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Monkeylovesyou

Excited and Overwhelmed to start! (name changes, etc)

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Hello All, 

 

Joining the community here as my girlfriend and I will be entering the visa journey, and applying for K1. We've talked about it for a while, and kind of had planned everything out a little differently, with everything that's going on in the world, and everything going on in our lives, we feel like there's no time better then right now to start working towards spending the rest of our lives together. 

 

We've initially been looking at a lawyer, and found one that we both really like, however, after doing research and reading up on guides and stuff here, I'm starting to feel like we can do this ourselves. I think our case is pretty easy, as she's never been in the US, and has no criminal history, etc. However, the things that do have me a bit worried are the fact that she had a student visa to study in England, however, after a few months (around 2-3) she went back home because her grandfather became ill and eventually passed. She didn't return to study in England. Also, she had a name change at a young age (her mother did the name change, her mom also had her fathers change his name), 

 

We just started filling out the I-129F, and have already gotten to the name part, We've filled out her info with both her current name and previous name, however, we are unsure about what to do with her dads info as its asking for given name, but he has had a name change as well.

 

I know these things may seem little, remember, Im in like week 1 of trying to learn everything about this process and weighing the options of getting a lawyer or a preparer, etc. I don't want to say that money isn't an object and were going to do what ever or pay whatever to get it done because money is most definitely tight, and the lawyer fees are going to be quite hefty for me given that I've had to dip into savings due to reduced hrs from my employer (due to covid) and now will have to dip further into savings/other assets. 

 

I know that a lot of people here think that lawyers are unnecessary for K1. I would love the luxury of having the peace of mind knowing that someone with real experience with both K1 visas, and my girlfriends home country, is preparing our forms and looking everything over for us. Also, being as busy as I am right now (day job as a software engineer, and also working on the side detailing cars, photography, and literally any other side job i can get) and managing my ADHD,  I know that I don't have the the mental clarity to take the lead on this alone. Yes, my girl will be helping me, she's already filling out the form with me and sending me our boarding passes and hotel reservations from previous trips we've taken.

 

I guess my question is: 

 

Is a lawyer needed to help us navigate the student visa thing and the name change thing? are there services that are maybe in the middle of getting a lawyer and diy that are maybe more affordable? I know there are guides here, and i've started reading through them, but I'd rather have someone just tell me thing by thing, and put it all together for me, even if i gotta pay them, and maybe even pay a lawyer (much less) after to review it all after, is this even offered?

 

Thanks for any advice y'all. Sorry for the long post, yes i know im maybe a bit overwhelmed. 

 

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Ecuador
Timeline

Welcome to the forum!  Lawyers aren't needed for simpler cases.  Your fiancee's student visa to England won't be a concern.  Preparation services do exist and can be a happy medium between DIY and lawyers; some advertise on this site.  Which country is your fiancee from?

Edited by TBoneTX

06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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2 minutes ago, TBoneTX said:

Welcome to the forum!  Lawyers aren't needed for simpler cases.  Your fiancee's student visa to England won't be a concern.  Preparation services do exist and can be a happy medium between DIY and lawyers; some advertise on this site.  Which country is your fiancee from?

First, Thank you for responding! Means a ton, also happy to hear that there are such services. She is from Thailand. 

 

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Ecuador
Timeline

Addendum to above:  Here is one service that has an excellent reputation and prompt response, from all that I've heard over the years:

https://www.visajourney.com/partners/platinum-immigration-services/

I have no connection with this or any other immigration firm.

 

Added after reading your reply:  I do know that the above firm has experience with Thai fiancees/spouses.


06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Ecuador
Timeline

And here's the list of VJ Partners:

https://www.visajourney.com/partners/

There is one on there that has a decidedly mixed reputation (from what I've read here), and I don't know about a couple of the others.


06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Ecuador
Timeline

On re-reading your post, I think that you probably CAN navigate the process by yourselves; however, especially when we're new, we "don't know what we don't know."  There are elements later in the process (the consular phase chief among these) that can be tricky in certain instances.

 

I did the process on my own, with heavy reliance on this site; however, I made some early mistakes that came back to haunt me, and these were variables that forum participants and the published Guides wouldn't have helped with.  These might -- MIGHT -- have been headed off had I also had the assistance of one of the Partner firms in particular.  Your concerns about your employment commitments, ADHD, and mental clarity suggest to me that you'd benefit from pursuing the Partner route.

 

I also don't think that lawyer review of your petition submission would be necessary, if you pick the right Partner.

 

Regardless of whether you hire a Partner or anyone else, I urge you in the strongest terms to become a student of the ENTIRE immigration process, from initial petition through Naturalization.

 

Here's something that I posted, to read at your leisure:

http://www.visajourney.com/forums/topic/410945-k-1-journey-completed/


06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Wales
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The K1 has many disadvantages, any particular reason you have chosen this route?

 

I have a slightly different take, if your case is such that you need legal advise then you need a Lawyer, most on here do not and it is more a gathering info process which you have to do anyway and then filing forms in.  


“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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53 minutes ago, Boiler said:

The K1 has many disadvantages, any particular reason you have chosen this route?

 

I have a slightly different take, if your case is such that you need legal advise then you need a Lawyer, most on here do not and it is more a gathering info process which you have to do anyway and then filing forms in.  

We didn’t plan to start everything this early and now with COVID I cannot enter her country so it’s not like I can go get married there. Also, I think right now our priority is to be United as quickly as possible, from what I’ve read K1 is quicker despite costing more and having more hassle after being United. Whereas marriage visa would take a bit longer but less hassle after she’s here. Reguardless were not in a place to decide right now because I can’t get into Thailand right now and she can’t get to the US right now. 

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: New Zealand
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8 hours ago, Monkeylovesyou said:

We didn’t plan to start everything this early and now with COVID I cannot enter her country so it’s not like I can go get married there. Also, I think right now our priority is to be United as quickly as possible, from what I’ve read K1 is quicker despite costing more and having more hassle after being United. Whereas marriage visa would take a bit longer but less hassle after she’s here. Reguardless were not in a place to decide right now because I can’t get into Thailand right now and she can’t get to the US right now. 

There are always options to meet and marry in a third country.  Historically, K-1s were a bit faster, but since they have halted the embassy phase and the petitions are in limbo at the NVC, that is no longer the case.

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Canada
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You might also want to be aware that USCIS is changing the price in October for visas. If you want to do EAD and advanced parole expect to pay almost twice was the current rate is for a K1.

I'm very annoyed by this because my fiance lives in Canada and we could have easily gotten married first but weighed being together sooner as more important.

With the change in pricing I think we would have went in a different direction. 

Edited by travusb

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4 hours ago, Jorgedig said:

There are always options to meet and marry in a third country.  Historically, K-1s were a bit faster, but since they have halted the embassy phase and the petitions are in limbo at the NVC, that is no longer the case.

im still back and fourth on this one, as we need to find a mutual place that we can both get into, and I'd have to find a way to get out of work for it. Theres a lot of logistics that make it hard for this option to work for us as I do not have the ability to miss even a day at work right now, and while she has accumulated a good amount of PTO, she must request at least 3 wks in advanced. I think in the last 24 hrs of reading up other posts her, im opening up to the idea fo this method, just would be extremely tricky to pull off. 

 

3 hours ago, travusb said:

You might also want to be aware that USCIS is changing the price in October for visas. If you want to do EAD and advanced parole expect to pay almost twice was the current rate is for a K1.

I'm very annoyed by this because my fiance lives in Canada and we could have easily gotten married first but weighed being together sooner as more important.

With the change in pricing I think we would have went in a different direction. 

Didn't know about the fees going up, definitely great information, thank you for letting me know. We are currently looking to get everything going ASAP, is it reasonable to (if we hypothetically started today) to get everything needed for the initial I129f done before the rates go up?

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Canada
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Just now, Monkeylovesyou said:

Didn't know about the fees going up, definitely great information, thank you for letting me know. We are currently looking to get everything going ASAP, is it reasonable to (if we hypothetically started today) to get everything needed for the initial I129f done before the rates go up?

It is 100% not possible to get it done in time. So the fee for the K1 is actually going to go down I believe, just by a little bit.

The problem is you'll be waiting for the K1 to process for around 4-6 months and that was before covid.

 

After the K1 process is over your fiance will come to the US and you'll get married and then have to file AOS, adjustment of status.

If your fiance wants to be able to work while waiting for the greencard you also need to file for the EAD.

If your fiance needs to be able to leave the US while awaiting the greencard then you need to apply for advanced parole.

Currently if you do the K1 when you file tje AOS the fees for the other two were waived, but starting in Oct. this is no longer the case.

 

I doubt my fiance and I are going to beat the Oct. deadline and we're already at the last stage of the K1 process.

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3 minutes ago, travusb said:

Then again I don't know the process for married people very well so I could be wrong. I'm sure someone else will let me know if I am.

it makes sense though, if the prices on those things are going up in October then it looks like we'll pay whatever the current filing fee for the petition is, but then also pay the higher fees when they come up and when we're in that stage of the process. Kind ok a bummer, but, it is what it is. 

 

Good luck to the both of you, hopefully y'all are able to finish the K1 process soon. 

Edited by Monkeylovesyou

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Canada
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9 minutes ago, Monkeylovesyou said:

it makes sense though, if the prices on those things are going up in October then it looks like we'll pay whatever the current filing fee for the petition is, but then also pay the higher fees when they come up and when we're in that stage of the process. Kind ok a bummer, but, it is what it is. 

Yeah, honestly I'd pay 3 times the fees if the wait could just be over right now.

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