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Questions About ROC

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My wife came here on a CR-1 visa and brought her son with. Their 2 year green cards will be expiring in February and I have some questions about the ROC process. The first questions are about the I-751 package. My first question is can I file just one I-751 package for my wife and step son combined (and pay only one fee) or do they each need to have a separate I-751? The next question is about the evidence of our relationship. My wife and I have a 1 year old son together. Would his birth certificate essentially be enough evidence of our relationship or should I also include other things? I saw the list in the guide of things you could include such as evidence of joint bank accounts, affidavits, ect. I can produce many of the things on that list if needed but is it overkill to include everything I have or is it better to be safe and send it all?

 

My next questions are about waiting for the new green card and possibly travelling outside the country while we are waiting. First of all how long on average (I know it can vary from case to case) does it take to get the green cards? Secondly we are planning a trip to the Philippines in July. If my wife and step son don't receive their new green cards by then is it okay for them to leave the country and what documentation would they need to reenter? As soon as the I-751 package is sent out and received is it essentially safe for us to plan our trip (buy plane tickets, ect.) or should we wait to receive something back about our application? Those are all the questions I have for now. I'm sure I will come up with more as I go through the process here. Any advice would be appreciated.


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18 minutes ago, jg121783 said:

My wife came here on a CR-1 visa and brought her son with. Their 2 year green cards will be expiring in February and I have some questions about the ROC process. The first questions are about the I-751 package. My first question is can I file just one I-751 package for my wife and step son combined (and pay only one fee) or do they each need to have a separate I-751? The next question is about the evidence of our relationship. My wife and I have a 1 year old son together. Would his birth certificate essentially be enough evidence of our relationship or should I also include other things? I saw the list in the guide of things you could include such as evidence of joint bank accounts, affidavits, ect. I can produce many of the things on that list if needed but is it overkill to include everything I have or is it better to be safe and send it all?

 

My next questions are about waiting for the new green card and possibly travelling outside the country while we are waiting. First of all how long on average (I know it can vary from case to case) does it take to get the green cards? Secondly we are planning a trip to the Philippines in July. If my wife and step son don't receive their new green cards by then is it okay for them to leave the country and what documentation would they need to reenter? As soon as the I-751 package is sent out and received is it essentially safe for us to plan our trip (buy plane tickets, ect.) or should we wait to receive something back about our application? Those are all the questions I have for now. I'm sure I will come up with more as I go through the process here. Any advice would be appreciated.

I can't answer the question about filing one application for both your wife and son or two applications separately. Someone else will have to answer that. But as for everything else:

 

1. You need to send everything. Children don't mean much in the grand scheme of things because lots of couples out there cannot have children and/or do not want them. Doesn't mean those couples are less legit somehow. Sorry, just pointing this out since you specifically asked if your kid's BC is proof enough of a marriage. It is not. You need to show financial comingling, proof of living together, proof of family (your children). There's even a pinned thread in the RoC subforum about RoC evidence. And I believe the I-751 instructions lists all the evidence they want. Of course it's safer to just send everything. 

 

2. RoC takes a long effing time these days. More than a year. Luckily though when they accept RoC packets, they send the immigrant an extension letter that extends their permanent resident status for 18 more months. This letter PLUS the 2 year GC must be used together to re-enter the US after international travel, even after the 2-year GC expires. When the LETTER expires, one would need the I-551 stamp if RoC has not been adjudicated by then and the 10 year GC has not been received. The letter used to only be for 12 months but RoC is taking so long that they extended it to 18 months earlier in 2018. 

 

A lot of people's RoC is taking so long these days that they end up applying for naturalization at their 3-year mark and then their RoC gets approved at the same time. So they never even end up getting the 10 year GC because they naturalize and then get the US passport.

Edited by mushroomspore

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24 minutes ago, jg121783 said:

My first question is can I file just one I-751 package for my wife and step son combined (and pay only one fee) or do they each need to have a separate I-751?

One I-751 form (include child in Part 5) and pay the following fees:

  1. $595 I-751 filing fee
  2. $85 biometrics fee for your wife
  3. $85 biometrics fee for your stepson
7 minutes ago, mushroomspore said:

When the LETTER expires, one would need the I-551 stamp if RoC has not been adjudicated by then and the 10 year GC has not been received.

@jg121783, below is the I-551 stamp (it goes inside the foreign passport):

13.0_List_A_I-551_Stamp_to_go_with_Unexp

Sometimes they put an extension sticker on the back of the green card instead:

USCIS_Sticker.png

Edited by vivostu

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I have some questions about the documents listed on the I751 guide page. I'll paste the list from that page and put my questions and/or comments next to each item:

 

Quote

1.A deed, showing co-ownership of your property or a lease agreement with both of your names on the
lease.

 

Our lease is in my name only. Is this going to cause any problems?

 

Quote

2.Utility bills, credit card bills, and other types of bills which have both of your names on them. Since many utilities will only put a bill in one person's name, some bills in one name and other bills at the same address but in the other spouse's name serve the same purpose: showing your financial & social lives intermingled.

 

All of our bills are in my name except maybe our cell phone bill and that was changed recently. Is this going to cause any problems?

 

Quote

3.Copies of actual credit cards, health insurance cards, or other "joint" cards that you have together,
showing same account number.

 

Our whole family is on my wife's health insurance so that is easy to produce evidence for. We also have 3 joint bank accounts with one of them being the account that we both direct deposit our paychecks into and a personal loan we just jointly applied for. What documents do I need to prove the joint bank accounts and direct deposit and how do I get them (in other words what do I ask the bank for)? What about the personal loan? I have the loan agreement but there are a few pieces of information on it that aren't relevant and tell someone how to gain access to our account. Is it okay to black out that information?

 

Quote

4.Car, health, or life insurance that has both of your names on the policy or the other spouse listed as the
beneficiary.

 

We are both on the same car insurance policy so that's easy. What document do I need as evidence for my life insurance?

 

Quote

5.401K or other retirement plan with spouse listed as beneficiary (right to survivorship is the technical term)

 

That one shouldn't be a problem.

 

Quote

6.Bank or stock accounts with both of your names on them.

 

I covered the bank accounts and we don't have any stock accounts.

 

Quote

7.A copy of your joint federal and state tax returns (including W-2's and other applicable Schedules and attachments). Sending an official tax transcript from the IRS(for Federal) is beneficial and often preferred as it reflects what was actually filed.

 

We filed both our state and federal taxes jointly. Just a matter of getting the documentation.

 

Quote

8.A car title or other titles to property showing joint ownership with your spouse.

 

I bought our car before my wife came here from the Philippines so the car is only in my name. As soon as she got her driver's license she got that car and I bought a beater which also only has my name on it. Hope this wont be an issue.

 

Quote

9.Birth certificate of any children that have been born to your marriage.

 

As I stated before we have a one year old son together and I have his birth certificate.

 

Quote

10.Documentation of any vacations that you have taken, including flight itineraries, hotel bills, pictures of you
together on vacation.

 

We haven't gone on any vacations together yet. However we are planning a trip to the Philippines this summer and may purchase our plane tickets in the next week or two. Will evidence of this help at all?

 

Quote

11.Other family pictures of you together.

 

We have pictures together. How many are needed?

 

Quote

12.Documentary proof showing evidence of your children together (Copy of Birth Certificate, photos, etc)

 

Already covered.

 

Quote

13.Copies of Christmas cards and other holiday cards addressed to you both

 

We had stuff like that but we don't hold on to any of that stuff for very long.

 

Another quote from the guide:

 

Quote

 If you are short on the documents that have both of your names listed on them you MAY include affidavits from people who know you as a couple (see examples), confirming your marital relationship -- note that they are not required. If you have very little documentary evidence, you may find affidavits helpful.

 

Would affidavits be helpful in our situation or are they not needed? If we do need them how many should I send in? Basically I have listed what we have and what we don't have. Is it enough? Is there anything not listed that we need? Any advice is appreciated.


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I'm hoping someone sees my last post and can help me answer some of my questions. I want to complete the package and send it out next week. My wife and step son's green cards expire the 13th of next month and I was reading on another thread the government shutdown may affect the delivery of the I-751 package. I need to get going on this asap. I shouldn't have put it off until now. Just got some of the documents I needed from work today (life insurance, 401k and employee stock beneficiary paperwork). I tried getting tax transcripts from the IRS website and it keeps saying its down for maintenance so I'll keep trying. Any help with the other questions would be greatly appreciated.


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2 hours ago, jg121783 said:

Any help with the other questions would be greatly appreciated.

I would strongly suggest using USCIS instructions for the form I-751. They can be accessed here: https://www.uscis.gov/i-751

In short, send everything that has both of your names + separate documents that are addressed to your shared residence.


ROC sent 7/20

ROC received at SCS 7/23

Check cashed 8/3

NOA1 8/1

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1 hour ago, implife said:

I would strongly suggest using USCIS instructions for the form I-751. They can be accessed here: https://www.uscis.gov/i-751

In short, send everything that has both of your names + separate documents that are addressed to your shared residence.

So documents with just my wife's name at our address are worth sending? Didn't even think of that. I guess I'll send everything I can get by the end of this next week to get it in before the green cards expire and if it isn't enough they can request an interview. How long after they receive the I-751 package will we receive the temporary extension letter? If we don't receive it by the date the green cards expire what should we do?


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You can send the page listing each other's as beneficiaries (or your children) for savings account, CDs, IRAs, pension plans, life insurance, etc. Daycare/school registration documents showing both of you as parents/emergency contacts for your children. 

 

You can black out some information (ex. username for a bank account), but it is kind of worthless - someone with nefarious intent still has way too much information on you (SSN, address, employment and bank details)... 

 

What about wills/living wills?

 

Do not forget to send documents covering the duration of your marriage; e.g. not only one bank statement per year, but multiple, from x years ago until now... 

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1 hour ago, jg121783 said:

How long after they receive the I-751 package will we receive the temporary extension letter?

Just send everything ASAP. The letter will come in a few weeks.


ROC sent 7/20

ROC received at SCS 7/23

Check cashed 8/3

NOA1 8/1

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Got a question about tax transcripts. For days the IRS website transcript website has been down for maintinence (maybe because of the shutdown). Can I use the tax return documents turbotax generates for me instead? The documents do show we filed jointly. I don't have time to sit on the phone with the IRS or wait weeks to get transcripts in the mail.


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Tried sitting on hold with the IRS for 2 hours today only to be hung up on. Their transcript website is still down. I don't have time to deal with these people anymore. I'm gonna go ahead and send my turbotax return. If that's not good enough they can have us come in for an interview I guess.  Only problem is it's over 100 pages long. Can I just send the first page from the federal and the first page from the state showing we filed jointly or do they need all 100+ pages? Perhaps I can include a letter saying due to the government shutdown I have had difficulty obtaining transcripts but can produce them upon request?


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5 hours ago, jg121783 said:

Tried sitting on hold with the IRS for 2 hours today only to be hung up on. Their transcript website is still down. I don't have time to deal with these people anymore. I'm gonna go ahead and send my turbotax return. If that's not good enough they can have us come in for an interview I guess.  Only problem is it's over 100 pages long. Can I just send the first page from the federal and the first page from the state showing we filed jointly or do they need all 100+ pages? Perhaps I can include a letter saying due to the government shutdown I have had difficulty obtaining transcripts but can produce them upon request?

You need to send tax returns for every year youve been married- and it has to be either the transcripts (which as you know you cant get right now) OR the complete tax return PLUS copies of all your w2s and 1099 type forms you used to fill out the return. (If you are sending a turbo tax return make sure you both sign it before sending the copy even if you electronically filed it). It doesnt matter how many pages the tax return is- include every sheet of it.

 

Also I browsed through your other posts in this thread and I want to stress to you that you definitely need to include documents even if they are only in one persons name. You are trying to show financial co-mingling. That often means joint bills but its not exclusive to it. Are you sending a cover letter or letter of explanation of how any income is earned and spent jointly?

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50 minutes ago, Damara said:

You need to send tax returns for every year youve been married- and it has to be either the transcripts (which as you know you cant get right now) OR the complete tax return PLUS copies of all your w2s and 1099 type forms you used to fill out the return. (If you are sending a turbo tax return make sure you both sign it before sending the copy even if you electronically filed it). It doesnt matter how many pages the tax return is- include every sheet of it.

 

Also I browsed through your other posts in this thread and I want to stress to you that you definitely need to include documents even if they are only in one persons name. You are trying to show financial co-mingling. That often means joint bills but its not exclusive to it. Are you sending a cover letter or letter of explanation of how any income is earned and spent jointly?

We got married in 2016 but my wife didn't get to the US until 2017 so our only joint return is for 2017 (Not counting 2018 which isn't filed yet). Is this okay? For the documents I need to send can I skip all the turbotax consent forms and just send everything else that is tax related or should I send it all? It is 148 pages total.

 

I do have a cover letter (taken from the template in the guide) listing the contents of the package. I do not have a letter explaining our income. Is there a template somewhere? Should I just basically explain that we both have jobs and a joint account where both our checks go which we use to pay bills? Where do I include this in the package? With my documentation of joint accounts?

 

On another note I am having trouble getting some documentation in a timely manner such as documentation of my wife's beneficiary for her life insurance and retirement plan (I do have them from my employer listing her as my beneficiary). I am also having trouble getting documentation of our direct deposits into the same account. I read something on another thread about being able to send additional documents at a later date. Is this possible and what is the process for doing this. Time is getting short here and if this is a possibility I would like to send what I have by the end of the week and send the rest as I get it.

 

As far as bills go the only thing really that my wife receives at our address is a cell phone bill. And that has only been in her name for a few months. Will this be a problem? Her check stub does have our address on it though it isn't mailed to her. Should we include this? I basically had all the bills in my name before my wife got here and just kept it that way because I didn't see a need to change it.

 

So worst case scenario they don't think we have enough evidence. What happens then? Do we just have to do an interview to explain things in more detail or how does that work?


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Your timeline shows you married 2/2016. How did you file taxes for 2016? Married filing separately I hope. You can look into trying to amend it to MFJ for possible tax benefits... Hopefully you didnt file as single for 2016. If you did do not panic. USCIS is NOT the IRS and honestly the IRS doesnt care too much if someone files under the wrong higher tax category or doesnt take advantage of all deductions they are entitled to. The USCIS will care though if you claimed to be single to the IRS when you were married. You may need to explain your ignorance of the tax statues and show how you refiled to correct it. I wont get too much into it because I dont know how you filed in 2016 but do not panic Ok?

 

You need to send proof of the marriage for the entire duration of the marriage regardless of when your wife entered the US. So this means ALL bank statements from Feb 2016 until now. Yes, it is a lot of papers. ROC packets are usually huge piles. 6-8 inches thick envelopes. 

 

The turbo tax stuff you dont need but can throw it in anyway. Why is your tax return so many pages? Do you have schedules? Remember to include all tax forms you used to fill out your return including 1099s and w2, schedules, etc. 

 

Since you need to send every page of your bank accounts the direct deposit info should be on them. Her life ins beneficiary stuff - its ok if you dont have them. You can make a note of it in your letter and tell them you are having problems getting it right now but can provide it if they need it.

 

If they need additional documents they will send an RFE and you will have 87 days to send it back with what they ask for. You can also bring stuff to the interview if you have one.

 

Have you read through threads in the ROC forums about what others have sent? Im sure there is a few threads with examples of letters people included but honestly its not that hard- there is no template. Basically imagine how it is to be a stranger getting a 10 inch envelope of stuff. A basic letter explaining whats going on is extremely helpful. USCIS does not connect the dots - they expect YOU to lay out your case. Its totally fine to have all the bills be in your name- as long as she is getting the joint benefit from them they dont care what name is on it. But its up to you to explain these are all our utility bills in my name, heres how they are paid, we both live here and use the utilities. Here is where we both deposit money into the joint account and here is where the mortgage/rent payment comes out (funded by out joint money). Here is supermarket charges, Dr charges, gas charges- all made from the account. 

 

I have no idea what your financial situation is or how you guys divide stuff if you even divide bills. The Officer wont know either unless you tell them. Again read through others ROC threads and see example lists of what people sent. If you need more help please post back again. You NEED to get the packet filed by the deadline no matter what. I'll keep an eye on this thread the next few days incase you need more help. Good luck!

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You just answered a lot of questions I had. You also made me come up with a lot more questions. First of all I want to say thanks for the information and the willingness to help me through this. I got through all the CR1/CR2 stuff with the help of people here and I thought this would be easier but the more I get into it I think it might be worse. Anyways I will start by going through all your comments and answering questions you have and asking questions I have. I am working on my cover letter now and will post it including a list of all the documents I have when it is complete if you want to review it.

 

2 hours ago, Damara said:

Your timeline shows you married 2/2016. How did you file taxes for 2016? Married filing separately I hope. You can look into trying to amend it to MFJ for possible tax benefits... Hopefully you didnt file as single for 2016. If you did do not panic. USCIS is NOT the IRS and honestly the IRS doesnt care too much if someone files under the wrong higher tax category or doesnt take advantage of all deductions they are entitled to. The USCIS will care though if you claimed to be single to the IRS when you were married. You may need to explain your ignorance of the tax statues and show how you refiled to correct it. I wont get too much into it because I dont know how you filed in 2016 but do not panic Ok?

Unfortunately I did file single in 2016 and to make it worse I filed the return a month after my wife got to the US. I can't remember for sure but I think I did it because the Turbotax software asked me for my wife's social security number and she didn't have one yet. what is the best way to handle this?

 

2 hours ago, Damara said:

You need to send proof of the marriage for the entire duration of the marriage regardless of when your wife entered the US. So this means ALL bank statements from Feb 2016 until now. Yes, it is a lot of papers. ROC packets are usually huge piles. 6-8 inches thick envelopes. 

This might be another problem. My wife got here in February of 2017 and didn't start working until about July of 2017. In that time period she wasn't on my bank account as there was no need because I do all the bills. She didn't have much mail sent to our address in that time period and what she did get has been thrown away. After she started working we had separate bank accounts with separate direct deposits for a few months and she just gave me the money we needed for the bills. It was about October of 2017 that I added her to my account and we switched her direct deposit to make paying bills easier. The only things I have that I can think of from before that that shows our financial ties are documents showing my wife and my step son being added to my health insurance shortly after they got here and my wife being listed as the beneficiary on my 401K, employee stock plan and life insurance policy. As soon as my wife qualified for health insurance we all switched over to her plan and I will include documentation of that. Essentially we don't have much evidence from February 2017 to November 2017 when our son was born. Even after that we don't have much mail addressed to my wife and what we do have will be relatively recent. I do have the lease covering the time period of a month after my wife got here until now with my wife's name written on it (first name only) as an occupant but the landlord never asked her to sign it. I hope that isn't a problem. My wife's check stubs (which we have online access to) have our address on them going back to July of 2017 so maybe this will help? The fact that I filed taxes single in 2016 and we don't have a lot of evidence for the first 9 months or so my wife and step son were here has me a little worried. Hopefully you can reassure me here. Also we do have some pictures going back to when my wife and step son got here but not many with all of us in them which is my fault because I don't like having my picture taken all the time. All I have from the time we got married until the time my wife got here is pretty much what I sent for her visa such as money transfer receipts, ect. I was not able to visit her at all for that year so there are no pictures or anything except for the week or so after our wedding.

 

2 hours ago, Damara said:

The turbo tax stuff you dont need but can throw it in anyway. Why is your tax return so many pages? Do you have schedules? Remember to include all tax forms you used to fill out your return including 1099s and w2, schedules, etc. 

I have a job and a small business so there were a lot of schedules. Between the federal and state return I printed about 100 pages last night. A tax transcript would have been easier but this is what I have to work with I guess.

 

2 hours ago, Damara said:

Since you need to send every page of your bank accounts the direct deposit info should be on them. Her life ins beneficiary stuff - its ok if you dont have them. You can make a note of it in your letter and tell them you are having problems getting it right now but can provide it if they need it.

My life insurance, 401K and stock plan beneficiary paperwork was easy to get from the HR people at work. My wife on the other hand works for the state and her HR department gave her a phone number to call which I will be calling tomorrow. I have a feeling it will take at least a week or more to get the paperwork in the mail from past experience with these people. I would like to have everything sent out by Monday next week. My wife's green card expires the 13th of next month. what is the longest you would wait for these documents? Perhaps as you said a letter explaining the situation is the best option. 

 

2 hours ago, Damara said:

If they need additional documents they will send an RFE and you will have 87 days to send it back with what they ask for. You can also bring stuff to the interview if you have one.

It's a little reassuring to know if they need something I didn't provide they will simply request it and give me plenty of time to produce it. I remember a RFE was something I wanted to avoid during the visa process but in this case at least my wife and step son are already in the US. 

 

2 hours ago, Damara said:

Have you read through threads in the ROC forums about what others have sent? Im sure there is a few threads with examples of letters people included but honestly its not that hard- there is no template. Basically imagine how it is to be a stranger getting a 10 inch envelope of stuff. A basic letter explaining whats going on is extremely helpful. USCIS does not connect the dots - they expect YOU to lay out your case. Its totally fine to have all the bills be in your name- as long as she is getting the joint benefit from them they dont care what name is on it. But its up to you to explain these are all our utility bills in my name, heres how they are paid, we both live here and use the utilities. Here is where we both deposit money into the joint account and here is where the mortgage/rent payment comes out (funded by out joint money). Here is supermarket charges, Dr charges, gas charges- all made from the account. 

I do plan on including a letter of explanation of our financial situation attached to the front of our bank account documents. I was also going to attach a letter to the front of our 2017 tax return explaining the documents came from Turbotax and that I couldn't obtain a transcript in time and would be happy to send one upon request. I am unsure about what to say about my 2016 return. Hopefully you can help me with this.

 

3 hours ago, Damara said:

I have no idea what your financial situation is or how you guys divide stuff if you even divide bills. The Officer wont know either unless you tell them. Again read through others ROC threads and see example lists of what people sent. If you need more help please post back again. You NEED to get the packet filed by the deadline no matter what. I'll keep an eye on this thread the next few days incase you need more help. Good luck!

So it sounds like its best to get the packet sent in as soon as possible even if it is missing stuff and worst case we will get an RFE. That makes me feel a little better but I am still worried about the 2016 tax return and about the lack of evidence from the first 9 months my wife was here and before she was here. I know there is a lot of questions here and I would appreciate any help you can give me with even some of them. 


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