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JEM87

Many Questions - Just Starting Out

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Hello Anyone Willing to Help, 

 

I'm a U.S. citizen living in Chicago. My fiancé is from Ghana. We have plans of getting married (just a court signing) in December, but having an actual ceremony in August of next year.

This is because we want to have a wedding and we want to involve his family in Ghana for traditional reasons. So we were thinking the K-1 visa route was not a good option because if he got here, he wouldn't be able to leave the county until he gets all the proper documents to get back into the county. The ceremony is august would also be a destination wedding, I have family and friends willing to travel to Accra for the wedding. 

 

So my questions:

Does it make sense to move forward in that manner? 

Do I need a lawyer right now?

If we're going with the marriage visa, how early can we get that process started? (Can I start it now even though we're getting married officially in December or do I have to wait?

I saw some articles mentioning reviewing taxes of the sponsor, is that true? I'd like to know other peoples' experiences with that. 

 

If there's anything else we should know regarding starting points, please share. It would be greatly appreciated

 

I hope what I said makes sense

 

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13 minutes ago, JEM87 said:

If we're going with the marriage visa, how early can we get that process started?

 

You can file the I-130 petition for your spouse only after you get a valid marriage certificate.

 

In the meantime, you can do more research on the process and begin to collect evidence of your relationship.  Focus on evidence of time spent together in person (including time prior to marriage) and of tying your financial lives together.

 

18 minutes ago, JEM87 said:

Do I need a lawyer right now?

 

It's up to you.  If you're willing to spend time and effort to research the process, have confidence in your ability to follow form instructions, and have a straightforward case (e.g. no criminal background, beneficiary has no prior visa violations), you can complete the process without a lawyer.  Also, hiring a lawyer will not help to reduce your case processing time, unless you plan to sue the US government at some point.  VJ is mainly a DIY site, and many many members here got their spouse visas without help from a lawyer.

 

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59 minutes ago, JEM87 said:

This is because we want to have a wedding and we want to involve his family in Ghana for traditional reasons.

You are "too married" for a K1.  You need to get the court paperwork done and file for a spousal visa.

 

Review the guides here.  You will need to file an I-864 come NVC time and may need a joint sponsor.


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: Citizen (apr) Country: Morocco
Timeline

The petition can be done without a lawyer as you have to gather all the documents yourself to prove the relationship

all the lawyer does is copy them for his files. fill out the application (which you have to read over carefully in case it has mistakes -and they do sometimes ) and mail it

you are responsible for what lawyer fills out in that application 

 

marriage is the best way to go as many K1's from Ghana are denied

 

what the guides will not tell you 

for high fraud African countries,,  do not marry on your 1st trip to meet him -that is a red flag

if there is a big age difference you need solid proof with quality time spent together

 

read the portal for Ghana posts from others and embassy reviews =they are the best guide for what to expect =just hit the word portal above

 

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Spain
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3 hours ago, JEM87 said:

Hello Anyone Willing to Help, 

 

I'm a U.S. citizen living in Chicago. My fiancé is from Ghana. We have plans of getting married (just a court signing) in December, but having an actual ceremony in August of next year.

This is because we want to have a wedding and we want to involve his family in Ghana for traditional reasons. So we were thinking the K-1 visa route was not a good option because if he got here, he wouldn't be able to leave the county until he gets all the proper documents to get back into the county. The ceremony is august would also be a destination wedding, I have family and friends willing to travel to Accra for the wedding. 

 

So my questions:

Does it make sense to move forward in that manner? 

Do I need a lawyer right now?

If we're going with the marriage visa, how early can we get that process started? (Can I start it now even though we're getting married officially in December or do I have to wait?

I saw some articles mentioning reviewing taxes of the sponsor, is that true? I'd like to know other peoples' experiences with that. 

 

If there's anything else we should know regarding starting points, please share. It would be greatly appreciated

 

I hope what I said makes sense

 

I think this depends on a lot of factors and also what's most important for y'all. Is your fiancé currently in the United States? If so, is he on a visa that would permit him to get married? Is the December wedding going to be in Ghana or the US? This would change the correct procedure to follow to get him his green card. I think you are right...the K-1 would not be the way to go. As others have said, this can be done without a lawyer if it's not a complicated case and if you have some time to dedicate towards researching the correct procedure. I personally don't know anything about reviewing taxes...if you are asking if they ask for tax documents, yes. To verify the sponsor meets minimum US income requirements, but if you don't meet them, you can get a joint sponsor (my dad is doing it for me because I haven't lived in the US for over 3 years). 

 

How important is it for y'all to not have to be separated for long periods of time? If it's something y'all really want to avoid, maybe you could look into a B type visa so he could come visit for longer periods of time, THEN apply for the IR1 visa (I-130 petition). I'm not sure about specific Ghana regulations or if they allow B type visas, but it's something I wish we would have done before filing the I-130 because once you file an immigrant visa, you will likely get denied for non-immigrant visas.

 

Or if you can move there, what visas would you need? How long could you visit? If you moved there, could you look into DCF if y'all qualified for special circumstances? 

 

You can start preparing the I-130 petition before getting married (gathering documents, figuring out how to fill out forms, getting evidence of a relationship, translating documents, etc), but you won't be able to turn it in until you have the marriage license. 

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1 hour ago, emmillinnee said:

I think this depends on a lot of factors and also what's most important for y'all. Is your fiancé currently in the United States? If so, is he on a visa that would permit him to get married? Is the December wedding going to be in Ghana or the US? This would change the correct procedure to follow to get him his green card. I think you are right...the K-1 would not be the way to go. As others have said, this can be done without a lawyer if it's not a complicated case and if you have some time to dedicate towards researching the correct procedure. I personally don't know anything about reviewing taxes...if you are asking if they ask for tax documents, yes. To verify the sponsor meets minimum US income requirements, but if you don't meet them, you can get a joint sponsor (my dad is doing it for me because I haven't lived in the US for over 3 years). 

 

How important is it for y'all to not have to be separated for long periods of time? If it's something y'all really want to avoid, maybe you could look into a B type visa so he could come visit for longer periods of time, THEN apply for the IR1 visa (I-130 petition). I'm not sure about specific Ghana regulations or if they allow B type visas, but it's something I wish we would have done before filing the I-130 because once you file an immigrant visa, you will likely get denied for non-immigrant visas.

 

Or if you can move there, what visas would you need? How long could you visit? If you moved there, could you look into DCF if y'all qualified for special circumstances? 

 

You can start preparing the I-130 petition before getting married (gathering documents, figuring out how to fill out forms, getting evidence of a relationship, translating documents, etc), but you won't be able to turn it in until you have the marriage license. 

So he is not currently in the U.S. and the December wedding (court signing) would be in Ghana as well. 
After further research, I think I'm fine on the taxes and income requirement situation. We don't want to spend too much time apart, but we are also willing to do what we have to do. 
I will check on the B type visa. I hadn't seen anything the last time I was doing research. 

Thank you for your help

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Mexico
Timeline

Research processing times for cr1 in Ghana, there is a timeline section here on the websie where you can see how long it took from petition to visa interview appointment and for most cases it takes 1-2 years. Do you really want to wait until December to get married? 


Service Center: Texas Service Center SRC

Consulate: Juarez, Mexico

I-130 NOA1: 2019/03/21

I-130 NOA2: 2019/09/17

NVC DQ: 2020/01/21

 

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3 hours ago, JeanneAdil said:

The petition can be done without a lawyer as you have to gather all the documents yourself to prove the relationship

all the lawyer does is copy them for his files. fill out the application (which you have to read over carefully in case it has mistakes -and they do sometimes ) and mail it

you are responsible for what lawyer fills out in that application 

 

marriage is the best way to go as many K1's from Ghana are denied

 

what the guides will not tell you 

for high fraud African countries,,  do not marry on your 1st trip to meet him -that is a red flag

if there is a big age difference you need solid proof with quality time spent together

 

read the portal for Ghana posts from others and embassy reviews =they are the best guide for what to expect =just hit the word portal above

 

Thank you so much for this information

and the note about many K1's getting denied from Ghana

I've already been there a couple of times. I'm going back in Dec but getting tourist visa for him to visit me here is proving difficult. 

I will head over to the portal for Ghana posts now.

 

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Country: Ghana
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I’d imagine it’s unlikely he will get a tourist visa with a fiancée in the US; they are already difficult to get coming from Ghana.

 

Our experience getting a CR-1visa with the US embassy in Ghana was great. Our case was a little unusual in the sense that I had been living there for two years. I guess my point is providing lots of good quality evidence and showing time spent together can make the process go pretty smoothly. 

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25 minutes ago, D-R-J said:

I’d imagine it’s unlikely he will get a tourist visa with a fiancée in the US; they are already difficult to get coming from Ghana.

 

Our experience getting a CR-1visa with the US embassy in Ghana was great. Our case was a little unusual in the sense that I had been living there for two years. I guess my point is providing lots of good quality evidence and showing time spent together can make the process go pretty smoothly. 

You had already been living in the U.S. for two years or Ghana? I just want to clarify

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Country: Ghana
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12 minutes ago, JEM87 said:

You had already been living in the U.S. for two years or Ghana? I just want to clarify

Yes, I (USC) was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana. My main point was that you may read a lot of horror stories about getting visas from Ghana, but many go very smoothly. There can be extra scrutiny in “high fraud” countries, but they definitely take good evidence into account.

Edited by D-R-J

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30 minutes ago, D-R-J said:

Yes, I (USC) was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana. My main point was that you may read a lot of horror stories about getting visas from Ghana, but many go very smoothly. There can be extra scrutiny in “high fraud” countries, but they definitely take good evidence into account.

I understand. Thank you so much. I was there in Jan this year, just got back a few weeks ago and I'm going back in Dec. I have pictures/video from when I went to his village to meet his family, friend etc. 
Do you think that's a good start? 

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Country: Ghana
Timeline
1 minute ago, JEM87 said:

I understand. Thank you so much. I was there in Jan this year, just got back a few weeks ago and I'm going back in Dec. I have pictures/video from when I went to his village to meet his family, friend etc. 
Do you think that's a good start? 

Yes, great. Wedding pictures with both families and friends together will also help. Keep boarding passes, hotel receipts, etc.
 

Some of the best evidence you can get won’t be available until after you get married. If you do get married in December, you should apply to get your husband an ITIN as soon as possible. That will help with filing taxes and potentially adding him to bank accounts, authorized user on your credit card, etc. Add him as a beneficiary to any retirement account. These financial things are also great evidence. You may not have this all together when you submit your I-130 petition. You can upload additional evidence as you get it to CEAC and/or have your husband bring it with him to the interview.

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Morocco
Timeline

Video's are not accepted for the petition

i sent 25 photos of my trips and marriage in Morocco

i labeled family names and month and date  /  copied 3 to a 8x11 paper to send

you need to show the time spent there (boarding passes,  where u stayed while in Peace Corps  -thanks for the service,  copy page of passport stamp for Ghana)

sounds like your time spent there is a good help and you have solid evidence

and no,  he won't get a tourist visa to visit u unless he can show he owns property, has a job to return to, monies to support the trip, and a good reason to return to Ghana after a visit 

Best to you both 

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Ghana
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10 hours ago, JEM87 said:

Hello Anyone Willing to Help, 

 

I'm a U.S. citizen living in Chicago. My fiancé is from Ghana. We have plans of getting married (just a court signing) in December, but having an actual ceremony in August of next year.

This is because we want to have a wedding and we want to involve his family in Ghana for traditional reasons. So we were thinking the K-1 visa route was not a good option because if he got here, he wouldn't be able to leave the county until he gets all the proper documents to get back into the county. The ceremony is august would also be a destination wedding, I have family and friends willing to travel to Accra for the wedding. 

 

So my questions:

Does it make sense to move forward in that manner? 

Do I need a lawyer right now?

If we're going with the marriage visa, how early can we get that process started? (Can I start it now even though we're getting married officially in December or do I have to wait?

I saw some articles mentioning reviewing taxes of the sponsor, is that true? I'd like to know other peoples' experiences with that. 

 

If there's anything else we should know regarding starting points, please share. It would be greatly appreciated

 

I hope what I said makes sense

 

If you want to do some ceremony or wedding to celebrate your marriage in August 2022, that's fine (just make sure you are not signing any other legal doc saying you got married in August 2022). According the US your official and actual marriage will be based on the court signing you'll do in August 2021 which will be reflected on your marriage certificate. Since, you've already figured the K-1 route will not be appropriate for the plans you guys have in mind, your only option is the I-130 petition route. You'll need to gather documents showing actual time spent together as those carry the most weight. 

Do I need a lawyer right now? - I think you can easily do the process without spending money on a lawyer.

If we're going with the marriage visa, how early can we get that process started? (Can I start it now even though we're getting married officially in December or do I have to wait? - You can start gathering all the evidence and documents you have if you want to get ahead of the game but you can only submit the application after the actual marriage has occurred in December.

I saw some articles mentioning reviewing taxes of the sponsor, is that true? I'd like to know other peoples' experiences with that. - You'll need to submit affidavit of support once your petition has been approved. Start reading on Form I-864

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