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US expart returning from BRU->ATL, recently married in Belgium

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Hi, after five years in Belgium, several years of legal cohabitation here, and finally recently marriage, me and the new wife are planning the return to the USA.

Unfortunately, we were going on knowledge we had from several years ago with the DCF filing before it changed to centralize the USCIS filing, which seems to change how quickly some things are processed (? I think ?), and now a little frightened by some of the delays that seem to occur with people filing the i-130.

Could I ask a few questions for which I couldn't find answers?

- do others have experience of how long this takes for a case where one has been living abroad for some time, marries abroad, and wishes to return to US? Is this given priority over someone that marries abroad, but did this on a non-resident visa? Belgium uses the Chicago lockbox for processing. Timing makes this very difficult for her and I to plan simple things - like finding new employment in the US, ending leases and contracts here in BE, fixing dates for returning there together. In fact, hearing 5-15 month extremes makes this almost impossible.

- her interview will take place at the local US consulate (Brussels) ?

- does our filing of the i-130 remove her travel rights from our current location? Can she travel to the US during the processing under the normal tourist visa (of course respecting normal associated time limits). For example, if I choose to return to Atlanta in 3 months, can she visit me during that period? Or must she remain at our previous location in Belgium ? Nothing that I've read in the i-130 form seems to imply that, upon filing this application, the implied-person must not travel.

- for translation of local documents : when presenting the i-130 form, must we translate these into the language of where the interview will take place, or into English ? Naturally translation services are expensive, having cost minimum $30/page. It becomes less "fun" to provide a lot of optional documentation for the i-130 when submitting 50 pages of evidence might cost a thousand dollars or more. How do we begin to prioritize what should be used as proof of "the bona fides of marriage", especially if this recently happened and we are planning to return to the US ?

Thank you - I'll keep you updated with timing/details for our case as we learn more in the filing process.

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Jimmy, check out this thread http://www.visajourney.com/forums/topic/357465-usc-petitioner-living-abroad/

Most people with the petitioner residing abroad have been put in an auto-expedite queue and getting approval in a week or so. This is not an official thing, so you can't really ask the consulate or anyone about it. After that you have the NVC stage and then waiting for an interview, but overall it might take just a few months. You can read the experiences in that thread.

Your wife can visit while everything is processing, yes. She will need to show strong proof that she is going back on that trip.

You can translate documents yourself. English is the thing they want (the interview will be speaking English too unless otherwise requested). I believe the local language is accepted as well, but you'll have to ask other Brussels people for specifics. You do not need to translate English into the local language, I can tell you that.

Good luck.

Edited by Harpa Timsah

AOS for my husband
8/17/10: INTERVIEW DAY (day 123) APPROVED!!

5/23/12: Sent out package
2/06/13: APPROVED!

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If you get into auto-expedited queue, and are very diligent about having everything ready before it's asked and calling NVC, sending everything through FedEx or equivalent, AND are lucky you can do it in 3 months. If you're a little slower/less lucky, maybe 5 months. If you don't get into auto-expedited queue, more like 9 months.

Of course this assumes no Request For Evidence, and no problems, YMMV.

For I-130 it's english only, at NVC stage it's usually english+local language.

For proof of bonafide marriage, joint lease/ownership of house, joint bank accounts, some pictures...

She can visit the U.S. during the process but she must be prepared to show STRONG ties to Belgium to border patrol (house/car ownership, job, return ticket.)

Edited by danzz

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Thanks Danzz and Harpa for the quick responses, especially the link to that "auto-expedite" thread.. Exactly what we're interested in knowing.

Good to know about translation - if we can do that, that will save a lot of time and money.

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