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Jules27

I-130 filed from Australia - USC living in Australia with partner

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Hi everyone... I’m Jules & a USC living in Australia with my partner. I have lived in Australia with my partner for 4 years+ now & he is an Aussie citizen. We want to move to America.. so we plan on getting married soon then I will submit / apply for the I-130.

 

My questions... 

 

1. Can I apply / file the I-130 whilst living abroad in Australia after recently getting married 

 

2. Can I reside in Australia until confirmation that the I-130 has been approved then move back to the US to “re domicile” myself and secure a job to provide the affidavit of support or does the next part of the process need to be applied for immediately after confirmation of approval for the I-130? (I have been working FT in Sydney and have filed US Tax returns based on my AUD income but living in Syd is so expensive I haven’t been able to adequately build up a savings hence wanting to move back to the states but I would need to find a job once I moved back but shouldn’t be too hard as I have professional experience and a masters degree)

 

3. For purpose of “re domicile” and proving my intentions are to move back, I recently opened up a new checking account in the US and have been transferring money into the account - is this be beneficial? 

 

4. Is using a service such as “Boundless” which is $7,500 worth it? Or do you reckon the forms are doable? 

 

I guess that is all for now... cheers xx

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Hi Jules,

 

1 - I believe you can post it to the USCIS Chicago Lockbox, the postage would just be more expensive.  We left our paperwork in the US and our attorney filed them after we had left the country.

2 - Yes, you could possibly even stay in Australia until you were both ready to move if you had a joint sponsor and could prove intent to re-domicile. There are others going the the process in Australia now that are doing that. 

3 - Potentially, also American drivers licence, voter registration, car ownership? IDK others who have done the process from abroad could probably advise better. My wife had to go back for grad school so we've not had to prove that.

4 -That fee sounds a little steep, and a whole heap of people on here will tell you lawyers are the worst etc. It is doable by yourself, however we used an attorney and found that since we both have a lot on the money was less costly than the time and stress. We've also had no requests for further information and had all our documents accepted on the first go around.

 


12/26/17 - NOA1

06/27/18 - NOA2 (+183 days)

07/11/18 - Case sent to NVC (+14 days)

07/18/18 - NVC Received (+7 days)

08/10/18 - NVC Case Number (+23 days)

09/06/18 - All Docs Submitted (+27 days)

09/19/18 - Case Complete at NVC (+13 days)

??/??/?? -  Interview appointment letter received (+21 days so far)

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32 minutes ago, Jules27 said:

Hi everyone... I’m Jules & a USC living in Australia with my partner. I have lived in Australia with my partner for 4 years+ now & he is an Aussie citizen. We want to move to America.. so we plan on getting married soon then I will submit / apply for the I-130.

 

My questions... 

 

1. Can I apply / file the I-130 whilst living abroad in Australia after recently getting married 

 

2. Can I reside in Australia until confirmation that the I-130 has been approved then move back to the US to “re domicile” myself and secure a job to provide the affidavit of support or does the next part of the process need to be applied for immediately after confirmation of approval for the I-130? (I have been working FT in Sydney and have filed US Tax returns based on my AUD income but living in Syd is so expensive I haven’t been able to adequately build up a savings hence wanting to move back to the states but I would need to find a job once I moved back but shouldn’t be too hard as I have professional experience and a masters degree)

 

3. For purpose of “re domicile” and proving my intentions are to move back, I recently opened up a new checking account in the US and have been transferring money into the account - is this be beneficial? 

 

4. Is using a service such as “Boundless” which is $7,500 worth it? Or do you reckon the forms are doable? 

 

I guess that is all for now... cheers xx

Hi there!

I‘m not from Australia but from Austria amd my USC husband is living here with me!

 

Get the paperwork ready, in my opinion absolutely doable by yourself, and once you‘re married/have your marriage certificate, you send off your I130 petition to the Chicago lockbox which then will transfer it to one of the USCIS service centers!

 

If you have a joint sponsor you could even stay in Australia till the visa is approved just make sure you show enough for your reintent to have domicile in the US. For example we used my husbands bank account, job applications, proof that he starts school in the US again, temprary residency for Austria with the expiration date, voter registration and a letter from my mother in law, that we are going to move in with her!

 

 

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11 hours ago, Jules27 said:

Hi everyone... I’m Jules & a USC living in Australia with my partner. I have lived in Australia with my partner for 4 years+ now & he is an Aussie citizen. We want to move to America.. so we plan on getting married soon then I will submit / apply for the I-130.

 

My questions... 

 

1. Can I apply / file the I-130 whilst living abroad in Australia after recently getting married 

 

2. Can I reside in Australia until confirmation that the I-130 has been approved then move back to the US to “re domicile” myself and secure a job to provide the affidavit of support or does the next part of the process need to be applied for immediately after confirmation of approval for the I-130? (I have been working FT in Sydney and have filed US Tax returns based on my AUD income but living in Syd is so expensive I haven’t been able to adequately build up a savings hence wanting to move back to the states but I would need to find a job once I moved back but shouldn’t be too hard as I have professional experience and a masters degree)

 

3. For purpose of “re domicile” and proving my intentions are to move back, I recently opened up a new checking account in the US and have been transferring money into the account - is this be beneficial? 

 

4. Is using a service such as “Boundless” which is $7,500 worth it? Or do you reckon the forms are doable? 

 

I guess that is all for now... cheers xx

Your situation sounds pretty similar to mine and I am nearly at the end of this process (finally!) I am a US Citizen and have lived in Australia for the last 4ish years with my partner who is a dual Aus/UK citizen. We got married last November and filed immediately after.

 

To your questions, based on my experience:

 

1. Absolutely. We posted our I-130 package to the Chicago lockbox from Sydney. For peace of mind, we paid up for tracked shipment so we got delivery confirmation. The one thing that was annoying was the only payment they would accept (at least at the time) was a check from a US bank account. I didn't have any checks with me linked to my US checking account, so I had to transfer money to my parents who then brought a check with them when they came to the wedding so that we could pay the filing fee. A little convoluted, but we got there! If they still aren't accepting electronic payment, I'm sure there are other ways you can deal with this step.

 

2. Like @redvines said, assuming you can prove US domicile, you don't even have to move back to the US until your partner has a visa and you can go together. If you can't prove US domicile otherwise, you would need to go back to the US first. I'll get to more on this in response to your next question, though, as it seems like this question is more about the Affidavit of Support than domicile. We used my sister and her husband as joint sponsors because we don't have US income and our assets here are not quite there to meet the minimum requirement. The AUD/USD exchange rate is not helping at the moment! Is there anyone who would be willing to be a joint sponsor with your spouse? If so, that's an option! If not, then establishing that you have sufficient ongoing US income will be important in demonstrating you, as the sole sponsor, are above the minimum poverty threshold.

 

3. Yes, having a US bank account is beneficial. Based on your situation, it sounds like you have two options for proving domicile: 1) Proving you were only living in Australia temporarily or 2) Showing intent, in good faith, to reestablish domicile. Have a read of the I-864 instructions for Item Number 5: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-864instr.pdf

For me, I went with option 1, because I never established permanent residency in Aus and have been here on a temporary skilled work visa. To provide evidence of this, I did the following:

  • Wrote a letter explaining the situation and listing out the documentary evidence I would provide, which included:
  • A copy of my work visa showing an expiration date, demonstrating temporary Australian residence
  • A copy of my voter profile obtained from my local elections office showing I have continued to vote in local, state and federal elections
  • A copy of my bank statement and a letter from my bank stating I have maintained a bank account in good standing
  • A copy of my current valid US drivers license
  • A copy of my retirement statement fund showing my permanent US address
  • A copy of my current CPA license demonstrating I have maintained professional US licensure while away
  • A letter from my sister noting we have arranged to stay with her upon our return to the U.S. until we can find our own place

The details of any similar letter you might write will be different, but that's just to give you some examples!

 

4. With the exception of a 1 hr consultation with an immigration attorney before we began the process we have not used any legal service/lawyer for any part of the process. I'm sure that whether you find a lawyer worth it or not is highly dependent on the specific lawyer used, but I have never wished we used one. None of the forms are very complicated (just long!) and while the process requires some time investment and organization, it's definitely doable on your own. Any question I've had I've been able to get answered on this forum, so use is as a resource. In retrospect, the initial advice we received from the attorney we consulted with turned out to be very wrong (the lady told us she had seen I-130 approvals be turned around in 1 month recently, while ours took 7) but again, that is probably luck of the draw in consulting with the wrong attorney.

 

Good luck with your process!


Beneficiary Country: UK / Consulate: Sydney, Australia / Nebraska Service Center

27-Nov-2017 - Sent I-130 package to Chicago Lockbox

30-Nov-2017 (+3 days, 3 days) - NOA1, petition sent to Nebraska Service Center

28-Jun-2018 (+210 days, 213 days) - NOA2, petition approved

16-Jul-2018 (+18 days, 231 days) - Petition sent to Department of State

23-Jul-2018 (+7 days, 238 days) - Petition received by NVC (confirmed via phone on 24 July)
21-Aug-2018 (+29 days, 267 days) - Welcome Letter received by email, paid AOS and IV fee

23-Aug-2018 (+2 days, 269 days) - IV Application (Form DS-260), Civil Documents, Affidavit of Support, and Financial Documents all submitted to NVC on CEAC

7-Sep-2018 (+15 days, 284 days) - NVC Case Complete

18-9-2018 (+11 days, 295 days) - Interview scheduled, received notification from NVC via email - interview set for 16 October

16-10-2018 (+28 days, 323 days) - Interview - visa approved!
 

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Holy #######, $7,500!!! You realize that is, like, seven times the total fees to go through this process? Absolutely do not fall for that scam. I was in a similar situation to you except switch Australia for Chile. My husband has his interview in a few weeks. You can definitely do the forms and go through the process yourself. A lawyer will not speed up your case and may even make mistakes that delay it. The only times I see lawyers recommended are for very complex cases (for example, the other day I was reading one about someone whose USC husband was also a bigamist in a third country).

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1 hour ago, Keeley said:

Your situation sounds pretty similar to mine and I am nearly at the end of this process (finally!) I am a US Citizen and have lived in Australia for the last 4ish years with my partner who is a dual Aus/UK citizen. We got married last November and filed immediately after.

 

To your questions, based on my experience:

 

1. Absolutely. We posted our I-130 package to the Chicago lockbox from Sydney. For peace of mind, we paid up for tracked shipment so we got delivery confirmation. The one thing that was annoying was the only payment they would accept (at least at the time) was a check from a US bank account. I didn't have any checks with me linked to my US checking account, so I had to transfer money to my parents who then brought a check with them when they came to the wedding so that we could pay the filing fee. A little convoluted, but we got there! If they still aren't accepting electronic payment, I'm sure there are other ways you can deal with this step.

 

2. Like @redvines said, assuming you can prove US domicile, you don't even have to move back to the US until your partner has a visa and you can go together. If you can't prove US domicile otherwise, you would need to go back to the US first. I'll get to more on this in response to your next question, though, as it seems like this question is more about the Affidavit of Support than domicile. We used my sister and her husband as joint sponsors because we don't have US income and our assets here are not quite there to meet the minimum requirement. The AUD/USD exchange rate is not helping at the moment! Is there anyone who would be willing to be a joint sponsor with your spouse? If so, that's an option! If not, then establishing that you have sufficient ongoing US income will be important in demonstrating you, as the sole sponsor, are above the minimum poverty threshold.

 

3. Yes, having a US bank account is beneficial. Based on your situation, it sounds like you have two options for proving domicile: 1) Proving you were only living in Australia temporarily or 2) Showing intent, in good faith, to reestablish domicile. Have a read of the I-864 instructions for Item Number 5: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-864instr.pdf

For me, I went with option 1, because I never established permanent residency in Aus and have been here on a temporary skilled work visa. To provide evidence of this, I did the following:

  • Wrote a letter explaining the situation and listing out the documentary evidence I would provide, which included:
  • A copy of my work visa showing an expiration date, demonstrating temporary Australian residence
  • A copy of my voter profile obtained from my local elections office showing I have continued to vote in local, state and federal elections
  • A copy of my bank statement and a letter from my bank stating I have maintained a bank account in good standing
  • A copy of my current valid US drivers license
  • A copy of my retirement statement fund showing my permanent US address
  • A copy of my current CPA license demonstrating I have maintained professional US licensure while away
  • A letter from my sister noting we have arranged to stay with her upon our return to the U.S. until we can find our own place

The details of any similar letter you might write will be different, but that's just to give you some examples!

 

4. With the exception of a 1 hr consultation with an immigration attorney before we began the process we have not used any legal service/lawyer for any part of the process. I'm sure that whether you find a lawyer worth it or not is highly dependent on the specific lawyer used, but I have never wished we used one. None of the forms are very complicated (just long!) and while the process requires some time investment and organization, it's definitely doable on your own. Any question I've had I've been able to get answered on this forum, so use is as a resource. In retrospect, the initial advice we received from the attorney we consulted with turned out to be very wrong (the lady told us she had seen I-130 approvals be turned around in 1 month recently, while ours took 7) but again, that is probably luck of the draw in consulting with the wrong attorney.

 

Good luck with your process!

Wow, thank you so much for all this information! 

 

1 - I have a US bank account so I think I will pick up a checkbook when I go to visit for Thanksgiving this year to be able to make payment via my US bank account. I think we will do the same and get tracking just to be certain nothing goes missing - will be worth the investment. Do you receive correspondence via your AU address or do you rely on family members to scan and mail correspondence? 

 

2 - Yes, I believe I may potentially be able to use a family member - does this mean I co-sponsor with them or they are the sole sponsor for Affidavit of Support? Once I secure I job with US income again can I change the sponsor to myself? Yes, the USD/AUD rate is shocking right now!!! Total bummer as I transfer money to my US bank account from my AU income, luckily TransferWise is quite fair with rates/fees.

 

3 - It looks like I will have to go with Option 3 'Good Faith' as I am on a Partner Visa in Australia that is currently in temp residency stage... the permanent resident stage has been applied for but it takes ages in Australia to get the visa... I have waited 3.5yr now for my PR, but we are over waiting and just want to move back to the US, more opportunity and less costs for a family, etc (in our opinion of course) and closer to my family. Thank you for all your examples, did you supply this information with the initial I-130 or is this for the second part of the visa when the Affidavit of Support is filed? Side note - I feel silly for asking, how have you maintained voting?

 

4 - Definitely have decided to complete this process w/o an attorney... I guess I got worried reading a lot of Immigration Sites saying that if XYZ you will not be able to apply, I even asked a number of different Immigration Lawyers during a free consultation if you can apply for I-130 whilst abroad and they all told me they highly advise against it... plus, I spent over 9k for my Australian visa and did it myself and I'd like to keep the costs down this time haha... 

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My pleasure!

3 minutes ago, Jules27 said:

1 - I have a US bank account so I think I will pick up a checkbook when I go to visit for Thanksgiving this year to be able to make payment via my US bank account. I think we will do the same and get tracking just to be certain nothing goes missing - will be worth the investment. Do you receive correspondence via your AU address or do you rely on family members to scan and mail correspondence? 

We listed our Aussie address and got correspondence sent here. Just make sure you put your current email address on the I-130 form and you'll also get an email notifications for major changes to your case. I can't remember if we had to separately subscribe through the USCIS myAccount case status site or if they sent through automatically, but I think we received notifications when our petition was approved and when our case was sent to NVC after approval. Regardless, you can register for a myAccount once you have a USCIS case number and track your case that way.

 

8 minutes ago, Jules27 said:

2 - Yes, I believe I may potentially be able to use a family member - does this mean I co-sponsor with them or they are the sole sponsor for Affidavit of Support? Once I secure I job with US income again can I change the sponsor to myself? Yes, the USD/AUD rate is shocking right now!!! Total bummer as I transfer money to my US bank account from my AU income, luckily TransferWise is quite fair with rates/fees.

You as the spouse have to be the primary sponsor no matter what and file an Affidavit of Support. If you don't have the ability to meet the guidelines for financial support, that's when you get a joint sponsor to file their own Affidavit of Support. Filing an Affidavit of Support is not a burdensome task from an administrative perspective, but it is a pretty hefty, potentially lifelong legal obligation. Once you file the Affidavit of Support, I don't think you can withdraw and submit a new one if your employment changes, but there is nothing to prevent you from taking additional supportive information with you to the interview. All that said, you have lots of time to figure this out. You don't file the AOS until after your I-130 has been approved, which can take 6-12+ months from submitting.

 

1 hour ago, Jules27 said:

3 - It looks like I will have to go with Option 3 'Good Faith' as I am on a Partner Visa in Australia that is currently in temp residency stage... the permanent resident stage has been applied for but it takes ages in Australia to get the visa... I have waited 3.5yr now for my PR, but we are over waiting and just want to move back to the US, more opportunity and less costs for a family, etc (in our opinion of course) and closer to my family. Thank you for all your examples, did you supply this information with the initial I-130 or is this for the second part of the visa when the Affidavit of Support is filed? Side note - I feel silly for asking, how have you maintained voting?

Totally get why you're over waiting for the Aussie visa. Even if you're going with Option 3, you can use a lot of similar evidence and just change the wording a bit to demonstrate your strong ties to the US (family, etc.), finding a place to live, bank accoutns, etc. The AOS is filed though CEAC (Consular Electronic Application Center) after your I-130 is approved by USCIS and forwarded to the National Visa Center so, again, you have some time. As for voting, I have a permanent US mailing address in Oregon and I registered as an absentee voter when I moved to Australia. In Oregon, we have mail-in ballots so they post me my ballot in Australia and I send it back by the election deadline. I'm not sure how it works in every state, but given US Citizens have a right to vote, I would imagine most states have a system to deal with absentee ballots. Sadly, I think you might have missed the registration deadline for the midterm elections, but be sure to check your home elections office to check just in case there is still time!

 

1 hour ago, Jules27 said:

4 - Definitely have decided to complete this process w/o an attorney... I guess I got worried reading a lot of Immigration Sites saying that if XYZ you will not be able to apply, I even asked a number of different Immigration Lawyers during a free consultation if you can apply for I-130 whilst abroad and they all told me they highly advise against it... plus, I spent over 9k for my Australian visa and did it myself and I'd like to keep the costs down this time haha... 

Yeah, I don't think an attorney is necessary unless you just don't have time to deal with it yourself or you have a very complicated situation. I don't know why (other than them wanting your money!) immigration lawyers would advise you against filing from abroad because there is literally nothing you have to do in person in the US at any point during this process until your partner has an approved visa and he enters the country. The good thing about US immigration compared to Australian is that it is much cheaper! I have been tracking our costs and once this thing is done and dusted, we will have spent about $1.8k US. This includes paying for a copy of our official marriage license, I-130 application fee, Affidavit of Support Fee, Immigrant Visa Application Fees, Two Australian police checks (because we ordered the wrong one the first time...), UK police check, medical exam, passport photos and the USCIS Immigrant Fee.

 

Can I ask where in the US you'll be headed? Always happy to answer any questions I can! I have gotten so much help from this forum and I want to pay it forward! There also aren't TOO many Aussies on here applying for IR-1/CR-1 visas, so we've got to support each other! :)  


Beneficiary Country: UK / Consulate: Sydney, Australia / Nebraska Service Center

27-Nov-2017 - Sent I-130 package to Chicago Lockbox

30-Nov-2017 (+3 days, 3 days) - NOA1, petition sent to Nebraska Service Center

28-Jun-2018 (+210 days, 213 days) - NOA2, petition approved

16-Jul-2018 (+18 days, 231 days) - Petition sent to Department of State

23-Jul-2018 (+7 days, 238 days) - Petition received by NVC (confirmed via phone on 24 July)
21-Aug-2018 (+29 days, 267 days) - Welcome Letter received by email, paid AOS and IV fee

23-Aug-2018 (+2 days, 269 days) - IV Application (Form DS-260), Civil Documents, Affidavit of Support, and Financial Documents all submitted to NVC on CEAC

7-Sep-2018 (+15 days, 284 days) - NVC Case Complete

18-9-2018 (+11 days, 295 days) - Interview scheduled, received notification from NVC via email - interview set for 16 October

16-10-2018 (+28 days, 323 days) - Interview - visa approved!
 

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Thanks so much for all the info - as I'm just starting to read thru everything and get a grasp of all the paperwork to get 'ahead' of the game for when the time comes. As we will be getting married earlier next year! I'm sure once I start filling out the actual paperwork I will have more detailed questions that hopefully I can find the answers or examples here for!

 

I am registered to receive my absentee ballot now! My parents were just sending me the early voting ballet that I had always been signed up for to me when they received it, but now I'll receive them to my e-mail. Luckily, yesterday 11pm was the cut-off to update for voting ballots and I made it after you responded!

 

I'll be heading to Arizona :) so not too far from Oregon! Small world :) 

 

Cheers for your help so far... seriously have made me feel less stressed and overwhelmed about it all! x

 

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Moved from Progress Reports to Process & Procedures.


Our journey:

Spoiler

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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