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Wills and Power of Attorney as Evidence

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I don't mean to be argumentative, and the board moderators know I'm not unappreciative. But I want to discuss a specific issue and segue onto a broader one.

There are many posts suggesting that wills and general and medical powers of attorney make good supporting evidence for I-751. I would like to ask why, and what evidence supports this point of view.

The issue - the problem - in general - is that we have very very limited data on what evidence matters. It only matters if the examiner thinks it matters, and by and large these people aren't talking. I've seen a couple of interviews with relatively high-ranking officials at USCIS, but that's about it.

I think the idea that wills and powers of attorney are important grew because one person suggested it on this board and other people latched onto it. But I don't remember there being anything tying this to an actual opinion of anyone at USCIS.

Personally, I would think these are very weak. If I were in a sham marriage, nothing would be easier than to create these documents and then invalidate them. Creating something like a deed would be forgery. It's very difficult to create phony bank statements. But I can create a will in 15 minutes with online software, have it validly witnessed, and then create another one invalidating all prior wills. I have to be a bit cheeky to submit it to USCIS knowing that it's already invalid, and the same with a power of attorney, but if I'm in a sham marriage and trying to get a green card, I'm already walking that line.

Do I know for sure? No. Does anyone else who's posted that these are important know for sure? I don't think so, but if they have anything to back it up, that would be great. I'm not posting this to start an argument or dismiss the contributions of anyone who posts on this board to try to help. But I'm saying that when advice becomes the blind leading the blind, it may not be harmful but it may not be helpful. It's an exaggeration to think this happens, but imagine for a moment that everybody filing I-751 reads this board and follows its advice. Can you imagine the immigration examiners around the water cooler saying to each other "Hey, have you noticed that suddenly everybody is including wills and powers of attorney? I wonder why, since we know these are trivial to create and don't really mean anything."

I've been trying to pursue avenues within USCIS to get reliable information, so far unsuccessful. What I'd encourage people to do is share any information that comes from a reliable source, be it within USCIS or attorneys who regularly practice before USCIS. But hopefully more than conjecture which by repetition becomes elevated to the status of fact, or at least folk legend.

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Let's ask ourselves which WE would give more weight to: Wills and PoAs; or affidavits from friends, photos, and copies of Costco cards? Any official legal document lends legitimacy to the financially bona fide nature of the marriage.

Edited by TBoneTX

06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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I submitted medical powers of attorney, but after seeing how easy it is to do it, I had similar wonders. In some states it doesn't cost anything to create medical POA, and if you change your mind, you can just create a new one. So it seems really easy to fraud. However, I do think it's an important document to have in case one of us ends up unconscious or something, and if I hadn't read the advice here, I wouldn't have thought about it at all.

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Personally, I would think these are very weak. If I were in a sham marriage, nothing would be easier than to create these documents and then invalidate them. Creating something like a deed would be forgery. It's very difficult to create phony bank statements. But I can create a will in 15 minutes with online software, have it validly witnessed, and then create another one invalidating all prior wills. I have to be a bit cheeky to submit it to USCIS knowing that it's already invalid, and the same with a power of attorney, but if I'm in a sham marriage and trying to get a green card, I'm already walking that line.

You raise an interesting point. However going by your argument, no evidence is perfect. Creating phony bank statements is virtually impossible but closing a joint account is very easy. Think about it, almost any evidence that USCIS is asking for, can be created for the sole purpose of immigration and then be made invalid. What can USCIS do about it? They are not psychics. However one thing USCIS can and will do is trace the entire history of the couple. Has the couple held a joint bank account for years or opened a joint account just a few months before I-751? Is the couple having several joint assets with a will being one among them, or is the couple having minimal to nil joint assets and made a will at the last moment before applying for I-751? USCIS officials are well trained to look at the entire package and history of a couple and won't solely focus on "hey, why are there so many couples making wills, lately?"

Also, I believe it's highly unlikely that you'd add someone else's name in a will that binds them to all your properties, assets, finances etc. if you didn't trust that person. I know that I would never add my neighbor, for example, to my will even for one minute...knowing that I have the power to invalidate that will the next moment. While you might invalidate your own will, the other person whom you add as a "sham for 15 minutes", can get a copy of that (now invalidated) will and try unscrupulous things to get your properties...People have done it before. So why would people take that risk? So a will, healthcare power of attorney becomes a document of trust and I firmly believe that USCIS analyzes a couple's trust for each other when looking at co-mingling of finances. In that sense, wills and PoA make strong evidence for bonafide couples trying to immigrate.


 

 



07/09/2008: F-1 Interview - Successful
05/01/2013: (L) Married (L)

AOS from F-1:
07/09/2013: AOS package (I-130/I-485/I-756/I-131) fedexed
09/25/2013: AOS Interview with my husband at Milwaukee, WI
03/03/2014: AOS Approved

I-751 Removal of Conditions:

11/13/2015: Received reminder notice dated 11/08 from USCIS to apply for ROC
Day 00 - 12/04/2015: Mailed I-751 package to CSC via USPS Priority Mail
Day 03 - 12/07/2015: I-751 package delivered
Day 05 - 12/09/2015: Check cashed
Day 07 - 12/11/2015: NOA1 received dated 12/07/15
Day 22 - 12/26/2015: Biometric appointment notice received dated 12/19/15
Day 35 - 01/08/2016: Biometric appointment

Day 235 - 07/26/2016: Approved (E-notification of Card Production)

Day 238 - 07/29/2016: Status changed to 'Card Was Mailed to Me'

Day 241 - 08/01/2016: CSC returned original docs that were submitted at the time of application.

Day 241 - 08/01/2016: New status update 'Card was picked up by the United States Postal Service' Priority Mail 2-Day with tracking number provided.

Day 243 - 08/03/2016: Received 10 year Green Card

Day 255 - 08/15/2016: Received NOA2 with approval dated 07/26/2016

Click here for a sample of my cover letter, list of evidence, package assembly & shipping box

Click here for a sample of my I-751 notarized affidavit from a friend

 

 

N-400 Naturalization:

12/03/2016: Eligible

Day 00: 12/12/2016 Mailed N-400 to Phoenix, AZ lockbox via USPS Priority Express

Day 01: 12/13/2016 N-400 application delivered

Day 03: 12/15/2016 Credit card charged

Day 07: 12/19/2016 Text & e-mail notification received with a NBC receipt #

Day 11: 12/23/2016 NOA received via mail with priority date 12/13/16

Day 16: 12/28/2016 Received E-mail notification reg. biometrics scheduling

Day 19: 12/31/2016 Received Biometric notice via mail with notice date 12/24/2016

Day 32: 01/13/2017 Biometric appointment

Day 53: 02/03/2017 Received e-mail notification stating I am "in line" for interview scheduling

Day 144: 05/05/2017 Filed an e-request that interview notice was not yet mailed to me

Day 148: 05/09/2017 Received e-mail notification that interview has been scheduled after being in line for 95 days

Day 151: 05/12/2017 Received N-400 Interview notice via USPS

Day 183: 06/13/2017 N-400 Interview at USCIS Milwaukee, WI field office (Approved!) ***To read about my interview experience, click here***

Day 192: 06/22/2017 Received e-mail notification stating I am placed in line for oath ceremony

Day 206: 07/06/2017 Received e-mail notification stating oath ceremony notice was mailed

Day 210: 07/10/2017 Received oath ceremony notice (N-445) via USPS

Day 227: 07/27/2017 Oath Ceremony at Milwaukee, WI!

Dual citizen (France & U.S.A) / OCI card holder

 

Day 00: 07/27/2017 U.S. passport application at Milwaukee, WI (routine processing)

Day 05: 08/01/2017 Passport application locator number provided

Day 06: 08/02/2017 Checks cashed

Day 12: 08/08/2017 Received 2 e-mails stating that passport processing is over and it has been mailed with tracking # provided

Day 15: 08/11/2017 Received passport book via Priority Mail

Day 18: 08/14/2017 Received passport card via First Class Mail

Day 22: 08/18/2017 Received naturalization certificate back via Priority Mail / Updated citizenship status with SSA
 

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You are very likely not going to obtain a list from USCIS regarding what is enough "marriage bonafides" to satisfy the USCIS minions. We got an RFE for not sending in enough "marriage bonafides" in the six pounds of initial evidence that we submitted with our petition. IMHO, after having wasted almost nine months, then to get a RFE, was disheartening. In our almost four pounds of RFE evidence we included everything 'cept the kitchen sink, and wills, DPOAs, Living wills. My family's ROC petition was approved a week after receipt of RFE evidence by CSC. Was it the additional "marriage bonafides?" Did the wills and the legal documents help? Dunno, and quite frankly, don't care. I know that they didn't hurt. If that is what it takes to tip the scales in our favor, then so be it. My wife and I decided as a team, that those documents were necessary for our marriage now and in the future. IMO, it all depends on the amount of "window dressing" (Read - "marriage bonafides") that some USCIS minion thinks is appropriate. Does window dressing accurately display much about the reality and quality of a marriage? Likely not much, IMO.

We had reached such a point of disgust with the whole ROC process, where we stated in the RFE cover letter to either approve it, interview us, or deny us. The 8-9 month wait had united us in wanting the process to be finished. We were contemplating our next course of action, ombudsman involvement or immigration judicial hearing. Fortunately, we fought as a family, and my family got their 10-year Green Cards.

If anyone can come up with THE actual list of adequate "marriage bonafides," share with the group. There will be a lot of interested folks.

YMMV.

Good luck on your immigration journey.


Completed: K1/K2 (271 days) - AOS/EAD/AP (134 days) - ROC (279 days)

> Almost 2 years of our lives involved with the USCIS/DOS "shuffle" & worth every second of it ! <

"Si vis amari, ama" - Seneca

_______________________

:idea: Read more, post less.... Google can be your friend ! :idea:

Prior apologies if I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

Keep your timeline current: http://www.visajourney.com/timeline/

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A will can be invalidated immediately, by creating a new one. All that has to happen is the "rightful" heirs have to have a copy of the revised will in case she sham spouse tries to probate the sham will. Same with MPOA. The "real" family has to have copy of a more recent one.

General power of attorney is more complicated because it has broad powers over third parties. You can cancel it but what it if's submitted to a third party who relies on it in good faith?

Yes, I'd rather see a photo of a couple at the 2015 World Series than a document that could be easily revoked - depending on what I'm really looking for (as the examiner).

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In these days of computer wizardry, I have seen several photographic images that have been easily digitally edited or altered, i.e., "photoshopped." B-) There is likely no need to bore everyone with the details on the "photoshop" process, watch some Youtube videos about the topic. The same could be said about "easily revokable" documents. Good Lord, the US courts are rife with cases involving contested wills, DPOAs, MPOAs, etc.

Perhaps that is why the USCIS minions want to see as many "marriage bonafides" as possible with ROC petitions? They are all just various types of evidence that USCIS adjudicators want to see when reviewing the various immigration petitions. I contend the more varied types of evidence the better. :idea:

Hey, what do i know? I know that my family recently successfully completed the ROC process in June 2015. :dance: I know that now my wife and stepson each have their 10-year I-551 "Green Cards." I know that we included wills, DPOAs and MPOAs, with our secondary RFE evidence submission, intending to show them as a form of "marriage bonafide" evidence. We didn't include any additional photographs of my wife and I standing on the Great Wall of China in 2012, and it being in the background (BTW, they weren't "photoshopped." :lol: The associated tickets, itineraries, bills, statements had already been delivered as evidence earlier in our immigration journey.) My wife and I both know that we now have specific instructions as to how we would prefer each of our personal affairs to be handled in our stead. That is a good thing for our relationship and our marriage. :thumbs:

Finally, I know that our family is taking a well-deserved hiatus from having to deal with USCIS. We have been on this legal immigration roller-coaster since October 2011. :joy: :joy:

As an aside, I will say that I feel that lately the USCIS adjudicators have become more exacting all across the legal immigration processes. For example, currently there seems to be a lot of more emphasis on "IMBs" in the Fiance(e) visa processing, and then there is the seemingly mind-numbing fixation on the "window-dressing" concept of "marriage bonafides" during the ROC process. :idea: Which does seem to be somewhat in contrast to what USCIS officials previously agreed to in response to CISOMB Recommendation 56: http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/nativedocuments/Response_to_CISOMB_I-751_Recommendation_Signed_7-10-13.pdf :devil:

YMMV.

Good luck on your immigration journey.

Edited by Pitaya

Completed: K1/K2 (271 days) - AOS/EAD/AP (134 days) - ROC (279 days)

> Almost 2 years of our lives involved with the USCIS/DOS "shuffle" & worth every second of it ! <

"Si vis amari, ama" - Seneca

_______________________

:idea: Read more, post less.... Google can be your friend ! :idea:

Prior apologies if I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

Keep your timeline current: http://www.visajourney.com/timeline/

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you studying 9FAM and the Adjudicators Manual, in the 'Removal of Conditions' Section? [back at op, post #1]


Sometimes my language usage seems confusing - please feel free to 'read it twice', just in case !
Ya know, you can find the answer to your question with the advanced search tool, when using a PC? Ditch the handphone, come back later on a PC, and try again.

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http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-751instr.pdf

From the official I-751 instructions, this is what you should include:

1- Birth certificates of children born

2- Copy of mortgage/rental lease

3- Financial records (bank statements, tax returns/transcripts, utility bills, etc)

4- other documents you feel are relevant

5- affidavits

If they have plenty of evidence, why create more than they need with MPOAs and wills? If they don't have sufficient evidence, maybe it would be a good idea, but to me it just makes it sound like they're creating "evidence" out of thin air because they didn't plan for this.

I don't have a mortgage/rental agreement, and all of the bills are in my name. I was still able to come up with a lot of evidence to send in without creating an MPOA or will.

Can't hide the spouse in the basement for 2 years, that's the bottom line.

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So if people send many valid evidence then that considered a red flag ?


Our K-1 journey * I am the beneficiary *

08/03/2012 sent I-129F

06/27/2013 Interview at Frankfurt Consulate = Approved.

08/09/2013 Wedding!

AOS

09/03/2013 Sent AOS + EAD + AP

12/30/2013 PR card in hand.

ROC

09/29/2015 Sent I-751

10/30/15 Biometrics

05/19/16 Approved

N-400

10/04/2016 Send Package

10/15/2016 NOA

11/04/2016 Biometrics

02/01/2017 Interview

02/23/2017 Oath!

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Wills, medical powers of attorney, and similar documents are solid evidence for ROC, and they're even more crucial to have in "life."

If anyone is ever questioned about the "recent nature" of any documents (and in 8 years here, I've heard of that happening to no one), a good response is, "We were casual about these documents for a long time, and we got serious about completing them after we realized their importance."

The only possible reaction by an ROC interviewer would be a solemn nod of agreement.

It continually mystifies me why ROC applicants focus on photos, affidavits, copies of Costco cards, et al. when official legal documents are so substantial in comparison.

I agree with you 100%, but i'm also a little hesitant to give that kind of advice to people who for the most part have only been together a year or two. Almost like.. hey, we just got married, now you should go get a million dollar life insurance policy.

People should be aware that not all relationships work out, and also that immigration fraud does happen. I'm not trying to scare anyone, or suggest that you shouldn't trust your new spouse, but I am saying to use a little common sense and realize that relationships need a little more time to find out if everything is going to work out.

Granted, all of these documents could get changed if the relationship doesn't work out...

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The cruelest thing that one spouse can do to another is to die intestate (without a will). That can be worse than the dying itself.

Try having no healthcare power of attorney during a medical situation. That's one worry that people can avoid beforehand.

Perhaps not just to me, the inclusion of the above in an ROC package would indicate a committed, blended relationship.


06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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