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Gretch

Am I complicated enough for a lawyer?

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I have been poking around here and see that the general advice is, this process can be done well without a lawyer. (I don't have a lot of faith in lawyers here to do the job properly and fast, anyway...) But I'm afraid my case is asking for a refusal. Both my fiance and I have been married before, and although he has been separated for many years, the divorce is only now going through. I plan to put in my application as soon as his divorce is finalized. My fiance also has a minor child, who we will not be applying for.

I had thought to apply for K1 because it's faster, but I think we have a better chance of convincing the officials that we are bona fide if we marry here. We have been together six months, all of that time in person. We'll be applying through the Nairobi consulate, which I gather has a reputation for refusing.

So, because my case sounds a bit sketchy (though it's really not), I thought that it might help to hire a lawyer--though I think I can get through the paperwork on my own otherwise. Otherwise we have no issues I can think of--no arrests, my fiance has never been to the US, I have a stable job with good income, etc.

We also really have no interest in a wedding, since we've both been through this before--we just want a simple courthouse signing. Please tell me I don't have to go through a formal Rwandan traditional wedding!

Any opinions?


12/14 Met at work in Rwanda

2/21/15 Became a couple

11/19/15 Married

11/23/15 I left Rwanda 

12/30/15 Mailed I-130

1/06/16 NOA1

5/03/16 NOA2!

5/06/16 NVC received case

5/20/16 Case number assigned

5/23/16 Email from NVC with case number

5/23/16 Choice of Agent filled out, AOS fee invoiced and paid

5/31/16 Called NVC, reviewed I-261 over the phone

6/02/16 IV bill invoiced and paid

7/28/16 Finally! All police clearances and birth certificate received; mailed IV and AOS; filed I-260

8/04/16 Official scan date (tracking shows "delivered" the day before)

8/15/16 Visiting my husband! 10 days

9/01/16 Received checklist in error, claiming our application was on hold because of a waiver application we never filed

9/02/16 Sent for supervisor review, six week timeframe given

9/13/16 Sent for "document review", whatever that is, told the timeframe is now indefinite

9/20/16 Contacted US Representative Adam Smith's office for assistance (WA)

9/26/16 3 N/As and Case Complete!

11/14/16 Interview: approved pending medical! (Vaccines hadn't been available)

11/19/16 Visa received in passport

12/09/16 POE Seattle

03/06/17 Green card received (address changed after POE, no problem)

5/2017 Our baby is due

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Question-are you planning on going back to the U.S. anytime soon? I ask because since you're already in Rwanda, you may want to go ahead and just marry there and go through the CR1 so you can stay physically together while the process is in motion. Based on other threads, I may recommend going through a traditional wedding there to further boast the 'bonafideness'.

The previous marriages aren't really an issue as long as you have all the appropriate divorce documentation. You'll need to include the information on the child even though they're not coming with you.

But based on all you've written, still doesn't seem like you need an attorney. With all the right documentation, you can do all this yourself.

Edited by intrigueace

Our K1 journey

  • August 30, 2014-met in Spain, fell in love (L)
  • March 2015-he visited me in the U.S.
  • May 22, 2015-we went on vacation together and signed our I-129F docs
  • May 27, 2015-submitted I-129F
  • May 28, 2015-I-129F received in Texas lockbox
  • June 1, 2015-NOA1 received at CSC (email & text) :dancing:
  • June 2, 2015-check cashed
  • June 5, 2015-NOA1 letter received
  • July 10, 2015-NOA2 (updated on USCIS case tracker app) :dancing:
  • July 20, 2015-NOA2 letter received
  • July 28, 2015- Got case #!! :idea:
  • July 31,2015 Case left NVC
  • August 10, 2015 Case at embassy
  • August 14, 2015 Case "ready"
  • October: Fiance decided he was too afraid to move so he broke up with me :crying:

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Make sure you have all divorce papers..certified. The child is declare even though not be petitioned

pictures with some of his family members & friends. Its best to marry there then begin the process

upon returning to the US...think about an approval not an extra 2-3 mths from K1

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Doesn't sound like you have a particularly unusual case so you should be able to handle it by yourself. Follow the guides from USCIS, NVC and right here on VJ and you should be fine.

During the interview at the embassy, part of the bona fida seem to be to see if you follow the traditions of the foreign spouse's country. E.g. if you're in a country where a large traditional wedding with family and friends is a big thing, the embassy might find it strange that you don't follow that tradition. I've read several threads on VJ from people that were denied visas or given admin processing because the interviewer wasn't convinced it was a bona fida marriage, one couple had a small ceremony at the court house with no family present but were denied a visa because in the bride's home country, it is tradition for the father to give the bride away in a large ceremony. So if there are strong cultural traditions in your fiance's country, it might be a good thing to follow that.

Also, you say you have a stable job with a good income. Any income for the AOS must be from a job in the US or if from abroad, it must continue from the same source. Just thought I'd mention that as you say you've been living together for the past six months abroad.


Met online October 2010


Engaged December 31st 2011


heart.gifMarried May 14th 2013 heart.gif



USCIS Stage


September 8th 2014 - Filed I-130 with Nebraska Service Center


September 16th 2014 - NOA1 received


March 2nd 2015 - NOA2 received :dancing:



NVC Stage


March 28th 2015 - Choice of agent complete & AOS fee paid


April 17th 2015 - IV fee paid


May 1st 2015 - Sent in IV application


May 12th 2015 - Sent in AOS and IV documents


May 18th 2015 - Scan Date


June 18th 2015 - Checklist received


June 22nd 2015 - Checklist response sent to NVC


June 25th 2015 - Put for Supervisor Review


Sept 15th 2015 - Request help from Texas US Senator Cornyn and his team


Sept 23rd 2015 - Our case is moved from supervisor review to NVC's team for dealing with Senator requests


Nov 4th 2015 - CASE COMPLETE!!!! :dancing:



Embassy Stage


Dec 16th 2015 - Medical exam


Dec 21st 2015 - Interview


Dec 21st 2015 - 221(g) issued at interview for updated forms


Jan 13th 2016 - Mailed our reply to the 221(g) to the US Embassy, received and CEAC updated the next morning


Jan 20th 2016 - Embassy require more in-depth info on asset for i-864


Feb 1st 2016 - Sent more in-depth info on assets as requested. Received the next morning


Feb 16th 2016 - Visa has been issued :dancing: :dancing: :dancing: :dancing: :dancing:



In the US


April 5th 2016 - POE Newark. No questions asked.


April 14th 2016 - SSN received


May 10th 2016 - First day at my new job :dancing:


May 27th 2016 - Green Card received


June 7th 2016 - Got my Texas driver's license

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Thanks so much for the responses! I am learning so much so fast.

--Re: a wedding: so the thing is, even though Rwandan weddings are typically complicated with many guests and several different ceremonies... no one would ever do that for a second wedding, after divorce. Divorce is shameful and rare here, and a second marriage really would, culturally, be at the courthouse only. Thinking about it, I'm not even sure I have a "choice". Maybe we can explain that in the interview? We'd have some close friends and family at the courthouse, so that would help, I think.

--Re: marrying first. Thanks for the info regarding the salary. I'm paid by an American company while I live here, so I wonder if that counts as American salary. My contract is up in about four months. I wonder if I can go ahead and begin the application process, or if I have to wait until I'm home. My permanent address is still in the US, even though my current residence is Rwanda. Silly me, I thought being here would be an advantage! There doesn't seem to be any DCF option in Rwanda--the consulate says they do absolutely nothing with permanent immigration. (Processing is in Kenya.)


12/14 Met at work in Rwanda

2/21/15 Became a couple

11/19/15 Married

11/23/15 I left Rwanda 

12/30/15 Mailed I-130

1/06/16 NOA1

5/03/16 NOA2!

5/06/16 NVC received case

5/20/16 Case number assigned

5/23/16 Email from NVC with case number

5/23/16 Choice of Agent filled out, AOS fee invoiced and paid

5/31/16 Called NVC, reviewed I-261 over the phone

6/02/16 IV bill invoiced and paid

7/28/16 Finally! All police clearances and birth certificate received; mailed IV and AOS; filed I-260

8/04/16 Official scan date (tracking shows "delivered" the day before)

8/15/16 Visiting my husband! 10 days

9/01/16 Received checklist in error, claiming our application was on hold because of a waiver application we never filed

9/02/16 Sent for supervisor review, six week timeframe given

9/13/16 Sent for "document review", whatever that is, told the timeframe is now indefinite

9/20/16 Contacted US Representative Adam Smith's office for assistance (WA)

9/26/16 3 N/As and Case Complete!

11/14/16 Interview: approved pending medical! (Vaccines hadn't been available)

11/19/16 Visa received in passport

12/09/16 POE Seattle

03/06/17 Green card received (address changed after POE, no problem)

5/2017 Our baby is due

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