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Sarah G

RapidVisa and bona fide marriage

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We submitted the i130 recently and know it has been delivered to USCIS and are awaiting NOA1. We did this before I found this site and I have been reading around and I am worried. 

 

My husband (USC) and I have never lived together. I have visited the US three times to see him for a total of 24 weeks in the last 16 months. We married in November last year on my third visit. We met online two years ago.

 

We decided to use RV on the recommendation of a friend who used it for K1 two or three years ago. We are going for CR1. 

 

As we have never lived together we have none of the bona fide paperwork like joint financial etc as my understanding is that without an SSN I can't get a bank account in the US, or be added to his lease. I have been careful not to show too many ties to the US (aside from the obvious) as I fear being denied entry or being accused of visa fraud as I enter on an ESTA. 

 

I raised this with RV and said I had plenty of photos I could send as evidence from our visits over the last year or so. RV advised me that photos were useless and unwanted by USCIS and instead to submit four sworn affadivits from people close to us who could attest to the authenticity of our relationship. So that is what we did, along with an explanatory letter of why this was our only evidence. 

 

Reading all the posts on here, it seems this advice was the polar opposite to what many recommend. 

 

Is there a way I can supplement our packet and send the photos in prior to receiving an RFE? Or is it too late now since we have already submitted it, and we will just have to wait for an RFE

 

If it matters, we are both in our 30s and I am from the UK. 

 

Advice on this greatly appreciated. 

 

I'm really frustrated that this could slow down the process based on advice from a source I trusted. I already dodged a lawyer who advised me to go for K3! 

Edited by Sarah G
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Just now, Lemonslice said:

What makes you trust RapidVisa?  If you read the instructions, thinking about your marriage, what would you send? 

I trusted them because a friend recommended them and because they file thousands of these forms. And we have never filed them. 

 

I wanted to send photos, and had planned to prior to using RV, but when their advice was that USCIS didn't want the photos, I believed that, thinking they know more about the process than I do. 

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@Sarah G photos are secondary evidence, but it does help to have photos with husband, family, and friends..Most important evidence is facetime in person and I see you got that down...I will never suggest anyone to use RV because they are known for making mistakes just as lawyers..This site is very helpful and wish you would have found it before you sent your petition off. As far as sending the pics after the fact, I don't know about that, but I am sure some of the veteran members will be able to answer your question..

 

Good luck on the rest of your journey!

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Looked that your post again, so all you sent was 4 affidavits? 

 

Try to relax, it's easy to say. Dont let it get to you. 

 

Maybe they have experience with 'clients' from the UK and deem 4x affidavits ample. Fingers crossed. 

 

What i'd be doing is preparing a packet similar to what is advised on here to be ready for an RFE if you get one. 

Edited by thatguyuknow

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1 hour ago, Sarah G said:

Reading all the posts on here, it seems this advice was the polar opposite to what many recommend.

Yup. Showing evidence of time spent together is good evidence. Affidavits are mostly useless unless you have nothing better. Who would submit a negative affidavit? How does USCIS or a CO have the means to verify the information in it (a notary just verifies the person is who they say they are)?

 

It's too late for you, but this kind of basic mistake is a recurring issue with RV.

 

1 hour ago, Sarah G said:

Is there a way I can supplement our packet and send the photos in prior to receiving an RFE? Or is it too late now since we have already submitted it, and we will just have to wait for an RFE

Not without an RFE. That said, they probably won't issue an RFE.

You can side-load at NVC as well.

 

1 hour ago, Sarah G said:

If it matters, we are both in our 30s and I am from the UK. 

It does. You'll face very little scrutiny of the relationship so I doubt it will be an issue.

Had you been going through a high fraud embassy and/or with red flags, I'd be more concerned.


Timelines:

Spoiler

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

10/24/18: Green card produced notice

10/25/18: Formal approval

10/31/18: Green card received

 

K-1:

Spoiler

I-129F

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

 

NVC

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

 

K-1

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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Most of us have never lived together with our spouses when we file. That’s we were apply for visas. I also went through the London embassy. I have to say, the genuine nature of your relationship will barely be an issue for the London embassy unless there are huge red flags that you haven’t mentioned here. As it stands, based on what you have posted, you don’t have much to worry about.,


 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Sarah G said:

We submitted the i130 recently and know it has been delivered to USCIS and are awaiting NOA1. We did this before I found this site and I have been reading around and I am worried. 

 

My husband (USC) and I have never lived together. I have visited the US three times to see him for a total of 24 weeks in the last 16 months. We married in November last year on my third visit. We met online two years ago.

 

We decided to use RV on the recommendation of a friend who used it for K1 two or three years ago. We are going for CR1. 

 

As we have never lived together we have none of the bona fide paperwork like joint financial etc as my understanding is that without an SSN I can't get a bank account in the US, or be added to his lease. I have been careful not to show too many ties to the US (aside from the obvious) as I fear being denied entry or being accused of visa fraud as I enter on an ESTA. 

 

I raised this with RV and said I had plenty of photos I could send as evidence from our visits over the last year or so. RV advised me that photos were useless and unwanted by USCIS and instead to submit four sworn affadivits from people close to us who could attest to the authenticity of our relationship. So that is what we did, along with an explanatory letter of why this was our only evidence. 

 

Reading all the posts on here, it seems this advice was the polar opposite to what many recommend. 

 

Is there a way I can supplement our packet and send the photos in prior to receiving an RFE? Or is it too late now since we have already submitted it, and we will just have to wait for an RFE

 

If it matters, we are both in our 30s and I am from the UK. 

 

Advice on this greatly appreciated. 

 

I'm really frustrated that this could slow down the process based on advice from a source I trusted. I already dodged a lawyer who advised me to go for K3! 

We only met once in person before I filed.  To get married.  LOL.  

 

I sent in the basic package right after we got married.  No secondary evidence.  No face to face evidence.  

 

We got approved on that.

 

”Evidence of meeting in person” is a requirement of I-129F but not I-130.  You have to show some “face to face” time.

“Evidence of valid marriage” is the I-130 requirement and is satisfied by evidence that you are legally married.

 

In our case because we were in two different countries this was limited to the Copy of and certified translation of the marriage certificate.

 

This shifts the burden to settle any “validity” issues towards the interview step (thats where the passport stamps / hotel reservations / other details about how much time spent together etc come in) but it is not necessary to send any additional information for USCIS to process your petition.  Summary:  Save it for the interview stage.

 

Good luck

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2 minutes ago, Nitas_man said:

”Evidence of meeting in person” is a requirement of I-129F but not I-130.  You have to show some “face to face” time.

“Evidence of valid marriage” is the I-130 requirement and is satisfied by evidence that you are legally married.

The I-130 actually does have a requirement to show a bona fide marriage, not just a legal one. Traditionally USCIS has not enforced this heavily, but there are quite a few people who have received an RFE for this type of evidence (photos together, chat messages, passport stamps to show time together, etc.) in recent years. IO's call how strict they want to be.

 

The I-130 instructions suggest sending this information:

"NOTE: In addition to the required documentation listed above, you should submit one or more of the following types of documentation that may prove you have a bona fide marriage:

(1) Documentation showing joint ownership of property;

(2) A lease showing joint tenancy of a common residence, meaning you both live at the same address together;

(3) Documentation showing that you and your spouse have combined your financial resources;

(4) Birth certificates of children born to you and your spouse together;

(5) Affidavits sworn to or affirmed by third parties having personal knowledge of the bona fides of the marital relationship. Each affidavit must contain the full name and address of the person making the affidavit; date and place of birth of the person making the affidavit; and complete information and details explaining how the person acquired his or her knowledge of your marriage; or

(6) Any other relevant documentation to establish that there is an ongoing marital union.

NOTE: You must submit clear and convincing evidence that you and your spouse entered into the marriage in good faith and not for immigration purposes if you married your spouse while your spouse was the subject of an exclusion, deportation, removal, or rescission proceeding (including during the judicial review of any one of these proceedings); or you are a lawful permanent resident that obtained your permanent residence through a prior marriage that was not determined by the death of your spouse and you are filing your petition for your spouse that you were married within five years of obtaining your permanent residence."

 

Then there's always the issue of whether frontloading is necessary or not with the OP's embassy/consulate. For some it's not a big issue. For others, it can be a killer. A CO does not have to consider any relationship evidence unless submitted with the petition.


Timelines:

Spoiler

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

10/24/18: Green card produced notice

10/25/18: Formal approval

10/31/18: Green card received

 

K-1:

Spoiler

I-129F

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

 

NVC

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

 

K-1

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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No need to front-load with the UK. We submitted three (very short) affidavits plus my husband's boat insurance policy that happened to have my name as spouse. No problem.

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Thank you all so much for your input. I can definitely put something together for the interview - in fact I started this in September knowing that eventually we would want it. If they don't look at it, that's fine, it's a nice scrapbook of our relationship for me to keep anyway. 

 

We will just have to wait and see what USCIS decides and take it from there. At the very least we know we have all kinds of evidence of our relationship that can be sent to them if required. 

 

I find this whole process so stressful, I'm obviously very eager to have my visa and be with my husband as soon as possible and unnecessary delays are my kryptonite! (Just like everyone else, I have no doubt) 

 

Thank you again! 

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4 hours ago, geowrian said:

The I-130 actually does have a requirement to show a bona fide marriage, not just a legal one. Traditionally USCIS has not enforced this heavily, but there are quite a few people who have received an RFE for this type of evidence (photos together, chat messages, passport stamps to show time together, etc.) in recent years. IO's call how strict they want to be.

 

The I-130 instructions suggest sending this information:

"NOTE: In addition to the required documentation listed above, you should submit one or more of the following types of documentation that may prove you have a bona fide marriage:

(1) Documentation showing joint ownership of property;

(2) A lease showing joint tenancy of a common residence, meaning you both live at the same address together;

(3) Documentation showing that you and your spouse have combined your financial resources;

(4) Birth certificates of children born to you and your spouse together;

(5) Affidavits sworn to or affirmed by third parties having personal knowledge of the bona fides of the marital relationship. Each affidavit must contain the full name and address of the person making the affidavit; date and place of birth of the person making the affidavit; and complete information and details explaining how the person acquired his or her knowledge of your marriage; or

(6) Any other relevant documentation to establish that there is an ongoing marital union.

NOTE: You must submit clear and convincing evidence that you and your spouse entered into the marriage in good faith and not for immigration purposes if you married your spouse while your spouse was the subject of an exclusion, deportation, removal, or rescission proceeding (including during the judicial review of any one of these proceedings); or you are a lawful permanent resident that obtained your permanent residence through a prior marriage that was not determined by the death of your spouse and you are filing your petition for your spouse that you were married within five years of obtaining your permanent residence."

 

Then there's always the issue of whether frontloading is necessary or not with the OP's embassy/consulate. For some it's not a big issue. For others, it can be a killer. A CO does not have to consider any relationship evidence unless submitted with the petition.

You are right and I usually suggest photos and plane tix / local hotel reservations etc with the petition.  I also suggest using the marriage open enrollment window to enroll the spouse in health insurance pending SS number if at all possible.  

 

Absent face time/wedding evidence or other “hard” evidence of a “forming household” affidavits are sort of ranked last and weakest (my view only) for “overseas” weddings because I do not believe they carry as much weight as affidavits originating in the US where the originator can be held accountable for what they swear to.

 

This petition is sent, the OP is a little bit stressed, what’s done is done, and I shared our experience for this particular case.

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Nitas_man said:

You are right and I usually suggest photos and plane tix / local hotel reservations etc with the petition.  I also suggest using the marriage open enrollment window to enroll the spouse in health insurance pending SS number if at all possible.  

 

Absent face time/wedding evidence or other “hard” evidence of a “forming household” affidavits are sort of ranked last and weakest (my view only) for “overseas” weddings because I do not believe they carry as much weight as affidavits originating in the US where the originator can be held accountable for what they swear to.

 

This petition is sent, the OP is a little bit stressed, what’s done is done, and I shared our experience for this particular case.

 

 

At least I can be somewhat comforted knowing all my affadavits originate in the US as that's where we were married! 

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