Hello, I’m new here and I thank you in advance for any help you may provide. I’ve found a lot of good information here. I recognize some of my questions might be answered by searching the site. I have read a lot here but maybe I am not properly processing it as I’m very stressed (I assume we all are here!)
I am a US citizen and currently live in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I have lived here for 8 years, however I don’t possess proper residency here in Argentina. My girlfriend and I have been together for over 2 and a half years. I start graduate school in Los Angeles in the middle of September. After I was accepted, we thought she could easily transfer through her job at a large international corporation and they would handle all of the immigration hassles. Those avenues appear to have dried up. We are now investigating getting married.
The way I understand, we have 3 options: apply for a K1 Fiance visa, get married here (there is a waiting time of about 2 weeks) and apply for a CR-1 spousal visa, or get married in the US while my girlfriend is on a tourist visa (she has already been to the US with me before and has all the necessary visas/EU passport to enter) and start the immigration process from there.
I’ve read the comparison chart. We have several issues we would like to wade through.
1. Time: I have to leave for Los Angeles in less than two months. How can we begin these processes so we are apart as little as possible?
2. Do I have to be in the US with her waiting in Argentina to file either the I-129 (k-1) or I-130 (Cr-1) forms and begin either process?
3. It is important that she isn’t without work for very long as I will be a full-time student and not making much money. If she enters on a K-1 visa and we get married immediately, how long does it take for the EAD to become valid so she can work? How much of a gap is there between getting the EAD and obtaining Legal Permanent Residence status for purposes of work?
4. Where can I obtain information about getting married in the US while she is on a tourist visa? Would she have to leave the US and/or return to Argentine in order to immigrate? How long would she be unable to work under this circumstance?
I have another issue too. I realize I’m a screw up for this but I haven’t filed taxes in about 4 years. I know it is awful. I was planning on sorting this all out when I moved but I didn’t anticipate that we were going to get married. I haven’t made much money in this period and have mostly been living off my savings. How much can this hurt us?
I have no way of showing past results, but working in the summer when school is out and part time work while in school should be more than enough to get over the $18k-$20k poverty standard that I've read here.
Are there any other obstacles that I may be missing?