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DOS returns 1,100 Fiancé(e) petitions
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The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has announced that it has returned to the National Visa Center (NVC) approximately 1,100 K-1 petitions that were filed on or after March 6, 2006, due to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) failure to collect criminal background information. The extent of the delay this will cause the cases is unknown. Following is the text of the notification posted on DOS website.

The International Marriage Broker Regulation (IMBRA) was signed by the President January 5th of this year. A 60-day deadline, March 5, 2006, was established for DHS to begin asking K-1 fiancé(e) petitioners for their criminal background information. DHS did not meet the deadline for collecting additional information. Some petitions filed after the deadline were approved in error under the old procedures and sent through the National Visa Center (NVC) to posts for processing. Approximately 1100 cases went to 95 IV-issuing posts. Posts are preparing to return these cases as quickly as possible to NVC.

While most K-1 cases under the new IMBRA requirements were held at the service centers pending development of a new form I-129F, some cases were processed after March 5 using the old forms and procedures and sent to posts for processing. The DHS Service Center Operations (SCOPS) Unit of USCIS, Status/Family Branch requested that posts return to NVC all K-1 I-129F petitions with priority dates (date received at the DHS office) on or after March 6, 2006.

NVC was able to run a data base list of all petitions meeting these criteria. DOS has notified those posts that have received these cases and given them the case numbers and further instructions. All cases on this list, even those with firm appointments or in 221(g) status, are to be delayed while the petition is returned for further information. No cases in issued status will be recalled. If posts have any question about the correct priority date of the K1 case, they should use the priority date (receipt date) written or stamped on the original petition. DHS has not requested return of K3 or K4 I-129F petitions.

The Department presently has no information about the extent of delay for these cases. In the meantime DHS will send additional questionnaires to the petitioners inquiring about their possible criminal backgrounds. When the petition is compliant with the IMBRA, it will be returned to post from USCIS through NVC for processing.

The Department understands the additional workload of this process and the public relations demands of responding to disappointed petitioners and beneficiaries. DOS has recommended that questions be addressed directly to USCIS. The USCIS customer service number is: 800-375-5283.

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