I need some 3rd party perspective on my situation. Here it goes:
So my girlfriend and I are engaged and we originally wanted to do a K1 Visa.
She just graduated and passed her board exam. She is 22 going to be 23. I'm from the US, 24 years old turning 25. Currently self employed, but looking for a steady paying job to be safe because of the K1 Fiance poverty line.
Ideally we were going to start the process within the next month or two, and shoot for getting married in the Summer of next year because she wants to get some job experience before coming over to the US.
But we have issues coming from her side of the family in the Philippines.
So as of now, her family is extremely adamant about us getting married in the Philippines. No if's, and's, or but's.
They want us to get married there because they want their entire family to participate in her wedding, especially her grandma on the mothers side.
So thats perfectly understandable. But the problem with that is if we get married in the Philippines then we will have to do a spouse visa. If we do a spouse visa we can't even start the process till we're married.
On top of that, they're saying we can't get married till next year. Which is fine, its what we wanted originally, IF WE WERE ON THE K1 VISA because in the mean time things would be processing and we would still be together by sometime in 2015. But the fact that they want us to get married in the Philippines ruins the whole idea.
So if we got married next year in the Philippines, the visa wouldn't start till next year as well, thus we won't even be together for an additional year since the spouse visa takes about a year to process on average. And that sucks, the whole idea for us is to be together ASAP...
SIDE NOTE, I haven't met the mom yet. She works in Dubai and hasn't been able to go home for the past 4 years due to a travel ban because of debt. But supposedly she can now return home yet still hasn't for reasons that I'm not sure of.
But my parents and I are actually going to the Philippines this May to have sort of a pamanhikan (basically just meet the family and talk about our plans nothing too intense)
So the mom is more negatively bias towards me because we never actually met. We talked a couple times on skype. She was nice and seemed to like me from what my fiancee said. But she's still worried that I will make my fiancee my maid and beat her some day.
I'm Chinese American and I guess Chinese have bad reps for making people maids? (I'm guessing she's thinking about the chinese from Hong Kong) And being American I guess they're scared I'll beat her? Plenty of her relatives all have this stereotype judgement on me as well. But they're still nice to me in person.
Luckily her immediately family - Dad, brother, 2 sisters all like me and know I won't do those things. But from my observation, it seems like the Mom holds the power in the decision making. So yes the dad likes me, but if the mom says one thing then he'll follow. I'm sure he'll stand up for me to a point, but not sure how far he'll go.
SOOOO my ultimate plan is to have the mother come back home in May so we can meet and she can meet my parents as well! Then make a better judgement of us. Also it'll be easier to discuss the plans of getting married. Its really hard to discuss things over crappy Skype connections. My fiancee says another concern from her mom is that she wants her daughter to enjoy her single life more and be stable in her job and then settle down. But for my fiancee, since were so far from each other she feels single already and just wants to be with me. And I feel the same as well. We just want to be together! But its like they don't even try to listen or understand us at all. They think were just doing this on a whim. So I'm hoping in May we can somehow work something out.
Our main goal is to be together in 2015, either it be spouse visa or fiance visa. 2015 is our goal.
So I thought of two options. Let me know what you guys think or if you have something alternative.
Stick with the K1 Visa. Takes about 6-8 months to process. Once her K1 is received, she will have 6 months to use that visa. So sometime during those six months when she's ready to leave, my family and I will go to the Philippines. Once we are there, we will hold some sort of "Unofficial" Wedding ceremony. After that, when my family and I head back home to the states, she can return home with us and get married officially in The US.
So that would be cool because we didn't have to get married beforehand and spend a year apart as a married couple, we get to be together in 2015, and her family got to be at her wedding as well!
But here is a problem: The family is catholic, if we did any wedding ceremony there they would want it to be at a catholic church with a priest. So my question is: Do catholic churches hold unofficial wedding ceremonies? Because if they don't, then we can't even do this option at all. My fiancee said her dad would want it at this church in Batangas. So if thats the case then option 1 would be a no go.... Also doing this might be sketchy...if the immigration found out we had done a mock wedding ceremony then maybe that could affect our K1.
When my family and I go in May to visit. My fiancee and I can get a civil marriage and just be married on paper in legal terms. So when I return home after the trip, I start the spouse visa process lets say in June. Thus if all goes well, and it takes about a year to process the visa, my family and I can return in June 2015 and have the marriage ceremony in the Philippines, then when we leave she can come home with us.
My problem with this option is: we'll be legally married but separated during our first year of marriage. Thats not exactly ideal. Also I know people say that the CR1 visa just takes longer in general. So who knows if I'll return in June 2015. The CR1 just seems more scary in terms of length versus the K1. Also I'm not even sure if they'd be down to have us get a civil marriage in May. I think apart of me knows that they just don't want her to leave so soon. :(
Sorry for the long post, kudos to anyone who read all of it.
Have any thoughts, comments, or tips?