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Marriage based green card application times and port of entry restrictions

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I'm planning on moving to the USA with my spouse (American Citizen) in April 2018 approx. We would like to know more about the process of filing and being granted my greencard. We've been married for 5 years and both live and work in the UK (I'm a UK citizen).

On a timeline of wanting to leave in April 2018 we have a number of questions:

When should we file the application?

Is there a time limit on entering the US once I've received my card in the UK (I think some of them have a 6 month expiry date on them K1 for example)

Many Thanks,


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From what I have learned, you would want to apply for an IR-1 visa which would be valid for 10 years since you guys have been married for more than 2 years. Once a visa is issued, you should have up to six months to use it (someone could confirm that it is the same as for CR-1). So to be clear, when you are granted the IR-1 visa, on your very next visit to the US you will use your visa. Timeline wise, if you want to move to the US in April 2018, you should give yourself about a year for the immigration process. However, I recommend being flexible on the month you want to move because it could a little longer.

Good luck

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Have you started reading the guides. They contain quite a bit of info

http://www.visajourney.com/content/compare This one give alot of info in the chart and if you scroll down to "Spousal Visa (1IR/CR1)" and DCF



You can review processing times here:


You both live in UK now, DCF may be an option:


Edited by LionessDeon

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Since you are married for over 2 years you will be getting the IR-1 visa which will give you a 10 year green card.
The visa is valid for 6 months which means you must get in the country within 6 months (there is an expiry date on it)

Now, since you are in the UK and your USC husband is there legally, you can do DCF (Direct Consular Filing). My DCF in Athens, Greece took 5 months 1 day from turning in the first paper to getting the Visas in hand.
It would have taken 2 months had we not have gotten two RFEs.

That said I have read here that London DCF is pretty fast too.
What you can is, start the process of the I-130 which is the first step, then after approval, see what the approximate timeframe for you guys is, and pause it, you have 1 year before you need to start again.
If it takes too long, then resume, if it seems to go really fast, take your time.

Since it is the end of August already, and your visa would be valid for six months, I think you are ok to start.
There is a regional forum full of Londoners who have gone through this so you can get help there too with timeframes!
Best of luck!!

Click "spoiler" below for a detailed account of our journey to a CR1 visa via DCF in Athens, Greece.


2011 - Met hubby online and became friends
Early 2013 - Confessed our love for each other * Late 2013 - I got pregnant with our daughter
2014 - Our baby was born in Athens, Greece and completed our family. We now have two boys and a girl!! 2013 - 2015 - Looking for jobs in Greece, none were available (due to socioeconomic crisis) 2015 - Decided only way to feed our family was to immigrate and started the process December 2015 - Got married (Greece has a LOT of red tape for foreigners marrying Greeks)
January 2016 - Finished gathering all documents and getting them translated
* * DCF in Athens, Greece * *

28th January 2016 - Finally filed I-130s
29th June - ISSUED!!!!!!1st July - Visa packages and passports delivered to DHL.4th July - Visas in hand! CU in two weeks USA!!
19th July- POE Detroit. All went well!! (excluding our screaming, jet lagged toddler!!)


After Arrival in the US

September 2016 - Hubby is diagnosed with congestive heart failure
October - February 2016 - Battle with drug use, overdosing, bringing home a tiny paycheck

March - July 2017 - I am working 80 hr weeks to make ends meet. Discovered hubby's affair. Still overdoses and is hospitalized. Has quit working all together.
July - October 2017 - Marriage counseling. Revealed hubby has "several" mental conditions. Is started on several mental meds.

October 2017 - Got accepted for a college course. Got better job to help raise my kids.

October 2017 - March 2018 - Situation at home is toxic. He files for divorce.

July 2018 - Divorce is final. I have full custody of our daughter.


ROC (GC expires July 19th 2018)

July 16th - Package for ROC is delivered to the CA service center (divorce waiver).

August 30th - NOA1 received with 18 month extension (fee waiver approved).

**Our DCF journey to an IV took 5 months and 1 day from turning in the I-130 to getting "Issued"**



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