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Hello all.  This is my first post here.  I've been browsing around off and on for a number of months now in preparation for trying to get my wife a green card.

A)
I'm getting ready to file the i-130 for my wife of nearly 4 years, a Japanese national, and I'm a little confused about what supporting documents should be included in the i-130 petition application packet and what need not be provided until the interview.
The documents listed HERE (US Embassy, Japan) state that all original proof of relationship documents (which can be any of a slew of different documents) must be provided at the interview.  However, are these documents necessary or beneficial to have together in the i-130 packet?  

Also, is THIS WEBSITE (US Embassy, Japan) providing outdated information regarding the filing process?  
If you follow the link, it provides information regarding 'petitions filed in Tokyo or Naha'.  But, from what I understand, due to the lack of a consular office in Japan, those who are not in the military must file at the Chicago Lockbox, which has been the case for over 5 years now.  Is the website really that out of date?
____________________________
B)

In addition, I wanted to ask about the necessity of the supporting documents I'm thinking of preparing.  Due to the nature of, well, Japan, there are no shared bank accounts.  My wife has a Citi Bank account, but they won't allow my name to be listed as an approved holder on the account.  I must be granted permission under certain circumstances in order to manage her account.  This is the norm.   

I have a number of other items available, mostly documents showing my wife and I living at the same address and some random asset sharing here and there.  On top of that, I have our original text messages still stored on my old flip phone, as well as our facebook messages dating back to the same period of time.  How should I go about sending the text messages?  Should I take pictures of a few messages and type all of them out with dates and times listed in a word document with translations on one side (where needed), just take pictures of all of them, or something else?  Should the translations be done on a separate page?  I figure that I'll be able to bring the phone to the interview as proof.  How have others gone about this?

I suppose that's it for now.  I apologize for the disorganization of the wording.  I guess it's a good reflection of what my mind feels like after trying to wrap my head around all of this.

Thanks a lot for reading.


Kind Regards,

ItchyKneeSon

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So their website is a little odd as Japan doesn't offer DCF but they make it sound like they do.  http://www.uscis.gov/international. So yes the website is outdated which is really very common for US govt websites.

 

Have you read our guides and wikis here on VJ? I suggest sending evidence of your relationship with the I-130.  Since you live together in Japan, I suggest concentrating on that fact.  Lease or rental agreements, photos, and other evidence that you live together. 

Edited by NikLR

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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Wow. The embassy's website was updated sometime between when I filed I-130 in October and now, and it looks a lot better, but that link is still wrong and the formatting makes it difficult to find useful information.

 

You don't need to worry about the interview documents yet, just use the list here when you send the I-130 to USCIS. For Japan the koseki tohon will suffice for spouse birth record, proof of marriage and birth record of children. There are some templates here for translation, they don't need to be notarized or anything. You'll get notification of any other documents required later in the process.

 

Also the lack of joint accounts in Japan is a known issue that USCIS takes into account when doing the visa process. It's been asked here before and apparently nobody has had any problems with it. Just provide whatever other evidence you have. I used our wedding photos along with family travel photos and pictures from my kid's undokai.

 

Take a breath, crack a ChuHai, follow the guide and join the club!

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Not sure what they are looking for in Japan, but you can provide evidence of travel together and any evidence of living together. Passport stamps showing travel abroad together is really strong and good evidence. You can also include photos from the places you travelled to. Photos with family and friends are strong evidence, even stronger than just "couples photos."

 

Sometimes they're interested in text messages, sometimes they are not. If you have a flip phone, I'm afraid you'll have to take individual photos of each message and compile them in Word. I know, it's frustrating but I did the same thing with my old Nokia. However, when we filed (DCF) they did not ask for any text messages, so I got the feeling that it was considered weak/unimportant evidence.

 

Other strong evidence: insurance policies (medical, life, etc.) and last will and testaments showing each other as a beneficiary. Any mail that was addressed to both of you at your address is also good. If you're a USC, you can go ahead and add your wife as an authorized user of your credit/debit cards if you have a US bank account. I provided that and they took any bank evidence I had, even if it was just an authorized user and not a shared account.

Edited by millefleur

03639.png                  

                  🇷🇺  ♥  CR-1 via DCF in Moscow! ♥  🇺🇸

Spoiler

26-Jul-2016: Married abroad :3
21-Dec-2016: I-130 filed at Embassy
29-Dec-2016: I-130 approved! Yay! 

17-Jan-2017: Case number received :]

21-Mar-2017: Medical Exam completed

24-Mar-2017: Interview - approved!

29-Mar-2017: CR-1 Visa received (via mail)

02-Apr-2017: USCIS Immigrant (GC) Fee paid

28-Jun-2017: Port of Entry @ PDX

21-Jul-2017: No SSN after three weeks; applied in person at the SSA

22-Jul-2017: GC arrived in the mail

31-Jul-2017: SSN arrived via mail, hurrah!

                     I-90 GC Replacment (for Erroneous GC)

Spoiler

22-Jul-2017: GC arrives in the mail – middle name is cut off 😕

01-Aug-2017: Sent in I-90 online via website

05-Aug-2017: Biometrics scheduled

23-Aug-2017: Biometrics done @ USCIS office; kept GC!

16-Jul-2018: RFE for supporting docs!! D:<

31-Jul-2018: USCIS Appointment at local field office..

22-Aug-2018: Mailed GC back to USCIS in response to RFE

29-Aug-2018: GC received by USCIS

17-Sept-2018: Received CORRECTED GC in the mail! Finally!!

 

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On 1/5/2017 at 1:20 AM, NikLR said:

Have you read our guides and wikis here on VJ? I suggest sending evidence of your relationship with the I-130.  Since you live together in Japan, I suggest concentrating on that fact.  Lease or rental agreements, photos, and other evidence that you live together. 

Thanks for the reply and info, NikLR.  I have looked at the guides, but was thrown off by the mixed information from the government websites, where the information should be clearly available.  Having the VJ community and information available is really proving beneficial.  Basically, the supporting documentation is a number of bills, tax forms, and even package shipping receipts from my parents sending us things.  Would it be best to copy these onto individual sheets of A4 paper, write a description somewhere on the paper, and submit everything in a binder?

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On 1/5/2017 at 3:39 PM, nativeson said:

 

Wow. The embassy's website was updated sometime between when I filed I-130 in October and now, and it looks a lot better, but that link is still wrong and the formatting makes it difficult to find useful information.

 

You don't need to worry about the interview documents yet, just use the list here when you send the I-130 to USCIS. For Japan the koseki tohon will suffice for spouse birth record, proof of marriage and birth record of children. There are some templates here for translation, they don't need to be notarized or anything. You'll get notification of any other documents required later in the process.

 

Also the lack of joint accounts in Japan is a known issue that USCIS takes into account when doing the visa process. It's been asked here before and apparently nobody has had any problems with it. Just provide whatever other evidence you have. I used our wedding photos along with family travel photos and pictures from my kid's undokai.

 

Take a breath, crack a ChuHai, follow the guide and join the club!


Thanks for the reply, nativeson.  It escapes me how something so simple and important to the work that goes on at the embassy can be wrong.  It just complicates the process and adds more work for them.

Thanks for the links, too.

I figured they might understand the issue with the lack of joint accounts, but who knows, based on the inaccurate information available on the website...

We didn't have a 'traditional' wedding due to our religious beliefs.  We did, however, have marriage parties separately in the US with my friends and family, AND in Japan with her family, with pictures from both.

By the way, at the time of our marriage, I was working in another prefecture and quit my job to move in with my wife, and made use of the provision of 3-month unemployment for those who move due to marriage.  Would it be advisable to include these documents?
 

On 1/5/2017 at 3:43 PM, nativeson said:

Oh yeah one more thing, you won't be able to bring the phone as proof because the embassy confiscates all phones before entry. No phones allowed in the embassy.

 

Cheers


I do remember them taking everyone's phones when I was there getting some documents notarized years ago.  Based on the link, and millefleur's comment (below), text conversation history isn't very strong evidence...
 

On 1/5/2017 at 9:57 PM, millefleur said:

Not sure what they are looking for in Japan, but you can provide evidence of travel together and any evidence of living together. Passport stamps showing travel abroad together is really strong and good evidence. You can also include photos from the places you travelled to. Photos with family and friends are strong evidence, even stronger than just "couples photos."

 

Sometimes they're interested in text messages, sometimes they are not. If you have a flip phone, I'm afraid you'll have to take individual photos of each message and compile them in Word. I know, it's frustrating but I did the same thing with my old Nokia. However, when we filed (DCF) they did not ask for any text messages, so I got the feeling that it was considered weak/unimportant evidence.

 

Other strong evidence: insurance policies (medical, life, etc.) and last will and testaments showing each other as a beneficiary. Any mail that was addressed to both of you at your address is also good. If you're a USC, you can go ahead and add your wife as an authorized user of your credit/debit cards if you have a US bank account. I provided that and they took any bank evidence I had, even if it was just an authorized user and not a shared account.

Thanks for the reply, millefleur.

We do have some plane tickets/receipts/boarding passes from one of our 2 trips back to the States.   Actually, it's the trip we took a couple months after our marriage to have the marriage party with my friends and family.  But, we unfortunately don't have everything from both of our trips.  One or the other gets lost in transit because we keep them on our person, someone tosses one in the trash in an effort to clean up, or any of a number of things.  Wouldn't this information corresponding on our passports be enough to show us traveling together, anyhow?  Will it be beneficial to include only one of our tickets/boarding passes from each trip without having the other?

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1 hour ago, ItchyKneeSon said:

Thanks for the reply and info, NikLR.  I have looked at the guides, but was thrown off by the mixed information from the government websites, where the information should be clearly available.  Having the VJ community and information available is really proving beneficial.  Basically, the supporting documentation is a number of bills, tax forms, and even package shipping receipts from my parents sending us things.  Would it be best to copy these onto individual sheets of A4 paper, write a description somewhere on the paper, and submit everything in a binder?

Don't use a binder, it'll get thrown out.  What you do is copy everything that you consider evidence of a genuine marital relationship.  Any evidence you live together, share you lives, communicate regularly etc...  Print all of that out and send a copy of it with the I-130 and other mandatory documentation.   In front of everything, have a cover letter that lists what you've included from the check for the I-130 fee to the bills.  Then use binder and paper clips to put everything together, pop it in an envelope and send it off to the Chicago lockbox. 

 

1 hour ago, ItchyKneeSon said:


Thanks for the reply, nativeson.  It escapes me how something so simple and important to the work that goes on at the embassy can be wrong.  It just complicates the process and adds more work for them.

Thanks for the links, too.

I figured they might understand the issue with the lack of joint accounts, but who knows, based on the inaccurate information available on the website...

We didn't have a 'traditional' wedding due to our religious beliefs.  We did, however, have marriage parties separately in the US with my friends and family, AND in Japan with her family, with pictures from both.

By the way, at the time of our marriage, I was working in another prefecture and quit my job to move in with my wife, and made use of the provision of 3-month unemployment for those who move due to marriage.  Would it be advisable to include these documents?
 


I do remember them taking everyone's phones when I was there getting some documents notarized years ago.  Based on the link, and millefleur's comment (below), text conversation history isn't very strong evidence...
 

Thanks for the reply, millefleur.

We do have some plane tickets/receipts/boarding passes from one of our 2 trips back to the States.   Actually, it's the trip we took a couple months after our marriage to have the marriage party with my friends and family.  But, we unfortunately don't have everything from both of our trips.  One or the other gets lost in transit because we keep them on our person, someone tosses one in the trash in an effort to clean up, or any of a number of things.  Wouldn't this information corresponding on our passports be enough to show us traveling together, anyhow?  Will it be beneficial to include only one of our tickets/boarding passes from each trip without having the other?

Including unemployment doesn't show a marital relationship unless you're claiming you were moving so needed unemployment because you changed jobs. Does the documentation show this? Can you show you moved to a new address with your wife? Yes include those things if they do. 

 

Try to include things that show you were together.  Honestly Japan is low fraud.  They're not worried about people moving from Japan to the USA so the bar to prove your relationship is genuine is much lower. 

Edited by NikLR

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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9 hours ago, ItchyKneeSon said:

We do have some plane tickets/receipts/boarding passes from one of our 2 trips back to the States.   Actually, it's the trip we took a couple months after our marriage to have the marriage party with my friends and family.  But, we unfortunately don't have everything from both of our trips.  One or the other gets lost in transit because we keep them on our person, someone tosses one in the trash in an effort to clean up, or any of a number of things.  Wouldn't this information corresponding on our passports be enough to show us traveling together, anyhow?  Will it be beneficial to include only one of our tickets/boarding passes from each trip without having the other?

Passport stamps should be enough for proof of travel together.


03639.png                  

                  🇷🇺  ♥  CR-1 via DCF in Moscow! ♥  🇺🇸

Spoiler

26-Jul-2016: Married abroad :3
21-Dec-2016: I-130 filed at Embassy
29-Dec-2016: I-130 approved! Yay! 

17-Jan-2017: Case number received :]

21-Mar-2017: Medical Exam completed

24-Mar-2017: Interview - approved!

29-Mar-2017: CR-1 Visa received (via mail)

02-Apr-2017: USCIS Immigrant (GC) Fee paid

28-Jun-2017: Port of Entry @ PDX

21-Jul-2017: No SSN after three weeks; applied in person at the SSA

22-Jul-2017: GC arrived in the mail

31-Jul-2017: SSN arrived via mail, hurrah!

                     I-90 GC Replacment (for Erroneous GC)

Spoiler

22-Jul-2017: GC arrives in the mail – middle name is cut off 😕

01-Aug-2017: Sent in I-90 online via website

05-Aug-2017: Biometrics scheduled

23-Aug-2017: Biometrics done @ USCIS office; kept GC!

16-Jul-2018: RFE for supporting docs!! D:<

31-Jul-2018: USCIS Appointment at local field office..

22-Aug-2018: Mailed GC back to USCIS in response to RFE

29-Aug-2018: GC received by USCIS

17-Sept-2018: Received CORRECTED GC in the mail! Finally!!

 

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On 1/9/2017 at 0:57 PM, NikLR said:

[A] Don't use a binder, it'll get thrown out.  What you do is copy everything that you consider evidence of a genuine marital relationship.  Any evidence you live together, share you lives, communicate regularly etc...  Print all of that out and send a copy of it with the I-130 and other mandatory documentation.   In front of everything, have a cover letter that lists what you've included from the check for the I-130 fee to the bills.  Then use binder and paper clips to put everything together, pop it in an envelope and send it off to the Chicago lockbox. 

 

(B) Including unemployment doesn't show a marital relationship unless you're claiming you were moving so needed unemployment because you changed jobs. Does the documentation show this? Can you show you moved to a new address with your wife? Yes include those things if they do. 

 

[C] Try to include things that show you were together.  Honestly Japan is low fraud.  They're not worried about people moving from Japan to the USA so the bar to prove your relationship is genuine is much lower. 


[A]  So, not just the supporting evidence, but the entire packet that is submitted should be put in a (ring) binder or in a big (ringless) file/folder, organized with paper clips separating pieces of evidence?

(B)  We dug deeper into the unemployment thing.  In short, it won't work.  The reason of unemployment listed is 'personal reason(s)'.  Relocating due to marriage is listed as one of the possible reasons in the description of this category.  Unfortunately, there is nothing in the paperwork that states I quit my job to relocate due to marriage.  Bummer.

 

[C]  That's kind of what I was thinking.  But, I'm perhaps too much of a perfectionist and have even been considering including certain receipts for bills that would require some extravagant explanations to prove them useful.  I found some other good evidence today that I thought I'd lost, too.  Which was a bit of a relief.
 

On 1/9/2017 at 9:28 PM, millefleur said:

Passport stamps should be enough for proof of travel together.

I was thinking that might be the case.  I will likely include our boarding passes as I've just come across a couple of sets with both of our names and dates listed.  

Thanks again for the replies!

Edited by ItchyKneeSon
Formatting

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Binder clips. 6a6dd7fe-2f14-4b7d-a764-a94ae38b4bd2.JPGDo not use a ring binder.  Even folders are thrown out. Using anything beyond binder clips and paper clips is just creating more work for the person adjucating your case. 

Edited by NikLR

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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Some people use coloured paper or sticky notes or sticky tabs to separate out sections.  I used binder clips and paper clips depending on the section size.  Mostly that is for my peace of mind so i know I include everything.  In the end the sort it how they want in a folder that looks like this...

41JJkT48W+L._SY355_.jpg

 


You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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I want to ask about submitting foreign tax documents.

My wife and I each received the same packet of tax documentation (stating our individual taxes owed), both sent to us at the address of our first apartment together, from just 2 months after we were married.  The front of each shows (a) our address, (b) our full names, (c) the date, and (d) our respective case numbers.  I think that this is pretty good supporting evidence.  Is it necessary to copy and translate the entire packet or will the front page, with all of the pertinent information, suffice?

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10 minutes ago, NikLR said:

Binder clips. 6a6dd7fe-2f14-4b7d-a764-a94ae38b4bd2.JPGDo not use a ring binder.  Even folders are thrown out. Using anything beyond binder clips and paper clips is just creating more work for the person adjucating your case. 

I see.  Sorry for misreading.  Binder clips have now been burned into my brain.  No rings or folders will be used. :) 

EDIT:  Perhaps it would be helpful to others to have photos of suggested materials and some examples of good completed file packets on the guides.

Edited by ItchyKneeSon

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As for completed packets, people have shown those before. But different people can submit different things.  Someone with a spouse in Nigeria needs to submit far more than you ever will need to.  People who can live together will have different evidence than those who dont.  And everyone has a different way, but it doesnt make those other ways wrong. In general, on vj, we suggest no binders or folders. No staples.  After that just try to make it organized so you don't forget things. 


You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss

 

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