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RussianAmerican

Starting AOS process, May have some Red Flags :(

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Filed: Timeline

Hello everybody!

First of all let me start off by saying how incredibly amazing this forum is and how generous the members are when it comes to sharing information and help each other. This forum is the reason that I finally decided to proceed with my AOS without lawyer. And i hope and I pray it will go well.

I'm from Russia, 26, have a good education, family, traveled a lot. I've been coming to USA every year during summer time for vacations and shopping. Last year, 2011, I entered USA on B2 in May. At that time I was already talking to my future husband through social networks, emails, skype and phone. I intended to stay only a month or so. But once our romance got serious, separating, especially in summer time, seemed impossible:) He helped me to rent an apt in Atlanta. It was a good area and complex, so just a month later he moved in to the same complex as well. But different apt because it was too early to live together. My i-94 let me stay till Nov 5th. In october he proposed and we moved in together. I didn't break my lease to avoid fees and just let a friend stay in my apt and pay for it while it's still on my name.

Now the red flags..... :(

We only got married in January. Because at the time he was waiting for the response from the team that he might've played for (he plays basketball) and it was kinda uncertain situation. And also i wanted my mom to be present on my wedding. She came to visit right before New Years and left after marriage.

Now it's May. I know I waited too long to start the process. But his uncertain career situation and also financially we were collecting funds for the fees etc.. all of that kinda kept us from filing.

More red flags:

- i overstayed. Clearly.

- i entered on B2... but i absolutely had no intend of even staying this long. I got my visa in 2009 for 2 years, so my intentions were pure when I applied for it etc... And even when I came here, i didn't know it'll turn into life-changing experience.

- he is an athlete who's trying to get a job overseas. He's my age, 26, (we actually born 2 days apart:), and before moving in his own place he lived with his mom, studied and played basketball. While working on his skills and talking to teams, he is self-employed as a basketball trainer. He trains kids and gets paid pretty good for it. He filed his taxes for 2011 as self-employed (no 1099s though).. he filed previous years but the amounts are very low because at that time his main goal was to play basketball and he lived with his mom. In 2011 he made enough to meet the minimum of 125% poverty line.

It's hard for us to find a sponsor, so we hope his tax return papers, and bank accounts balance and deposit history would be enough to prove the income. We have one joint account too. Also i wanted to add a cover letter explaining what exactly is he doing and how both of us have great education and how he has corporate job potential but at this moment just chasing his dream. And still makes enough to support me, but as self-employed.

- we live together in his apt, but my other apt is still on my name. Is it much of a red flag? I do have some mail with my name on it coming to "his" apt though. And a few magazine subscriptions. Also both our names are on power bill. Will it be enough?

This is really getting long and i don't want to abuse much of y'all time. I'm in the process of filling papers right now and hopefully will send it to USCIS in the matter of a few weeks. If you guys would be so kind, can you please look at my situation and advise me of what to pay more attention to and what potentially can be a definite red flag? I'm scared, to be honest. I know we procrastinated a lil too long. But life is like that sometimes.

I'll have more questions as I proceed with this papers and would greatly appreciate any advices. Thank you so much. And hope this thread would be helpful to other couples who are in a similar situation.

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Canada
Timeline

I don't see any issues that can't be overcome.

Overstay is overlooked for the spouse of a us citizen.

Your intent very likely will not be questioned, especially given how long you waited to get married.

The basketball thing has no bearing. If he made enough last year that is all that matters...providing he is still working and making enough, of course.

All he needs from the other years is to have filed, the amount doesn't matter.

I would strongly advise you to not get into writing a cover letter that outlines our story. It's just not necessary. Do not provide things that aren't asked for.

As far as evidence, you can continue to build that up until your interview - you don't need to provide all of it right away, just what is outlined in the instructions for the form i-130.

Get your name added to his lease...the fact you have an apartment in your name shouldn't be an issue - it's not even something that needs to be brought up. The important thing is that you can show you are living together by having your name on his lease.

Again...I just want to emphasize how much I think the cover letter idea is not necessary. Just follow the instructions and you should be just fine.

Any chance you have been working to pay for your apartment? Just thinking ahead for other red flags.

Good question...is this an apartment in the us? And how is it being paid for?


July 2005 - met my awesome, hot, amazing love in Lousiana.
July 2006 - Married said love and moved to Canada.
June 2011 - Entered US to visit family, decided to stay.
Feb. 2012 - Sent paperwork to Chicago.

May 2012 - Received green card.

Day 0 - Package sent to Chicago Lockbox - 02/27/2012
Day 2 - UPS Tracking Confirmation - 02/29/2012
Day 4 - NOA Emails Received - 03/02/2012
Day 7 - All Checks Cashed - 03/05/2012
Day 11 - Hard Copy NOA's Received - 03/09/2012
Day 11 - Biometrics Appointment Received - 03/09/2012
--------- - Booked for - 04/03/2012 (day 36)
Day 35 - Early Biometricts Walk-in - 04/02/2012
Day 44 - Received Appointment Letter - 04/11/2012
Day 58 - EAD Approval Online - 04/25/2012
Day 63 - EAD in the mail - 04/30/2012
Day 65 - EAD in hand - 05/02/2012
Day 77 - AOS Interview - 05/14/2012
Day 77 - AOS Approved!
Day 84 - Green Card In Hand - 05/21/2012

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Vietnam
Timeline

Cover letter about education levels, career potential, etc. is meaningless. It won't get you any "points" toward meeting the I-864 affidavit of support requirements. As self employed person, he needs to have an income on line 22 of his most recent form 1040 tax return (2011) that meets the income requirement. If not, he will need a joint sponsor. These I-864 FAQ's may be helpful to you >>> http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info_3183.html


I-864 Affidavit of Support FAQ -->> https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/immigrate/immigrant-process/documents/support/i-864-frequently-asked-questions.html

FOREIGN INCOME REPORTING & TAX FILING -->> https://www.irs.gov/publications/p54/ch01.html#en_US_2015_publink100047318

CALL THIS NUMBER TO ORDER IRS TAX TRANSCRIPTS >> 800-908-9946

PLEASE READ THE GUIDES -->> Link to Visa Journey Guides

MULTI ENTRY SPOUSE VISA TO VN -->>Link to Visa Exemption for Vietnamese Residents Overseas & Their Spouses

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Filed: Timeline

Any chance you have been working to pay for your apartment? Just thinking ahead for other red flags.

No, I was not working. I think even if I tried, i wouldn't succeed. They are pretty strict with laws here in Atl and i don't want to get in any trouble. Thank you for pointing it out though, I understand how it may be a question. I only paid for my apartment till October. And my dad been sending me money through Western Union. My dad has a good job and we also have a family business (charitable medical fund) that I'm still helping my mom with without being present in Russia (translate some papers for her in English, contact people, etc). So they send me money "for" that too. It looks like just parents sending money to a daughter. I don't claim it as job. Lol. Looks like TMI, but i just want to show that i'm not sitting on my parents shoulders :)

And I do have a very good education (mathematics/programming), I was thinking about adding the translated copy of my diploma etc.. don't know if it's necessary though. I just want to show that I can't wait to get my papers straight and apply for job. I think when both of us will be working it'd look even better.

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Filed: Timeline

I don't see any issues that can't be overcome.

Overstay is overlooked for the spouse of a us citizen.

Your intent very likely will not be questioned, especially given how long you waited to get married.

The basketball thing has no bearing. If he made enough last year that is all that matters...providing he is still working and making enough, of course.

All he needs from the other years is to have filed, the amount doesn't matter.

I would strongly advise you to not get into writing a cover letter that outlines our story. It's just not necessary. Do not provide things that aren't asked for.

As far as evidence, you can continue to build that up until your interview - you don't need to provide all of it right away, just what is outlined in the instructions for the form i-130.

Get your name added to his lease...the fact you have an apartment in your name shouldn't be an issue - it's not even something that needs to be brought up. The important thing is that you can show you are living together by having your name on his lease.

Again...I just want to emphasize how much I think the cover letter idea is not necessary. Just follow the instructions and you should be just fine.

And this is a slight problem :( he can't add me to the lease. First of all, the complex where we live have eccentric regulations. If you want to add somebody, they charge you for extra background checks (even though they already did it on me when i signed my lease), they add some extra fees and raise the rent. All of that just sounds like extra headache. And also the second factor... which is not too good, and I know.... his mom doesn't know that we are married. I know it's weird and wrong, but it's a tough family situation with too many details to name, so i'd love just to keep it off the case. But she kinda have access to his rent bills etc.. they have joint life insuarance.. we honestly, just waiting for the right moment and don't want to rovk the boat that don't need to be rocked yet. That's why i though i could send copy of power bill and maybe copy of some mail that comes on my name. And also out joint bank account has his address on it.

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Filed: Timeline

Cover letter about education levels, career potential, etc. is meaningless. It won't get you any "points" toward meeting the I-864 affidavit of support requirements. As self employed person, he needs to have an income on line 22 of his most recent form 1040 tax return (2011) that meets the income requirement. If not, he will need a joint sponsor. These I-864 FAQ's may be helpful to you >>> http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info_3183.html

Ok, I understand. Thank you so much. I read those FAQs before, and yes the amount in Line 22 is enough to cover 125% poverty. Slightly more than that actually. I hope it'll be enough. My main faith is in showing our bank accounts and the history of deposits etc.. cause since he's self employed and work for cash there's no paystubs or other ways to show the money come n go.

Thank you again!

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And this is a slight problem :( he can't add me to the lease. First of all, the complex where we live have eccentric regulations. If you want to add somebody, they charge you for extra background checks (even though they already did it on me when i signed my lease), they add some extra fees and raise the rent. All of that just sounds like extra headache. And also the second factor... which is not too good, and I know.... his mom doesn't know that we are married. I know it's weird and wrong, but it's a tough family situation with too many details to name, so i'd love just to keep it off the case. But she kinda have access to his rent bills etc.. they have joint life insuarance.. we honestly, just waiting for the right moment and don't want to rovk the boat that don't need to be rocked yet. That's why i though i could send copy of power bill and maybe copy of some mail that comes on my name. And also out joint bank account has his address on it.

Lease - ok, if its not possible, not end of world.

Bank - co-mingling of financial resources is very good evidence. so make sure you have statements reflecting that. do you have bank cards that reflect that (maybe have same account number on them or something?)

power bill - it helps and do send a copy. but the bank stuff trumps it.

magazines - if you really want to send it, do so, but its pretty weak evidence

being self-employed im not sure what his/your health insurance would look like. are you on his insurance and can show that maybe?

regarding his mom not knowing about your wedding. its not a knock-out criteria but expect a question about it and having a good answer.

its about bona fide character of your marriage and his mom not knowing about it raises questions.

does she know about you in general? have you met? who attended your wedding?

you may expect those questions from the officer in an interview.

best of luck


21/2 - received NOA in mail for all 4 (130/485/765/131)

23/3 - biometrics scheduled -> did "early" walk-in on 21 March

06/4 - received email update, interview scheduled for 7th May

27/4 - received EAD

08/5 - email: approval one day after interview (7th May)

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Australia
Timeline

Now the red flags..... :(

We only got married in January. Because at the time he was waiting for the response from the team that he might've played for (he plays basketball) and it was kinda uncertain situation. And also i wanted my mom to be present on my wedding. She came to visit right before New Years and left after marriage.

Now it's May. I know I waited too long to start the process. But his uncertain career situation and also financially we were collecting funds for the fees etc.. all of that kinda kept us from filing. None of the above is a red flag. You have evidence i assume of corresponding prior to coming to the US so you didn't just over stay and marry some guy you just met.

More red flags:

- i overstayed. Clearly. Not a red flag

- i entered on B2... but i absolutely had no intend of even staying this long. I got my visa in 2009 for 2 years, so my intentions were pure when I applied for it etc... And even when I came here, i didn't know it'll turn into life-changing experience. Not a red flag

- he is an athlete who's trying to get a job overseas. He's my age, 26, (we actually born 2 days apart:), and before moving in his own place he lived with his mom, studied and played basketball. While working on his skills and talking to teams, he is self-employed as a basketball trainer. He trains kids and gets paid pretty good for it. He filed his taxes for 2011 as self-employed (no 1099s though).. he filed previous years but the amounts are very low because at that time his main goal was to play basketball and he lived with his mom. In 2011 he made enough to meet the minimum of 125% poverty line. Not a red flag. If he makes CURRENTLY over the poverty line that's fine. Or he gets a cosponsor

- we live together in his apt, but my other apt is still on my name. Is it much of a red flag? I do have some mail with my name on it coming to "his" apt though. And a few magazine subscriptions. Also both our names are on power bill. Will it be enough? Not really no. Your friend could write a statement about living there and if her licence reflects the address that's even better.

Get on his bank accounts and do other "comingling" things that a couple would do. When ou get your EAD (make sure you file for it), go and get your SSN and get your drivers licence (if your state allows it) or at least state ID, this shows a joint address. Get affidavits from friends family.

I don't see many red flags at all. Print evidence of talking before you came to the US to establish a relationship.

My only concern would be intent. They can't ask about intent but if you have anything (emails or job contract or something) that would help show lack of intent I'd have it "just in case".

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Canada
Timeline

I think you will find it much easier to gather evidence of a bonafide marriage (which is way more important than those areas you thought were red flags) of you cut the secrecy and get things in the open with his family.

That may be a question that comes up in your interview as well, sometimes they ask about the in-laws...have you even met them?

That seems more of a red flag than anything else...you can't get on his lease and all his bills are paid by his mom so you can't get on any of those...or his insurance....

Just advice but I would suggest finding a new complex that doesn't have ridiculous rules so you can be on the lease and come out to his family...the right moment never comes to say, "hey mom, had a secret wedding! Surprise!"

Edited by jdh

July 2005 - met my awesome, hot, amazing love in Lousiana.
July 2006 - Married said love and moved to Canada.
June 2011 - Entered US to visit family, decided to stay.
Feb. 2012 - Sent paperwork to Chicago.

May 2012 - Received green card.

Day 0 - Package sent to Chicago Lockbox - 02/27/2012
Day 2 - UPS Tracking Confirmation - 02/29/2012
Day 4 - NOA Emails Received - 03/02/2012
Day 7 - All Checks Cashed - 03/05/2012
Day 11 - Hard Copy NOA's Received - 03/09/2012
Day 11 - Biometrics Appointment Received - 03/09/2012
--------- - Booked for - 04/03/2012 (day 36)
Day 35 - Early Biometricts Walk-in - 04/02/2012
Day 44 - Received Appointment Letter - 04/11/2012
Day 58 - EAD Approval Online - 04/25/2012
Day 63 - EAD in the mail - 04/30/2012
Day 65 - EAD in hand - 05/02/2012
Day 77 - AOS Interview - 05/14/2012
Day 77 - AOS Approved!
Day 84 - Green Card In Hand - 05/21/2012

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Filed: Timeline

Lease - ok, if its not possible, not end of world.

Bank - co-mingling of financial resources is very good evidence. so make sure you have statements reflecting that. do you have bank cards that reflect that (maybe have same account number on them or something?)

power bill - it helps and do send a copy. but the bank stuff trumps it.

magazines - if you really want to send it, do so, but its pretty weak evidence

being self-employed im not sure what his/your health insurance would look like. are you on his insurance and can show that maybe?

regarding his mom not knowing about your wedding. its not a knock-out criteria but expect a question about it and having a good answer.

its about bona fide character of your marriage and his mom not knowing about it raises questions.

does she know about you in general? have you met? who attended your wedding?

you may expect those questions from the officer in an interview.

best of luck

Thank you for your opinion on my matter!

Lets see... bank.. we have a joint account, it's just a checking account that we use to pay bills etc.. we made it so I could have a debit card (since without credit history in usa and ssn i can't have credit cards). Both our names are on account and on checks. I'll get a letter of reference from the bank that covers current balance and deposit history and send it with the package.

When it comes to his mom.. I know it sounds strange, but it's the situation. She's a wonderful woman, but she's divorced, lives by herself and he's her pride and joy. He just worry that she won't accept the marriage news to easy. I know I said it here on this forum cause i practically have nothing to hide, but I don't see how it may come up as an issue if i don't showcase it anyhow on the papers. Only if they ask at interview.. but that would be many months from now. Until then i hope we'll figure this thing out or at least be ready with a good answer.

And we got married in a city hall, my mom was there. Since i'm currently out of status and can't travel etc, we decided to wait till I go through the paperwork process and then have two ceremonies - in USA and in Russia. For both sides of the family. Just a family/friends celebration, you know. If everything goes smooth and USCIS accept the application and set the interview date, we probably would set the date for our "weddings" and send save-the-date cards.

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Filed: Timeline

Get on his bank accounts and do other "comingling" things that a couple would do. When ou get your EAD (make sure you file for it), go and get your SSN and get your drivers licence (if your state allows it) or at least state ID, this shows a joint address. Get affidavits from friends family.

I don't see many red flags at all. Print evidence of talking before you came to the US to establish a relationship.

My only concern would be intent. They can't ask about intent but if you have anything (emails or job contract or something) that would help show lack of intent I'd have it "just in case".

This whole "intent" situation is such a gray shady area to me. Honestly i'd never expect to come here and get married. I traveled a lot, never overstayed my visas, never got denied a visa, have good family/education in Russia, i'm not running from poverty or bad life in pursuit of american dream. It's really hard to show any other proof other than that... I hope that on interview we would make a good impression as a couple. We literally were born two days apart, we are like twins and soul mates. We clash of course, and not everything is perfect all the time, but i hope we won't be "suspect" as a couple.

I am scared that they may question the fact that before coming in May, i also been in USA in January-February. It was a long vacation. I traveled. Been in ATL and LA. I just finished working for Cirque Du Soleil in Moscow, Russia, in December so I had no other obligation etc and i went to USA to visit friends etc.. at that time we had no romace or anything with my future husband. Then I came back in May to go to Jamaica. I was 10 days in Jamaica on vacation. I didn't mean to stay this long after it though.. but that's when i got head over heels with my future husband. So in the big picture, it looks bad that i spent so much time in USA last year... but it just happened like that. I do travel a lot, so it wasn't some outrageous activity for me. You guys think it would be a huge red flag?

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Belarus
Timeline

My wife and I got married at a courthouse, and only my side of the family were able to attend the ceremony. During the interview, the officer looked through our pictures and asked who everyone was on the photos at the ceremony (we also included photos of misc trip/events throughout our relationship). He did ask about my wife's parents, and I had to tell him that they had both passed away. It was in my wife's file, so he was probably testing me. Don't be surprise if they ask about your husband's family, especially when you show your wedding photos. IO are very curious and thorough folks. I wish you a smooth process.

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Filed: Timeline

My wife and I got married at a courthouse, and only my side of the family were able to attend the ceremony. During the interview, the officer looked through our pictures and asked who everyone was on the photos at the ceremony (we also included photos of misc trip/events throughout our relationship). He did ask about my wife's parents, and I had to tell him that they had both passed away. It was in my wife's file, so he was probably testing me. Don't be surprise if they ask about your husband's family, especially when you show your wedding photos. IO are very curious and thorough folks. I wish you a smooth process.

Thank you for sharing your experience! I'm glad everything worked out great for you.

The courthouse wedding for us was more like a legal procedure, while when it comes to actual wedding with all the formalities, we still want to have one.. actually two :) but it is not possible until we get through the paper process. I think it's understandable and officer would accept it. And also, if any questions asked, I do know a lot about his family. We talk a lot. Especially at the beginning of our relationship, we used to talk all night long so i'm aware of many things from his past etc..

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Belarus
Timeline

In regards to intent, you said you had no plans on immigrating here during your visit. Were you ever put into secondary screening upon arrival? And if you did, what did they ask you? (this is where they could get you on intent, since it would be documented). If you were not put into secondary screening, then you should be fine. Best of luck.

Edited by Reyan

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