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Moving Abroad with i-130 Filed for Spouse

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I am new to the forums but not new to this website as it has been an amazing resource in starting the process of obtaining a CR-1 Visa for my husband, who is a New Zealand citizen. I wasn't 100% sure the best place to put this thread, so please feel free to relocate it if I haven't chosen the appropriate place.


I have a full-time remote job and had been working full-time remotely for 3 years prior to COVID changing what "normal" looks like. My husband and I are currently in the New Zealand safe-haven where I was granted an exemption from the travel ban since I was traveling with him and additionally have been granted a 6 month visa. We had been trying to work out the logistics of when to submit and how to stay together during the whole process, and I was paying attention when Barbados opened up applications for 1 Year Welcome Stamp visas to remote workers. I put in an application for that with an approximate arrival date of November (just before my NZ visa expires).


A couple days after submitting for that application, we also e-filed our i-130 and i-130A forms. We've already got a receipt and notice that the request has been accepted and is under review. But today, I also got the notice that both my spouse and I were approved for the Welcome Stamp visas for Barbados... which is where I get to the questions. We would love to take up the opportunity to live in Barbados for a year, but unsure if this is going to complicate our visa journey.


Would my husband be able to go back to the states with me to help me move some stuff into storage? I have an apartment but the lease runs out around the same time we would be looking to move to Barbados. He has a valid ESTA Visa Waiver, but I know that coming into the US isn't exactly advised when an immigration case is in process. We would be fine with booking travel onward to Barbados at the same time to prove that we have no intentions of staying in the states for a long period of time (I'd estimate 2 weeks but up to a month to get everything sorted and hopefully have a quick visit with my parents?). We would also have the visas for Barbados which have a start date on them, so I would think that would be proof enough?


If it's a hard no on him staying in the USA for up to a month, would he at least be able to transit through the USA to get to Barbados? Every flight route I've looked at for travel from New Zealand to Barbados involves an inevitable stop/layover in California. I suppose we could map out individual flights to send him the other way around the world, but that seems like an unreasonably increased hassle.


I know I would need to submit an address change (or put it in the care of a friend/family member in the states who could scan and forward me any communication). Is there anything else we would need to do or be aware of? Is there anything about this situation on a whole that would throw a red flag to USCIS? 


In case it's helpful... Backstory Timeline:

January 15th, 2020 - I flew to NZ on a visa waiver and married my husband! Stayed for just under 2 months meeting his extended family and doing a bit of normal touristy stuff.

March 9th, 2020 - We flew together to the USA with the intentions of road tripping up the east coast for him to meet my extended family. Husband traveled on a visa waiver. We had not submitted any immigration forms at this point and had no intentions to at that time. 

March 19th, 2020 - COVID restrictions started happening... we didn't even get to leave the state.

April 15th, 2020 - Husband's flight home to NZ was cancelled due to COVID.

May 10th, 2020 - We finally got to travel somewhere and hang out with my parents for a couple days!

May 17th, 2020 - Back to isolation and quarantine because we had traveled out of the state. This was also around the time we decided to rebook my husband's flight and also booked a flight for myself since we had (and still have) no idea what kinda of travel bans will be in place at any moment in time right now and did not want to be forced to be apart without knowing how long it would be before we'd be able to visit.

June 3rd, 2020 - I was approved for an exemption to NZ's border closure as the spouse of an NZ citizen and was granted a 6 month partnership based visitor visa.

June 4th, 2020 - We flew together to NZ. No issues with immigration. Sent into mandatory managed isolation for 14 days.

June 20th, 2020 - Ended up having managed isolation extended because a new rule came into play and we had to return a negative COVID test before being released. Finally free!

July 13th, 2020 - Barbados announced opening up to remote workers for 1 Year on a Welcome Stamp Visa.

July 19th, 2020 - Applied for the Barbados Welcome Stamp Visa for myself and husband.

July 25th, 2020 - E-filed Form i-130 on behalf of my husband. Received receipt the same day. Case status currently shows request as accepted and pending review.

July 31st, 2020 - Barbados sends approval for visas for my husband and I.


Thank you all for any input/insight you may have! 


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2 hours ago, mysterin said:

but I know that coming into the US isn't exactly advised when an immigration case is in process.

That is not true.  You didn't see that here on VJ.  Plenty of people visit the US via VWP during the spousal visa process.  However, he will need to be prepared to show strong ties to his home country or country of residence. He must have proof of an onward flight.  Each entry into the US is at the discretion of CPB at the time of entry.  Good Luck!!

Edited by Lucky Cat

"The immigration process demands a great deal of knowledge, planning, time, patience, and money.  A deficit in any of these areas can spell heartbreak."

   -GB, "old man of much life experience"


Retired 20 year United States 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



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I didn’t read all of the post as it’s way too long but I think the gist of it is “can my husband visit the US for a few weeks during the process?” and the answer is that he must definitely can. I visited my husband several times during the wait for the I-130 to be approved. 

Timeline in brief:

Married: September 27, 2014

I-130 filed: February 5, 2016

NOA1: February 8, 2016 Nebraska

NOA2: July 21, 2016

Interview: December 6, 2016 London

POE: December 19, 2016 Las Vegas

N-400 filed: September 30, 2019

Interview: March 22, 2021 Seattle

Oath: March 22, 2021 COVID-style same-day oath


Now a US citizen!

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Haiti

As long as he has a valid visa he can visit the US. With the VWP he needs a return ticket. So you need to decide ahead of time if he will stay in the US 2 weeks or 4 weeks.
You may have issues Of separation if you are unable to extend your Barbados visa past a year because his cr1 interview will take longer then a year.

Our K1 Journey    I-129f

Service Center : Texas Service Center   Transferred? California Service Center on 8/11/14

Consulate : Port au Prince, Haiti             I-129F Sent : 4/14/2014

I-129F NOA1 : 4/24/14                            I-129F NOA2 : 9/10/14

NVC Received : 9/24/14                          NVC Left : 9/26/14

Consulate Received : 10/6/14 CEAC status changed to ready

Packet 3 Received : 10/27/14 packet received by petitioner in USA ( beneficiary never received packet 3)

Medical: 10/30/14 Dr. Buteau                  Medical picked up: 11/3/14

Packet 3 Sent : 11/10/13.. Had to schedule interview appointment and attach confirmation receipt to packet

Interview Date : 12/1/14                           Interview Result : Approved !

Visa Received : 12/10/14 picked up at Jacmel location

US Entry : 12/15/14 Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Apply for Social Security Card: 12/30/14 Connecticut

Marriage: 1/26/15


Adjustment of Status

CIS Office : Hartford                                  Filed : 3/18/15

NOA : 3/25/15                                            Biometrics : 4/15/15

Approved: 8/31/15                                     Received: 9/8/15



CIS Office : Hartford                                  Filed : 3/18/15

NOA : 3/25/15                                            Approved: 6/12/15

Received: 6/20/15


Removal of Conditions I-751

Filed: 8/14/17 at VSC                                 NOA: 8/15/17 Received 8/21 by mail

Biometrics: Dated: 8/25/17   Received 9/2/17   Appointment 9/11/17 

Approved: 10/23/18 -no interview

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