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Question regarding hiring legal advice to support us during the K-1 Fiance Visa Process

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Hello everyone, i recently found this page, which i found extremely helpful, specially reading about other's people experiences regarding this process, as me and my Fiancee plan to go through this whole thing ourselves pretty soon.
Im from Bolivia, and my Fiancee is American and lives in the States, we wanna get married (hopefully) by June-July 2017, we initially went to the US goverment's page and read the section they have regarding the K1 Visa requirements, and i found things very poorly explained over there to be honest, im glad i found this site thou, as your guides are quite comprehensive, but the whole process is very complicated regardless. What i think i know for sure from all that reading thou is, there is barely anything i can do from my end, since im the Foreign party, my fiancee is the one who has to file all the forms and papework over there in the US (mostly).
Which brings me to my question, while looking for resources and info on this K-1, i stumbled into a lot of attorney and legal inmigration K-1 "Specialists" websites, who say "help" you trhough the whole process, as i can see that if you make a mistake in any of the forms or the filing, until you hear back of that mistake, and you correct it and send it again, you could lose months in the process, and we really don't wanna spend more time apart than we need to with my Fiancee (btw we've been together for more than 2 years and we see each other in person at least twice a year for a couple of weeks or months). Do you think it would be "efficient" to hire an attorney or legal advice+support for this whole process, could it potentially help us save time? and would the costs to pay be worth it? We have not yet looked into prices for this, but if anyone has done this with legal help, or has an opinion on this, i would really like to hear your thoughts as it will help us make a decision. Thank you!

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Don't even bother with that nonsense. Unless you have a conplicated case, the K1 process is very much DIY. Good luck! :)


 

 

AOS

03/24/11 - Got married in the Boogie-Down Bronx, NYC!
04/21/11 - Mailed I-130,I-765, I-485, I-864 and I-693 - Day 00

04/23/11 - Application delivered - Day 02
04/28/11 - NOA (most forms) - Day 07
05/03/11 - Checks cashed - Day 12
05/31/11 - Biometrics completed in the Bronx, NYC - Day 40
06/24/11 - Received someone else's employment authorization card!!! What the...? - Day 64
07/01/11 - Mailed the poor lady's card back after calling USCIS - Day 71
07/07/11 - Received poor lady's interview notice! What??? - Day 77
07/15/11 - Received my own EAD card - Day 85
08/12/11 - Interview. Approved on the spot! - Day 113
08/18/11 - Received card in the mail - Day 119

ROC
05/28/13 - Mailed I-751 - Day 00

05/30/13 - Application delivered - Day 02

05/31/13 - NOA I-797 - Day 03
06/04/13 - Check cashed - Day 07

06/06/13 - NOA delivered to my home/Biometrics letter generated - Day 09

06/10/13 - Received Biometrics letter in the mail - Day 13

06/27/13 - Biometrics completed in Milwaukee, WI - Day 30

09/10/13 - Application approved! - Day 105

09/14/13 - 10 year Green Card received! - Day 109

Citizenship

05/10/16 - Mailed N-400 - Day 00

05/12/16 - Application delivered - Day 02

05/13/16 - Credit card payment accepted - Day 03

05/17/16 - Received text & email update - Day 07

05/20/16 - Received 1st NOA (dated 05/13/16) & created ELIS acct - Day 10

05/21/16 - Received 2nd NOA (dated 05/16/16) confirming my DOB and address - Day 11

05/22/06 - Biometrics scheduled (online update) and appt letter was mailed on 05/20/16 - Day 12

05/24/06 - Biometrics letter became viewable online (appt scheduled for 06/07/16) - Day 14

05/27/16 - Received Biometrics letter in mail - Day 17

05/31/16 - Was denied walk-in fingerprints with just 1 person left in line. Milwaukee office, boo! - Day 21

06/07/16 - Biometrics completed in Milwaukee, WI - Day 28

12/21/16 - Passed Citizenship test/Interview was successful! - Day 197

01/26/17 - I am a US citizen!!! - Day 233

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I hired a lawyer through my k1 process... honestly it helped my stress levels I was the k1 living in the U.K. My now husband was the America citizen... the lawyers basically told us what documents we needed Gathered together what he requested and my husband dropped them off at the lawyers office since the lawyer was based where my husband lived.. the lawyer done everything for us made is almost stress free for us... any questions or concernes we contacted him and he was very clear in his answers... if you case is traight forward there is no need to get a lawyer but as I said it can help the stressful side of it... my case was straight forward but we were just worried about doing it wrong that's why we got a lawyer to make sure everything was filed correctly... I loved the fact of the lawyer doing all the paperwork and making sure everything goes smoothly so I hired a lawyer again to file my adjustment of status for me... a lawyer doesn't make the process go any faster than if you done it yourself

Edited by Moslund

April 8th: AOS sent

April 11th: Recieved at Chicago lockbox [Day 0]

April 25th: NOA1 date (never recieved e-notifications) [Day 14]

April 29th: NOA1 hard copy recieved in the mail [Day 18]

May 9th: "Fingerprint fee recieved" [Day 28]

May 12th: Reciept number's start working on USCIS case status website [Day 31]

May 20th: Biometrics letter recieved [Day 39]

June 1st: Biometric appointment [Day 51]

​November 12th: Interview letter received ​[Day 216]

December 1st: Interview day! APPROVED [Day 235]

December 5th: Case status changed from "fingerprint fee received" to "Approved" post dated Dec 1st [Day 239]

Received approval letter in the mail for Green card [Day 239]

December 6th: "Card was mailed to me" [Day 240]

December 8th: Green card received in mail!!! [day 242]

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k1 isnt hard if your case isnt complicated , and lawyers are humans as well and do make mistakes , if you have the extra time then do it on your on ,you can save that money for something more useful, lawyers dont make the process go any faster


 

AOS

05/04/17 - Biometric appointment

05/17/17 - Case ready to be scheduled for interview

07/20/17 - EAD/AP Approved

07/25/17 - GC interview scheduled

07/27/17 - EAD/AP in hand

08/14/17 - GC interview , approved =)

08/18/17 - GC approval notice letter

08/21/17 - GC in hand

 

 

ROC

05/16/19 - Earliest  to apply 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I hired a lawyer, fired him and did it myself, he was not well in tune with our embassy.


Spoiler

 

I-129F Sent : 3-31-2014, NOA2: 4-6-2014

NVC Received : some dinkelsberry yehoo in the house of clingons send our petition to the wrong consulate.

Consulate Received : July 30,2014 Transfer to right embassy complete.

Interview Date : Oct 22, 2014

Interview Result : AP , requesting another PC (not expired) and certified divorce decree (was submitted)Stokes interview via phone for petitioner 4 hrs after interview.

Oct 23 email notification visa approved.
Visa Received : Nov. 3 , 2014 VISA IN HAND.

US Entry : Nov. 21, 2014

Marriage : Dec 27, 2014

AOS send : May 12, 2015, received May 14, 2015 USPS priority

Email &text : May 18, 2015, check cashed May 19,2015, return receipt May 21, 2015 stamped USCIS Lockbox, NOA1 (3x) May 22,2015

Biometrics : June 1, 2015 letter received for appointment June 8, 2015, successful walk-in June 1, 2015

RFE : June 12, 2015 for income not meeting guideline. Income does ( ! ) exceed guideline.

RFE response : June 26, 2015 returned with a boat load full of financial evidence.

UPDATE: July 5, 2015 updated on all 3 cases, RFE received June 30, 2015.

Service request : Aug 12, 2015, letter received that it will be processed within 90 days from receipt of RFE.

UPDATE: Aug 24, 2015, EAD card being produced/ordered. ( 102 days from AOS receipt day and 55 days from RFE response received.) Thank you Jesus !

Emails : Aug 24, 2015, EAD approved, EAD card ordered.

I-797 EAD/AP approval notice received : Aug 27, 2015

EAD/AP combo card mailed : Aug 27, 2015, EAD/AP combo card received: Aug 31, 2015

Renewal application send for EAD/AP : May 31,2016 (AOS pending over 1 year). Received June 2, 2016,Notice date June7, 2016, emails,texts, NOA1 hard copy

Service request for pending AOS April 21, 2016, case not assigned yet.
Service request for pending AOS June 14, 2016, tier 2 said performing background checks.
Expedite request for EAD/AP Aug 3, 2016, Aug10 notification >request was received, assigned, completed. RFE letter requesting evidence for expedite, docs faxed Aug18

*Service request for I-485 Aug 3, 2016, Aug11 notification> request was assigned. Service request Dec 2, 2016.
AOS Interview letter received Aug 12, 2016

AOS Interview September 21, 2016.

Second Biometrics appointment letters received for EAD and AOS on Aug 15, 2016 for Aug 17 ( 2 day notice).

Second Biometrics completed Aug 17, 2016

Third Biometrics appointment letter received Aug 19, 2016 for Sept. 1, 2016. WTH ?!

EAD/AP (renewal) approval Aug 22, 2016, NOA2 received Aug 25, 2016

Renewal EAD in production notification text and online, expedite successful 4 days after RFE request response was faxed, Aug25mailed,Aug29received.

Sept. 21 Interview, 2 hour interview, we were separated and asked about 50 questions each for an hour each. IO was firm but professional, some smiles.
Several service requests made, contacted Senator and Ombudsman. Background checks still pending.
July 21, 2017 HOME VISIT.  Went well. Topic thread in AOS forum.
Waiting to skip ROC and get 10 yr GC due to over 2 year while pending AOS
AOS APPROVED Oct. 4, 2017 * Green card in hand Oct 13, 2017 !!!!!

First K1 denied after 16 month of AP. Refiled. We are a couple since 2009. Not a sprint but a matter of endurance.

 

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Your question is asked quite often here. Of note, no one here can truthfully state "you do not need a lawyer!" when we don't know (and can't know) the full details of your situations as petitioner and beneficiary.

Your key to success throughout this immigration process will rely on your abilities to read carefully, interpret instructions literally, and answer/respond completely and honestly. If your petitioner lacks these capabilities -- or the time that it takes -- then consider seeking outside assistance.

Read the Guides (link is atop every page on this site), and read "Embassy Info" and "Reviews: Embassy" for possibly crucial insights into what your circumstances might be when it comes time for the actual visa interview.

It is to your advantage to become students of the entire immigration process, and that happens through reading the Guides, Embassy details, and forums.


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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I, the beneficiary, actually put together most of our initial submission to USCIS. It's second nature to me to keep airplane stubs etc and many things we've done together that we submitted as evidence were booked by me, so I had easier access to the evidence. I assembled as much as I could, then mailed it to my fiancé who completed his parts (i.e. the biographical information, the actual I-129f, some further explanation of how we met that he thought would be useful).

That worked for us because he was working a lot more than I was and had less time to arrange these things and I'm not very good at relaxing and letting other people get on with things.

My point is that you can be involved with this initial stage. Having the two of you working out what should go in your packet means you have someone to sound ideas off of and hopefully negates the need for a lawyer. It also means that when the time comes for your interview, you don't need to "learn" your packet because you made it.

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Personally, for us hiring a lawyer was worth it. We both tend to easily stress out sometimes, and whenever either one of us has a freak out over any part of this process our lawyer has eased our minds that everything is and will be ok. That and her overseeing all the paperwork was worth it for us but I think every couple is different.

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If you don't have a complicated case do not pay someone else to do it for you. It's super easy and it's much better if you keep an eye on the process yourself instead of putting your trust in a lawyer who might not even know the process very well at all. Here on VJ we see people getting the wrong info from their lawyers and receiveing RFEs very often, surprisingly often, actually. It's definitely not worth the money.

Hiring a lawyer for something like this feels very American to me, you guys have lawyers for everything apprently. :D In Sweden we only use lawyers if we actually NEED one - this isn't one of those cases (if your case is simple).

Besides, you do most of the work yourself anyway. You have to gather all that is needed, the lawyer only does the very small things (like filling out forms that even a child could fill out and so on). You have VJ to answer all your questions, which has proven to be a much safer place to get correct answers than asking a lawyer.

Edited by Scandi

K-1: 12-22-2015 - 09-07-2016 (260 days)

AP: 12-20-2016 - 04-07-2017 (108 days)

EAD: 01-18-2017 - 05-30-2017 (132 days)

AOS: 12-20-2016 - 07-26-2017 (217 days)

 

ROC: 04-19-2019 earliest filing date

 

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Great info so far. My suggestion is to download and print the I-129f and INSTRUCTIONS and read it over. Gather the documents you will need (you will have to do this anyway) and see if you feel comfortable filling in the blanks on the form. Ask questions here on VJ. Some folks have used a visa service company that for a small fee will look over your visa petition for errors. Generally most people are very successful doing this on their own.


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Someone stole my dictionary. Now I am at a loss for words.

If Apple made a car, would it have windows?

Ban shredded cheese. Make America Grate Again .

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Save the money....DIY....if you have questions ask here. It looks worse than it really is.....


CR-1 Visa

USCIS

7/27/15 Sent I-130 package to Chicago Lock box

7/29/15 NOA1, TSC

10/7/15 Entered USA for three weeks to close escrow and pack house

12/5/15 Entered USA for 90 days to visit

12/7/15 I-130 approved,NOA2

NVC

12/23/15 NVC received package

1/5/2016 Called NVC

1/7/2016 Called NVC, assigned case # and IIN #

1/7/2016 Assigned choice of agent

1/7/2016 Paid AOS fees

1/21/2016 Paid packet IV fees

2/20/2016 Filed DS-260

3/30/2016 Sent NVC package

4/5/2016 NVC received package

5/5/2016 Email from NVC...case complete with interview date 6/17

6/10/2016 Medical

6/17/2016 Interview - Approved :)

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We regret hiring a lawyer everyday. He did nothing we couldn't do ourselves, and we regret wasting that money everyday. We plan on adjusting status ourselves. Like others said maybe if you had a really hard embassy or crazy circumstances maybe, otherwise I don't think so. Like I said, we regret it everyday we could have really used that money now and we basically did everything ourselves anyway :( good luck!


K-1

4/20/16: Application Mailed

4/26/16: NOA1 (Hard Copy Received: 4/30/16)

7/11/16: NOA2 (Hard Copy Received: 7/14/16)

7/28/16: NVC Case# Received!

9/27/16: Interview (APPROVED)

10/28/16: POE

11/26/16: Wedding

AOS

Spoiler

 

12/9/16: Package Delivered to Chicago

12/14/16: Check Cashed

12/15/17: NOA1 (All cases)

1/13/17: Biometrics Appointment

1/20/17: Status Changed (I485): Ready to schedule Interview

3/10/17: Service Request (I765) by phone (91 days)

3/10/17: EAD Approved ("New Card is Being Produced")

3/16/17: Received EAD/AP Approval notices in mail

3/21/17: EAD Status Changed: "Card has been mailed to me"

3/21/17: EAD/AP Combo Card received in the mail (102 days) (YAYYYY)

9/13/17: Date of Interview (Approved!)

9/13/17: Status changed to Card in production

9/14/17: Status changed to Case Approved

9/19/17: Green Card in Hand :D

 

 
 

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Unfortunately I've seen more people get RFE's having a lawyer than the ones who do this process on their own. A word of advice though, have your fiance get on here and read the guides and do some research. Since your fiance is the one who will be doing all the paperwork and filing.


<3  Our K-1 Visa Journey <3

I-129f sent -- 2-18-2016        

NOA1 -- 2-24-2016

NOA2 -- 05-02-2016

NVC received -- 05-13-2016

NVC left -- 05-18-2016

Embassy received -- 5-22-2016

Interview Date -- 8-31-2016

Interview Result -- APPROVED!!!

AP -- (09-07-2016)

Visa Issued -- 9-08-2016

US Entry -- 09-24-2016

<3 MARRIAGE -- 10-21-2016 <3

AOS, EAD, AND AP Filed 01-05-2017

NOA1 -- 01-19-2017

Biometrics -- 02-06-2017

EAD and AP approved -- 05-19-2017

AOS approved -- 08-24-2017

Received card -- 09-01-2017

❤ Baby boy is here!! December 26th 2017 ❤

 

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I agree that in most cases, although the process SEEMS daunting, it is not all that bad. We did not use a lawyer at any point in our process, and never received an RFE. I would recommend you do it yourself. Three things I would recommend to ease the journey:

  1. Look at sample cover letters on VJ for each of the steps in the process. I found these immensely helpful in identifying what was or wasn't needed for each step.
  2. Review the examples of filled in forms provided here. They provide insight into how some of the questions should be answered. There were a few questions I was unsure how to answer, but when I saw the answer in the sample form the response became apparent.
  3. If you still have questions, post them on VJ. I had a couple during the process, and I found the members to be very helpful.

Good luck on your journey!!

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