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Dinh Hon/Dam Hoi requirement

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Filed: Country: Vietnam (no flag)
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Hi, I posted an intro in the K1 subforum before discovering that there is a Vietnam subforum, so let me reintroduce myself here :)

http://www.visajourney.com/forums/topic/267475-hi-introducing-myself-and-my-somewhat-unique-situation/

My fiance and I are going through divorces in order to be together. My fiance's family and friends have pretty much disowned her and she has been written out of the will because they feel that she is selfish for destroying her family and what appeared to them to be a perfect marriage.

Both my fiance and I are in our early 40s. How necessary is it to have a Dinh Hon/Dam Hoi ceremony, especially given the fact that nobody from her family or friends would show up, and I proposed American-style anyway. We really don't feel like having one at all given the circumstances.

I look forward to your insights.

Thanks.

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Vietnam
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Welcome to the group..

They are not a make it or break it thing but they have been used as justification for denials in the past along with other issues..many have been approved without either without issue.. Your biggest hurdle is having both started a relationship while being married... That is what has us in AP at the moment... it took us both quite a while to get our divorces finalized and the CO's are looking at our relationship as a fraud because we filed the petition months after the divorces were finalized... If we had waited we would have likely had a less rough road to travel...


"Every one of us bears within himself the possibilty of all passions, all destinies of life in all its forms. Nothing human is foreign to us" - Edward G. Robinson.

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Filed: Country: Vietnam (no flag)
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Thanks for the reply Scott. Hopefully the fact/pictures that we were together 20 years ago will help. I will look into having Dam Hoi in VN to remove at least one of the concerns. Who knows, we could just invite any body who wants a free lunch...

Ironically, if we hadn't rekindled our relationship while we were married, we wouldn't have to get divorced with our current spouses in order to be together, necessitating need to file immediately after the finalization of the divorces because we had to wait for them to get finalized so we can file...

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Vietnam
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Ironically, if we hadn't rekindled our relationship while we were married, we wouldn't have to get divorced with our current spouses in order to be together, necessitating need to file immediately after the finalization of the divorces because we had to wait for them to get finalized so we can file...

same with us but we didnt rekindle.... we lit it up new.. A Dam Hoi without family? hmmmm not sure what to say about that...


"Every one of us bears within himself the possibilty of all passions, all destinies of life in all its forms. Nothing human is foreign to us" - Edward G. Robinson.

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Vietnam
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They look at the big picture and it will all depend on what your big picture looks like... A dam hoi w/o family is like goin fishing w/o hooks or poles... someone else would look and say, why?

You need a bunchof documentation for them that the relationship is real...


"Every one of us bears within himself the possibilty of all passions, all destinies of life in all its forms. Nothing human is foreign to us" - Edward G. Robinson.

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Vietnam
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its not quantity when it comes to frontloading IMO..its quality /organization/ presentation

Jim was able to address his flags by frontloading as have some others ...and yet others not so much..


"Every one of us bears within himself the possibilty of all passions, all destinies of life in all its forms. Nothing human is foreign to us" - Edward G. Robinson.

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Filed: Country: Vietnam (no flag)
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I think we have all the necessary documentation to prove that the relationship is genuine. But with the situation being what it is with everybody's disapproval of our relationship, having an engagement party is a little ludicrous regardless of what the local customs are. Most Vietnamese people of my generation living overseas don't have Dam Hoi anymore. I know, it's what they expect of local customs, but surely there must be an exception to every rule given the context of the situation.

Edited by tcTTct

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Vietnam
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Remember, the CO's have a lot of cases to deal with every day. They spend part of their day on interviews, part of their day going over 'trouble' cases that are pending, and part of their day doing what all bureaucrats do - attend meetings and deal with paperwork. They have probably less than ten minutes total to spend looking over your petition package and the documents your fiance brings to the interview before they call her up to the window for the interview. In between, they've looked at several other packages and interviewed several other applicants. Many people see the approval or denial slip sitting on the desk in front of the CO when the interview begins, which means the decision has pretty much already been made. Occasionally, something comes up during the interview to make them change their mind. That's what happened to Jerome. Most of the time, the paper they've prepared before the interview began - pink, blue, green, or white - is the one the applicant leaves the consulate with.

Anyway, my point is that the bulk of your case is made in the documents you submit, and the verdict is already in by the time your fiancee is called to the window. The CO's seems to go on 'gut feel'. If something doesn't seem right about the case - I like to say if it doesn't pass the "smell test" - then the CO will use any excuse they can find to deny the visa. I think this is why some people get through with what most would consider to be glaring red flags, while others get nailed on things that others think are relatively trivial. In the cases where people get approved in spite of their red flags, it's because the CO felt good about their case and wasn't looking for a reason to deny, so they overlooked the red flags. Some people think it's sheer luck, but I disagree. I think if they're inclined to deny, they'll look for a reason to do so.

Like Scott says, they look at the totality of the case, primarily based on what they see on paper. Strikes against you probably add up. For example, if your income barely qualifies to sponsor - strike one. If you only made one or perhaps two brief trips to Vietnam - strike two. If you didn't have an engagement ceremony, or had a small hastily prepared engagement on the first (and only) trip to Vietnam - strike three. You're out! :bonk:

Not having an engagement ceremony has been cited numerous times as a reason for denial. There are plenty of people who've posted their denial slips on VJ. The wording goes something like this:

The beneficiary and the petitioner did not have an engagement ceremony. This contradicts local social and cultural norms in which many family members and friends are invited to engagement celebrations numbering in the hundreds of guest for even families of modest means.

This is usually included in a list of reasons they cite for denial. This doesn't mean you'll be denied if you don't have an engagement ceremony, but if your case isn't strong on pretty much every other ground then you're handing them an excuse for denial on a silver platter.

Marc Ellis recently wrote a nice article on denied visas and P6C markers. Read the section "What's In A Consular Return Memorandum?". He gives a nice bullet list of some of the excuses they use to deny visas (many of them come directly from denial slips from the consulate in HCMC).

http://www.ilw.com/articles/2010,0713-ellis.shtm

The theory I had before I submitted my petition was to identify anything in my situation that might be used as an excuse to deny, and separate the things I could fix from the things I couldn't do anything about. For the things I could fix (like having an engagement ceremony or not having enough trips to Vietnam) I took my time and I fixed them, and included evidence that I'd fixed them in the petition package. For the things I couldn't fix (like being introduced by her uncle or her having many family members in the US), I explained them as best as I could in the petition package in a way that made it clear that they were not issues in my case.

I showed my petition package to a few friends before I submitted it to USCIS. These were people who had never had to deal with US immigration, and knew nothing about the consulate in Vietnam. The sort of comments they made were "You really put some serious time, effort, and money into this relationship!". That was exactly the reaction I wanted, and was hoping to get the same reaction from the CO.


12/15/2009 - K1 Visa Interview - APPROVED!

12/29/2009 - Married in Oakland, CA!

08/18/2010 - AOS Interview - APPROVED!

05/01/2013 - Removal of Conditions - APPROVED!

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What everyone has been saying about the engagement party is true, it is not “REQUIRED” but they do like to deny based on not having one or even having one that is small and inconsequential as was in our denial, and we had 100 people, but there are people that only have like 20 people and get approved. The big hurdle is that you are both currently married, regardless of you being together years ago you are both married and going through a divorce, in their eye it could seem to convenient that you rekindled your relationship from years past when both were married. If I was in your shoes, I would do everything I could to limit any proof you both submit of your relationship starting while you were both still married, but this is just my thoughts on the process, as Scott has said this is probably the sole reason he has not been approved yet. Depending on how you do your engagement party you said invite people for a free lunch, that would work, they do not know what her family looks like, if you can get some friends to stand in, and maybe even have older people there as well. I am not in any way shape or form saying LIE, but what I am saying is that if you are going to jump through their hoops to jump through them well. If they were to ask if you had family there, this would be up to you on to tell the truth or not, but regardless if people were just there for a free lunch, or if it was family there I would be 100% honest with every question they ask. I do not know how long you are willing to wait, and normally I do not tell people to wait to file, but with your specific circumstances I would highly recommend for you to try to wait for your relationship to progress, and definitely if at all possible wait 3 or maybe even 6 months after the divorces are final before you had a Dam Hoi. Again this is just what I would try to do with your current circumstances, with my petition they even asked about my Ex wife and we had been divorced 2 years prior to me even meeting my current wife, and they even wanted proof of where she lived. Good luck with what you decide to do, and remember do whatever you feel comfortable doing, this is YOUR case, not ours and you are the one that has to sleep with your decisions not us. Some people don’t want to wait for love, and if I was in your shoes, I would know it would be best to wait, but I would probably be filing ASAP and I would probably not wait 3 or even 6 months after the divorce, but honestly it might be best to wait, just not what is best in our mind if you know what I mean.

Good luck Jerome and Binh


小學教師 胡志明市,越南

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Vietnam
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OK, I've spoken to Marc Ellis. I think I'm going to go with his recommendations since he's well versed on both the US and the VN side of the equation ;) Do you guys think this would be a wise move?

Marc definitely knows the consulate in HCMC better than any other immigration attorney alive. That said, he can't pull fluffy bunny rabbits out of his hat. There are plenty of people who have gone to Marc with tough immigration problems, they followed his advice to the letter, and they still failed. Marc can advise on how best to prepare, based on his extensive experience and knowledge of immigration law, but if your fiancee ends up facing Satan himself at the interview window (I hear he's Korean, and he's really a SHE!) then you may have a tough time in spite of your well laid plans.

When Marc understands someone's situation (i.e., they've shared everything with him) then I have never known him to give advise that wasn't dead on. That doesn't mean he can always predict what will happen. Nobody can do that.

You'll have to share a little more about what Marc advised before we can give any opinions.


12/15/2009 - K1 Visa Interview - APPROVED!

12/29/2009 - Married in Oakland, CA!

08/18/2010 - AOS Interview - APPROVED!

05/01/2013 - Removal of Conditions - APPROVED!

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As Jim said, it is your choice, Mark is well versed, but there is still no guarantee that you will pass. My personal experience with Mark is that I do not like him and I would NEVER recommend him, with that said there are also people here that will swear on their death bed for him being the best. I say it is your case, and with your circumstances it would probably benefit you to us any lawyer, but once again it is your dollar that you are spending and not mine, and it is you that must live with your decision not me or anyone else on this forum. Good luck Jerome and Binh


小學教師 胡志明市,越南

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Welcome to the group..

They are not a make it or break it thing but they have been used as justification for denials in the past along with other issues..many have been approved without either without issue.. Your biggest hurdle is having both started a relationship while being married... That is what has us in AP at the moment... it took us both quite a while to get our divorces finalized and the CO's are looking at our relationship as a fraud because we filed the petition months after the divorces were finalized... If we had waited we would have likely had a less rough road to travel...

Wow. It wasn't that long ago that you told me that wasn't the case and even someone else here told me in strong language I was a moron for saying that was your reason.

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