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leshok

US citizen married to EU spouse (both living in UK) - we want to move to US

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Hello,

 

 

What's the best path for my European wife to come to the states?

Background:
>We've been married 2 years.
>We married in Czech Republic and moved to the UK soon after. Been here for nearly 2 years. We both received our Masters here too.
>I am a US citizen with a 5-year family visa which allows me to work and live in the UK.
>She is a Czech citizen.
>We have no kids, masters education, she has an ITIN, I have fulltime work in the UK and a few clients in the US (so I am still paying taxes). She's currently unemployed.
>She is also 2 years away from getting UK settled status so we can come back (and eventually, British citizenship). We won't move to the US until she has this.
>She's visited the US 3x with me.

 

After she has settled-status, if we wanted to move to the US for at least a year, what would we have to do?
1. Would it be better to apply from abroad (London)?

A.I believe step 1 would be to fill this out - https://www.uscis.gov/i-130 
1.a. Do we have to move immediately if she gets approved?

A. Can't find this answer but I swear I saw "within 6 months" somewhere.
1.b. Could we apply from London and move to the US while the case is pending? Could we visit?

A. Yes, case has to be pending.
2. Could we both move to the US and apply?

A. Yes, I don't know if it's easier though.
2.a. Can she work while we wait in the US?

A. Yes.
3. Can we travel back and forth before she gets approved? And after?

A. Yes, less than 6mo.
3.a. For instance, her case could be pending but we visit her parents and come back to the US.

4. Would it be worthwhile to go through a 3rd party to help put everything together?
 

I know it's a lot to ask which is why we might just pay someone to help us... I put my answers above but I'm not sure they're all correct. Most likely we will apply from London and wait until we get a yes, then move once she has UK settled status... If we can.
Thank you!

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Wales
Timeline

1a. Does not sound like you qualify to do so.

1b Visit yes.

2. No

2a No see 2

3 You can visit

3a See3

4. Up to you of you use a Lawyer, this is a DIY site, seems you have a lot to learn.

 


“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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33 minutes ago, Boiler said:

1a. Does not sound like you qualify to do so.

1b Visit yes.

2. No

2a No see 2

3 You can visit

3a See3

4. Up to you of you use a Lawyer, this is a DIY site, seems you have a lot to learn.

 

Am I reading this correctly then? https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/strategies-applying-marriage-based-visa-if-couple-lives-abroad.html

"If you are a U.S. citizen living abroad and you are married to a foreign citizen who wishes to receive a U.S. green card based on your marriage, you and your spouse should be able to initiate the green card application process from outside the United States". I know I cannot go to an embassy to do any of this. I would send the form to Dallas or fill it out online.

 

Lower on the page it says I must be in the US unless I "can demonstrate an intention to establish a domicile in the U.S. either before or at the time of their beneficiary’s arrival in the United States".

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12 minutes ago, leshok said:

Am I reading this correctly then? https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/strategies-applying-marriage-based-visa-if-couple-lives-abroad.html

"If you are a U.S. citizen living abroad and you are married to a foreign citizen who wishes to receive a U.S. green card based on your marriage, you and your spouse should be able to initiate the green card application process from outside the United States". I know I cannot go to an embassy to do any of this. I would send the form to Dallas or fill it out online.

 

Lower on the page it says I must be in the US unless I "can demonstrate an intention to establish a domicile in the U.S. either before or at the time of their beneficiary’s arrival in the United States".

You mail the petition to the US lockbox.   Domicile does not matter at that stage.


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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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Wales
Timeline
32 minutes ago, leshok said:

Am I reading this correctly then? https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/strategies-applying-marriage-based-visa-if-couple-lives-abroad.html

"If you are a U.S. citizen living abroad and you are married to a foreign citizen who wishes to receive a U.S. green card based on your marriage, you and your spouse should be able to initiate the green card application process from outside the United States". I know I cannot go to an embassy to do any of this. I would send the form to Dallas or fill it out online.

 

Lower on the page it says I must be in the US unless I "can demonstrate an intention to establish a domicile in the U.S. either before or at the time of their beneficiary’s arrival in the United States".

Well until the end of March that was a general option, domicile, London seem ok with intent rather than actual, but you may be looking to move first.


“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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4 hours ago, Paul & Mary said:

You mail the petition to the US lockbox.   Domicile does not matter at that stage.

Or do it online. 


ROC 2009
Naturalization 2010

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Sometimes posters here forget that some people are starting from zero knowledge. 
 

Strongly suggest you read the guide here thoroughly as your start (not nolo or avvo etc)


Back to the questions. 

1.a. Do we have to move immediately if she gets approved?

A. She will have a medical exam just before her visa interview. Her visa will expire 6 months after the date of the medical exam. She needs to move before it expires. (And please make plans to move at least a week or two before expiry so you don’t get caught out by weather/cancelled flight etc)
1.b. Could we apply from London and move to the US while the case is pending? Could we visit?

A. Not only can you apply from London, but you must if that is where she lives. No she cannot move while it’s pending as there is no visa type that allows her to move to wait for processing there. (If she was in the US on a work or student visa that would be different) You of course as a citizen can move back any time you want. 
2. Could we both move to the US and apply?

A. No, answered above 
2.a. Can she work while we wait in the US?

A. No. Firstly because she can’t “wait in the US”, and if she went over to visit for a while on VWP or visitor visa she would not have work authoritization. 
3. Can we travel back and forth before she gets approved? And after?

A. Yes to before, if she has VWP/visit visa. As for “after”, an immigrant visa/green card is to live in the US. She is allowed to travel out again of course but needs to maintain residence in the US to keep her green card.

4. Would it be worthwhile to go through a 3rd party to help put everything together?
A. Unless you have some complicating factor such as a criminal record where legal advice might help, no. Again, read the guides. All someone “putting it together” will do is in fact just file everything you have already put together for them.


 

Now: on domicile. You have to show you either do live in or intend to move back to the US to be her sponsor, but you only need to show this by the time she interviews. That will be months away. 

 

Edited by SusieQQQ

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1 hour ago, SusieQQQ said:

Sometimes posters here forget that some people are starting from zero knowledge. 
 

Strongly suggest you read the guide here thoroughly as your start (not nolo or avvo etc)


Back to the questions. 

1.a. Do we have to move immediately if she gets approved?

A. She will have a medical exam just before her visa interview. Her visa will expire 6 months after the date of the medical exam. She needs to move before it expires. (And please make plans to move at least a week or two before expiry so you don’t get caught out by weather/cancelled flight etc)
1.b. Could we apply from London and move to the US while the case is pending? Could we visit?

A. Not only can you apply from London, but you must if that is where she lives. No she cannot move while it’s pending as there is no visa type that allows her to move to wait for processing there. (If she was in the US on a work or student visa that would be different) You of course as a citizen can move back any time you want. 
2. Could we both move to the US and apply?

A. No, answered above 
2.a. Can she work while we wait in the US?

A. No. Firstly because she can’t “wait in the US”, and if she went over to visit for a while on VWP or visitor visa she would not have work authoritization. 
3. Can we travel back and forth before she gets approved? And after?

A. Yes to before, if she has VWP/visit visa. As for “after”, an immigrant visa/green card is to live in the US. She is allowed to travel out again of course but needs to maintain residence in the US to keep her green card.

4. Would it be worthwhile to go through a 3rd party to help put everything together?
A. Unless you have some complicating factor such as a criminal record where legal advice might help, no. Again, read the guides. All someone “putting it together” will do is in fact just file everything you have already put together for them.


 

Now: on domicile. You have to show you either do live in or intend to move back to the US to be her sponsor, but you only need to show this by the time she interviews. That will be months away. 

 

Thank you, I checked out the guides here. Good to know!

 

Now, I may be planning too far ahead, but after we fill out the I-130, get her immigrant visa approved, move to the US, she should then receive a green card in the mail, valid 10 years (we are in the US at this point). According to immigrationequality.org + other searches.

 

We shouldn't leave the US for more than 6 months at a time and if we do, we need to apply for a re-entry permit before we leave. What I can't find answers to is if we moved abroad for more than 2 years, what do we do since the re-entry expires after 2 years? And second, if we have a baby in the US, does that allow her to come back whenever?

 

I will keep searching the web - I appreciate all the help.

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3 minutes ago, leshok said:

she should then receive a green card in the mail, valid 10 years

It is based on entering the US after 2 years of marriage.

4 minutes ago, leshok said:

We shouldn't leave the US for more than 6 months at a time and if we do, we need to apply for a re-entry permit before we leave.

She can turn arround the day she enters the US and not return for up to year.  Staying outside the US for more than 1 year requires a re-entry permit prior to leaving the US.

 

6 minutes ago, leshok said:

What I can't find answers to is if we moved abroad for more than 2 years,

Re-entry permits are for 2 years or less.

 

5 minutes ago, leshok said:

if we have a baby in the US, does that allow her to come back whenever?

It makes the baby a citizen.  If has to affect on your wife until the child turns 21 and can sponsor the mother,

 


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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You need to be careful how much time is spent out of the country on a spousal visa.  It is not a glorified travel visa.  Staying out of the US for more than being in the US will cause an issue if the plan is to naturalize.


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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1 hour ago, leshok said:

We shouldn't leave the US for more than 6 months at a time and if we do, we need to apply for a re-entry permit before we leave. What I can't find answers to is if we moved abroad for more than 2 years, what do we do since the re-entry expires after 2 years? And second, if we have a baby in the US, does that allow her to come back whenever?

As above, it is longer than one year she will need a re-entry permit for, to keep her green card. 6 months+ will cause a problem for naturalization, which has different (more stringent) criteria. A re-entry permit can be renewed twice, but the third time only for a year to allow max 5 years out. Quite frankly if you intend to move away for that length of time there’s not much point in going through the whole immigrant visa process imo. Just the fact of having a US citizen baby does not give her any rights to enter the US at all. 

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10 hours ago, leshok said:

a few clients in the US (so I am still paying taxes). She's currently unemployed.

Oh I wanted to comment on this. As a US citizen you are obliged to file tax returns annually with the IRS regardless where you live or earn income (whether you actually have to pay any tax is another matter depending on double tax treaties etc). You’ll need to be in good standing with the US tax authorities to sponsor your wife for an immigrant visa. Note that as soon as your wife gets a green card, she is subject to the same tax reporting requirements as you already are - another thing to bear in mind if you plan on living and working elsewhere after she gets her green card.

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14 hours ago, leshok said:

Would it be better to apply from abroad (London)?

She is eligible for consular processing; I-130 can be filed online or by paper. She can't enter the US with intent to submit application for Adjustment of Status (I-485). Direct Consular Filing is only available for exceptional circumstances: https://www.uscis.gov/policy-manual/volume-6-part-b-chapter-3

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