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CR1 or B1 with AOS

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Filed: Country: Costa Rica
Timeline

Hey everyone, first time poster with a question about the best way to get my future-wife into the US. I am a US citizen, and she is from Costa Rica. She has a B1 visa and has been here several times to visit. We are looking for the best option for getting her permanent residency here in the US.

Our ceremony will take place in Costa Rica this November (she on her B1 visa), and then we were planning on coming here for Christmas. After that she has to go back to finish her last year of medical school, so we have to spend a year with her out of the country no matter which path we take. We are going to make an appointment with an immigration attorney to sort all of this out, but wanted some preliminary advice.

One option that seems really appealing is to go the route of Adjustment of Status (AOS). I've heard this costs more, but it also sounds like the least complicated. She is already able to enter the US with her B1 tourist visa, and we will already be married, so this should be all that is needed. What are the drawbacks of this approach?

The principal option we've been considering is CR1. We have to wait a year anyway, and I've heard it's cheaper. Will this require more paperwork than an AOS? What are the drawbacks of this approach?

We have also looked into a K1. I think we're past the deadline on this one, as the wedding ceremony is in November.

Given that she already has the ability to enter the country, and given that we will be married in her country, and given that we have to be apart a year anyway, which of these options do the members here think would work best for us?

Than you all so much!

P.S. We also have an issue about how to file for marriage (filing there or filing in the state where I live), but I'll save that for a different thread.

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Filed: Country: Costa Rica
Timeline
Entering the United States on a B1/2 visa with the intent to adjust status is immigration fraud.

Yes. Until recently we were planning on going the "safe" route of CR1. However, we read on us USCIS website that this was a valid path for U.S. Citizens whose spouse is already in the US (in particular this PDF).

This sounds like it involves the least amount of paperwork and hassle, even if it costs more.

She's not entering the US to marry, and we're planning on filing the I-485 while she's here in December, after which she'll leave, so will really be visiting on her B1 visa.

What is the worst that can come of visa fraud?

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'What is the worst that can come of visa fraud?' - She can be banned for life from the country

If she is not already in the US then you are planning on using a non immigrant visa for immigrant purposes. The information in that PDF is for those who are already in the US and whose circumstances have changed. If she leaves after the 485 is filed then she abandons it.

Edited by Illiria

K-1 Met:2002 Dating :2003 I-129F Sent : 2013-06-01 I-129F NOA2 : 2013-08-20 Medical: 2013-12-20 Interview Date : 2014-01-22 POE: 2014-02-19 Wedding: 2014-03-18

AOS/EAD Date Filed : 2014-04-04 BioAppt: 2014-05-13 EAD in Production: 2014-07-08 Interview date: 2014-07-14 Green Card received: 2014-07-19

ROC Date Filed: 2016-04-26 Cheque Cashed: 2016-05-10 NOA1: 2016-04-28 Biometrics: 2016-06-30 Approved: 11-08-2016 Green Card Received: 11-18-2016

 

Citizenship Date Filed: 2017-04-18 Cheque Cashed: 2017-04-24- NOA1:2017-04-21  Biometrics: 2017-05-19 Inline: 2017-07-12 Interview Date: 2018-02-13 Oath: 2018-03-15

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Ecuador
Timeline

Welcome to the forum. Take the highly accurate advice in the first reply that you got, for the reasons explained.


06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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You really only have one option, the CR-1 and in your case it has no drawbacks. For most people the drawback is the one year apart but we have all survived. It's the price we pay for being able to spend the rest of our lives together.

The K-1 is not suitable for you because she will not be able to leave the country to return to Costa Rica to finish medical school. People on K-1 visas must apply for advance parole to be able to leave and re-enter the country and that takes about 90 days after filing (which must happen after marriage) to get. So if you marry in December on a K-1 she's "stuck" until March. No good. Also you don't have enough time now for a K-1 to be completed in time for a December wedding. You can't use a K-1 for a wedding held outside the USA. So for several reasons the K-1 is out.

Don't even think of anything fraudulent. Not only is it morally wrong to lie to an immigration officer and to enter with a non-immigrant visa with he intention of staying, it's also illegal. It could get her a ban. You say she is at medical school so she's an intelligent woman with the chance of a very good career ahead of her. Don't throw that away.

The CR-1 is perfect for you. You are going to be spending a year apart anyway (she can still visit you in her B2 while that's being processed). Once she has that she can start work immediately and is free to come and go as she pleases. No 90-day restriction like she would have with the K-1.

Good luck to you both.

Edited by JFH

 

 

 

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Filed: Other Country: United Kingdom
Timeline

Yes. Until recently we were planning on going the "safe" route of CR1. However, we read on us USCIS website that this was a valid path for U.S. Citizens whose spouse is already in the US (in particular this PDF).

This sounds like it involves the least amount of paperwork and hassle, even if it costs more.

But your spouse isn't already in the US

She's not entering the US to marry, and we're planning on filing the I-485 while she's here in December, after which she'll leave, so will really be visiting on her B1 visa.

Even if you do go ahead with your illegal plan, if she leaves after you've filed the I-485 but before receiving her GC or at least her AP then the adjustment of status is abandoned and you'll have to do the CR-1 anyway, as well as losing all the money spent on the AOS.

What is the worst that can come of visa fraud?

Only a lifetime ban from the US...

Just do the CR-1, in your circumstances with her needing to finish her education in Costa Rica it's pretty much the ideal route. The process will be finished around about the same time as her graduation and you can live happily ever after.


August 2000: We start e-mailing. I'm in Bosnia, she's in Florida

October 29th 2000: She sends me e-mail asking if I would marry her

October 29th 2000(5 seconds later): I say yes

November 2000: She sends me tickets to Orlando for when I get back

December 6th 2000: Return from Bos

December 11th 2000: Fly to Orlando, she meets me at airport

December 22nd 2000: I fly back to UK

January 3rd 2001: She flies to UK (Good times)

Mid February 2001: Pregnancy test Positive

Mid February 2001: She flies back to US

March 2001: Miscarriage, I fly to US on first flight I can get

May 2001: I leave US before my 90 days are up

June 2001: I fly back to US, stopped at airport for questioning as I had only just left

September 2001: Pregnancy test Positive again

September 2001: She falls sick, I make decision to stay to look after her as I am afraid I may have problems getting back in.

April 16th 2002: Our son is born, we start getting stuff together for his passport

March 6th 2003: We leave US for UK as family

Early April 2003: Family troubles make her return to US, I ask Embassy in London about possibilities of returning to US

April 16th 2003: London Embassy informs me that I will be banned from the Visa Waiver Program for 10 years, my little boys first birthday

June 13th 2006: I-129f sent

August 11th 2006: NOA1 Recieved

After our relationship breaks down she admits to me that she had never bothered to start the application process

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If you just file I-485 (which isn't the right amount of paperwork but we won't get into that) and then she leaves, her application will be abandoned and you will lose $1070.


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

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

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Filed: Country: Costa Rica
Timeline
But your spouse isn't already in the US

She will be when we go to file AOS. What exactly is the difference?

If it's that she's entering the US on a B1-visa, if she entered for the most touristy reason and stayed for a long time doing legitimate B1 stuff and then filed, is that still counted as visa fraud?

Even if you do go ahead with your illegal plan, if she leaves after you've filed the I-485 but before receiving her GC or at least her AP then the adjustment of status is abandoned and you'll have to do the CR-1 anyway, as well as losing all the money spent on the AOS.

Ah, good to know. Thanks for the heads up!

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She will be when we go to file AOS. What exactly is the difference?

If it's that she's entering the US on a B1-visa, if she entered for the most touristy reason and stayed for a long time doing legitimate B1 stuff and then filed, is that still counted as visa fraud?

But she would have entered with immigration intent. The fact that you are discussing it now before she's even arrived demonstrates that you are planning to adjust and file the I-485 (and a bunch of other forms). As has been mentioned before, such a situation is reserved for people who, after arriving, experience a change in personal circumstances that results in them staying. It's not for people who feel they shouldn't have to go through the visa process that everyone else patiently goes through. Do you think if it was legal I'd still be sitting here in the UK waiting for the NVC? One example I saw for this was, for example, a wife who during a visit with her husband went into pre-term labour and the baby was born some months early. The baby was very sick, as was the mother, and there was no way she could return home. Life-changing events like that are what the adjustment is for. Does it get abused? Heck yes! Doesn't make it right to abuse it though.


 

 

 

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If Alice were visiting Bob on a B1 visa, while she was there Bob proposed to Alice and they went and got married, does that qualify as a legitimate change in personal circumstances? And would that be seen as visa fraud?

If Alice and Bob had not discussed this prior to her arrival, nor researched it on the web, nor asked about it on visa journey then yes. But since Bob (and possibly even Alice) has researched this, asked questions about it, considered it, then it would be visa fraud.

We've said it more than once. Planning to adjust from B2 status (or any other non-immigrant status) is visa fraud.

I think it's time this thread was closed. You asked the question. You've had the answer numerous times. Just because it does not fit into your plan, doesn't make the answer wrong. And asking the question again in a variety of formats will not change the answer. The wait sucks. We get it. We are all doing it. Not one of us is enjoying this. Not one of us can bear being apart from their spouse any more than you can. I don't even get why you are even considering this when you said all along the plan was for her to go back home and complete her studies.

Edited by JFH

 

 

 

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: England
Timeline

I don't understand the problem. She has to go back for her last year of medical school anyway? Are you now considering that she drop out?

If you were to go the fraud route after her last year of med school and didn't get caught for the fraud, she would have to wait several months to be able to work, drive and travel out of the US. It literally makes zero sense why you're so intent on adjusting from a b2 given that you have to wait a year anyway and the benefits with a cr1 are greater. Plus the whole fraud thing.

Edited by Wooderz

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CR1 fits your plan much better. It's also less paperwork than AOS, and cheaper. So there is literally no upside to AOS for you. You just misunderstand the requirements.


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

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

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The difference is really about intent and also about how you present yourself at the border.

Basically, by using the B1 or the visa waiver program, you are claiming that you are here as a visitor-- temporary. Even if they don't ask you questions at immigration (which they usually do), that is what you're claiming. It's in the terms of the visa (or the visa waiver program, whichever is applicable). Plus, if they do ask questions (which again they usually do), what's she going to do? Lie? Because that's even worse. That there is what incurs the lifetime ban.Using a non-immigrant visa with the intent to immigrate is fraud plain and simple.

No one here will advise you to take that route because we can't (site's terms of service) and also because it would be a huge disservice to you. Other people (people you know, shady lawyers, whoever) may give you advice over what you can probably get away with but I personally wouldn't listen to them at all. It's too big a risk-- you've got a guaranteed legal way in with an automatic green card. Why gamble with that situation?

Plus, and what I actually came here to say, in your situation, a CR1 is the actual perfect solution. I'm wondering if you don't realize the order of events you're talking about. Basically, a CR1 takes about a year to process and the spouse has permanent residency on arrival. Adjustment of Status (adjusting from non-immigrant to a green card) also takes about a year. So instead of spending the year you're already planning on her living in CR also waiting for her CR1/green card, you'd have her wait for the green card for a year in the US. Plus on TOP of it, adjusting from a tourist visa is *not* more straightforward anyhow. It is more paperwork, and more fees. Even more paperwork than simply "more paperwork" if you want her to get a work authorization while you wait for the green card. Everything else is the same-- getting birth certificates, divorce decrees, having those things translated*, medical appointments, vaccinations-- everything-- ALL of that has to be done whether you go for a CR1 visa, or plan to adjust from a non-immigrant visa (which, remember, would be fraud). And all of that is cheaper in Costa Rica anyway.

*Note on the translations: if you adjust in the US, all those things must be translated. It was my experience at the US embassy in Costa Rica, that they did not require translations. So there was time, money and hassle saved right there. The difference, I believe, is that the embassy folks are State department diplomats and have been trained in the local language, whereas USCIS employees in the US have not. Your mileage may vary on this, because we did a K1 visa and maybe the guidelines are different for different visas).

The only major downside to the CR1 process is the year or so of separation-- that's a main factor why people decide to go for K1, or to illegally immigrate-- trying to avoid that year. But you need to and are planning on being separated for a year anyway. So, why would you choose any other route? Especially when those other routes are more expensive, more difficult, results in a delay in green card and ability to work and which are illegal?

Edited by CatherineA

Marriage/ AOS Timeline:

23 Dec 2015: Legal marriage

23 Jan 2016: Wedding!

23 Jan 2016: "Blizzard of the Century", wedding canceled/rescheduled (thank goodness we were legally married first or we'd have had a big problem!) :sleepy:

24 Jan 2016: Small "civil ceremony" with friends and family who were snowed in with us. December was a bit of a secret and people had traveled internationally and knew we *had* to get married that weekend, and our December legal marriage was nothing but signing a piece of paper at our priest's kitchen table, without any sort of vows etc so this was actually a very special (if not legally significant) day. (L)

16 Apr 2016: Filed for AOS and EAD/AP (We delayed a bit-- no big rush, enjoying the USCIS break)

23 Apr 2016: Wedding! Finally! :luv:

27 Apr 2016: Electronic NOA1 for all 3 :dancing:
29 Apr 2016: NOA1 Hardcopy for all 3
29 Jul 2016: Online service request for late EAD (Day 104)
29 Jul 2016: EAD/AP Approved ~3 hours after online service request
04 Aug 2016: RFE for Green Card (requested medicals/ vaccination record. They already have it). :ranting:
05 Aug 2016: EAD/AP Combo Card arrived! (Day 111)
08 Aug 2016: Congressional constituent request to get guidance on the RFE. Hoping they see they have the form and approve!

K-1 Visa Timeline:

PLEASE NOTE. This timeline was during the period of time when TSC was working on I-129fs and had a huge backlog. The average processing time was 210+ days. This is in no way predictive of your own timeline if you filed during or after April 2015, unless CSC develops a backlog. A backlog is anything above the 5-month goal time listed on USCIS's site

14 Feb 2015: Mailed I-129f to Dallas Lockbox. (L) (Most expensive Valentine's card I've ever sent!)

17 Feb 2015: NOA1 "Received Date"
19 Feb 2015: NOA1 Notice Date
08 Aug 2015: NOA2 email! :luv: (173 days from NOA1)

17 Aug 2015: Sent to NVC

?? Aug 2015: Arrived at NVC

25 Aug 2015: NVC Case # Assigned

31 Aug 2015: Left NVC for Consulate in San Jose

09 Sep 2015: Consulate received :dancing: (32 days from NOA2)

11 Sep 2015: Packet 3 emailed from embassy to me, the petitioner (34 days from NOA2).

18 Sep 2015: Medicals complete

21 Sep 2015: Packet 3 complete, my boss puts a temporary moratorium on all time off due to work emergency :clock:

02 Oct 2015: Work emergency clears up, interview scheduled (soonest available was 5 business days away--Columbus Day was in there)

13 Oct 2015: Interview

13 Oct 2015: VISA APPROVED :thumbs: (236 days from NOA1)

19 Oct 2015: Visa-in-hand

24 Oct 2015: POE !

15 Dec 2015: Fiance's mother's B-2 visa interview: APPROVED! So happy she will be at the wedding! :thumbs:

!

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