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amerikelinka

Establishing bona fides in Kazakhstan

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Hi, everyone! I've been a long-time stalker of this forum — thanks for your never-ending advice and support for one another!

 

Quick overview: I'm a US citizen who has been living in Kazakhstan since 2016 for study purposes. I married a Kazakhstani citizen in 2017, and now we're coming up on 2 years of marriage and are ready to start the IR-1 process and move to the US. Our situation is a bit complicated for a variety of reasons, but what I'm curious about right now is whether our evidence of a bona fide marriage will suffice, considering these limitations we're facing from Kazakhstani systems:

 

1) Kazakhstani banks don't have "joint banking." Instead, we have an account in my name with an extra debit card in his name which is linked to my account. There was no readily-available documentation of this that the bank could give us (i.e. no statement with both of our names on it), so we had to get a custom "spravka" (a remnant from the Soviet days which is basically a certificate of proof) confirming that he has this linked card.

 

2) My name is not on our apartment lease (which is not even an official legal document, just a written agreement between my husband and our landlady). I do, though, have a copy of my migration registration which lists our address as my place of registration. We also have a statement from our phone company which displays our names, numbers, and joint address.

 

3) He is on my health insurance policy through the university where I study/work. There is no read-out/statement I can receive to confirm this (our HR department is archaic), but we do have matching insurance cards which display the same policy number. I've scanned the fronts and backs of them.

 

Do you think, despite the limitations, this will be enough to prove co-mingling of finances, cohabitation, etc.? We are also going to send airline receipts from a trip to his hometown, railway receipts from an upcoming vacation, lots of pictures from our wedding and other family gatherings, phone records, affidavits from family and friends, and our marriage certificate, of course. Is there anything else you can think of that might be a non-traditional way to evidence our shared finances, apartment, etc.? Thanks in advance!

 

 

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2 hours ago, amerikelinka said:

1) Kazakhstani banks don't have "joint banking." Instead, we have an account in my name with an extra debit card in his name which is linked to my account. There was no readily-available documentation of this that the bank could give us (i.e. no statement with both of our names on it), so we had to get a custom "spravka" (a remnant from the Soviet days which is basically a certificate of proof) confirming that he has this linked card. 

We basically had the same thing when I lived in Russia. Not sure if you can do what we did but, we printed out a bunch of bank statements showing the transactions that were done with different cards (the last 4 digits were next to the transactions, I highlighted the numbers so they stood out) and then scanned and made photos of each debt card and wrote a paper explaining the situation because joint bank accounts don't exist in Russia either. If you can't get the statements with the card numbers, at least send photocopies of the cards themselves and maybe include a small caption explaining that you both use the account and have access to it.

 

2 hours ago, amerikelinka said:

2) My name is not on our apartment lease (which is not even an official legal document, just a written agreement between my husband and our landlady). I do, though, have a copy of my migration registration which lists our address as my place of registration. We also have a statement from our phone company which displays our names, numbers, and joint address. 

Is there any way the landlady can draft up the agreement with your name on it too, especially since I'm assuming you live there? This combined with your migration registration seems like it might help. The phone statement with both names is strong, that's great that you were able to get that! Can you get invoices at all where you pay for your insurance, maybe include that with copies of the cards?

 

Do you receive any mail at all at the same address? You can include pieces of mail addressed to you, or individual pieces of mail with his name and your name, too. It is also a good idea to include passport stamps showing the same date/destination from when you traveled together, if you have any.


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1 hour ago, millefleur said:

We basically had the same thing when I lived in Russia.

Your situation sounds similar! Thanks for your great advice. I guess I could print the statements from each card separately (there's not a joint one) and scan the cards. One thing I'm afraid will cause problems is that our cards have two different banks on them.  😆 Our bank merged with another one recently, but they still haven't issued new cards for all clients yet, so my husband's card has the logo with the new name, while mine has the old. I guess it's worth requesting a new card, though.

 

I'll ask our landlady about writing up another lease agreement. She's very nice and does whatever we want, basically, because we agreed to an "unofficial" renting arrangement so that she doesn't have to pay taxes on the income she gets from us. Very Kazakhstan.

 

We don't really get mail, but we have received some packages. I guess I could scan the shipping labels from some of those orders.

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1 hour ago, amerikelinka said:

Your situation sounds similar! Thanks for your great advice. I guess I could print the statements from each card separately (there's not a joint one) and scan the cards. One thing I'm afraid will cause problems is that our cards have two different banks on them.  😆 Our bank merged with another one recently, but they still haven't issued new cards for all clients yet, so my husband's card has the logo with the new name, while mine has the old. I guess it's worth requesting a new card, though. 

Yeah, if you can it might be better to have the new card just to make it seem more similar/obvious that it is the same account. That's what I would do. Concerning the shipping labels, sure you can include those. I ordered things from the US when I lived in Russia and I included some of the EMS labels from packages, it can't hurt as supplemental evidence that you also have been living at the same address.


03639.png                  

 🇷🇺  ♥  CR-1 via DCF in Moscow (2016-2017) 🇺🇸  Read about my DCF experience here and here.

Spoiler

26-Jul-2016: Married abroad
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 3 weeks; applied at local SSA

22-Jul-2017: GC arrived in the mail

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

 

I-90 GC Replacment (for Erroneous GC)

22-Jul-2017: GC arrives in the mail – 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!!

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!!

 

📑 I-751 Removal of Conditions (2019-???) 📝

Spoiler

28-Jun-2019: Conditional GC expires

30-Mar-2019: Eligible to apply for ROC...

??-???-2019: TBA...

 

 

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