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Starting Process - Which option is best?

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Hi all,


Just starting this process and appreciate your assistance.  My boyfriend lives in Mexico.  He is currently getting divorced (they have lived apart for over 5 years).  He is 40 years old.  In his teens he came to the US a few times.  He was caught twice immediately after coming over the border, held for a few hours, and sent back.  He does not have any memory of signing anything or what the actual dates were.

My main questions at this point are:

1. How can we obtain a copy of his immigration history?  We want to make sure what is on file and how things are listed.  I'm very confused if being sent back twice makes him ineligible or if it matters "how" he was sent back.  An immigration attorney friend said something about if it was a voluntary return (?) then it might not even be on the record.  This would be about 20 years ago.

2. In Mexico you have to wait a year to get married again.  Has anyone ever gotten around that?  I did read about bridge weddings, which might work since the US doesn't require that wait.  

3. Which brings me to the big question (assuming he can get a visa) - do we file for fiancee and get married here, or get married in Mexico (or another country so we don't have to wait)?

I so appreciate any experience or expertise you can share with me.


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  1. You can submit a FOIA request to try to obtain the full history.
    1. A voluntary return is usually still on somebody's record (although I'm not sure if that was the case 20 years ago...).
    2. That said, it may be simpler (although not cheaper) to just apply for the visa and find out what bans he has, and that they are all waivable.
    3. The only potential issue I see is if he has a 9C bar in place, which is a permanent bar but waivable after being outside the US for 10 years. The waiver would come into play after the visa would be otherwise approved (you can't apply beforehand). However, I'm doutbful that is even actually the case here.
  2. Defer...no idea on this myself.
  3. It's really a preference. A K-1 (fiancee visa) is inferior to a CR-1 (spousal visa) in every way except that it's faster (~7-9 months versus ~12-14 months). A CR-1 is cheaper, faster to get the actual green card, permits working right away, and lets you travel abroad right away. If you are okay with the couple months longer wait, I'd say go for the CR-1.



AOS (I-485 + I-131 + I-765):

9/25/17: sent forms to Chicago

9/27/17: received by USCIS

10/4/17: NOA1 electronic notification received

10/10/17: NOA1 hard copy received. Social Security card being issued in married name (3rd attempt!)

10/14/17: Biometrics appointment notice received

10/25/17: Biometrics

1/2/18: EAD + AP approved (no website update)

1/5/18: EAD + AP mailed

1/8/18: EAD + AP approval notice hardcopies received

1/10/18: EAD + AP received

9/5/18: Interview scheduled notice

10/17/18: Interview

10/17/18: Approved

?/?/?: Green card received





12/1/17: sent

12/14/17: NOA1 hard copy received

3/10/17: RFE (IMB verification)

3/22/17: RFE response received

3/24/17: Approved!

3/30/17: NOA2 hard copy received



4/6/2017: Received

4/12/2017: Sent to Riyadh embassy

4/16/2017: Case received at Riyadh embassy

4/21/2017: Request case transfer to Manila, approved 4/24/2017



5/1/2017: Case received by Manila (1 week embassy transfer??? Lucky~)

7/13/2017: Interview: APPROVED!!!

7/19/2017: Visa in hand

8/15/2017: POE



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Getting married first doesn't speed anything up.  You'll be apart longer.  Choose the process that best fits your life choices and priorities.  Do some homework.  You don't just register a marriage and bring your spouse home on the plane with you.  

Facts are cheap...knowing how to use them is precious...
Understanding the big picture is priceless. Anonymous

Google Who is Pushbrk?

A Warning to Green Card Holders About Voting


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***Moved from IR-1/CR-1 Process & Procedures to What Visa Do I Need - Family Based Immigration as OP is considering multiple paths.  Duplicate thread removed; please do not start multiple threads on the same issue.***

Our journey:


September 2007: Met online via social networking site (MySpace); began exchanging messages.
March 26, 2009: We become a couple!
September 10, 2009: Arrived for first meeting in-person!
June 17, 2010: Arrived for second in-person meeting and start of travel together to other areas of China!
June 21, 2010: Engaged!!!
September 1, 2010: Switched course from K1 to CR-1
December 8, 2010: Wedding date set; it will be on February 18, 2011!
February 9, 2011: Depart for China
February 11, 2011: Registered for marriage in Wuhan, officially married!!!
February 18, 2011: Wedding ceremony in Shiyan!!!
April 22, 2011: Mailed I-130 to Chicago
April 28, 2011: Received NOA1 via text/email, file routed to CSC (priority date April 25th)
April 29, 2011: Updated
May 3, 2011: Received NOA1 hardcopy in mail
July 26, 2011: Received NOA2 via text/email!!!
July 30, 2011: Received NOA2 hardcopy in mail
August 8, 2011: NVC received file
September 1, 2011: NVC case number assigned
September 2, 2011: AOS invoice received, OPTIN email for EP sent
September 7, 2011: Paid AOS bill (payment portal showed PAID on September 9, 2011)
September 8, 2011: OPTIN email accepted, GZO number assigned
September 10, 2011: Emailed AOS package
September 12, 2011: IV bill invoiced
September 13, 2011: Paid IV bill (payment portal showed PAID on September 14, 2011)
September 14, 2011: Emailed IV package
October 3, 2011: Emailed checklist response (checklist generated due to typo on Form DS-230)
October 6, 2011: Case complete at NVC
November 10, 2011: Interview - APPROVED!!!
December 7, 2011: POE - Sea-Tac Airport

September 17, 2013: Mailed I-751 to CSC

September 23, 2013: Received NOA1 in mail (receipt date September 19th)

October 16, 2013: Biometrics Appointment

January 28, 2014: Production of new Green Card ordered

February 3, 2014: New Green Card received; done with USCIS until fall of 2023*


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I'd be careful with filing a K1 before than 1 year waiting period is over - as he might be considered not to be free and clear to marry, a requirement to be filing the I-129f.



3/2/18  E-filed N-400 under 5 year rule

3/26/18 Biometrics

7/2019-12/2019 (Yes, 16- 21 months) Estimated time to interview MSP office.


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