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Squidslinger

Newbie here prepping, your wisdom is appreciated

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So it's been a long year, met her over the net then went to Indonesia and met in person. She came here last month to meet the family and see life here before deciding and I formally proposed. Now, looking to start this process.

 

Pretty sure I don't want a lawyer. I've done enough poking to realize that's paying $2000 to get someone to fill out a paper for you. Rapidvisa was an attractive option and I even talked to them on the phone, but they seemed pushy to get me into making a paid account. Offering me a discount even. I just wanted basic questions answered before I decided and they kept wanting me to get that paid account.

 

So currently I'm not in the best position to do this and will have to rely on sponsors. Thankfully my family is just as crazy about my fiance as I am so I've got a solid 2 sponsors. One with plenty of money to spare right now. The other is definitely willing to pitch in. They hit it off well. I wish my own business was further along but we're not. Still developing our first product. My fiance is actually already a big help with it so, I can see it getting better once she is here.

I know this is Form I-134 that will be required. Now I found some notes online that I could list up to 2 sponsors. However the paperwork only has one and Rapidvisa confirmed only one. They said it also isn't filed until after the initial process is done, when it then goes to the Embassy.

 

Right now this is the biggest hurdle I could see the gov having over approval. We have plenty of evidence, pictures from both Indonesia and from her visit to the states here, heck I still got the tags that were attached to my suitcases when I went there. Also have chat logs going back awhile and could link to the online service we met through. But the fact I'm not able to make the income requirement at this moment, is the risk. One sponsor is willing to transfer the base income they'd want to see into an account so I have plenty of funds on file. In terms of her working, she's more upset she'll have to wait for a green card to work. She wants to hit the ground running when she gets here

 

Anyways after I resisted Rapidvisa's discount pitch, I decided to let it settle a bit and dig a little more. So I found this place and after checking some posts here, I'm thinking maybe I should save $500+ by just doing it myself after all.

 

From what I can see on Rapidvisa's site, which seems to fill in the form for you, I don't think it'll be that difficult other than discerning the legalese. I am wondering about one other potential issue that could come up. Her name is different on various documents. Part caused by the changing of the government that took place in 1998. The new gov wants all docs redone and generally gives her issues because of her ethnic group being a minority Chinese Indonesian. She's trying to get that resolved now. But she also has a Chinese name too and her parents are similar. How problematic is this for this visa?

 

I'll post as get more questions. Thanks.

 

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6 minutes ago, Squidslinger said:

I know this is Form I-134 that will be required. Now I found some notes online that I could list up to 2 sponsors. However the paperwork only has one and Rapidvisa confirmed only one. They said it also isn't filed until after the initial process is done, when it then goes to the Embassy.

One suitable sponsor is all you need. Having more than 1 isn't better than just have one good one - they can't combine incomes or anything.

 

6 minutes ago, Squidslinger said:

Right now this is the biggest hurdle I could see the gov having over approval. We have plenty of evidence, pictures from both Indonesia and from her visit to the states here, heck I still got the tags that were attached to my suitcases when I went there. Also have chat logs going back awhile and could link to the online service we met through. But the fact I'm not able to make the income requirement at this moment, is the risk. One sponsor is willing to transfer the base income they'd want to see into an account so I have plenty of funds on file. In terms of her working, she's more upset she'll have to wait for a green card to work. She wants to hit the ground running when she gets here

Boarding passes & passport stamps are much better than luggage tags.

 

I highly suggest not transferring money into accounts. If using assets in lieu of income (assets need to be at least 3x times the income), for a bank account they usually want to see 12 months of statements. They know people have tried to get a family member or friend (or loan) to just put money into an account to meet the sponsorship requirements, with no intention of actually keeping it in the account. Rule of thumb is if you can't explain it with a good reason, then it's probably not a good idea.

 

She can work once she has an EAD. ETA: ~4-7 months from filing (alongside AOS). The green card (via AOS) can take anywhere from a few months to 18+ months depending on local USCIS field office.

 

6 minutes ago, Squidslinger said:

Anyways after I resisted Rapidvisa's discount pitch, I decided to let it settle a bit and dig a little more. So I found this place and after checking some posts here, I'm thinking maybe I should save $500+ by just doing it myself after all.

Wise decision in most cases. Those with complicating factors may require professional assistance, but most cases it's a very well-traveled path and doesn't need that kind of help.

 

6 minutes ago, Squidslinger said:

Her name is different on various documents. Part caused by the changing of the government that took place in 1998. The new gov wants all docs redone and generally gives her issues because of her ethnic group being a minority Chinese Indonesian. She's trying to get that resolved now. But she also has a Chinese name too and her parents are similar. How problematic is this for this visa?

I can't speak to the specifics here as I'm not familiar with those laws/rules. But generally, any name change needs documentation, and all previous/alternate names used needs to be listed.

Beyond that, I'll defer to others.

 

Start with the guide: https://www.visajourney.com/content/k1guide

Read all forms and instructions.

Ask questions.

K-1: I-129F -> approval -> NVC -> embassy -> interview -> AP -> issued -> POE (entry into the US)

Be aware of not just the K-1 visa but the entire immigration process (K-1 -> AOS -> ROC -> naturalization (optional)).


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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Good to know on the bank requirements. I'll avoid doing that then. Proving there is enough money won't be a problem if I list the best sponsor I have which is an aunt of mine. She's 93. I pretty much help get her to appointments and drive her when needed. She and her husband did rather well with their jobs and pensions. My fiance spent quite a bit of time with her while visiting. My aunt adores her like the rest of my relatives so, she's glad to help.

 

Some of the name changing issues are based on how those who would fill out the paperwork would force them to change a spelling because they were being racist against the Chinese there and forced them to spell with more Indonesian spelling than Chinese. Indonesia has been in an on/off cultural war since the Chinese mass immigration there hundreds of years ago. My fiance's family immigrated because of the turmoil in China at the time period which led to famines/etc. The locals don't see them as true Indonesians because they'll never be loyal to Indonesia, only China. So they always persecute with some attempts at genocide from time to time. The sad thing is, the Chinese view them as dispora and not true Chinese. So they aren't allowed to learn Mandarin and are seen as outcasts.

 

I can hope the agent handling the paperwork would be aware of the persecution and name issues there but yeah, I need to address as many names as I can put on the documents.

 

I assume in this process there will be a time when I'll need to submit all our evidence? I keep seeing boxes for if you have an online account at the USCIS, I assume I need to make one and use this for the filing. Then I'll likely be submitting evidence digitally through there?

 

Also, given how long the time tables, is it generally recommended I stay in the states till it's all completed? What we would like to do is have a non legally binding ceremony for her family over in Indonesia. Then when the K1 is ready, bring her here for the official legally binding one. Why not just do marriage visa then instead? Because Indonesia is insanely slow in processing the paperwork. They are marriage competitors so everyone is getting married all the time there. When I was there it was common for there to be massive traffic jams all caused by wedding parties going on. Not only is there always a backlog but people generally don't do their jobs that well, especially if it's for a Chinese Indonesian. Although sometimes you get a decent person. So could easily look at needing twice as long for the visa process as you would just getting married here in the states.

 

Ideally it would be nice to get the visa, do the ceremony, then bring her home for the wedding here all in one effort. But, given most wedding venues over there require at least a year in advance for reservations...eh. Also hate to plan too much because she'll need to go to Jakarta for the embassy at some point for the interview and medical. If there was a delay and it pushed it back and we set the ceremony plans too early...would cost them the reservation fee. She's closer to the Surabaya consulate so she'll need to travel a bit to do her end of the visa.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Squidslinger said:

What we would like to do is have a non legally binding ceremony for her family over in Indonesia. Then when the K1 is ready, bring her here for the official legally binding one.

 

NO NO NO NO NO!!!!

 

Search this site for K1+denied+ceremony or too+married+for+K1.  It doesn't matter if it's not legally binding.  Just... NO!

 

Edited by Ate

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Posted (edited)

If having a ceremony with family and friends is important to you, but marrying in Indonesia is too much of a hassle, have you considered a destination wedding somewhere close?  For example, Singapore has a straightforward process for foreigners wanting to get married there, with a residency requirement of only 15 days.

 

45 minutes ago, Ate said:

Search this site for K1+denied+ceremony or too+married+for+K1.  It doesn't matter if it's not legally binding.  Just... NO!

 

I dug up some recent examples for you of K1 applications denied because of a non-binding ceremony --

 

 

Edited by Ate

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Hmmm, I had not heard that. That is concerning.

 

One big thing that is kind of required is a Chinese Engagement ceremony. Usually these are held a year before but her family was willing to do one a week before a unofficial wedding.

 

Unless we really time this well and do it all within the 6 months after the visa is approved? Do they care after it has been approved?

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3 hours ago, Squidslinger said:

One big thing that is kind of required is a Chinese Engagement ceremony. Usually these are held a year before but her family was willing to do one a week before a unofficial wedding.

 

Unless we really time this well and do it all within the 6 months after the visa is approved? Do they care after it has been approved?

 

Don't risk it.  After the K1 visa is issued, you and your future wife will still have AOS and ROC to worry about.  Keep in mind that K1 is for marrying in the US.  If immigration officials ever suspect that you and your fiancee got married before she entered the US, it would be difficult to prove that you didn't.

 

If the formal ceremony is super important but the marriage process in Indonesia is still too much of a hassle, how about pushing through with the engagement ceremony, then hopping over to Singapore or Hong Kong for the wedding?  If you two are ready to get married anyway, file for CR1 instead.  Many here on VJ will tell you that a CR1 visa is far superior to K1 and many here who already got K1 have regretted not pursuing CR1 instead.

 

If you are not ready to get married soon or a destination wedding doesn't interest you, how about toning down the ceremony and having a low-key engagement party instead?  No ceremonial outfits, no ring exchange, no ministers.  Have signs clearly saying "ENGAGEMENT" in English.  I still think this would be risky though.  Based on the many reports on VJ of denials for seeming "too married for K1", I strongly advise against having any sort of gathering that could be mistaken for a wedding before your fiancee enters the US.

 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Squidslinger said:

Hmmm, I had not heard that. That is concerning.

 

One big thing that is kind of required is a Chinese Engagement ceremony. Usually these are held a year before but her family was willing to do one a week before a unofficial wedding.

 

Unless we really time this well and do it all within the 6 months after the visa is approved? Do they care after it has been approved?

I would reconsider the plan for a ceremony. We've seen denials for having such ceremonies all too often. Take a look ate some of the threads @Ate posted. Just because you haven't heard of it, doesn't mean it is not possible. 

 

You are in the world of immigration. You have to realize that sacrifices have to be made. Things that you want to do may not happen or happen in the time you'd like. You can officially marry in your fiance's home country then apply for a spousal visa afterwards.

 

But be aware that if you due decide to have a ceremony before getting the K1, there will be a possibility of a denial. We just don't want to see things be more difficult than they should be.

 

P.S. Here is something for thought. You said the following....

Quote

One big thing that is kind of required is a Chinese Engagement ceremony.

If it is required, like you just said, how is it then "unofficial"?

 

The engagement ceremony is a tradition. When you start using words like "required", you give the interviewing officer the suspicion of the legality of things. 

 

And this statement you said here...

Quote

What we would like to do is have a non legally binding ceremony for her family over in Indonesia. Then when the K1 is ready, bring her here for the official legally binding one.

...makes it seem like you want to have two weddings; one in Indonesia and one in the USA. And if I was a immigration officer and saw this, it would be an instant denial.

 

Edited by Unlockable

“When starting an immigration journey, the best advice is to understand that sacrifices have to be made; whether it is time, money, or separation or a combination of any or all.” - NuestraUnion

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Posted (edited)

Chinese engagement is pretty much standard in the culture, it's just a very formal engagement party. They can be either very grand affairs as big as weddings or they can be low key. It is mostly for the families to present the couple to be married and announce it. Her family did a grand affair for her brother's wedding and ceremony because his wife came from a well off family. In Chinese culture there is a concept of saving face and a balance in relationships. If one family spends tons of money on an engagement ceremony and wedding, the other has to do the same. If the other is too poor, the poor family gets looked down on and talked about behind their backs. Kinda forever treat you like a peasant. It's vicious.

My fiance doesn't care about all of that and wants to be as simple as possible. She's seen how much of a strain doing that put on her family. The engagement ceremony she has in mind, would be rather small and from the sounds of it, likely will just take place in her house. We could do like she did when she came here to the US and just wipe all pictures and not talk about it. She has at times been willing to let go of the idea of doing a unofficial wedding ceremony. She seemed to want a reception ceremony there at least but on K1 it would take time to get approval for her to leave the country so we could go back and do that.

 

The danger of course is there would be camera concerns. Indonesians are shutterbugs and like to take pictures. Even if we tried to be super secretive and keep all pictures limited to photographers, something could get out. Guess it would come down to how deeply this would be investigated. Yeah, I'm not nuts about the risk. She had friends who told her to just get married on tourist visa and take the risk with a lawyer. Sure that would have been loads cheaper but we both agreed we didn't want that risk.

 

Right now the trouble we and our families have with the CR-1 idea is the time. We'd do Singapore, have 15 days there, then we wouldn't see each other for maybe a year. Her parents don't think that is a good idea for a new couple and neither do I. This isn't like mexico or canada where I could just travel across and back for a weekend, Indonesia is 24-30+hrs and probably about $1600+ per round trip ticket. Not to mention responsibilities at home, there is just no way I could go back and forth a lot till the CR-1 would be approved.

There also is a recent story I came across with a banker friend of ours who has a client who is stuck in a marriage visa process and has been doing it for 5 years now. This is with mexico so different country and such but, delays caused by mexico and other factors have had their entire process pushed back by years. I'd hate for something to happen and then we get stuck in something like that. To me it would be better to just bring her here, get it done and not worry about unknown factors like that.

Edited by Squidslinger

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1 hour ago, Squidslinger said:

Chinese engagement is pretty much standard in the culture, it's just a very formal engagement party. They can be either very grand affairs as big as weddings or they can be low key. It is mostly for the families to present the couple to be married and announce it. Her family did a grand affair for her brother's wedding and ceremony because his wife came from a well off family. In Chinese culture there is a concept of saving face and a balance in relationships. If one family spends tons of money on an engagement ceremony and wedding, the other has to do the same. If the other is too poor, the poor family gets looked down on and talked about behind their backs. Kinda forever treat you like a peasant. It's vicious.

My fiance doesn't care about all of that and wants to be as simple as possible. She's seen how much of a strain doing that put on her family. The engagement ceremony she has in mind, would be rather small and from the sounds of it, likely will just take place in her house. We could do like she did when she came here to the US and just wipe all pictures and not talk about it. She has at times been willing to let go of the idea of doing a unofficial wedding ceremony. She seemed to want a reception ceremony there at least but on K1 it would take time to get approval for her to leave the country so we could go back and do that.

 

The danger of course is there would be camera concerns. Indonesians are shutterbugs and like to take pictures. Even if we tried to be super secretive and keep all pictures limited to photographers, something could get out. Guess it would come down to how deeply this would be investigated. Yeah, I'm not nuts about the risk. She had friends who told her to just get married on tourist visa and take the risk with a lawyer. Sure that would have been loads cheaper but we both agreed we didn't want that risk.

 

Right now the trouble we and our families have with the CR-1 idea is the time. We'd do Singapore, have 15 days there, then we wouldn't see each other for maybe a year. Her parents don't think that is a good idea for a new couple and neither do I. This isn't like mexico or canada where I could just travel across and back for a weekend, Indonesia is 24-30+hrs and probably about $1600+ per round trip ticket. Not to mention responsibilities at home, there is just no way I could go back and forth a lot till the CR-1 would be approved.

There also is a recent story I came across with a banker friend of ours who has a client who is stuck in a marriage visa process and has been doing it for 5 years now. This is with mexico so different country and such but, delays caused by mexico and other factors have had their entire process pushed back by years. I'd hate for something to happen and then we get stuck in something like that. To me it would be better to just bring her here, get it done and not worry about unknown factors like that.

Personally, I do not think it is worth the risk.  We have seen too many cases here of people who did just that, and it resulted in an additional 1-2 years of time added to their process when they had to start over with a CR-1.

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Posted (edited)

If you do have it don't send pictures of it for sure and don't volunteer any information they don't ask for. Our K-1 from start to interview (our interview is april 2) is 9 months so far. An extra couple of months won't hurt if you really love each other and want it to work. Personally, I would tell the family tradition or not we can't do it. You will just have to talk behind our backs.

Edited by dxec

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4 hours ago, Squidslinger said:

There also is a recent story I came across with a banker friend of ours who has a client who is stuck in a marriage visa process and has been doing it for 5 years now. This is with mexico so different country and such but, delays caused by mexico and other factors have had their entire process pushed back by years. I'd hate for something to happen and then we get stuck in something like that. To me it would be better to just bring her here, get it done and not worry about unknown factors like that.

This can happen just the same with a K1. But these are rare occurrences either way for either visa. And K1s really aren't that much faster than CR1s these days anyway. Maybe 3 months faster. 


4/14/2018 - Mailed I-129f

10/16/2018 - NOA2

11/13/2018 - NVC received 

11/29/2018 - Consulate received

12/12/2018 - P3

1/10/2019 - P4
3/27/2019 - Interview

4/4/2019 - Visa received 

 

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Posted (edited)

I will discuss more with her. It wouldn't just be 2 months more for CR-1. Getting a venue for everything within a month in Indonesia is impossible. As I said, they tend to fill up a year in advance. If I start the K1 I can start it now. If I wait for a CR-1, it might be August before I could feasibly get there and they could maybe try to find something. With K1 she's potentially here early next year, with CR-1 she's towards summer or fall. There is also finances on my side and her side. The trip to here drained them a bit, on top of still recovering from her brother's wedding years prior. They could use the time to save up again while a K1 would be getting processed.

 

What she has said to me last night from a Indonesian visa group she joined, is that there are others who have done this on the K1. Similar idea, ceremony for family, then do the wedding in US. What they've told her is they were never questioned that much at interviews. They didn't show pictures of it so maybe they heard not to. When the questions came, they just asked basic questions, nothing about parties or ceremonies. Which is almost par the course from what I saw with the consulate in Surabaya. Could freely admit she was coming here to visit the family and they were quite helpful in steering us to a travel visa to do that. Later she heard not to tell them she's in a relationship with me. So when she and her parents went for an interview at the consulate, they just said for tourism. Consulate people didn't poke or prod, just approved the visa and let them go.

Wondering if Indonesia's consulate and embassy just doesn't poke or prod that much. Maybe the staff there knows that they have all sorts of ceremonies and doesn't care. Indonesians definitely don't usually have the money to travel to the US. If they do, they often don't do it. Their media often treats us as villains so, they really don't have a desire to come here. Heck my fiance didn't. I think she kept trying to talk me into moving to Malaysia or Japan. She just couldn't even fathom living here. Then she saw it and all her ideas changed. It honestly was a bigger culture shock than when I went there.

Edited by Squidslinger

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On 3/12/2019 at 1:26 AM, Squidslinger said:

 Her name is different on various documents. Part caused by the changing of the government that took place in 1998. The new gov wants all docs redone and generally gives her issues because of her ethnic group being a minority Chinese Indonesian. She's trying to get that resolved now. But she also has a Chinese name too and her parents are similar. How problematic is this for this visa?

 

I'll post as get more questions. Thanks.

 

well, dont know anything of the history that new government on 1998 makes all Indonesian Chinese re-done all the document, but I know that is somthing common for  Indonesian Chinese to have 2 names (Chinese name used for internal family & Indonesian name for all formal document) but i think its happen not only 1998 but also before that.

 

for Visa petition, the document that she need is birth certificate & Passport, her name on those document should be similar or at least there is document to explain for the difference.  She can re-new her birthday certificate if needed to Population & Civil registration if needed (it took a week for me to have new birth certificate).

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