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Problematic Case: Petitioner not in US

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Hi! I have a pretty complicated case and I would greatly appreciate some insights from you, guys here at VJ...I was born in a US Territory (That's how I got a US citizenship and a US passport) but have lived in the Philippines most of my life. I am now married, we have a daughter and another baby on the way. Someone offered to help get us to the US by being our joint sponsor way back 2018. We started the paperwork for my husband and my daughter and got an approved petition on March 2019 then a case number by May 2019. Due to certain circumstances, we stopped processing and thought that our joint sponsor can no longer help us but just this January 2020, she wanted us to push through with our application and paid the visa fees and the AOS fees for my husband and daughter. A travel consultant have been assisting us since we started the process and gave us hope that we have a chance of getting approved even though I have never been to mainland US and am currently residing in the Philippines. He said he would assist me in processing for dual-citizenship or recognition as a Filipino citizen so I wouldn't have a problem with the Philippine Immigration for "overstaying". As for the affidavit of support, a joint sponsor who is in the US would suffice. To make things more problematic, I just learned that this travel consultant passed away last year. Taking his place is another person who told us that US immigration have been stricter and a lot of changes have been implemented. Since we also have a baby on the way, we need to work on another petition. I was told that processing times have been longer and in most cases, the petitioner has to be in the US with a stable job to get approved for a visa. Our goal is to move together at the same time if there's a way. Is this a hopeless case? Thanks in advance!

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Having a suitable joint sponsor is fine for the financial side of things. The CO will determine if the beneficiary is a public charge or not based upon a totality of the circumstances.

They are more strict with this recently, but a suitable sponsor is still fine.

Not sure what "a lot of changes" is that they are referring to. The overwhelming majority of family based cases have no perceivable changes since 2018.


The petitioner must have US domicile or show sufficient intent to establish US domicile (even if they have a joint sponsor). Since you lived most of your life outside the US, you will likely need a good amount of evidence to show intent, or to actually move first and establish US domicile.

Check out the domicile section on the wiki for some ideas: https://www.visajourney.com/wiki/index.php/NVC_Process


Depending on if the child will obtain US citizenship at birth from you or not, they may need a separate petition at that time.

Check here for requirements on deriving citizenship via a parent: https://www.uscis.gov/us-citizenship/citizenship-through-parents




7/27/20: Sent forms to Dallas lockbox, 7/30/20: Received by USCIS, 8/10 NOA1 electronic notification received, 8/1/ NOA1 hard copy received



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




12/1/16: sent, 12/14/16: 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



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



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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Filed: Lift. Cond. (apr) Country: China

Moved from Progress Reports to Process & Procedures.

Our journey:


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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