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Argentina Lockdown; possible to 'convert' the I-129F to the I-130?


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I'm looking for some feedback, perspective, and if you think you've got it, advice!


The first thing to know is that my fiance (Argentine) is also an Italian citizen. We are very aware of the world in turmoil, and we want to keep all our options open--not only open, but move each option forward as far as possible without jeopardizing or terminating others--such as our Fiance Visa, which we were sooooo close to having finished before the lockdown. Now the US Embassy in Argentina is shut down indefinitely, and things are not looking up at all. 


Back in February, we had paid for her final appointment at the embassy and we were just a few days away from scheduling the interview at the US embassy. You know what happened next. It could be a long time until it opens back up and we have already lost almost 1 year of time where we could have been married originally, in the US or in Arg, but didn't because we wanted to follow all the rules.


The time we've '"lost" is important because of various benefits to us the longer we are married, including for her US visa as my spouse (this would be I-130, correct?)... but she also has Italian citizenship and there are certain rules for me acquiring some kind of legal means of living in Italy permanently with her as her spouse. So we have 3 options here as far as where to live when things are a bit smoother, and each option requires time investments... mostly in the form of marriage, but also in waiting on processes.


We had our baby here in late March, who is technically Argentine-Italian-American. Can't get his American passport though because of the embassy's operations being suspended. We've done some digging and, assuming chaos doesn't reign more than it already has, we can get his Italian and Argentine passport by early November. That way, we can at least all travel to the US, even if we have to figure out something more permanent later.


So the question becomes: what would you do? I doubt it's possible to convert what we've already done to a I-130 (alien relative), and I also imagine it would take an extra 6 months minimum to cancel that one and file a new one (the first time around, it took that long to hear anything back). Should we get married? Should we keep holding out for her fiance visa?


I have no "opinion" in this, only trying to hear from others your perspectives. Thanks!


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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Taiwan

For a spousal visa, step 1 is to marry....then file the I-130.  In other words, you start from scratch after marriage.   Pre-Covid, the average time from filing the I-130 to visa-in-hand for a spousal visa was about 12-18 months. I would not expect the time frame to be any shorter now.


You are pretty far into the river to change horses......but it's a personal decision.  There are benefits in a spousal visa such as ability to work and travel outside the US immediately.......but that would likely add a year to US entry.

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August 7, 2022: Wife filed N-400 Online under 5 year rule.

November 10, 2022: Received "Interview is scheduled" letter.

December 12, 2022:  Received email from Dallas office informing me (spouse) to be there for combo interview.

December 14, 2022: Combo Interview for I-751 and N-400 Conducted.

January 26, 2023: Wife's Oath Ceremony completed at the Plano Event Center, Plano, Texas!!!😁

February 6, 2023: Wife's Passport Application submitted in Dallas, Texas.

March 21, 2023:   Wife's Passport Delivered!!!!

May 15, 2023 (about):  Naturalization Certificate returned from Passport agency!!


In summary, it took 13 months for approval of the CR-1.  It took 44 months for approval of the I-751.  It took 4 months for approval of the N-400.   It took 172 days from N-400 application to Oath Ceremony.   It took 6 weeks for Passport, then 7 additional weeks for return of wife's Naturalization Certificate.. 

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Russia

I'm assuming you're in the US right now and your fiancée is in Argentina right now; if either of those is not true, the best plan might be different.


I suspect the best option for you is probably to just wait; your case is already at the embassy in Argentina and you already had an interview scheduled, so your fiancée's ought to be near top of the list when they start having K-1 interviews again, but ultimately that's up to you.


If anyone here has any expertise on Italian or Argentine immigration, they might want to chime in regarding that. 


You're right that if you want to get married and start a spousal visa process, that's starting over and any fees you've paid would be lost and it would likely take another year or more (though it does put your spouse in a better position when she gets here, since you don't have to go through AOS).


You can't do anything with US immigration (or your son's CRBA and US passport) until the embassy reopens (not sure if taking care of your son's stuff would fall under US citizen services, which seems like is the first thing reopening).


FWIW, Argentina does not appear to be on any specific travel ban on the US side of things right now (looks like just the Schengen area + UK & Ireland, Brazil, and China, and the land borders with Canada and Mexico). Also, as a parent of a US citizen minor child, your fiancée might be able to get around general travel bans even if there was one. Have no idea on Argentine restrictions on Americans. Also, the only flights out of Argentina to anywhere outside of South America that show up on Skyscanner right now for next month are to Miami and NYC.

K-1                             AOS                            
NOA1 Notice Date: 2018-05-31    NOA1 Notice Date: 2019-04-11   
NOA2 Date: 2018-11-16           Biometrics Date: 2019-05-10    
Arrived at NVC:  2018-12-03     EAD/AP In Hand: 2019-09-16     
Arrived in Moscow: 2018-12-28   GC Interview Date: 2019-09-25      
Interview date: 2019-02-14      GC In Hand: 2019-10-02
Visa issued: 2019-02-28
POE: 2019-03-11
Wedding: 2019-03-14

ROC                             Naturalization
NOA1 Notice Date: 2021-07-16    Applied Online: 2022-07-09 (biometrics waived)
Approval Date: 2022-04-06       Interview was Scheduled: 2023-01-06
10-year GC In Hand: 2022-04-14  Interview date: 2023-02-13 (passed)
                            	Oath: 2023-02-13


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