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galephys

Evidence of bona fide marriage if you live apart

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I am preparing to file for IR1/CR1 visa and I'm stuck on the evidence of bona fide marriage. We live apart, we've always lived apart and traveled to meet each other 3-4 times a year. We traveled together a lot, so I saved our plance tickets, boarding passes and hotel reservations (I can also show who paid for what - sometimes we'd buy our own tickets and one of us booked a hotel for both, or one of us would buy tickets for both, etc). I have tickets from attractions we visited, lots of photos together from the trips and with families and friends. Postcards, letters, notes from flowers, proof of purchase of gifts we exchanged. For example, he has a receipt from Amazon for something he bought to be delivered to me, and I have an actual piece - I can staple together the receipt from his account and a photo of the piece with me (it's mostly jewelry). I can get letters from our friends and family stating that they know us and yep, we're real. But it all seems so... insignificant! We don't have any joint property, no leases, no utility bills.

I added him as an authorised user on my credit card, but that's all. I can probably add him to my electricity, internet bill or a water bill, but I don't know if they'd let me do it without his SSN. Car insurance, maybe, for the next year. I will add him to my health insurance, but it's not until next Spring, which is after I file for IR-1. Same deal for him: he could add me as a user on his bank account, maybe to a car insurance, but he doesn't have any property and there is no such thing as a joint health insurance in Russia.

I'm sure we're not the only ones in long distance relationship, and I'm sure there are known paths, I'm just not aware. What did you use to proove your long distance marriage? Did it make your process longer?

Thanks!


My immigration journey

July 2009 - F1 student PhD program

AOS
June 2010 - married USC

August 2010 - sent I-130 and I-485

December 2010 - CGC received.
December 2010 - ex-husband got crazy
May 2011 - separated
November 2012 - divorced!!

I-751 waiver

October 13 - filed I-751 waiver by myself
November 28 - BIO & InfoPass to submit a divorce decree

December 2012 - CGC expires

May 3 2013 - RFE received, asked for a divorce decree (haha) and address clarification + more evidence

July 6 2013 - RFE mailed and received

September 2013 - InfoPass, passport stamped to extend my status

November 2013 - Finally an interview is scheduled
December 12 2013 - Interview. Approved without any questions, passport stamped. Same officer who did my initial interview (I was told "I saw it coming, don't give up on love" :) )

December 27 2013 - Card received, too bad I was overseas

January 2014 US entry, special screening, but admitted instantly once I got to speak to the officer. It's a standard procedure if no valid GC on hand.

July 2015 - MARRIED in Russia

N-400

October 2015 - N-400 sent

February 2016 - interview and test

March 2015: USC!

DCF for my husband

April 2016: InfoPass to file I-130 in Moscow, approved on the same day.

May 2016: DS-260 interview - AP for "dangerous" work field

July 2016: visa issued! 59 days in AP.

May 2018: filed I-751 

June 2018: 18 months extension received

I traveled all over the world in the meantime, no problems with visas and entries, occasionally some explaining and more documents to haul around.

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Evidence I submitted were photocopies of plane tickets, passport stamps, letters, birthday and Christmas cards, about a dozen photos of us together and two affidavits from two witnesses at our wedding. I doubt it made the process any longer because our I-130 got approved within 5 months, which is the normal processing time anyway.


SPOUSE STEPSON

07-16-2014 I-130 sent 07-16-2014 I-130 sent

07-18-2014 USCIS receives I-130 07-18-2014 USCIS receives I-130

07-22-2014 NOA1 received 07-22-2014 NOA1 received

12-30-2014 NOA 2 received 12-30-2014 NOA 2 received

01-07-2015 sent to NVC 01-07-2015 sent to NVC

03-11-2015 Received DS-261/AOS Bill 03-11-2015 Received DS-261/AOS Bill

03-11-2015 Pay AOS Bill 03-11-2015 Pay AOS Bill

04-13-2015 AOS & IV Packet sent 04-13-2015 AOS & IV Packet sent

04-14-2015 SCAN DATE 04-14-2015 SCAN DATE

04-17-2015 Pay IV Fee 04-17-2015 Pay IV Fee

04-23-2015 Completed DS-260 04-23-2015 Completed DS-260

05-08-2015 CASE COMPLETE! 05-08-2015 CHECKLIST - due to clerical error

07-14-2015 P4/Interview Letter received 07-08-2015 CASE COMPLETE!

08-25-2015 Interview @ US Embassy(London) 07-14-2015 P4/Interview letter received

08-26-2015 VISA Issued 08-25-2015 Interview @ US Embassy(London)

09-01-2015 VISA Received 08-26-2015 VISA Issued

09-01-2015 VISA Received

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Honestly the things you mentioned are perfectly fine I sent a lot of the things you mentioned and never got a rfe or anything . No leases no anything of that nature . Take a breath you'll be fine .

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5 months! damn... that's long:( I read all the guides, but I'm still confused. After I-130 is approved, they send the case to NVC, then I complete packages they want (AOS and IV), NVC approves them and sends to the local consulate to schedule a interview and a medical.

Is there anything that the beneficiary has to mail to the consulate or overseas? Does he need to provide proofs of our marriage on the interview, or that's done at I-130 stage?

thanks!


My immigration journey

July 2009 - F1 student PhD program

AOS
June 2010 - married USC

August 2010 - sent I-130 and I-485

December 2010 - CGC received.
December 2010 - ex-husband got crazy
May 2011 - separated
November 2012 - divorced!!

I-751 waiver

October 13 - filed I-751 waiver by myself
November 28 - BIO & InfoPass to submit a divorce decree

December 2012 - CGC expires

May 3 2013 - RFE received, asked for a divorce decree (haha) and address clarification + more evidence

July 6 2013 - RFE mailed and received

September 2013 - InfoPass, passport stamped to extend my status

November 2013 - Finally an interview is scheduled
December 12 2013 - Interview. Approved without any questions, passport stamped. Same officer who did my initial interview (I was told "I saw it coming, don't give up on love" :) )

December 27 2013 - Card received, too bad I was overseas

January 2014 US entry, special screening, but admitted instantly once I got to speak to the officer. It's a standard procedure if no valid GC on hand.

July 2015 - MARRIED in Russia

N-400

October 2015 - N-400 sent

February 2016 - interview and test

March 2015: USC!

DCF for my husband

April 2016: InfoPass to file I-130 in Moscow, approved on the same day.

May 2016: DS-260 interview - AP for "dangerous" work field

July 2016: visa issued! 59 days in AP.

May 2018: filed I-751 

June 2018: 18 months extension received

I traveled all over the world in the meantime, no problems with visas and entries, occasionally some explaining and more documents to haul around.

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Just to clear my head here:

if I list myself as an agent of my spouse, I can get all his certified documents like police records, military records, birth certificate and DS-230 form from him, signed by him, bring it to the US with me and mail as soon as eligible? Does it matter if these forms are backdated? Like if I went to see my husband in January, got all documents dated January, but mailed the package in April, would they reject it?


My immigration journey

July 2009 - F1 student PhD program

AOS
June 2010 - married USC

August 2010 - sent I-130 and I-485

December 2010 - CGC received.
December 2010 - ex-husband got crazy
May 2011 - separated
November 2012 - divorced!!

I-751 waiver

October 13 - filed I-751 waiver by myself
November 28 - BIO & InfoPass to submit a divorce decree

December 2012 - CGC expires

May 3 2013 - RFE received, asked for a divorce decree (haha) and address clarification + more evidence

July 6 2013 - RFE mailed and received

September 2013 - InfoPass, passport stamped to extend my status

November 2013 - Finally an interview is scheduled
December 12 2013 - Interview. Approved without any questions, passport stamped. Same officer who did my initial interview (I was told "I saw it coming, don't give up on love" :) )

December 27 2013 - Card received, too bad I was overseas

January 2014 US entry, special screening, but admitted instantly once I got to speak to the officer. It's a standard procedure if no valid GC on hand.

July 2015 - MARRIED in Russia

N-400

October 2015 - N-400 sent

February 2016 - interview and test

March 2015: USC!

DCF for my husband

April 2016: InfoPass to file I-130 in Moscow, approved on the same day.

May 2016: DS-260 interview - AP for "dangerous" work field

July 2016: visa issued! 59 days in AP.

May 2018: filed I-751 

June 2018: 18 months extension received

I traveled all over the world in the meantime, no problems with visas and entries, occasionally some explaining and more documents to haul around.

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***Moved from Progress Reports to Process & Procedures.***

**Moderator hat off**

5 months! damn... that's long:( I read all the guides, but I'm still confused. After I-130 is approved, they send the case to NVC, then I complete packages they want (AOS and IV), NVC approves them and sends to the local consulate to schedule a interview and a medical.

Is there anything that the beneficiary has to mail to the consulate or overseas? Does he need to provide proofs of our marriage on the interview, or that's done at I-130 stage?

thanks!

NVC doesn't approve anything, they just check for completeness. Scheduling the medical exam is the sole responsibility of the visa applicant. Your only "proof" of marriage is the marriage certificate, everything else is evidence. Evidence should go with the I-130 package and also be brought to the interview.

Just to clear my head here:

if I list myself as an agent of my spouse, I can get all his certified documents like police records, military records, birth certificate and DS-230 form from him, signed by him, bring it to the US with me and mail as soon as eligible? Does it matter if these forms are backdated? Like if I went to see my husband in January, got all documents dated January, but mailed the package in April, would they reject it?

DS-230 is no longer used, it has been replaced by the online DS-260. Information on the NVC phase can be found here: http://www.visajourney.com/wiki/index.php/NVC_Process

Our journey:

Spoiler

September 2007: Met online via social networking site (MySpace); began exchanging messages.
March 26, 2009: We become a couple!
September 10, 2009: Arrived for first meeting in-person!
June 17, 2010: Arrived for second in-person meeting and start of travel together to other areas of China!
June 21, 2010: Engaged!!!
September 1, 2010: Switched course from K1 to CR-1
December 8, 2010: Wedding date set; it will be on February 18, 2011!
February 9, 2011: Depart for China
February 11, 2011: Registered for marriage in Wuhan, officially married!!!
February 18, 2011: Wedding ceremony in Shiyan!!!
April 22, 2011: Mailed I-130 to Chicago
April 28, 2011: Received NOA1 via text/email, file routed to CSC (priority date April 25th)
April 29, 2011: Updated
May 3, 2011: Received NOA1 hardcopy in mail
July 26, 2011: Received NOA2 via text/email!!!
July 30, 2011: Received NOA2 hardcopy in mail
August 8, 2011: NVC received file
September 1, 2011: NVC case number assigned
September 2, 2011: AOS invoice received, OPTIN email for EP sent
September 7, 2011: Paid AOS bill (payment portal showed PAID on September 9, 2011)
September 8, 2011: OPTIN email accepted, GZO number assigned
September 10, 2011: Emailed AOS package
September 12, 2011: IV bill invoiced
September 13, 2011: Paid IV bill (payment portal showed PAID on September 14, 2011)
September 14, 2011: Emailed IV package
October 3, 2011: Emailed checklist response (checklist generated due to typo on Form DS-230)
October 6, 2011: Case complete at NVC
November 10, 2011: Interview - APPROVED!!!
December 7, 2011: POE - Sea-Tac Airport

September 17, 2013: Mailed I-751 to CSC

September 23, 2013: Received NOA1 in mail (receipt date September 19th)

October 16, 2013: Biometrics Appointment

January 28, 2014: Production of new Green Card ordered

February 3, 2014: New Green Card received; done with USCIS until fall of 2023*

 

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http://www.visajourney.com/wiki/index.php/EZGuideSpouse

At the bottom is a huge list of you can provide as evidence of your relationship. Also it's a general guide to let you know what happens in what order.

Keep in mind you're looking at about a year total for the whole process at least.


You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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Looking at your other posts only a US citizen spouse receives IR1/CR1 visa... as an LPR you'd be starting the F2A process for your spouse. The wait time is significantly longer. Also it looks like from your signature it will be a few years until you are able to become a USC.


You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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Looking at your other posts only a US citizen spouse receives IR1/CR1 visa... as an LPR you'd be starting the F2A process for your spouse. The wait time is significantly longer. Also it looks like from your signature it will be a few years until you are able to become a USC.

Reported time from NOA1 to issuing a visa for my country is about 7 months, and really depend on the service center. VSC is processing I-130 in 4-5 months now. I am eligible to apply for USC this September,don't know where you got the "few years" idea.

Also LPR applications for relatives processing time recently was about 5 months. The only reason I may not want to go that route is 5 year rule on the previous marriage.

And of course I read the guides, thank you! What I didn't understand from the wiki is why does it say I need to track my "valuable originals"? The list only calls for certified copies of stuff or for police and military reports, which I wouldn't consider irreplacable or vital to me in every day life.


My immigration journey

July 2009 - F1 student PhD program

AOS
June 2010 - married USC

August 2010 - sent I-130 and I-485

December 2010 - CGC received.
December 2010 - ex-husband got crazy
May 2011 - separated
November 2012 - divorced!!

I-751 waiver

October 13 - filed I-751 waiver by myself
November 28 - BIO & InfoPass to submit a divorce decree

December 2012 - CGC expires

May 3 2013 - RFE received, asked for a divorce decree (haha) and address clarification + more evidence

July 6 2013 - RFE mailed and received

September 2013 - InfoPass, passport stamped to extend my status

November 2013 - Finally an interview is scheduled
December 12 2013 - Interview. Approved without any questions, passport stamped. Same officer who did my initial interview (I was told "I saw it coming, don't give up on love" :) )

December 27 2013 - Card received, too bad I was overseas

January 2014 US entry, special screening, but admitted instantly once I got to speak to the officer. It's a standard procedure if no valid GC on hand.

July 2015 - MARRIED in Russia

N-400

October 2015 - N-400 sent

February 2016 - interview and test

March 2015: USC!

DCF for my husband

April 2016: InfoPass to file I-130 in Moscow, approved on the same day.

May 2016: DS-260 interview - AP for "dangerous" work field

July 2016: visa issued! 59 days in AP.

May 2018: filed I-751 

June 2018: 18 months extension received

I traveled all over the world in the meantime, no problems with visas and entries, occasionally some explaining and more documents to haul around.

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***Moved from Progress Reports to Process & Procedures.***

**Moderator hat off**

NVC doesn't approve anything, they just check for completeness. Scheduling the medical exam is the sole responsibility of the visa applicant. Your only "proof" of marriage is the marriage certificate, everything else is evidence. Evidence should go with the I-130 package and also be brought to the interview.

DS-230 is no longer used, it has been replaced by the online DS-260. Information on the NVC phase can be found here: http://www.visajourney.com/wiki/index.php/NVC_Process

Thanks for moving the topic, I kinda switched in the middle of the conversation(

Oh, so NVC doesn't approve, that's why it says on USCIS website that I can send documents in a language of the receiving consulate!

If I become my husband's agent, it means I can take all his IV package documents signed by him ahead of time and simply mail within US?

In yous signature you said you EMAILED AOS and IV packages. Did you really mean scan and email or you mean mailed a hard copy?

Never mind. Now that I knew it's an option, I found it on their website http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/immigrate/immigrant-process/documents/Submit_documents.html

Edited by galephys

My immigration journey

July 2009 - F1 student PhD program

AOS
June 2010 - married USC

August 2010 - sent I-130 and I-485

December 2010 - CGC received.
December 2010 - ex-husband got crazy
May 2011 - separated
November 2012 - divorced!!

I-751 waiver

October 13 - filed I-751 waiver by myself
November 28 - BIO & InfoPass to submit a divorce decree

December 2012 - CGC expires

May 3 2013 - RFE received, asked for a divorce decree (haha) and address clarification + more evidence

July 6 2013 - RFE mailed and received

September 2013 - InfoPass, passport stamped to extend my status

November 2013 - Finally an interview is scheduled
December 12 2013 - Interview. Approved without any questions, passport stamped. Same officer who did my initial interview (I was told "I saw it coming, don't give up on love" :) )

December 27 2013 - Card received, too bad I was overseas

January 2014 US entry, special screening, but admitted instantly once I got to speak to the officer. It's a standard procedure if no valid GC on hand.

July 2015 - MARRIED in Russia

N-400

October 2015 - N-400 sent

February 2016 - interview and test

March 2015: USC!

DCF for my husband

April 2016: InfoPass to file I-130 in Moscow, approved on the same day.

May 2016: DS-260 interview - AP for "dangerous" work field

July 2016: visa issued! 59 days in AP.

May 2018: filed I-751 

June 2018: 18 months extension received

I traveled all over the world in the meantime, no problems with visas and entries, occasionally some explaining and more documents to haul around.

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I submitted photos of my husband and I, taken at different locations over a 7 year period (~15 photos with annotations). My NOA2 came after 6 months (but I believe that's standard for Nebraska SC). I also want to disclose that the USCIS has on record that I had applied for a Fiancee visa back in '09 and progressed to the consulate processing stage before abandoning (that in itself may have contributed to the evidence of the bonafide relationship, as I believe photos alone are not sufficient)

I think the evidence you have is more than sufficient - just make sure you organise and index the documentation to make it easier for the USCIS to review. eg. have a cover page with a list of all the evidence you are submitting and also label each page heading with the content. You also don't need to submit EVERYTHING you have - be selective. I believe demonstrating that you and your spouse have maintained a relationship over a sustained period is more effective that submitting say, all phone bills and plane trips within the past 1 year as an example.


USCIS

I-130 Sent: 2014-07-22

I-130 NOA1: 2014-07-29

I-130 Approved: 2015-02-02

:idea:

NVC Processing

NVC Received: 2015-02-12

Completed DS-261: 2015-02-28

Paid AOS Bill: 2015-03-02

Sent AOS & IV Package (EP): 2015-03-11

Pay IV Bill: 2015-03-23

Completed DS-260: 2015-03-26

Case Complete: 2015-04-02

Interview appointment letter (P4): 2015-04-17

:dancing:

Consular Processing

Interview Date: 2015-05-26

Visa Received: 2015-05-XX

US Entry: 2015-05-XX

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Reported time from NOA1 to issuing a visa for my country is about 7 months, and really depend on the service center. VSC is processing I-130 in 4-5 months now. I am eligible to apply for USC this September,don't know where you got the "few years" idea.

Also LPR applications for relatives processing time recently was about 5 months. The only reason I may not want to go that route is 5 year rule on the previous marriage.

And of course I read the guides, thank you! What I didn't understand from the wiki is why does it say I need to track my "valuable originals"? The list only calls for certified copies of stuff or for police and military reports, which I wouldn't consider irreplacable or vital to me in every day life.

I have no idea where you get 7 months. There are three stages to every spousal visa and only the last is based on country. 1) USCIS 2) NVC 3) Consulate. It takes 4-10 months for the petition. Then 4-6 months or more for the NVC. Then however much time to the interview which varies by country. Until you have your naturalization certificate you cannot upgrade your case and it will be waiting on the priority date to become current.

You will need an original or certified copy of your marriage certificate, the beneficiary's birth certificate, any divorce decrees, etc... thankfully the NVC now takes photocopies and the beneficiary takes originals to the interview (except the AOS package.)


You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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Oh, so NVC doesn't approve, that's why it says on USCIS website that I can send documents in a language of the receiving consulate!

Document translation requirements are Embassy/Consulate specific, some locations will require translations even if the document is in the official language of the country.


Our journey:

Spoiler

September 2007: Met online via social networking site (MySpace); began exchanging messages.
March 26, 2009: We become a couple!
September 10, 2009: Arrived for first meeting in-person!
June 17, 2010: Arrived for second in-person meeting and start of travel together to other areas of China!
June 21, 2010: Engaged!!!
September 1, 2010: Switched course from K1 to CR-1
December 8, 2010: Wedding date set; it will be on February 18, 2011!
February 9, 2011: Depart for China
February 11, 2011: Registered for marriage in Wuhan, officially married!!!
February 18, 2011: Wedding ceremony in Shiyan!!!
April 22, 2011: Mailed I-130 to Chicago
April 28, 2011: Received NOA1 via text/email, file routed to CSC (priority date April 25th)
April 29, 2011: Updated
May 3, 2011: Received NOA1 hardcopy in mail
July 26, 2011: Received NOA2 via text/email!!!
July 30, 2011: Received NOA2 hardcopy in mail
August 8, 2011: NVC received file
September 1, 2011: NVC case number assigned
September 2, 2011: AOS invoice received, OPTIN email for EP sent
September 7, 2011: Paid AOS bill (payment portal showed PAID on September 9, 2011)
September 8, 2011: OPTIN email accepted, GZO number assigned
September 10, 2011: Emailed AOS package
September 12, 2011: IV bill invoiced
September 13, 2011: Paid IV bill (payment portal showed PAID on September 14, 2011)
September 14, 2011: Emailed IV package
October 3, 2011: Emailed checklist response (checklist generated due to typo on Form DS-230)
October 6, 2011: Case complete at NVC
November 10, 2011: Interview - APPROVED!!!
December 7, 2011: POE - Sea-Tac Airport

September 17, 2013: Mailed I-751 to CSC

September 23, 2013: Received NOA1 in mail (receipt date September 19th)

October 16, 2013: Biometrics Appointment

January 28, 2014: Production of new Green Card ordered

February 3, 2014: New Green Card received; done with USCIS until fall of 2023*

 

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As I understand it, you live in the US and he lives in Russia, right? Then it's natural that you live apart and you will be going the route where the spouse is still in their home country. I wouldn't worry about it.

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