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quitethejourney2

Beginner DIY-visa questions

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Hi VisaJourney,

After reading around on the web, everyone points to here as the go-to DIY-visa resource. I'm just beginning this DIY journey, so apologies if these two questions are basic and repeated elsewhere. These are just general clarification questions.

 

1) I am the US citizen and my partner lives overseas. We are not yet married. However, we would like to move forward with the marriage process. The most appropriate option would be the Fiance K-1 visa, correct? I.e. I am correct to assume that my partner cannot visit me in the US, get married here, return home, and then begin the CR-1 process?

 

2) Regarding provable income for sponsorship, how do they assess this? I am currently in a job that pays ~32k USD, but will be returning to graduate school in August and my university-defined income will be ~21k (although ancillary jobs will put it towards ~25k). I have two family members (i.e. my parents) who are willing to act as a co-sponsor for the fiance/spouse visa (Form I-134 and Form I-864a). 

 

Can't wait to become part of the VisaJourney community!

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1 minute ago, quitethejourney2 said:

 I am correct to assume that my partner cannot visit me in the US, get married here, return home, and then begin the CR-1 process?

 

Incorrect. Assuming he/she has the required permission (tourist visa or approved ESTA or is Canadian) then he/she can marry you whilst visiting, return home and you proceed with the CR-1. 

 

This option might be better for you anyway since money seems tight. On a K-1 he/she will not be able to work for many months. And you will have more fees to pay and also pay for some health insurance for him/her. With a CR-1 he/she will be able to work immediately. The CR-1 is also cheaper, faster to a green card (and citizenship, if this part of your plans). 


 

 

 

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Every couple has their own priorities, and each couple must decide which visa is better for their situation.

K-1
    Slightly faster arrival in the US (currently about 5 months sooner)    
    More expensive than CR-1    
    Requires Adjustment of Status after marriage (expensive and requires a lot of paperwork)    
    Spouse can not leave the US until she/he receives approved Advance Parole (approx 5-6 months)    
    Spouse can not work until she/he receives EAD (approx 5-6 months)    
    Some people have had problems with driver licenses, Social Security cards, leases, bank account during this period    
    Spouse will not receive Green Card for many months after Adjustment of Status is filed.

  

CR-1
    Slightly slower arrival in the US (currently about 5 months later)

    Less expensive than K-1    
    No Adjustment of Status(I-485, I-131, I-765) required.    
    Spouse can immediately travel outside the US    
    Spouse is authorized to work immediately upon arrival.    
    Spouse receives Social Security Card and Green Card within 2 or 3 weeks after entering the US    
    Opening a bank account, getting a driver's license, etc. are very easily accomplished with GC, SS card, and passport.

    Spouse has legal permanent Resident status IMMEDIATELY upon entry to US.
  �


Yes, your fiance can enter the US, marry you, then return to home country to continue the CR-1 process.


                               :idea:MSC (National Benefits Center) I-751 filers- Please add your data :idea:                          https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Id1duRRByZHJmhEzl9N25GqwzcnUyLCR4e4N9W6zGLg/edit#gid=0

 

Retired 20 year US Air Force Missileer (Retired E-8)

Retired Registered Nurse with practice in Labor/Delivery, Home Health, Adolescent Psych, Adult Psych

Retired IT Professional, Software Developer, Database Manager

 

Immigration Journey:

  • Texas Service Center after transfer from Nebraska
  • Consulate :Taipei, Taiwan
  • Marriage: 7/30/2015
  • I-130 NOA1 : 4/27/2016
  • I-130 Approved :9/8/2016
  • Case received at NVC: 10/11/2016                               
  • Case # and IIN#: 10/24/2016
  • AOS Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • AOS Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • IV Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • IV Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • DS-260 Completed: 10/28/16
  • Scan Date:11/9/2016
  • Supervisor review: 12/21/16 
  • Checklist: 1/13/17 
  • Case Complete: 4/10/17
  • Interview Date: 5/8/17 
  • Visa  "ISSUED": 5/10/17
  • Visa and Passport in hand/Flight to USA Booked!!!: 5/12/17  
  • POE Dallas DFW on June 22, 2017
  • SS Card received : 7/3/2017
  • 2-year Green Card received in mail: 7/15/17
  • I751 mailed to Dallas PO Box: 3/28/2019
  • I-797 extension letter  for ROC dated 4/2/2019  MSCxxxxxxxxxx received: 4/6/2019
  • Biometrics apt received for 4/25/2019: on 4/12/2019
  • "..case ready to be scheduled for interview" on 5/29/2019
 

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Can you not marry now, where you are?


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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@JFH and @missileman thank you so much for your rapid responses. I am SO glad I posted.

 

You are correct that money is tight and my partner would prefer to not have to quit their job back home. It seems that our best bet is to arrange a trip on the tourist visa, get married while visiting the US, have my partner return home to their foreign country, and then I will proceed with the CR-1 application. I was under the assumption that it was illegal to get married while visiting, even if they return to their home country. We just want to follow all the proper procedures. Taking a bit more time will allow me to get some extra contracts to bump up the income a bit too. If I may ask a follow-up, upon arranging this trip to the US, is the intent-to-marry and depart something my partner should declare upon arrival?

 

@Boiler I am the US citizen and my partner is a UK citizen. On our most recent trip we finalized that we want to go ahead with the whole process, so we did not actually get married. They are currently located in Hong Kong, whereas I am in the US.

 

So exciting and scary but I am also kind of appreciating how much the process makes you double- and triple-check everything.

 

 

 

 

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K-1 vs CR-1 Full Analysis (fees may have changed but this example will help with your decision) We did a K1 but if i were to do over id opt for CR-1.
 
K-1
More expensive than CR-1    
Requires Adjustment of Status after marriage (expensive and requires a lot of paperwork)    
Spouse can not leave the US until she/he receives approved Advance Parole (about 5-6 months)    
Spouse can not work until she/he receives EAD (about 5-6 months)    
Some people have had problems with driver licenses, Social Security cards, leases, bank account during this period    
Spouse will not receive Green Card for 10 to 12 months after Adjustment of Status is filed.
If you have red flags this may be the best place to start in case of denial.
Estimated timeline is approximately 8 to 10 months (NOA1 to Interview)  This is officially quoted as 6 to 12 months.
 
K-1 Fees
$535 - USCIS Filing Fee
$265 per person - DS-160 (Visa Application)
$200 to $400 - Medical Fee
$1,225 per person - AOS Fee (Includes EAD/AP if filed together)
$750 per child under 14
$680 per person - ROC Fee
 
 
$2,705 plus medical (K-1)
$2,170 plus medical (K-2 over 14 years old)
$1,695 plus medical (K-2 14 years old and younger)
 
 
CR-1    
Less expensive than K-1    
No Adjustment of Status  (I-485, I-131, I-765) required.    
Spouse can immediately travel outside the US    
Spouse is authorized to work immediately upon arrival.    
Spouse receives Social Security Card and Green Card within 2 or 3 weeks after entering the US    
Opening a bank account, getting a driver's license, etc. are very easily accomplished with GC, SS card, and passport.
Spouse has Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status IMMEDIATELY upon entry to the United States
If you are truly concerned about a denial, the K-1 may be a better place to start.
Estimated timeline is 10 to 12 months (NOA1 to Interview) This is officially quoted at 12 to 14 months.
 
CR-1 Fees
$535 - USCIS Filing Fee
$120 - Affidavit of Support Fee
$325 - DS-260 (Visa Application)
$200 to $400 - Medical Fee
$220 - USCIS Immigrant Fee
$680 - ROC (if married less than 2 years at POE)
 
$1,200 plus medical (per person if married more than 2 years when filing)
$1,880 plus medical (per person if married less than 2 years at POE)
 


Spoiler

Adjustment of Status

AOS March 5, 2014 Submitted AOS with EAD/AP package to Chicago USICS

Delivered March 8, 2014 AOS packaged delivered to USCIS drop box

Accepted March 19, 2014 Text message with receipt numbers

Biometrics April 16, 2014 Biometrics completed

EAD May 23, 2014 Employment Authorization Document approved and went to card production

TD May 23, 2014 Travel Document approved and went for card production

Receipt EAD/AP May 30, 2014 Received combo card EAD/AP

Green Card Approved July 11, 2014 Approved, no interview. Went to card production.

Green Card received July 17, 2014 GC received without interview

Removal of Conditions

Mailed I-751 Dec 16, 2015 Submitted ROC (removal of conditions)

Received Dec 18, 2015 USPS notification of successful delivery

Check Cashed Dec 21, 2015 Check was cashed

NOA-1 Issued Dec 21, 2015 NOA-1 for ROC issued

NOA-1 Issued Dec 26, 2015 NOA-1 Received

Biometrics Appt. Jan 29, 2016 Biometrics Appointment Scheduled [Completed]

 

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@Greenbaum wow, what a detailed list! Gosh this whole forum really is a godsend. I see you are quite the experienced poster - thanks for taking time to respond to this post! Definitely going to heed your advice regarding the CR-1 over K-1. K-1 seems more 'doable' but CR-1 likely the best bet.

 

Could you comment at all on the question of what the spouse-to-be should say upon the border? Upon arranging this trip to the US, is the intent-to-marry and depart something my partner should declare upon arrival? We are more concerned with at-border denial - my partner's friend had an experience where they were denied entry upon pursuing a similar situation.

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, quitethejourney2 said:

If I may ask a follow-up, upon arranging this trip to the US, is the intent-to-marry and depart something my partner should declare upon arrival?

Your partner does not to "declare" anything unless asked by CBP.  If asked, one must be truthful.  Your partner should be prepared to show evidence of strong ties to home country since no one, other than US citizens, are guaranteed entry into the US.  

Edited by missileman

                               :idea:MSC (National Benefits Center) I-751 filers- Please add your data :idea:                          https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Id1duRRByZHJmhEzl9N25GqwzcnUyLCR4e4N9W6zGLg/edit#gid=0

 

Retired 20 year US Air Force Missileer (Retired E-8)

Retired Registered Nurse with practice in Labor/Delivery, Home Health, Adolescent Psych, Adult Psych

Retired IT Professional, Software Developer, Database Manager

 

Immigration Journey:

  • Texas Service Center after transfer from Nebraska
  • Consulate :Taipei, Taiwan
  • Marriage: 7/30/2015
  • I-130 NOA1 : 4/27/2016
  • I-130 Approved :9/8/2016
  • Case received at NVC: 10/11/2016                               
  • Case # and IIN#: 10/24/2016
  • AOS Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • AOS Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • IV Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • IV Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • DS-260 Completed: 10/28/16
  • Scan Date:11/9/2016
  • Supervisor review: 12/21/16 
  • Checklist: 1/13/17 
  • Case Complete: 4/10/17
  • Interview Date: 5/8/17 
  • Visa  "ISSUED": 5/10/17
  • Visa and Passport in hand/Flight to USA Booked!!!: 5/12/17  
  • POE Dallas DFW on June 22, 2017
  • SS Card received : 7/3/2017
  • 2-year Green Card received in mail: 7/15/17
  • I751 mailed to Dallas PO Box: 3/28/2019
  • I-797 extension letter  for ROC dated 4/2/2019  MSCxxxxxxxxxx received: 4/6/2019
  • Biometrics apt received for 4/25/2019: on 4/12/2019
  • "..case ready to be scheduled for interview" on 5/29/2019
 

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, missileman said:

Your partner does not to "declare" anything unless asked by CBP.  If asked, one must be truthful.  Your partner should be prepared to show evidence of strong ties to home country since no one, other than US citizens, are guaranteed entry into the US.  

Hi again @missileman ! Thanks for the quick response. Of course, we will be truthful, don't want to do anything illegal or get in trouble.

May I ask what you mean by 'show evidence of strong ties to home country'? To clarify, I am the US citizen and they are a Hong Kong resident granted UK citizenship due to the area's history. They have lived in Hong Kong their entire life except for attending school in the United States.

 

Apologies if I am misreading or misinterpreting your post!

Edited by quitethejourney2
added apology

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, quitethejourney2 said:

May I ask what you mean by 'show evidence of strong ties to home country'? To clarify, I am the US citizen and they are a Hong Kong resident granted UK citizenship due to the area's history. They have lived in Hong Kong their entire life except for attending school in the United States.

 

He/she should be prepared to show evidence (ties)  which would convince the CBP officer of intent of the Hong Kong resident to return home rather than stay inside the US longer than their authorized stay. Employment letter, leases, school responsibilities, for example.

Edited by missileman

                               :idea:MSC (National Benefits Center) I-751 filers- Please add your data :idea:                          https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Id1duRRByZHJmhEzl9N25GqwzcnUyLCR4e4N9W6zGLg/edit#gid=0

 

Retired 20 year US Air Force Missileer (Retired E-8)

Retired Registered Nurse with practice in Labor/Delivery, Home Health, Adolescent Psych, Adult Psych

Retired IT Professional, Software Developer, Database Manager

 

Immigration Journey:

  • Texas Service Center after transfer from Nebraska
  • Consulate :Taipei, Taiwan
  • Marriage: 7/30/2015
  • I-130 NOA1 : 4/27/2016
  • I-130 Approved :9/8/2016
  • Case received at NVC: 10/11/2016                               
  • Case # and IIN#: 10/24/2016
  • AOS Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • AOS Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • IV Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • IV Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • DS-260 Completed: 10/28/16
  • Scan Date:11/9/2016
  • Supervisor review: 12/21/16 
  • Checklist: 1/13/17 
  • Case Complete: 4/10/17
  • Interview Date: 5/8/17 
  • Visa  "ISSUED": 5/10/17
  • Visa and Passport in hand/Flight to USA Booked!!!: 5/12/17  
  • POE Dallas DFW on June 22, 2017
  • SS Card received : 7/3/2017
  • 2-year Green Card received in mail: 7/15/17
  • I751 mailed to Dallas PO Box: 3/28/2019
  • I-797 extension letter  for ROC dated 4/2/2019  MSCxxxxxxxxxx received: 4/6/2019
  • Biometrics apt received for 4/25/2019: on 4/12/2019
  • "..case ready to be scheduled for interview" on 5/29/2019
 

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1 hour ago, missileman said:

He/she should be prepared to show evidence (ties)  which would convince the CBP officer of intent of the Hong Kong resident to return home rather than stay inside the US longer than their authorized stay. Employment letter, leases, school responsibilities, for example.

Ah, thanks so much! For sure, and this is fantastic advice/information. Cheers!

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Posted (edited)

It is not illegal to come to the US to get married and then leave. I did exactly that, as have thousands of others. The illegal part is coming with the intent to stay, without an immigrant visa or a visa that permits immigration intent (such as a K-1).  If your acquaintance was planning to stay without the relevant permission, they were rightfully denied entry into the country. I know of at least one case where the person did not have any intention to stay but was rejected at the border due to not being able to satisfy the CBP officer that they intended to return. His biggest mistake was talking too much and not having a job/ties back home. Instead of answering the questions exactly as asked, he volunteered extra information about a fiancé in the USA and having no job back in the UK and no fixed address that he could prove (no lease, etc). 

Edited by JFH

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, JFH said:

It is not illegal to come to the US to get married and then leave. I did exactly that, as have thousands of others. The illegal part is coming with the intent to stay, without an immigrant visa or a visa that permits immigration intent (such as a K-1).  If your acquaintance was planning to stay without the relevant permission, they were rightfully denied entry into the country. I know of at least one case where the person did not have any intention to stay but was rejected at the border due to not being able to satisfy the CBP officer that they intended to return. His biggest mistake was talking too much and not having a job/ties back home. Instead of answering the questions exactly as asked, he volunteered extra information about a fiancé in the USA and having no job back in the UK and no fixed address that he could prove (no lease, etc). 

Ah, this is exactly the scenario I was imagining in my head! And thanks for clarifying about coming to the US to get married and then leaving. I was so confused - in my mind, when I thought it was not allowed, there was this weird black spot in the process where I thought 'well then how is the couple actually supposed to get married?'. But this has clarified so much!  Thanks @JFH :)

This forum is amazing!!!

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Moved from K1 Progress Reports to What Visa Do I Need - Family Based Immigration forum.


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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