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dasha

Husband's AOS interview soon but I got laid off

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Hi...I'm new here and hoping someone can help me with this problem.

My husband came here on a K-1 on 31 August 2005 and we were married days later on 4 Sept. Things were a bit crazy when we returned home after the honeymoon, so it was taking me some time to gather all the info and documents needed for the AOS application. While working on that, in November I was laid off from my job of the past 17 years. The immigration lawyer I'd hired to help us with the K-1 process, and who's still consulting when I need him, suggested we wait to apply for the AOS until after I'd found another job. But knowing how the job market is, we knew a new job might not come my way too soon, and my husband was very anxious to become a permanent resident...and knowing how long the wait usually is for them to even schedule the AOS interview, the lawyer said if we wanted, we could send in the application and I could likely find another good-paying job before the interview.

So I sent in the application, including a letter with my Affidavit of Support from my previous employer stating what my job had been, how much I'd made, and how long I'd been there...plus a letter from me explaining the layoff and how I was looking for another job...and citing just my savings and property and assets (which amount to about $400,000+) in the affidavit.

But our local INS office decided to be efficient, and they scheduled us very quickly...just 3-1/2 months after they received our application! And I haven't been able to find another job yet (not one that will pay enough to make INS happy, I'm sure). We've now got less than one month until our interview (March 9)...and my lawyer is advising that if I don't find a good-paying job by that time, they won't approve my husband's AOS and they'll deport him!

Is this true? If I still don't have a good job (although I'm constantly looking, which I can show evidence of), will they automatically reject our AOS application and deport him? Even with all my savings/assets/property? Even if he himself has a job (he's just received his EAD card and will start a job next week)?

The lawyer suggested we find a co-sponsor to submit a new Affidavit of Support during our interview if I still don't have a job by then...but I'm reluctant to ask any family or friends to do that...it's a lot to ask. But if that would be our only hope of his not being deported, I would ask. But if I can't find anyone willing...what then?

I'm feeling so hopeless at this point...it's hard enough getting unexpectedly laid off and having to find another job in today's market...but having this added pressure about the AOS and deportation isn't helping the depression and stress levels.

Any advice, suggestions, info...? We'd really appreciate it! :help:

Lifting of Conditions Timeline.......

20 Mar 06 Received 2-year green card in the mail!!!

22 Feb 08 Mailed I-751 (Lifting of Conditions) to Nebraska Center address

25 Feb 08 Issued I-797 NOA for receipt of above

11 Mar 08 Issued I-797 NOA for Biometrics

28 Mar 08 Had new biometrics/fingerprints done at SLC application support center

21 Jul 08 Issued Notice that petition was approved and sent card--but we never received the notice or card

02 Jan 09 Checked online status for petition and learned about 7/21/08 approval...immediately called customer service, who sent a report about it to the CA service center (where it had been transferred to from NE)

03 Jan 09 Received email from CA service center saying card sent 7/21/08 was returned by the P.O. and they would resend the card immediately

13 Jan 09 Finally...10-year card successfully arrived in the mail!!!

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Russia
Timeline

I would consider getting a co-sponsor asap. A lot of people on the board did it, and while it's a lot of legal speak, it's not so dire for a co-sponsor. You need to be able to convince the potential co-sponsor, though.

09-02-2005 Applications for AOS, EAD, and AP received by MSC

10-21-2005 AOS fingerprint notice for 12-08-2005

11-07-2005 AP approved

12-05-2005 Infopass appt at San Jose office for interim EAD -- Refused, because it is already approved by MSC on 11-07-2005

12-07-2005 Attempt at interim EAD at San Francisco office -- no go. Back to San Jose, where CSO (chief station officer) tells they will contact MSC via email to request permission to issue interim EAD

12-08-2005 Biometrics for AOS and EAD. Having no EAD appt letter was no problem (used EAD NOA)

12-15-2005 EAD arrived in the mail

12-24-2005 Received interview letter; interview scheduled 03-01-2006

01-28-2006 Received replacement SSN card in married name (5 wks since application)

03-01-2006 AOS interview -- approved; received stamp in the passport

03-13-2006 Green card arrived in the mail

---

Filing for removal of conditions

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I would consider getting a co-sponsor asap. A lot of people on the board did it, and while it's a lot of legal speak, it's not so dire for a co-sponsor. You need to be able to convince the potential co-sponsor, though.

Yes, the convincing would be the tricky part.

I've heard that my husband could co-sponsor himself (if he has a job)...is that true? If so, would he use the same form as any other co-sponsor would or a different one?

This is a bit crazy, because the whole point of the affidavit of support is to "prove" you can support your spouse if necessary...but even though I've lost my job, obviously I'm still supporting him (and myself) while looking for another job (thanks to a decent severance package and good savings/assets...which I'll still have at the time of our AOS interview). And if he has a job, then there's no need for my having to support him, right? I might land a job the day after our AOS interview, but if I don't have one on that day, we've got big problems...but if I had a job on that day, I might lose it the next day and might be unable to support him...but they don't care about that possibility, I guess. Sighhhhhhhhhhh...

OK, which form/s is/are for co-sponsoring?

Lifting of Conditions Timeline.......

20 Mar 06 Received 2-year green card in the mail!!!

22 Feb 08 Mailed I-751 (Lifting of Conditions) to Nebraska Center address

25 Feb 08 Issued I-797 NOA for receipt of above

11 Mar 08 Issued I-797 NOA for Biometrics

28 Mar 08 Had new biometrics/fingerprints done at SLC application support center

21 Jul 08 Issued Notice that petition was approved and sent card--but we never received the notice or card

02 Jan 09 Checked online status for petition and learned about 7/21/08 approval...immediately called customer service, who sent a report about it to the CA service center (where it had been transferred to from NE)

03 Jan 09 Received email from CA service center saying card sent 7/21/08 was returned by the P.O. and they would resend the card immediately

13 Jan 09 Finally...10-year card successfully arrived in the mail!!!

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Filed: Country: Sweden
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I would suggest that you take any job, and that your husband do so also. You can change to a better job later. But right now you have one month to come up with enough income between the two of you to satisfy the requirement for your household size.

If the two of you made the required amount, I don't think they can/will reject your affidavit. (You can add your husband's income to yours since you will have been married and living together for 6 months by the time of the interview.) Our lawyer told us the same thing yours did -- that our office (San Francisco) will reject affidavits based on assets alone and that I had to have a job. I think it's either take a job, any job, or get a joint sponsor lined up.

It is true that you may add your husband's income to yours, but only after you have been married and living together for at least 6 months. Technically your husband need not fill out any form at all. You just include his income on the affidavit and bring your joint returns and letter of employment/pay stubs for both of you. But, some officers think you need to fill out I-864A, contract between sponsor and household member. So fill that out and bring it in case they ask for it.

The rules don't make much sense to me either, but I guess they just want to make sure the immigrant isn't going to live off the taxpayers or something. So as long as someone in the household is working and making the required amount of money, that satisfies them?

EDIT: So weird -- I replied to your original and subsequent posts in this thread separately, but it keeps sticking my two replies together. I've tried to separate the replies twice without success. Weird bug.

Edited by hcj

"When all else fails, read the instructions."

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I would suggest that you take any job, and that your husband do so also. You can change to a better job later. But right now you have one month to come up with enough income between the two of you to satisfy the requirement for your household size.

If the two of you made the required amount, I don't think they can/will reject your affidavit. (You can add your husband's income to yours since you will have been married and living together for 6 months by the time of the interview.) Our lawyer told us the same thing yours did -- that our office (San Francisco) will reject affidavits based on assets alone and that I had to have a job. I think it's either take a job, any job, or get a joint sponsor lined up.

It is true that you may add your husband's income to yours, but only after you have been married and living together for at least 6 months. Technically your husband need not fill out any form at all. You just include his income on the affidavit and bring your joint returns and letter of employment/pay stubs for both of you. But, some officers think you need to fill out I-864A, contract between sponsor and household member. So fill that out and bring it in case they ask for it.

The rules don't make much sense to me either, but I guess they just want to make sure the immigrant isn't going to live off the taxpayers or something. So as long as someone in the household is working and making the required amount of money, that satisfies them?

EDIT: So weird -- I replied to your original and subsequent posts in this thread separately, but it keeps sticking my two replies together. I've tried to separate the replies twice without success. Weird bug.

So, if we both get a job before the interview, I'd just add his income to mine on the affidavit of support? But if he's working and I'm still not, then would he do the thing where he'd co-sponsor himself (I'm still not sure if that's permissible or how it'd work)?

With so much else going on right now, I hadn't planned to do my 2005 tax return until after the AOS interview. Would it be better if I got it done before the interview (even if it isn't a joint return with my husband since he couldn't work last year)?

On a slightly tangent note...we don't have very much in both of our names...mostly because we haven't been together that long and because he hasn't been working (so why would I make him financially responsible for things yet?) and because he hasn't had a SS# so we couldn't get a joint back account (among other things)...though now that he has the #, we'll be opening a joint account tomorrow. But the house (and mortgage) is in just my name...all the utilities are in my name alone...I'm the only one financially responsible for the credit cards (though he does have a few with his name on them since I made him an additional user...just his name, not both of our names...but I'm the one responsible for paying them). But he is a dependent on my health insurance and has an insurance card in his name (just his name, not our names, since they issue us individual cards...and I'm alone responsible for paying the medical bills since the insurance is in my name through my previous job's benefits). What sorts of things are vital for us to have in both our names before the interview?

Lifting of Conditions Timeline.......

20 Mar 06 Received 2-year green card in the mail!!!

22 Feb 08 Mailed I-751 (Lifting of Conditions) to Nebraska Center address

25 Feb 08 Issued I-797 NOA for receipt of above

11 Mar 08 Issued I-797 NOA for Biometrics

28 Mar 08 Had new biometrics/fingerprints done at SLC application support center

21 Jul 08 Issued Notice that petition was approved and sent card--but we never received the notice or card

02 Jan 09 Checked online status for petition and learned about 7/21/08 approval...immediately called customer service, who sent a report about it to the CA service center (where it had been transferred to from NE)

03 Jan 09 Received email from CA service center saying card sent 7/21/08 was returned by the P.O. and they would resend the card immediately

13 Jan 09 Finally...10-year card successfully arrived in the mail!!!

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Guatemala
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I would suggest getting a co-sponsor. Being a co-sponsor is not alot to ask someone whom you are close with. If you plan on working again and are trying to find another good job then ask a friend or family member who understands your situation. Frankly, you have to put your pride aside for this matter.

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Filed: Country: Sweden
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So, if we both get a job before the interview, I'd just add his income to mine on the affidavit of support? But if he's working and I'm still not, then would he do the thing where he'd co-sponsor himself (I'm still not sure if that's permissible or how it'd work)?

With so much else going on right now, I hadn't planned to do my 2005 tax return until after the AOS interview. Would it be better if I got it done before the interview (even if it isn't a joint return with my husband since he couldn't work last year)?

On a slightly tangent note...we don't have very much in both of our names...mostly because we haven't been together that long and because he hasn't been working (so why would I make him financially responsible for things yet?) and because he hasn't had a SS# so we couldn't get a joint back account (among other things)...though now that he has the #, we'll be opening a joint account tomorrow. But the house (and mortgage) is in just my name...all the utilities are in my name alone...I'm the only one financially responsible for the credit cards (though he does have a few with his name on them since I made him an additional user...just his name, not both of our names...but I'm the one responsible for paying them). But he is a dependent on my health insurance and has an insurance card in his name (just his name, not our names, since they issue us individual cards...and I'm alone responsible for paying the medical bills since the insurance is in my name through my previous job's benefits). What sorts of things are vital for us to have in both our names before the interview?

Whether you both get a job or your husband is the only one working (with an income fulfilling the requirements of course) -- the paperwork is the same. Fill out the I-864 (and the I-864A just in case they want it) and bring the last three years of tax returns, proof of current employment, and proof of assets if using. There is no special "self-sponsor" form.

I want to point out that I agree with those who are in favor of a joint sponsor, to the extent that it would be wise to have one in your hip pocket. IMO you should make every effort to get jobs and try it first with just your incomes. Again, if your combined current incomes is over the 125% line, they can accept your affidavit -- if they want to. But if they insist on a joint sponsor, it would be good to have one lined up and the paperwork already filled out and notarized and be able to hand that over at the interview.

BTW, the most likely scenario if your affidavit is found wanting, is that they will give you some time (usually 60-90 days) to come up with a joint sponsor. But having a joint sponsor already lined up will eliminate that delay in approval. (The approval delay could be a lot longer than 60-90 days because you have to wait for them to come back around to reviewing the new materials you submit.)

Re: taxes. Even if your husband did not work last year, you can still file "married filing jointly". There is no pre-requisite for both spouses to have worked in order to file jointly -- you only have to be married as of Dec 31, 2005, and have the desire to comingle your finances. Filing jointly will also give you a larger standard deduction and will likely be to your financial advantage. I do think it would be better to get this done in time for the interview, as a joint tax return is one of the usual "biggies" in terms of evidence of the marriage.

Re: evidence. I don't think they care who is financially responsible for what. They just want to see that you trust your husband enough (and vice versa) for you to become financially entangled. I would make copies of the joint credit cards in lieu of having joint statements -- it would have been hard to add your husband as a joint account holder anyway if he doesn't have any credit to his name. It's not too late to put your husband's name on the utility bills -- look at it this way, you'll be the one paying the bills anyway no matter whose name it's in, so it really doesn't matter if you're "making him responsible" for the bills even if he doesn't have any income. The whole point is that you have joint finances, what's yours is his and what's his is yours. The joint insurance is good -- again, they just want to see that you have joint insurance and it doesn't matter that you're not both contributing payments to it. IMHO "joint finances" is more about being willing to be financially responsible for the other party, come what may, rather than about both parties contributing to the same set of bills. Roommates contribute to the same set of bills, but maintain separate financial lives. Married couples are financially responsible for whatever the other spouse gets them into. (I'm sure there are exceptions but you get my meaning, right?)

Some other things you could add:

- joint tax return

- if you have any IRA or 401k accounts, make your husband your primary beneficiary

- you could get a small life insurance policy and make each other the beneficiaries

- some people have written wills using a standard kit from the bookstore

- DLs or ID cards for both of you, showing the same address

- if you took his last name after marriage, DL and/or SS card showing your name change

- and of course, photos of the two of you with family and friends

- mail/letters/cards addressed to both of you (bring the envelopes too so they can see the postmark and that you both live at the same address)

Just look around the house -- the idea is to come up with stuff that shows you have 1) joint financial lives and 2) social recognition as a couple. I'm sure you'll find your own unique set of evidence.

ON EDIT: P.S. I think a joint bank account is very, very important so open that as soon as possible and make sure to show some activity in it between now and the interview date. Put a good chunk of money in and pay some bills from it. And another idea for what else you could include -- joint auto and/or home insurance.

Edited by hcj

"When all else fails, read the instructions."

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