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UK to USA help/advice

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Hello all, this is all new to me and I'm really worried about screwing it up. I'll read around and check out the other threads, just wanted to post an intro and share my situation here first.

In a nut shell.. I met my fiance last year in May, online, we've been talking for hours every day since (no dating service or anything like that..) We fell in love pretty quick and have all kinds of life plans together. I've been there (UK) to visit in September for a week and she came here (Portland OR) to visit in November for over a week, which is when I proposed. We announced it to all our friends and fam on facebook shortly after and we just set our wedding date for July 1st of this year.

The original plan, before we did any research, was for her to come over on her vacation Visa at the end of this month and use that 90 days to stay here while waiting for the fiance Visa to get approved, that way we'd have more time together to plan for the wedding, get her job situation squared away and everything else that goes along with starting life in a new country. I started looking over the application, got worried about doing it myself and decided to look into an Immigration lawyer. During the consultation I told him what our plan was and everything about our situation and he said she couldn't come over that way, she'd get deported if they found out she planned on staying, which I don't understand, of course she would plan on staying if we're getting married, there's nothing about either of our situations that would keep us from getting approved. He also said that I needed a lawyer, that this is a long confusing process and didn't recommend doing it myself since it's a life changing event for both of us.

So...this is huge, I know he's right, but I also know he wants my money.. which led me to coming here for help from real people who have gone through this, that don't have any agenda. I've seen some online places that offer the same services for around 10% what the lawyer wants, I don't know what to do though. Any help and advice is greatly appreciated!

-Brandon

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I don't think you need a lawyer for a start.

Secondly, I think he might be right in that she can't come over on a visitor's visa with the intent to immigrate.

Wiser heads will be able to provide you with more specific advice about your options. Just don't pay that lawyer yet!

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She cannot come over on the Visa Waiver Program (I assume that's what you mean by "vacation visa") nor any other visitor's visa with the intent to stay. That is immigration fraud. Your lawyer was absolutely right about that.

If you file the K-1, she HAS to interview at the consulate in her own country (in London for the UK). The process requires her to do a medical exam in London and an interview at the consulate there. Those things CANNOT be done from within the USA.

She CAN visit you during the K-1 process while it is pending, but she HAS to return to the UK for the final stages of getting the actual visa. After she gets the K-1 visa, THEN she enters the USA to stay.

She cannot get a job in the USA until long after she enters on the K-1 visa (3 months at the earliest). She enters on K-1, you get married, she stays in the USA but does not work, you file for adjustment of status, and after 2-3 months she gets her employment authorization and can start a job here.

Other people can advise you more on time frames; our K-1 in 2012 took almost a year to complete, but they're moving much faster these days so it may only be 3-4 months.

You may wish to consider marrying in the UK and then filing for a CR-1 visa instead, which takes much longer to complete but gives her a greencard and the right to work the moment she enters the USA. Take a look at the guides here on VisaJourney: http://www.visajourney.com/content/compare

You should not need a lawyer, most people do not. Lawyers can slow the process down, and if neither of you has any criminal history or previous immigration overstays, then the process is very straightforward.


Relationship since April 2006

K-1 Visa: I-129F filed November 6, 2012, NOA2 May 17, 2013, Interview and Approval July 24, 2013

POE San Diego, September 13, 2013, Wedding October 25, 2013

AOS filed November 19, 2013, EAD/AP received January 30, 2014, interview and AOS Approval on February 27, 2014.

ROC filed December 3, 2015, NOA1 12/4/15, Biometrics 12/31/15, ROC Approval on June 16, 2016, 10-Year Green Card received June 22, 2016.

No RFE at any stage, thanks to VisaJourney!

Detailed Timeline Below!

Relationship:
2006 April 01: Met online, music site
2007 February 20: Met in person, Finland
2007 - 2012 met several times in Finland and California

K-1 Visa:
2012 November 06: Sent I-129F (NOA1 on 11/9/2012)
2013 May 14: Contacted Congressman
2013 May 17: I-129F NOA2 Approved
2013 June 03: NVC Received (NVC left 6/6/13)
2013 June 10: Consulate Received
2013 June 13: Medical
2013 June 25: Sent Packet 3/4
2013 July 24: Interview in Helsinki
2013 July 27: Visa Received
2013 September 13: POE to USA, San Diego

AOS:
2013 October 22: SSN Received
2013 October 25: Wedding, San Marcos, CA
2013 November 19: AOS, AP, EAD sent (NOA 1 on 11/22/13)
2013 December 17: Biometrics, San Marcos, CA
2013 December 24: Online status changed to Testing/Interview

2014 January 23: Interview notice mailed (for 2/27)

2014 January 24: EAD card production, AP approval (card received 1/30/2014)

2014 February 27: Interview and Approval, GC in production (card received March 6, 2014)

ROC:

2015 December 03: mailed I-751 package

2015 December 04: NOA1 extension letter

2015 December 31: Biometrics appointment

2016 June 16: Approval - Online status changed to Document Production, mailed 6/20/16

2016 June 22: 10-Year Green Card Received, done with USCIS for a while!

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My K1 took nearly a year, seem to be a bt quicker now but your timeline is unrealistic.

She can come on the VWP marry and leave and then you are looking at c a year for a CR1.

She can visit on the VWP whilst this is going through and of course you can visit her.

Most people do not use a lawyer.

BTW the UK process is much quicker.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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The lawyer wants your money and of course he will tell you that you need a lawyer. You don't unless your case is very complex(which it isn't from what you've said so far but who knows). The lawyer was 100% right that she cannot use the VWP to come as if on a visit and then just stay on. That is immigration fraud and has serious consequences. If she stays beyond her allowed time (which for visa waiver folks is 90 days) then she faces deportation and a ban.

She can visit during the process. And it might be a good idea for her to do so as so far she has spent about a week in the place where she plans to spend the rest of her life and about two weeks with the person she plans to spend the rest of her life with. Use the VWP to its advantage and have her come to visit you a few times during the process and get a good feel for the place.

I don't think you'll be looking at a July wedding on a K-1 visa. If it has to be July, then get married in July and file for a CR-1 spouse visa afterwards.


 

 

 

 

 

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Hi there,

Firstly, congratulations on your engagement and welcome :)

I was based in London and we filed for our K1 in January 2015. We had an RFE which was straightforward, but it probably added 2-3 weeks to our whole process. My interview at the London US Embassy was in August. Also, our visa was processed through California Service Centre which seemed to be faster than Texas. If you are in Oregon, I would guess that your application would go through California too. So people get their K1 issued very fast - ie. 3 months and others take much longer, even 9 months.

Everyone else has given you very sound advice so it's up to you how you proceed.

Wishing you the best of luck!

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I don't think you'll be looking at a July wedding on a K-1 visa. If it has to be July, then get married in July and file for a CR-1 spouse visa afterwards.

Just want to clarify what that means to the original poster, since he's new to the whole visa process: if you get married in July (while she is visiting on a 90-day visa waiver) and you file for the CR-1, then she still HAS TO GO BACK to the UK and wait out the process for the visa to complete. That can take a year, but she CAN still visit during that time. She just has to keep returning to the UK, she cannot live and work in the USA until the visa process is over.


Relationship since April 2006

K-1 Visa: I-129F filed November 6, 2012, NOA2 May 17, 2013, Interview and Approval July 24, 2013

POE San Diego, September 13, 2013, Wedding October 25, 2013

AOS filed November 19, 2013, EAD/AP received January 30, 2014, interview and AOS Approval on February 27, 2014.

ROC filed December 3, 2015, NOA1 12/4/15, Biometrics 12/31/15, ROC Approval on June 16, 2016, 10-Year Green Card received June 22, 2016.

No RFE at any stage, thanks to VisaJourney!

Detailed Timeline Below!

Relationship:
2006 April 01: Met online, music site
2007 February 20: Met in person, Finland
2007 - 2012 met several times in Finland and California

K-1 Visa:
2012 November 06: Sent I-129F (NOA1 on 11/9/2012)
2013 May 14: Contacted Congressman
2013 May 17: I-129F NOA2 Approved
2013 June 03: NVC Received (NVC left 6/6/13)
2013 June 10: Consulate Received
2013 June 13: Medical
2013 June 25: Sent Packet 3/4
2013 July 24: Interview in Helsinki
2013 July 27: Visa Received
2013 September 13: POE to USA, San Diego

AOS:
2013 October 22: SSN Received
2013 October 25: Wedding, San Marcos, CA
2013 November 19: AOS, AP, EAD sent (NOA 1 on 11/22/13)
2013 December 17: Biometrics, San Marcos, CA
2013 December 24: Online status changed to Testing/Interview

2014 January 23: Interview notice mailed (for 2/27)

2014 January 24: EAD card production, AP approval (card received 1/30/2014)

2014 February 27: Interview and Approval, GC in production (card received March 6, 2014)

ROC:

2015 December 03: mailed I-751 package

2015 December 04: NOA1 extension letter

2015 December 31: Biometrics appointment

2016 June 16: Approval - Online status changed to Document Production, mailed 6/20/16

2016 June 22: 10-Year Green Card Received, done with USCIS for a while!

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Hello all, this is all new to me and I'm really worried about screwing it up. I'll read around and check out the other threads, just wanted to post an intro and share my situation here first.

In a nut shell.. I met my fiance last year in May, online, we've been talking for hours every day since (no dating service or anything like that..) We fell in love pretty quick and have all kinds of life plans together. I've been there (UK) to visit in September for a week and she came here (Portland OR) to visit in November for over a week, which is when I proposed. We announced it to all our friends and fam on facebook shortly after and we just set our wedding date for July 1st of this year.

The original plan, before we did any research, was for her to come over on her vacation Visa at the end of this month and use that 90 days to stay here while waiting for the fiance Visa to get approved, that way we'd have more time together to plan for the wedding, get her job situation squared away and everything else that goes along with starting life in a new country. I started looking over the application, got worried about doing it myself and decided to look into an Immigration lawyer. During the consultation I told him what our plan was and everything about our situation and he said she couldn't come over that way, she'd get deported if they found out she planned on staying, which I don't understand, of course she would plan on staying if we're getting married, there's nothing about either of our situations that would keep us from getting approved. He also said that I needed a lawyer, that this is a long confusing process and didn't recommend doing it myself since it's a life changing event for both of us.

So...this is huge, I know he's right, but I also know he wants my money.. which led me to coming here for help from real people who have gone through this, that don't have any agenda. I've seen some online places that offer the same services for around 10% what the lawyer wants, I don't know what to do though. Any help and advice is greatly appreciated!

-Brandon

Hi Brandon,

It is not a good idea to have your fiancé stay (beyond a simple vacation visit and nothing more) while you are filing paperwork and expect her to be approved while waiting. You should realize that this process will require her to go home to the UK and complete the rest of it. Even once the paperwork should be approved, there are many more steps to finish. It is also not recommended to set a date for your wedding or make finalized plans until the visa is in your fiancé's hand. You will be at the mercy of the slow government for this process. That being said there is nothing exactly preventing you from filing while your fiancé visits, or even file and have her visit while the process is ongoing, however she will still need to return home. Do not abuse the VWP as others have said here.

As of earlier last year all newly filed K1 applications are being processed by the California Service Center. This is the faster center, and should there be no issues with the case you could expect an approval within a few months... but then there will be the rest of the process after that. This is only an approx. estimate, there is no guarantee now what will happen. You can see how long the process for my husband took after we got through the long delays at the Texas Service Center. We had hoped to be married well before we eventually were able to.

That being said, you need to also realize that even should she obtain the visa, she enters the US with it, and you marry - she is not authorized to work or stay until more paperwork is filed. That will be the adjustment of status paperwork (for the green card), and in which you can also file for temporary work permission, and travel permission together. I mention this because you said about getting 'her job situation squared away' - you should not be making any sort of plans regarding her working in the US until she is authorized to work.

That being said, this is also mostly a DIY site, and being so, many of us have gone through this process without a lawyer. For an uncomplicated case a lawyer is not needed, the paperwork is straightforward as long as you follow the guides and read the instructions. You'll need to research and I encourage to read the guides here thoroughly before you start on this, that also includes understanding the sponsorship guidelines for financial support.

Good luck.


K-1 - AOS & ROC Timeline  - Immigration and the Health Exchange Price of Love in the UK Thinking of Returning to UK?

 

First met: 12/31/04 - Engaged: 9/24/09
Filed I-129F: 10/4/14 - Packet received: 10/7/14
NOA 1 email + ARN assigned: 10/10/14 (hard copy 10/17/14)
Touched on website (fixed?): 12/9/14 - Poked USCIS: 4/1/15
NOA 2 email: 5/4/15 (hard copy 5/11/15)
Sent to NVC: 5/8/15 - NVC received + #'s assigned: 5/15/15 (estimated)
NVC sent: 5/19/15 - London received/ready: 5/26/15
Packet 3: 5/28/15 - Medical: 6/16/15
Poked London 7/1/15 - Packet 4: 7/2/15
Interview: 7/30/15 - Approved!
AP + Issued 8/3/15 - Visa in hand (depot): 8/6/15
POE: 8/27/15

Wedding: 9/30/15

Filed I-485, I-131, I-765: 11/7/15

Packet received: 11/9/15

NOA 1 txt/email: 11/15/15 - NOA 1 hardcopy: 11/19/15

Bio: 12/9/15

EAD + AP approved: 1/25/16 - EAD received: 2/1/16

RFE for USCIS inability to read vax instructions: 5/21/16 (no e-notification & not sent from local office!)

RFE response sent: 6/7/16 - RFE response received 6/9/16

AOS approved/card in production: 6/13/16  

NOA 2 hardcopy + card sent 6/17/16

Green Card received: 6/18/16

USCIS 120 day reminder notice: 2/22/18

Filed I-751: 5/2/18 - Packet received: 5/4/18

NOA 1:  5/29/18 (12 mo) 8/13/18 (18 mo)  - Bio: 6/27/18

 

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Hello all, this is all new to me and I'm really worried about screwing it up. I'll read around and check out the other threads, just wanted to post an intro and share my situation here first.

In a nut shell.. I met my fiance last year in May, online, we've been talking for hours every day since (no dating service or anything like that..) We fell in love pretty quick and have all kinds of life plans together. I've been there (UK) to visit in September for a week and she came here (Portland OR) to visit in November for over a week, which is when I proposed. We announced it to all our friends and fam on facebook shortly after and we just set our wedding date for July 1st of this year.

The original plan, before we did any research, was for her to come over on her vacation Visa at the end of this month and use that 90 days to stay here while waiting for the fiance Visa to get approved, that way we'd have more time together to plan for the wedding, get her job situation squared away and everything else that goes along with starting life in a new country. I started looking over the application, got worried about doing it myself and decided to look into an Immigration lawyer. During the consultation I told him what our plan was and everything about our situation and he said she couldn't come over that way, she'd get deported if they found out she planned on staying, which I don't understand, of course she would plan on staying if we're getting married, there's nothing about either of our situations that would keep us from getting approved. He also said that I needed a lawyer, that this is a long confusing process and didn't recommend doing it myself since it's a life changing event for both of us.

So...this is huge, I know he's right, but I also know he wants my money.. which led me to coming here for help from real people who have gone through this, that don't have any agenda. I've seen some online places that offer the same services for around 10% what the lawyer wants, I don't know what to do though. Any help and advice is greatly appreciated!

-Brandon

Unless there's some matter that would otherwise complicate things that you haven't told us, you don't need a lawyer, the process of getting a K-1, especially coming from the UK, is very straight forward and relatively easy. If I can do it, you can do it basically, just follow the guides here and you're set.

Setting a wedding date when you haven't even started the processes is of course erroneous at this point. If you get everything together and file quickly you *may* be able to meet that date, but then you also just as easily may not. Keep in mind that getting the K-1 approved, which is anywhere from 3-12 months or so, is only the first step, and she'll have further things she needs to do and wait time on those over there in the UK. Having a lawyer also will NOT speed up the process any, except in the rare event that you truly don't have time in your life to mail some things and need someone to do it for you.

Do NOT have her come her on the VWP with the intention of not going back. Plenty have done it, plenty have got away with it, and some giant idiot will probably come along at some point and say "nah it's fine do it!" but why take the chance? You can both visit each other during the process, and indeed, I would recommend doing so to get more face time together. (I had our K-1 approval waiting for me when I got back from my last trip to England with her.) There's a LOT that can be different with spending an extended period of time with someone vs. just a couple of 1 week meetings. Take a couple of weeks off of work and go spend some more time together.

She CAN come visit (at the discretion of CBP of course) so that you both can put together the filing information, and both put on any original signatures that may be necessary. Make sure she looks up anything she'll need to bring with her from the UK to send in, like the police records. She must return before the end of her allowed time in the country however.

In terms of a job for her, there's little point in looking right now, as she won't be able to work for about 3 months after you get married, depending on how promptly you file the Adjustment of Status paperwork, and you're not likely to find an employer who is going to hold a job open for 10 months or more.

Once again, the VWP/Visitor visa is only for exactly that, visiting, not staying.

Edited by Avery Cates

November 14th, 2013: She's here!

December 12th, 2013: Picked up marriage license.

December 14th, 2013: Wedding

6gai.jpg

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Hi, exciting times for you both. :) the proper way would be to undertake a K1 Visa route. Technically, coming over on the VWP and getting married could cause problems but it seems it is taken on a case by case basis. Risky stuff nevertheless. I did the K1 route and yes, it takes time but when you are talking about spending a lifetime together with your beloved, it's worth doing things by the book to make sure there is no possibility of refusal.

As far as a Lawyer is concerned, you don't need one if you go by the book. This site contains all the information you need for a successful application. As long as you follow the process explicitly and provide what they need then it will run smoothly. Myself and my fiancé completed our respective forms and had each other QA each others work.

Seriously, don't risk it; the time soon passes and whilst it is processing you can still visit each other.

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You don't need a lawyer. Here are example forms that you'll need to assemble your packet: http://www.visajourney.com/content/examples :)

I think the process is quicker now as many cases go to California. Ours went to Texas on December 11 2014 and only got approved on November 24 2015 :( It was the worst process ever and I still haven't had my interview. But in terms of assembling the packet it was pretty straight forward there's a step by step guide somewhere on Visajourney and it was invaluable!

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I think everyone here has covered all the bases.

I applied for my K1 September 2014, then came over on vacation (visa waver program) in January 2015, I stayed for about 75 days, and my fiancee and I went to Jamaica on vacation. I then actually got stamped for another 90 days, so I stayed for all 90 (this was risky business as some Immigration officers will see through it and not stamp you again). The week before I left, I had my case finally approved by USCIS and sent over to the consulate in London. This process took another couple of months, waiting for an interview, medical exam and stuff like that. Interview was beginning of September, then by the time you get your paperwork back, its another 10 days. So all told, I was there about another 4 months!!

My personal advice would be to have her come over, spend the 90 days, see how it goes between you two. She can put feelers out to see about jobs, but bare in mind, that she realistically wont be able to start for 9-12 months minimum after you start your application. As someone said, even after K1 gets approved, and after she gets over here, and after you get married, and then after your file for AOS.....it still takes another 3 months!!! Its a long, BORING waiting game.....

Good luck to you, enjoy your time together, and what ever you do, DONT get married if your applying for a K1

Also, if you think your a competent person, then you don't need a lawyer, save the money, and follow all the processes and hints, and forms on this website. Its worked for countless people so far!

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Great info and advice from everyone, thanks a bunch for all the help! We're both pretty disappointed at how long this might take but she's worth the wait. I want to make sure everything is done by the book and you guys/gals have answered most of the questions I had, Thanks again. I'll update this thread as we go...

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