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Hi all!

 

My girlfriend (F29, nurse, Washington state, USA, us citizen, single) and I (M31, banker, British Columbia Canada, Brazilian citizen, Canadian permanent resident, divorced, valid B1/B2 visa) have been dating for 7 months, and started to seriously consider marriage lately. We have been spending almost every other weekend together, in Canada, in the US, and we are still getting educated on both the fiance visa and the spousal visa. We live within a 2h drive from each other.

 

For this process to work, we would have 2 priorities: staying together after the wedding, AND ability to work asap (for me in this case).

We understand that these priorities work against each other hahaha, so that's why WE NEED YOUR EXPERIENCE and ADVICE. :)

 

If we do get engaged (we are doing church counseling right now) it would be during the holidays when we are visiting my family in Brazil. (She shouldn't read this haha)

Please feel free to remind us of anything we may be missing.

While we do understand the basic pros and cons of each visa, a few questions are still unclear.

 

These are the things that freak us out about each visa:

 

K1: 
can't drive/open bank account/travel/study during AOS? (Even with a current Canadian drivers license? Education wise, I would look into certifications more than standard formal education)

 

Employers basically won't really take EAD seriously (due to expiry date/temporary status) so actual skilled work roughly 12 months after the wedding??

 

Must not have wedding plans upon Montreal interview for K1? Or is it ok to plan in advance and disclose it during the interview?

 

 

CR-1

Which country should we get married to pursue the CR-1 process?  

Should it include the wedding ceremony or are they just looking for the marriage certificate?

 

eventually getting married and still living a couple of hours apart, won't that be held against us?

 

Overall, does it look like a K1 case to you guys, or is it more of a CR-1?


Thank you and looking forward to hearing from you all!

 

Cheers

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22 minutes ago, Thomas1988 said:

K1: 

can't drive/open bank account/travel/study during AOS? (Even with a current Canadian drivers license? Education wise, I would look into certifications more than standard formal education)

 

Employers basically won't really take EAD seriously (due to expiry date/temporary status) so actual skilled work roughly 12 months after the wedding??

 

Must not have wedding plans upon Montreal interview for K1? Or is it ok to plan in advance and disclose it during the interview?

Ability to drive would be a state issue. Some states are more strict than others. Lookup the DMV rules in your state.

This goes for the Canadian license as well. Each state has their own rules for new residents.

 

An EAD is just fine to work and many people work with just an EAD. While I can't say what specific people actually think about it, it would be illegal (https://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central/employee-rights-resources/preventing-discrimination) for an employer to deny employment based on what type of work authorization you have or it's (initial) validity period.

My now-wife (came on a K-1) works in a highly regulated field (she's an RN) and had no trouble at all. YMMV.

 

Wedding plans are fine to have anytime. Just don't do anything that could be misinterpreted as a wedding prior to entry on the K-1, and don't set any firm dates or anything until you have the visa in hand.

 

Quote

CR-1

Which country should we get married to pursue the CR-1 process?  

Should it include the wedding ceremony or are they just looking for the marriage certificate?

 

eventually getting married and still living a couple of hours apart, won't that be held against us?

Any country where you can legally marry is fine - US, Canada, Mexico, Philippines, etc. Where the marriage occurs is not an issue.

They require a legal marriage, and the marriage certificate as evidence of it. Married anywhere (where it would be legal in the US - aka no multiple concurrent spouses) is married.

 

No it won't be held against you. The vast majority of spousal visa cases involve couples that live apart.

 

Quote

Overall, does it look like a K1 case to you guys, or is it more of a CR-1?

Personally, I normally suggest the CR-1 unless there is a compelling reason for a K-1. The only advantage (except a rare case of immigrating children aged 18-20) of a K-1 is that it is a few months faster to be together.

For a couple that already has the ability to see each other regularly (my wife is form PH....so a couple trips a year max is all we could do), the K-1 makes less sense IMO. It's more expensive, you can't work for months, you can't travel for months, etc. It's very stressful during that period where one person tends to be "on their own" as a newlywed. Sitting at home watching TV all day & doing some home chores is nice for a week or so, but it gets old quickly. Ask my wife...she was fairly miserable and we knew what to expect upfront.

 

But the decision is really a personal one. So long as you know the pros and cons, what is best for you is something only you know. Fundamentally, is being together a few months sooner more important, or is the ability to work/travel abroad/possibly drive/etc. more important? Being together sooner isn't always the best long-term option.

Edited by geowrian

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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*~*~*moved from “K-1 fiancé visa process and procedures” to “what visa do I need” as OP is still considering the options*~*~*

 

Personally, I feel there are few cases where a K-1 is the most preferred option. Yours is definitely not one of them. 

 

Although you will be able to get a WA drivers license before you get your EAD or GC (WA allows you to have a license as long as you are in authorized stay and will accept the NOA1 from the I-485 when you adjust status), you will not be able to work for many, many months. 

 

In your situation I would marry and file for the CR-1. You can continue your regular visits throughout the process. You will thank yourself for it in the end.


 

 

 

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On 9/27/2019 at 11:45 PM, Thomas1988 said:

is it more of a CR-1?

A CR-1 will serve you well.  You can still visit together and get things organized while the petition is be adjudicated.  Once the VIsa is approved you can make the final move, drive and work.


March 2, 2018  Married In Hong Kong

April 30, 2018  Mary moves from the Philippines to Mexico, Husband has MX Permanent Residency

June 13, 2018 Mary receives Mexican Residency Card

June 15, 2018  I-130 DCF Appointment in Juarez  -  June 18, 2018  Approval E-Mail

August 2, 2018 Case Complete At Consulate

September 25, 2018 Interview in CDJ and Approved!

October 7, 2018 In the USA

October 27, 2018 Green Card received 

October 29, 2018 Applied for Social Security Card - November 5, 2018 Social Security Card received

November 6th, 2018 State ID Card Received, Applied for Global Entry - Feb 8,2019 Approved.

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