recommend that you don’t bring any unnecessary items with you in your bag on the day of the interview as this may delay your security screening.
After the Interview
After your personal interview with the Consular Officer, provided that your file is documentary complete and you are found qualified for the visa, your visa will be issued and sent together with the visa packet via DHL courier service to the DHL branch you chose when registering for DHL courier service. DHL will notify you by e-mail when you may go and pick up your passport from their office.
Important: Do not open the brown envelope containing the visa packet; otherwise you will not be able to travel. You must notify us by using our Visa Navigator in such a situation.
Note: If you haven’t received your visa within 15 business days from the date when your passport has been delivered to us for visa issuance, you may contact our office by using our Visa Navigator. Do not make any travel arrangements for departure until the visa has been delivered to you.
Some visa applications may require:
- Additional documents: When additional documents are requested, the Consular Officer will provide you with a refusal letter which lists all the missing documents. Only the items that are marked off on the list apply in your case. Please note that the Consular Officer may use the Albanian language to explain the documents required by the applicant, and English language to explain the documents required by the sponsor. Therefore, you may have to send a copy of the refusal letter by fax or email to the sponsor. It is strongly recommended that you send all the requested documents at once; otherwise, the processing of your case may take more time.
- Further administrative processing: A further administrative processing takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a Consular Officer. Applicants are advised of this requirement when they apply. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview. When administrative processing is required, the timing will vary based on individual circumstances of each case. Before making inquiries about the status of administrative processing, applicants or their representatives will need to wait for at least 60 days from the date of the visa interview or from the date of submission of supplemental documents, whichever is the latest.
No assurance can be given in advance that a visa will be issued. A consular officer can make a decision only after reviewing the formal application with all the documents, and after conducting a personal interview with the applicant.
Visa applicants should not make any travel arrangements for departure, dispose of personal property or make other life changes until the visa has been issued and delivered to you. This office will make every effort to expedite the visa processing. However you must be aware that there may be complications with the processing of your visa case as applicants may be required to return to this office or to submit additional information/documentation.
Section 203(g) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act requires that an intending immigrant pursue his/her visa application within one year from the date he or she is informed that it is possible to do so. If you fail to do so within one year from the date of notice, your application and any visa petition approved for you will be cancelled.
Visa Approval – When You Receive Your Visa
Passport with Visa
Your immigrant visa will be placed on a page in your passport. Please review the printed information right away to make sure there are no errors. If there are any spelling errors, contact the Consular Section promptly by using our Visa Navigator with detailed information regarding the error.
Sealed Immigrant Packet
You will also receive a sealed packet containing documents that you must present to U.S. Customs and Border Protection at a port-of-entry (often an airport) upon your arrival in the United States. You must not open the sealed packet; it must be hand-carried. CD of X-rays must be hand-carried with you, not packed in your luggage.
When You Should Travel
You must arrive and apply for admission in the United States no later than the visa expiration date printed on your visa; failure to do so will result in the loss of your immigrant status. An immigrant visa is usually valid for up to six months from the date of issuance unless your medical examination expires sooner, which may make your visa valid for less than six months. Do not travel outside of USA until you receive your Permanent Resident Card. Your visa cannot be extended beyond its expiration date, and all visa fees paid are nonrefundable. If, for any reason, you could not use your visa, you must return it to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tirana. Another visa may be issued if you are able to prove that you did not travel to the U.S. for reasons beyond your control.
Entering the United States
When traveling to the United States, the primary (or principal) applicant must enter before or at the same time as family members with visas. Children, who turn 21 years old after visa issuance, must travel to the United States before they turn 21 years old; otherwise they will lose their immigrant status. With your immigrant visa (before it expires), and sealed packet, you will travel to a U.S. port-of-entry (often an airport) and request permission to enter the United States.
Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
Your green card, will be mailed to the address in the United States that is written in your application forms. This is a very important document, which will serve as proof that you have permission for permanent residency and gives you the opportunity to stay and enter the USA without a visa. See USCIS web page “Welcome to the United States” for more information.
Your green card has a conditional status. You must get married within 90 days of being admitted to the U.S. on your fiancé(e) visa. To remove conditions, Form I-751 must be submitted to USCIS within 90 days prior to the end of the two-year conditional permanent resident period. Both spouses file the form jointly, unless an exception applies.
Children are required to have certain vaccinations before they can enroll in school in the United States. Therefore, it is recommended that your child have complete vaccination records before immigrating (the vaccination copy panel physician provided you). Learn about vaccination requirements on the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) web page “State Vaccination Requirements”.
For New Immigrants – Welcome to the United States
For a guide concerning new immigrants to the United States, please visit the USCIS web page “Welcome to the United States“.
After being issued the Permanent Resident Card, you should stay abroad for less than one year, otherwise you will be considered to have lost your status of Legal Permanent Resident. For more information on the rights and responsibilities as Legal Permanent Residents, please visit the USCIS web page “Maintaining Permanent Residence”.
Should you have questions regarding your Permanent Resident Card, or if you did not receive your card within a certain time, please contact USCIS directly.