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About to start the I-130 (spouse) process - please help!

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Hello

My (US citizen) husband and I want to move to the US so I've just begun to look into how to get a visa. I've found a lot of the available information quite confusing, but this site seems to have answered lot of my questions - thank you!

Can someone let me know if I have this right please:

Step 1 - Send I-130 to the US, with supporting documents as listed in the I-130 guide on this site

Step 2 - Wait for that to be approved, then await contact from the Sydney consulate

Step 3 - Attend interview in Sydney after obtaining police checks and medical check, and take along lots of supporting documents, including the affidavit of support (or should that be filed with the I-130?)

It seems that this process can take up to a year, sometimes more. Is that right?! We were hoping to move in the first half of next year, so it would be really disappointing if it took that long. Other than getting the documents right, is there any way to speed this up? Also I've seen reference in some places to a K1 visa, but I gather the processing times for that can be equally long so there's little point.

Finally, in terms of documents evidencing our marriage is genuine, would the following be sufficient or should we get more (e.g. affidavits from those who know us)?

1) Marriage certificate

2) Birth certificates of our two children

3) Copy of our lease showing it's in joint names

4) Copies of bank account statements going back 5 years showing joint accounts

Any other tips or hints most welcome and appreciated!

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I'm in this process right now, going on 4 months. Filing as the sponsor living in the US so the process may be a little different but not much since your husband is living overseas.

First step as you know is to forward the I-130 supporting a CR-1 visa package to USCIS in Chicago. Be aware that each individual seeking a visa (yourself and 2 children, unless they are already possess a US passport) will require an I-130 application. Chicago will then forward your package(s) to one of 5(?) processing centers. After that center verifies accuracy and completeness of your package they will then send the app to the National Visa Center (NVC). It is at this point that you will be required to complete the Avadavat of Support where your husband will provide evidence that his income is sufficient to support his family. This portion of the process will requirement payment of US$120 fee.

After the NVC verifies income based on evidence presented, you will complete the actual on-line visa application and provide more evidence most of which is the same as previously sent with the original I-130, but also requires a 'police clearance'. Again more fees to be paid, US$320. After this verification the package is ultimately sent to the your local US consulate where a face to face interview will occur after you obtain the required medical clearance.

It's doubtful that you will see the US in Q2 2015 but anything is possible. Accelerated processing is only approved for extenuating circumstances which I don't believe you qualify for. Your steps are basically correct with expanded parts in step 2. Be aware that the police check will need to be submitted to the NVC with copy I presume available to the consulate.

Be aware that patience is a virtue during this process. Good luck.

Jim


IR-1/CR-1 Visa
Service Center : Vermont Service Center
Consulate : Manila, Philippines
Marriage (if applicable): 2014-05-17
I-130 Sent : 2014-06-23
I-130 NOA1 : 2014-06-25
I-130 RFE : 2014-08-11 (Wanted NSO Marriage Certificate, not LCR)
I-130 RFE Sent : 2014-08-14
I-130 Approved : 2014-08-27
NVC Received : 2014-09-15
Received DS-261 / AOS Bill : 2014-09-17
Pay AOS Bill : 2014-09-17
Submit DS-261 : 2014-09-17
Send AOS Package : 2014-09-19
Receive IV Bill : 2014-10-03
Pay IV Bill : 2014-10-03
Received Interview Letter by E-mail: 2015-03-20 (May 5, 2015)
SLEC completed: 2015-04-22
Visa Approved: 2015-05-05
Visa Issued: 2015-05-15 (221g for no CENOMAR!)

Visa Received: 2015-05-21

POE: Chicago 2015-09-14

GC Received: 2015-11-17

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Filed: Lift. Cond. (apr) Country: China
Timeline

***Moved from Australia and New Zealand regional forum to IR-1/CR-1 Process & Procedures.***

**Moderator hat off**

Answers in bold and red:

Hello

My (US citizen) husband and I want to move to the US so I've just begun to look into how to get a visa. I've found a lot of the available information quite confusing, but this site seems to have answered lot of my questions - thank you!

Can someone let me know if I have this right please:

Step 1 - Send I-130 to the US, with supporting documents as listed in the I-130 guide on this site

Step 2 - Wait for that to be approved, then await contact from the Sydney consulate After the I-130 is approved, you will need to obtain a case number from the NVC. Familiarize yourself with that process by reading this: http://www.visajourney.com/wiki/index.php/NVC_Process

Step 3 - Attend interview in Sydney after obtaining police checks and medical check, and take along lots of supporting documents, including the affidavit of support (or should that be filed with the I-130?) The Affidavit of Support goes to the NVC, not with the I-130.

It seems that this process can take up to a year, sometimes more. Is that right?! We were hoping to move in the first half of next year, so it would be really disappointing if it took that long. Other than getting the documents right, is there any way to speed this up? Also I've seen reference in some places to a K1 visa, but I gather the processing times for that can be equally long so there's little point.

Since the petitioner is living abroad, the petition may enter the auto-expedite queue if it is sent to the service center in California. USCIS will deny such a queue exists and there is no guarantee your petition will end up in this queue.

Finally, in terms of documents evidencing our marriage is genuine, would the following be sufficient or should we get more (e.g. affidavits from those who know us)?

Affidavits carry little to zero weight in the overall evaluation of a file. Skip them if you have plenty of other evidence.

1) Marriage certificate

2) Birth certificates of our two children

3) Copy of our lease showing it's in joint names

4) Copies of bank account statements going back 5 years showing joint accounts

Any other tips or hints most welcome and appreciated!

Just to correct one thing the previous poster said and it's only a matter of semantics, an I-130 is a petition form, not an application form.

Edited by Ryan H

Our journey:

Spoiler

September 2007: Met online via social networking site (MySpace); began exchanging messages.
March 26, 2009: We become a couple!
September 10, 2009: Arrived for first meeting in-person!
June 17, 2010: Arrived for second in-person meeting and start of travel together to other areas of China!
June 21, 2010: Engaged!!!
September 1, 2010: Switched course from K1 to CR-1
December 8, 2010: Wedding date set; it will be on February 18, 2011!
February 9, 2011: Depart for China
February 11, 2011: Registered for marriage in Wuhan, officially married!!!
February 18, 2011: Wedding ceremony in Shiyan!!!
April 22, 2011: Mailed I-130 to Chicago
April 28, 2011: Received NOA1 via text/email, file routed to CSC (priority date April 25th)
April 29, 2011: Updated
May 3, 2011: Received NOA1 hardcopy in mail
July 26, 2011: Received NOA2 via text/email!!!
July 30, 2011: Received NOA2 hardcopy in mail
August 8, 2011: NVC received file
September 1, 2011: NVC case number assigned
September 2, 2011: AOS invoice received, OPTIN email for EP sent
September 7, 2011: Paid AOS bill (payment portal showed PAID on September 9, 2011)
September 8, 2011: OPTIN email accepted, GZO number assigned
September 10, 2011: Emailed AOS package
September 12, 2011: IV bill invoiced
September 13, 2011: Paid IV bill (payment portal showed PAID on September 14, 2011)
September 14, 2011: Emailed IV package
October 3, 2011: Emailed checklist response (checklist generated due to typo on Form DS-230)
October 6, 2011: Case complete at NVC
November 10, 2011: Interview - APPROVED!!!
December 7, 2011: POE - Sea-Tac Airport

September 17, 2013: Mailed I-751 to CSC

September 23, 2013: Received NOA1 in mail (receipt date September 19th)

October 16, 2013: Biometrics Appointment

January 28, 2014: Production of new Green Card ordered

February 3, 2014: New Green Card received; done with USCIS until fall of 2023*

 

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Hi! The advice given is all correct, and just wanted to say good luck! I am the USC, and my husband is australian and we started the process in May. It's moving very quick, and has only taken this long as I have delayed it a bit. We are nearly at the interview stage if our next lot of paperwork is approved!

It's quite confusing sometimes, but it starts to make sense eventually, it wasn't until we were at NVC stage that I understood the whole process easily :)


IR1 - Spouse VisaPetition I-130

Posted from Australia 05/24/2014

Email receipt received 06/09/2014

Paid from Bank 06/09/2014

Approved online update on case status 06/20/2014

Received NOA1 in the post 06/22/2014

NOA2 received in post 07/10/2014

NVC

Email from NVC 8/7/2014

AoS ready for paymentDS-261 submitted 8/8/2014

AoS Fee Paid 8/12/2014

AoS and IV scan date 10/25/2014

Checklist: 12/18/2014

Posted updated packet for checklist on 2/25/2015

Received by NVC 3/2/2015

Case Complete: 3/2/2015

Interview: 4/21/2015

Approved: 4/21/2014

POE: 6/2/2015<p>

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Australia
Timeline

I cannot reiterate strongly enough Ryan H's advice to refer to the NVC Process wiki page. Read it, re-read it, then read it once more. Keep it open in a tab in your browser and come back to it whenever you've got an idle moment. The whole process is quite involved, but the wiki is an excellent resource that covers the process in great detail.

The K-1 visa is a fiancee visa - if you're already married, this will not apply to you. There is a non-immigrant spouse visa, K-3. However, the processing times on this do not currently appear to be significantly faster than the IR-1 (immigrant spouse) visa, and it ends up being more costly overall (as you have to adjust status to permanent resident once you arrive in the US on your K-3).

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Filed: Lift. Cond. (apr) Country: Chile
Timeline
  1. Submit I-130 and supporting documents to USCIS
  2. Review NOA1 and NOA2 (acceptance for your petition)
  3. USCIS sends your information to NVC
  4. Receive NVC case number by calling them
  5. Send AOS online form and pay fee online. Submit AOS supporting documents.
  6. Send IV online form and pay fee online. Submit IV supporting documents. (There is a new process at NVC - these steps might be combined)
  7. Wait for a checklist or case complete email
  8. Appointment is scheduled at embassy/consulate
  9. Medical appointment
  10. Final Interview
  11. POE

Just adding to the other commenters - file your I-130 from outside the US and indicate in your cover letter than you're living as a permanent resident abroad. This generally will help you get into the automatic expedite queue that was mentioned. Our USCIS process took 2 weeks (this normally takes about 6 months on average).

START GETTING THE AOS AND IV DOCS READY NOW! Especially if you need to prove or reestablish domicile in the US, file back taxes, use a joint-sponsor, obtain original copies of legal documents, etc. If you get auto-expedited at USCIS, you want to be prepared to get all your supporting documents off to NVC as soon s possible. Read the wiki that was referenced above.

At the end of the day, if you have everything meticulously in order and don't receive any RFEs or checklists from USCIS or NVC, you could potentially be looking at a 5-6 month process at the absolute soonest. Otherwise, you should expect at least 10-12 months. It seems like an annoyingly long process, but keep researching on this website and others and always double/triple/quadruple check EVERYTHING.

Good luck!


Spoiler

 

19 Jan 2014 Married

USCIS

11 Apr 2014 I-130 Sent

17 Apr 2014 NOA1

02 May 2014 NOA2

NVC

21 May 2014 NVC Received

06 June 2014 Case Number, INI, and BIN generated

06 June 2014 AOS bill / DS-261 generated

03 July 2014 Paid AOS bill

03 July 2014 DS-261 completed and sent electronically

07 Aug 2014 AOS package sent

12 Aug 2014 AOS Package received by NVC (scan)

20 Aug 2014 DS-261 accepted

20 Aug 2014 IV invoice generated

20 Aug 2014 IV invoice paid/printed cover sheet

21 Aug 2014 DS-260 completed and sent electronically

22 Aug 2014 IV package of supporting documents sent

27 Aug 2014 IV package received by NVC (scan)

07 Sep 2014 Realize error on AOS (AGI vs. Total Income)

09 Sep 2014 AOS I-864s (joint sponsors) resubmitted

11 Sep 2014 AOS Re-submit received by NVC (scan)

16 Sep 2014 60-day notice received (note: this is the first 60-day notice I have ever received)

20 Oct 2014 CASE COMPLETE! (AOS and IV)

Embassy

08 Dec 2014 Medical Appointment

22 Dec 2014 Interview and APPROVAL!

27 Dec 2014 Receive passport and paperwork from the embassy

POE/Post Entry

23 Feb 2015 POE at Houston - No problems on entry

01 Mar 2015 Received SSN via USPS

02 Apr 2015 Received physical green card

ROC

19 Dec 2016 Sent I-751 Packet

26 Dec 2016 NOA1 Received

12 Jan 2017 Biometrics Appointment

14 Feb 2018 Infopass Appointment (LA) for ADIT Stamp

15 May 2018 ROC APPROVED! (I-797 NOA received 5/21/18 - GC in production!)

 

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Thank you all for your help. I sent the I-130 and associated documents off last week (unfortunately before I saw the advice to include in the cover letter the fact that we're overseas residents), so now the wait begins! I will definitely follow the advice to start preparing the AOS and IV documents now though...

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