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Found 155 results

  1. Hello all - this is a detailed version of our process from filing the i130 petition aboard in Australia to the NVC stage to prearping for the medical the consulate and getting the visa. It has been wild! I honestly didn't think we would ever get to this point. Filing i130 petition from Australia My husband (USC) was in Australia for all over 2019 (with no working rights). We decided to file the i130 petition in August, and we submitted in October 2019. We sent our petition via post (online was not an option) to the USCIS Dallas Lockbox facility as my US husband was aboard and 'living' in Australia. We sent the following documents in (aside form the normal i130/i130a and payment/e-notifcation) - it may be overkill, but we did not want to get a RFE that may delay the processing. -Marriage Certificate -Divorce decree -Child's birth certificate & Consular Report Birth Abroad -Lease agreement in joint names -joint Australian bank account statement (27 pages long that shows we actively use the account) -joint US bank accounts summary (only confirmed we have the accounts, did not show balance or usage) -victorian ambulance cover for the whole family -joint water bill -joint costa membership -evidence he is my emergency contact at work -picture of my US spouse military privilege card -letter that he is the beneficiary of my superannuation (Australian version of 401k). -my passport that showed I visited my husband -photos that showed the progression of our relationship (from the Marine Corps Ball, to being engaged, to getting married, our wedding, husband moving to Australia, the birth of a baby, husband meeting all my Australian family etc). We submitted 14 October 2019 and our PD was 18 October (or 24 October 2019) We had several date changes in the lead up to our i130 approval (as noted in my signature) but we were approved 15 May 2020. My husband left Australia for 3 reasons: The first, his Australian visa was about to expire. The Australian migration system is a bit more complicated and a lot more expense that the US system. Australia does not have relaxed migration laws, at all. I studied Aus Migration Law, its not easy. The second reason, he needed to get a full-time job in the US for the financial aspect of the process and lastly, to re-establish domicile as trying to prove intent seemed to be more difficult in the long run. It was the biggest sacrifice we have ever made, as he left his then 7 month old daughter behind not knowing when he will see her again. NVC stage: We got our case number from NVC 12 hours or something after our petition was approved. We were very surprised. We uploaded the following civil documents for me (beneficiary) *note: we found submitting in PDF was the best, and we ensured the PDF size was under 2MB* -Australian birth certificate -Passport photos (US size) - Australian Police Certificate - it is the ADF police certificate, not the state police one. I only did a name check. I did not provide fingerprints due to covid19. I had no issues. - Biographic page of Australian passport - Marriage certificate Documents we uploaded for the Affidavit of Support (petition): -i1864 -x3 IRS tax transcripts for 2019, 2018, 2017 -x3 W2's for those corresponding years, 2018, 2017, 2016. - employment letter for current income - all pay stubs received from current income -SF50 to confirm his full-time employment with the Federal Government -GI bill confirmation (he is studying Nursing) - proof of GI payments We uploaded at different times but we DID not SUBMIT until both of us had uploaded everything! We submitted everything at the same time on 28 May and become documentary qualified 2 June. Again, for some reason this happened really quickly. Note, there was no indication from the NVC that we may or may not need a joint sponsor. We really thought everything, except the medical, would be smooth sailing. Request to Expedite: After becoming DQ'd 2 June, the covid19 cases in Australia started to rise, specifically in my home state of Victoria. We thought about it for sometime and June 27 we submitted a request to expedite. We submitted under grounds of emotional hardship on both my husband, and our daughter (both USCs) and that my husband is an essential worker in the healthcare industry. We did not submit ANY support evidence, we only provided a detailed outline of the hardships we, as a family, were facing. We were approved for expedite on 7 July and 15 July the US Consulate Sydney scheduled my interview for 28 July 2020 for 11:10am. Medical experience and preparation: This gets personal. If you make any judgey comments, I will block you. I am sharing this part to help someone if they are going through the same thing and are riddled with anxiety. In 2014 I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type 2. I have a history of self-harm including a suicide attempt in 2012/2013. I have been in hospital on 3 occasions. The first was 2016 and the 2 most recent hospitalisations was 2019 (after the birth of my child) and in April of this year (2020). The hospital admissions were not in regards to self-harming/suicide etc but low mood and anxiety. I was aware that my mental health history can be a concern, especially are there associated harmful behaviours. I knew that I was not a risk of harm to self or to others presently and in the future, but my history did concern me. I assumed I would be considered 'class b' due to the nature of bipolar disorder. I also knew that my recent hospital admissions may also present as a problem. I am still engaged with my treatment team, so upon confirmation of my interview, I organised a detailed 4-page medical report from my treating psychiatrist; a letter from my GP and a letter from my maternal child health nurse. All of them included the line: "Zoe is of no risk of harm to self or to others". But detailed my recent hospital admissions and explained why it was required in the context of high stress, traumatic delivery, covid19, solo parenting, studying 2 degrees etc etc. I also prepared the following to physically take in with me: - Blood test confirming my serology to the required vaccines - my baby book also confirming I was vaccinated -a print out from mygov./medicare of my recent immunisation record (from 2003 - present). -all my medical reports re: bipolar disorder diagnosis I went to SonicHealth in the city. I would go there again over the Toorak Village Medical place that also does them. I've read reports about the doctor there and how he has examined peoples genitalia. Dr. Stephanie at SonicHealth was fantastic, and helped ease my anxiety of my mental health history, although, she could not confirm how it would go at the interview but the consulate would have my medical report from my doctors. Cost was $640. I had the medical on the 20th July and 23 July everything was uploaded to e-medical and ready for the consulate. Crossing the NSW/VIC Border in Covid Times: WOW. This was another stressor. I recognise that I am lucky in that I crossed the border before the interpretation of "legal obligation" was narrowed down. I prepared the following to assist me crossing the border: - NSW border permit 'legal obligation' -personal statement, 2 pages, explaining why I am crossing, details of my flight, where I am staying, and covid19 symptom declaration. -US consulate email confirming interview -flight itinerary proving intent to return home -hotel accomodation booking at the Travelodge. -email to US consulate requesting expedite -email form US consulate approving expedite -medical email that stated 'medical is valid for 6 months only' -US federal code that stated all interviews are to be conducted in person (to help argue I am there under a legal obligation) -printout from US consulate sydney website that state they are the only facility to conduct immigrant visa interviews -printout from the US consulate sydney website that state they are only conducting emergency services (to help argue its an emergency legal obligation) I landed, had my temperature checked and I passed through all 3 NSW Health officials with no problem. The only "issue" was that I had to take a taxi from the airport to the hotel and not public transport. I dressed professionally and had ALL my documents (from the visa interview AND the border crossing) with me. Interview: I have to admit, I had a bad feeling but I could not pinpoint as to why I had a bad feeling, I was thinking it was to do with my mental health history. Alas, I was wrong. I arrived at 830am, I was told to come back 30 minutes prior. So I did. I arrived at 10:40am, and was told to come back 10mins prior. I just waited in the front until I was given the all clear to go in. They made everyone wash their hands before entering. I washed my hands, and then entered the security area of the consulate. I handed all my documents to a lady. She flicked through everything and put all my documents in a clear document protector. I went through security, nothing fancy, I was then directed to the lifts to take me to level 55. I arrived on level 55. I went through a big heavy door that reminded me of prison (I worked in a prison). I took a number and sat down. My number was called and I supplied all my documents to the Consular Assistant. I scanned my fingerprints too. I sat down and waited while he processed my paperwork. When I was called back, he stated that the Consular Officer may request to see my public charge questionnaire. I think it was this moment I realised that we may need a joint sponsor and that it had something to do with bipolar or the fact my husband didnt work in 2019 and thus, his 2020 tax return was $0. I sat down with my documents until the Consular Official called my name. I made an oath and then he asked me when we were married and how we met. He asked how many children we have and if she has her US passport, which she does. He asked what I will do for work in the US or if I will stay home. I told him ultimately my goal is to be a lawyer but until then I may work in the legal industry or prison sector. He then looked at my husbands tax return for 2020 and commented it was $0 because he was in Australia. I confirmed that was accurate and that he left Australia to get work and to re-establidh domicile. He typed away and then said to me "i either have to issue or refuse a visa. I am refusing this visa as I need a joint sponsor. A credible joint sponsor, like a family member who will step in and help if needed". He then gave me the dreaded 221g white slip told me to upload to NVC and then email the consulate. I am not going to lie, I cried. I cried because the uncertainty of not seeing my husband again became real again. I felt blindsided too that we got the 221g for a joint sponsor. 221g + uploading joint sponsor: This was going to be hard. Our options for a joint sponsor were limited to my husbands uncle, who is a family over earning $100k as an engineer or his step dad, family of 4 earning $50k. We asked his Uncle, who got legal advice and from that legal advice he's answer to us was a firm "no". His wife, my husband aunt, also stated "I want NO part of this". Our only option was his step dad and mum. For a household of 5 (4 plus me is 5) the income was $50k. It was not a strong joint sponsor but it was our only hope. We uploaded our joint sponsor on 31 July and then I emailed the Consulate. We uploaded in the same section where we uploaded my husbands financial documents. We did not add a joint sponsor section. On 5 August we received an email from the Consulate confirming that had received the required document. On 7 August the case was put into administrative processing and on 10 August our visa was issued and by 6pm they had posted it! I received the passport with visa 12 August. I recognise I am very lucky that our process was relatively quick, especially in covid times. I feel so bad and sorry for everyone who is still waiting for their interview or have had their interviews cancelled. I feel sorry for those stuck in Victoria who cannot go to NSW for their interview because they've changed the interpretation of legal obligation. I really do feel sorry for you and I am here to support you in anyway I can. I am thankful the visa part of this journey is over. Now I face the battle of packing up my tiny apartment alone with our 14month old and travel to the States in an era where flights are limited! I hope this has been useful for those doing through this process and are filing abroad, have a mental health issue, trying to cross the NSW/VIC border or who received a 221g for joint sponsor at the interview! Good Luck to all, and thanks to everyone on VJ who helped me along the way too!
  2. Will a child age 17 be required to answer interview questions a and what kind of questions will they ask?
  3. What is a IR-1 / CR-1 Spouse Visa? IR-1 / CR-1 Spouse Visas are immigrant visas issued to foreign spouses of US Citizens. After the US citizen spouse files (and has approved) the proper petition with the USCIS, the foreign spouse will complete the visa process completely outside the US. Upon approval and once issued, the foreign spouse may enter the US with their visa and pass through the arrival Port of Entry, where they will become a Permanent Resident immediately. They will receive a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) in the mail at their US Address within a few weeks. Note to K3 Applicants: This process also applies to K3 Visa applicants whom have had their I-130 approved prior to their I-129f. In this case you may chose to persue the I-130 path as opposed the the K3. This will allow the immigrating relative to enter as a permanent resident as opposed to having to file for adjustment once here. If the I-129f is later approved and forwarded to the embassy then you can write them to request the approved I-130 be acted on and the K-3 process abandoned. Who is Eligible to File? U.S. citizens legally married to a foreign national may petition for a IR-1 / CR-1 visa. If the marriage is less than two years old, the consulate will issue a CR-1 Visa (and if longer than two years it will issue a IR-1 Visa). The primary difference between these two visas is that a CR-1 Visa will result in Conditional Permanent Residency (requiring a petition to be filed later to lift this conditional status) versus a IR-1 Visa resulting in full Permanent Residency upon arrival in the US by the foreign spouse. Forms Needed to File for a IR-1 / CR-1 Spouse Visa: 1. I-130 2. I-130A 3. G-1145 (optional) The above forms can be filled out on your computer and printed. Make sure you sign and date them as required. Anything you cannot fit by typing, you can handwrite (very neatly) in black ink in the blank instead. You should always verify the current forms at www.uscis.gov. Assembling the I-130 Package: Checklist Forms and Documents (follow these assembly instructions. All supporting documents must be in English or be translated as noted here.): 1. Payment as required by USCIS. Use a personal check so you can track the payment. Money Orders are also accepted. Read the Guide to Paying USCIS Immigration Fees. 2. Cover Letter. Should include a description of what your are petitioning for (I-130), a table of contents (list everything in the packet). If you need additional room to explain your case, attach a separate sheet (list the attachment on the cover sheet). Make sure to sign and date the cover sheet. 3. Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative 4. Copy of the full Birth certificate (front and back) for the US Citizen or a copy of ALL pages of the US Citizen's passport. This is used to establish citizenship. 5. A copy of petitioner's proof of naturalization. (If applicable) 6. A copy of petitioner's proof of permanent residency. (If applicable) 7. A copy of the intending immigrant's birth certificate and/or passport along with English translation. (If in any language other than English) (no longer needed) 8. A copy of your marriage certificate (If not in English then again get a translation) 9. If either you or your spouse were previously married, submit copies of documents showing that all prior marriages were legally terminated (court certified copies of the petitioner's and/or intending immigrant's divorce documents). 10. A copy of a prior spouse's death certificate. (If one or both of you were married before, and the prior spouse died) 11. Two passport-type photos (see specification) of the petitioner. Write the full name on the back of each photo. Place in a plastic bag and label the bag "Photo of <Insert Name>". Attach the bag to a sheet of paper and place behind the corresponding I-130. 12. Two passport-type photos (see specification) of the non-US Citzen spouse. Write the full name of the beneficiary on the back of each photo. Place in a plastic bag and label the bag "Photo of (insert name) ". Attach the bag to a sheet of paper and place behind the corresponding I-130. 13. Evidence of a bonafide marriage (see note below for what to include) 14. Form I-130A: Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary Evidence of a Bonifide Marriage The USCIS now requires that when filing an I-130 for a spouse that you include evidence of a bonifide marriage. They list examples of acceptable evidence as: 1. Documentation showing joint ownership or property; or 2. A lease showing joint tenancy of a common residence; or 3. Documentation showing co-mingling of financial resources; or 4. Birth certificate(s) of child(ren) born to you, the petitioner, and your spouse together; or 5. Affidavits sworn to or affirmed by third parties having personal knowledge of the bona fides of the marital relationship (Each affidavit must contain the full name and address, date and place of birth of the person making the affidavit, his or her relationship to the petitioner of beneficiary, if any, and complete information and details explaining how the person acquired his or her knowledge of your marriage); or 6. Any other relevant documentation to establish that thereis an ongoing marital union. Attach "E-Notification" Form (Optional) Clip a completed G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance, to the first page of your application (on top of the cover page). By completing this form and attaching it, USCIS will send you an email and/or text message to alert you when your application was received. Mail the I-130 Package to the USCIS You should mail the completed form(s) to the proper USCIS Lockbox (Note the location & PO Box address for your filing type: stand alone). Mail the package with return receipt requested / delivery confirmation. Send via USPS. IMPORTANT! Make TWO copies of the entire package before you send it in. This includes the money orders too. You want to have a perfect replica of the package you are sending in. All Forms that you submit must be originals with original signatures. Supporting Evidence that you submit may be photocopies. Retain ALL original supporting Evidence since the USCIS has the right to check them by issuing an RFE (Request For Evidence). If you receive an RFE, follow the direction exactly, and make two copies of what you sent back. During any future interviews the USCIS may also want to examine the original supporting evidence. Create a VJ Timeline Estimate processing time and approval date: Creating a VJ Timeline will allow you to track your case and will generate an estimated approval date for your petition. You can always gain access to many other tools to help you plan how long your Visa Journey will take! What Happens After You Mail the I-130 Out? A few weeks after you have sent your petition to the USCIS you will receive a Notice of Action (aka NOA) letter indicating that they have begun processing your I-130 application. You can check the status of your application as well as other processing time information here. When your I-130 petition is finally approved, the service center that processed your petition, will send you another Notice of Action letter indicating your approval, and the forwarding of your approved petition to the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, along with a phone number to contact the NVC with. Your case will now only be dealt with by the NVC. The service center that you filed with, will have no more knowledge on the status of your petition or case. A few weeks after you have received your last Notice of Action indicating the approval and forwarding of your I-130 application to the NVC, the NVC will send your relative a packet of forms that you and your relative must fill out before your relative can be given an interview date with a consulate abroad. The packet will likely contain instructions to fill out the DS-261 and DS-260 online forms, by the intending immigrant. An I-864 form is also included that must be filled out by the petitioner (living in the US). The I-864 is the Affidavit of Support form that requires copies of the petitioners past 3 U.S tax returns (or tax transcripts which are free from the IRS) as well as any bank or financial records available (see the I-864 for exact requirements based on your case). The petitioner must make at least 125% above the U.S federal poverty to indicate to the U.S government that the intending immigrant will not become a federal charge to the government when he/she arrives in the U.S.. If the petitioner cannot meet these requirements, then he/she must still file an I-864, and find a joint sponsor who can meet the requirements on his/her own. When a joint sponsor is needed ,proof of their U.S citizenship or permanent residency is required. (i.e. copy of birth certificate, immigration status etc). The joint sponsor must be residing in the U.S, and he/she must also submit his/her past 3 years U.S tax returns along with bank or any other financial records available. The joint sponsor must submit his/her own I-864 form to accompany the petitioner's I-864 form. Forms that may be either sent back (or requested to be gathered and kept for the interview) to the NVC or the consulate abroad (depending upon which consulate you are going through) before an interview date with a consulate abroad can be scheduled are as follows: Pre-Interview Forms / Items: 1. Completed and signed OF-169. 2. Completed and signed Of-230 Part 1 and 2 forms. 3. I-864 Affidavit of Support Form along with past 3 year U.S tax returns (or transcripts) and any other financial documents required. 4. A copy of intending immigrants biographic page of passport(s) including expiration date. 5. Original or certified "long" birth certificate. * 6. Original adoption decree. (if applicable) 7. Marriage certificate. (if applicable) 8. Divorce decree(s) or death certificate(s) (if applicable) 9. Police certificate(s) ** 10. Court and prison records.(if applicable) 11. Custody records. (if applicable) 12. Military records (if applicable) * Per the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM), they may also be unavailable. Or certain countries don't have individual birth certificates as understood in the US, but the FAM will describe the suitable document. The consulate can explain the alternate requirements to the beneficiary in detail. ** On police clearances, as per the FAM, they may be unavailable. Or with some countries [Korea comes to mind], they will be sent directly to the consulate from the involved government. The consulate can explain the alternate requirements to the beneficiary in detail. After the NVC or Consulate Abroad receives the above forms and supporting documents (which may not all be required to mail back at that time), an interview date will be scheduled for the intending immigrant at a consulate abroad. The NVC or the consulate abroad will send your relative a letter indicating at what time and day the interview is scheduled for, and of required forms that must be brought to the interview. Make two copies of each original document or piece of evidence below and bring them with you. Documents needed are: Interview Forms / Items: 1. Valid Passport. 2. Original or certified "long" birth certificate. * 3. Original adoption decree. (if applicable) 4. Original or certified copy of the marriage certificate. (if applicable) 5. Original death certificate. (if applicable) 6. Original divorce decree. (if applicable) 7. Police certificate. ** 8. Court record(s) (if applicable). 9. I-864 Affidavit of Support Form along with past 3 year U.S tax returns (or transcripts) and any other financial documents required. (see poverty limits here) 10. Court and prison records.(if applicable) 11. Medical examination information 12. Two passport-type photos (see specification) of the spouse or benefitiary * You should have the originals on hand at this point for the Final Interview. Per the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM), they may also be unavailable. Or certain countries don't have individual birth certificates as understood in the US, but the FAM will describe the suitable document. The consulate can explain the alternate requirements to the beneficiary in detail. ** On police clearances, as per the FAM, they may be unavailable. Or with some countries [Korea comes to mind], they will be sent directly to the consulate from the involved government. The consulate can explain the alternate requirements to the beneficiary in detail. On The day of your relatives (or spouses) interview, he/she must bring EVERY document listed above that applies to your case, and should be prepared for a long wait. There may be additional forms required. The interview appointment sheet will contain a list of everything you must bring. It will also tell you the payment amount due and the forms of payment accepted. The interview can last for as littles as 10 minutes or up to an hour depending upon your specific case. You relative will take an oath under US law to tell the truth, and it is very important that your relative answer every question as truthfully as possible. In general, it is a good idea that your relative bring documentation to prove strong ties and a relationship with you, the petitioner. (i.e. phone bills, letters etc.) If the consulate officer approves your relative's immigrant visa application, your relative will be issued an immigrant visa that allows your relative to become a US permanent resident. Your relative will become a U.S permanent resident only when he/she enters the U.S at a port of entry, until this time, he/she only has an immigrant visa that is valid up to 6 months from the interview date. If your relative cannot immigrate to the U.S within the 6 month allotted time, then his/her immigrant visa will expire, and the I-130 process must start all over again. At the bottom of either a CR-1 Spouse Visa or IR-1 Spouse Visa is the following sentence, "Upon Endorsement Serves As Temporary I-551 Valid For One Year." The endorsement is a standard CBP admission stamp with applicable information written in by the officer. This allows the visa itself to act as a temporary green card before the actual green card arrives in the mail. Additionally, if your relative is a CR-1 visa holder, the green card will only be valid for two years. Within ninety days before the green card expires, you will have to file an I-751 form to remove it's conditional status. As a general note, please see the I-130 FAQs here.
  4. Has anyone sent in their AOS packages lately? Have you gotten any response as yet? Please share any details you may have.
  5. We (I am the beneficiary; my spouse is the US citizen in what follows) sent out our application on July 20, and it was received on July 24. Yesterday (Aug 4), I saw two transactions posted to my credit card from the DHS for the applications/petition fees. Even though we still haven't gotten our eNOAs yet, the aforementioned transactions seem to suggest our application/petition package has been received and processed in some way. So now enter my worries; bear with me, it's a two-part story. For the relevant evidence we sent three items: Copy of title of a jointly-owned vehicle; Letter of verification of jointly-owned bank account; Copy of state tax refund notice for 2019. (In addition to our marriage certificate, of course.) (A note about [2]: we used a letter of verification stating joint ownership, provided to us by the bank, as opposed to bank statements themselves. This is perhaps a mistake, I've now realized. I read elsewhere that bank statements would be more relevant and powerful, as USCIS adjudicators in fact will sometimes look at whether the joint bank account is in actual use or not.) We decided to send these three items by looking at USCIS's instructions for the form I-130. We currently live together (more on this later) but the house is under my spouse's name only; we don't have children; and we didn't think affidavits would be considered strong evidence. To be clear, there is a lot more we could've provided, such as documents showing we are co-beneficiaries of each other's life insurance, documents showing I am a dependent on my spouse's health insurance plan, receipts of trips taken together, photos we've had over the years, etc. At the moment of preparing the application/petition package, though, we were working under the assumption that since we've been married over four years the three items listed above should be enough. But now I'm not so sure if that's a reasonable assumption, for the simple reason that our marriage, from an outsider's perspective, can seem to have some "red flags". This gives rise to the second part of my worry. One "red glad" is our age difference. My spouse is 32 years older than me; for what it's worth, we are also a same-sex couple if that's relevant. Many articles I've read online mention that age difference is a big red flag. My spouse also had a prior marriage (to a US citizen) whereas I did not. Another one has to do with the fact that for the past few years we haven't always lived together. I have been attending school out of state, and even though my spouse and I would usually spend time together during the summer and winter break, technically speaking my primary residence has been elsewhere (I'm on a F-1 visa). Until COVID hit us, that is, so I moved back with my spouse in March. I mention this because I worry evidence for our cohabitation can seem a bit too convenient, I suppose? Anyway, my worry is that we might not have provided enough evidence to establish a bona fide marriage, in light of these potential red-flags. The are other documents in the application/petition package that could be regarded as relevant evidence, such as our jointly filed tax return for 2019. But I am not sure if those would be looked at since I did not mention them as part of the I-130 form package. I suppose if we get hit with a RFE we can always submit all the evidence we could've provided in the first place, and potentially more. How likely is that? I would hate to see that happen, though, as delay would be a certainty in that case. Likewise, what are the chances of us getting a NOID? Are there folks who submitted rather "thin" evidence for a bona fide marriage? What are your experiences like?
  6. Hello I am looking at my i864 affidavit of support and on the top right corner it says expiration date 03/31/2020. Does this mean I have to submit an updated one? I have an interview later this month and I am wondering if I have to submit a new one signed by my sponsor again. My father is the sponsor for my husband because I did not make enough I was a student full time. If he filed taxes as married filing jointly with my mom but she has not worked for many years do I also have to submit the I864A... thank you in advance
  7. BE WARNED: You must qualify to file for an I-130 in the US. Not everyone does, and in some cases doing so can be considered fraud and result in being deported and banned from re-entry into the US for a period of time. If you attempt to file and you do not qualify your legal status in the US can be placed in jeopardy. J1 Visa holders will almost always require a waiver and should consult with an immigration lawyer or the USCIS for more information. If you have any doubt, consult an immigration attorney. If your fiance/fiancee came to the US on a tourist visa with the intent of immigration and marriage, and you are not yet married, then he/she should return to his/her home abroad, and the K-1 visa should be filed (using an I-129f) instead of the I-130 to avoid a denial, deportation, or even being banned from re-entry to the US. If you are already married, and your spouse came to the US on a tourist visa with the intent of immigration and marriage, then he/she should return to his/her home abroad, and the I-130 (or along with an I-129f for a K-3 Visa) should be filed with the relative outside of the U.S. to avoid denial, deportation, or even being banned from re-entry to the US. The above conditions are serious and can result in the separation of families for many years if not taken seriously. Download the Following Forms: 1. I-130 2. I-130A 3. I-864 4. I-485 5. I-765 (optional) 6. I-131 (optional) 7. G-1145 (optional) The above forms can be filled out on your computer and printed. Make sure you sign and date them as required. Anything you cannot fit by typing, you can hand-write (very neatly) in black ink in the blank instead. You should always verify the current forms at www.uscis.gov. Assembling the I-130 Package: Checklist Forms and Documents (follow these assembly instructions. All supporting documents must be in English or be translated as noted here.): 1. Payment as required by USCIS. Use a personal check so you can track the payment. Money Orders are also accepted. Read the Guide to Paying USCIS Immigration Fees. 2. Cover Letter. Should include a description of what your are petitioning for (I-130), a table of contents (list everything in the packet). If you need additional room to explain your case, attach a separate sheet (list the attachment on the cover sheet). Make sure to sign and date the cover sheet. 3. Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative 4. Copy of the Full Birth certificate (front and back) for the US Citizen or a copy of ALL pages of the US Citizen's passport. This is used to establish citizenship. 5. A copy of petitioner's proof of naturalization. (If applicable) 6. A copy of petitioner's proof of permanent residency. (If applicable) 7. A copy of the intending immigrant's birth certificate and/or passport along with English translation. (If in any language other than English) 8. A certified copy of your certified marriage certificate (again, translated if not in Engligh) 9. A certified official copy of the petitioner's and/or intending immigrant's divorce documents. (If one or both of you have been divorced before) 10. A copy of a prior spouse's death certificate. (If filing for a spouse, and one or both have you were married before, and the prior spouse died) 11. Two passport-type photos (see specification) of the US Citizen. Write the full name on the back of each photo. Place in a plastic bag and label the bag "Photo of <Insert Name>". Attach the bag to a sheet of paper and place behind the corresponding I-130. 12. Two passport-type photos (see specification) of the foreign spouse. Write the full name of the beneficiary on the back of each photo. Place in a plastic bag and label the bag "Photo of (insert name) ". Attach the bag to a sheet of paper and place behind the corresponding I-130. 13. Evidence of a bonafide marriage (see note below for what to include) 14. Form I-130A: Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary Evidence of a Bonifide Marriage The USCIS now requires that when filing an I-130 for a spouse that you include evidence of a bonifide marriage. They list examples of acceptable evidence as: 1. Documentation showing joint ownership or property; or 2. A lease showing joint tenancy of a common residence; or 3. Documentation showing co-mingling of financial resources; or 4. Birth certificate(s) of child(ren) born to you, the petitioner, and your spouse together; or 5. Affidavits sworn to or affirmed by third parties having personal knowledge of the bona fides of the marital relationship (Each affidavit must contain the full nameand address, date and place of birth of the person making the affidavit, his or her relationship to the petitioner of beneficiary, if any, and complete information and details explaining how the person acquired his or her knowledge of your marriage); or 6. Any other relevant documentation to establish that there is an ongoing marital union. Assembling the I-485 Package: Checklist Forms and Documents (follow these assembly instructions. All supporting documents must be in English or be translated as noted here.): 1. Payment as required by USCIS. Use a personal check so you can track the payment. Money Orders are also accepted. Read the Guide to Paying USCIS Immigration Fees. Be sure to include the payment for both the I-485 and the biometrics fee*. >> The fee for I-485 applications filed on or after July 30th 2007 inlcudes the cost of the I-131 and I-765 (no need to pay for them if filed with or while your I-485 application is pending adjudication -- as long as you paid the "new" rate for the I-485 effective July 30th 2007). 2. Cover Letter. Should include a description of what your are petitioning for (I-485), a table of contents (list everything in the packet). If you need additional room to explain your case, attach a separate sheet (list the attachment on the cover sheet). Make sure to sign and date the cover sheet. 3. Form I-485: Petition for Alien Relative 4. Form I-944 (Declaration of Self-Sufficiency with applicable supporting documents) 5. Copy of the non US Citizen Spouses Passport (biographical page as well as entry stamps). 6. Electronic I-94 Copy or (for older entries) a copy of the non US Citizen Spouses valid paper I-94 (front and back of form) 7. A copy of the intending immigrant's birth certificate along with English translation. (If in any language other than English) 8. A certified copy of your marriage certificate. (If filing for your spouse) 9. A copy of the petitioner's and/or intending immigrant's divorce documents. (If filing for a spouse, and one or both of you have been divorced before) 10. A copy of a prior spouse's death certificate. (If filing for a spouse, and one or both have you were married before, and the prior spouse died) 11. Two passport-type photos (see specification) of the Non US Citizen Spouse. Write the full name on the back. Place in a plastic bag and label the bag "Photo of <Insert Name>". Attach the bag to a sheet of paper and place behind the corresponding I-485. 12. I-693, Medical Examination of Aliens Seeking Adjustment of Status 13. I-864, Affidavit of Support (see poverty limits here) >> Include any additional required supporting documentation 14. I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, if you want to work while your application is processed (optional) >> Include any additional required supporting documentation or photos as well as payment per USCIS instructions. 15. I-131, Application for Travel Document, if you need to travel outside the United States while your application is processed (optional) >> Include any additional required supporting documentation or photos as well as payment per USCIS instructions. 16. I-485 Supplement A, and penalty fee if applicable. See 8 CFR 245.10 17. I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Excludability**, if applicable * Fingerprint fee not needed for applicants under 14 ** an I-601 is NO FEE, if, and ONLY if filed WITH an I-485. Later filing DOES require a fee. Whether to file an I-601 is an important decision -- like the J-1, consulation with an attorney is recommended. Add an overall cover page: It is useful to add an overall cover sheet with the description of the package and pertinent information such as the applicants name and address. Make sure the cover sheet indicates the package is an Immediate Relative (Spouse) Family Based Adjustment of Status Application with a concurrent I-130 filing. List the major contents of the package (i.e. I-485 and evidence, I-130 and evidence, I-765, I-131,etc). I-944 (Declaration of Self-Sufficiency) Information: This form is required to be submitted with your I-485 for all applicants, and is in addition to the required I-864 (Affidavit of Support). The supporting documents list is lengthy and includes a tax transcript (not actual tax return) of the U.S. citizen, last foreign tax return filed by the fiancé, asset statements, certificates for any English courses taken, higher education verification, if applicable (including diplomas and equivalency evaluations), and several other onerous requirements. The most troublesome item is the requirement for a U.S. credit bureau credit report, or a letter from a credit bureau stating that no credit report is available. Since most recent immigrants will not have a credit record in the U.S., no credit report will be available, and the 3 credit bureaus have not been issuing letters stating no report is available. Our best advice at this point is to write a letter explaining why no credit report is available. You can find an example of this letter and an example filled out I-944 here. Attach "E-Notification" Form (Optional) Clip a completed G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance, to the first page of your application (on top of the cover page). By completing this form and attaching it, USCIS will send you an email and/or text message to alert you when your application was received. Where to File Everything: You should mail the completed form(s) to the USCIS Chicago Lockbox (Note the PO Box address for your filing type: Form I-130 with Form I-485). Mail the package with return receipt requested / delivery confirmation. Send via USPS. IMPORTANT! Make TWO copies of the entire package before you send it in. This includes the money orders too. You want to have a perfect replica of the package you are sending in. All Forms that you submit must be originals with original signatures. Supporting Evidence that you submit may be photocopies. Retain ALL original supporting Evidence since the USCIS has the right to check them by issuing an RFE (Request For Evidence). If you receive an RFE, follow the direction exactly, and make two copies of what you sent back. During any future interviews the USCIS may also want to examine the original supporting evidence. After Filing: What to do? Now starts the waiting game. If you filed for an EAD, your spouse will get their Employment Authorization Document approved in 30 to 90 days and will be scheduled to have their picture taken and to have their EAD card issued. After your spouse has received their EAD, the real wait begins. I-485's can take several months to couple years for approval, and often leaves the petitioner feeling completely hopeless of ever receiving approval. DO NOT GIVE UP! Though it seems like forever, the CIS will eventually get to your petitions! Your spouse may also be required to have a medical sometime during the AOS process. The medical must be done by a CIS accredited doctor. Your CIS office should give you a list of CIS accredited doctors in your area, if not check with your local office to get one. The medical exam can cost anywhere from $100-200 dollars, many physicians will not take a check, but only accept cash. Be prepared of the cost before your spouse gets this done. It would be wise to collect their vaccination information before going to the appointment as the doctor will need to have record of them. At the appointment your spouse will be tested for TB, AIDS and Syphilis. If they do the skin test for TB, they will be required to return to the CIS doctors office to have the site checked before they finish the exam paperwork. Note: Some CIS Offices allow you to schedule your appointment when you want, as long as it is done before the AOS appointment, check with your CIS office to see how they handle CIS medical exams before filing your AOS paperwork. Your spouse will be required to have biometrics taken at some point including fingerprints and photo's. This can typically precede the interview date by up to 15 months, however is ussually much closer. Eventually you will receive a letter from the CIS informing you of your interview date. You and your spouse will need to bring supporting evidence of the relationship... i.e. photos, joint checking account, joint lease, joint mortgage, and birth certificates of children if any etc. Also, it is very important to bring the current passport of the applicant, as the CIS will stamp his/her passport with the I-551 stamp if they are approved. This stamp is proof of permanent residency that can be used until they receive their greencard. This normally can take up to six months. The interview is fairly painless and may be video recorded and lasts between 15-30 minutes. NOTE: If you are married less than 2 years, your spouse will have to renew his/her greencard 2 years from issuance by filing the I-751 to remove conditional status.
  8. Hi guys, I'm in a bit of pickle right now...I have a return flight booked to visit my LPR husband from 4th Aug - 6th Oct, i will be travelling under ESTA. I'm currently out of work and we filed for I-130 back in end of April. And my last visit lasted 2.5 months ending in Mid April. I understand that i will have to bring marriage certificate and copy of husband's passport and green card scan with me, I have no plan to overstay or apply for AOS, we are doing everything by the books and hopefully one day we will be able to live together in the US. But I have some concerns regarding whether i will be granted entry: - Will CBP cancel my ESTA prior to departure? - How likely will I be turned away at POE? Please help, thank you all.
  9. I am a US citizen and I filed for my minor child Back in December 2019 and it was approved on July 20, 2020. I Paid IV Fee. I believe this is an immigrant visa fee. I thought there's no need for visa if a US citizen was to petition a minor. I guess I thought wrong. Once we have submitted the Immigrant Visa form and Affidavit of Support, I believe the next step is interview. How will the interview be now that there's CoViD? Do I have to be present during the interview? Meaning, I have to fly to the Philippines to be on the interview? Please enlighten me on what to expect. Thank you.
  10. Hello, My I130 was pending with NSC for my wife and on Jan 13th 2020 I got a status update saying "Case was transferred to another office." On 14th of Jan 2020, it says "Case was transferred and a new office has jurisdiction." I talked to a USCIS contact center person on Jan 13th 2020, and the representative told me that my case was ready to be adjudicated and it was transferred to VSC to balance the workload. I haven't called them on 14th of Jan yet. I am planning to call them when they open. I would like to know how status got updated in both days. Did they transfer my file 2 times? Did any of you guys have this experience before? If so, what happened? All responses are appreciated. Thank you.
  11. Hello, Wondering if anyone has some advice. I'm currently London based and husband in US, we filed for i130 in Feb and are awaiting NOA2. VJ timeline and our immigration lawyer both say late October/ early November looks like when we might receive NOA2 (I know nothing is concrete). I'm sure people have been through this before, but I'm debating when the right period will be to hand in my resignation at work (my notice period is 3 months). From what I have read from other UK filers now the London embassy is reopening the NVC stage, medical and interview are moving quite quickly. Any thoughts?
  12. Starting the thread for January 2019 Filling - been through this process on the K1 journey all the way through an interview at the Mumbai Embassy last April 2018. We were stuck in AP and had a rare chance to spend 45-days together so we jumped ship and married in India (Nov 24th). So, here we are again going through the same process and praying that it goes faster. Mailed: Dec 26th (tracked delivery on Dec 28th) Notification: Pending NOA1 & Service Center: Pending Happy Journey!! Annie
  13. Just checked the case processing times of Vermont SC and they have pushed back the inquiry date again! This is so frustrating! The approval period is now a staggering 20.5 months to 26.5 months long! :((((((((
  14. Anyone out there with their I130 petition filed in June 2019 and got transferred from Texas to Vermont Service Center in July 2019? Any updates on your case?
  15. Hello, good people! We were about to file AoS for my wife back in early February but turns out only a computerized birth certificate is allowed from her country to file for any immigration visas. This delayed our process long enough for the new i-944 requirements to take effect, and then lockdowns happened across the world, and now here we are trying to decipher what is acceptable. I hope y'all will be able to answer some questions/doubts. New to all this and appreciate any insight. Quick info about her (beneficiary): - graduated med school in her country in 2019 (never been employed) - studying to take medical licensing exams here, which have been delayed due to Covid-19 - has visited the US in 2019 to do two clinical electives - has a valid B1/B2 visa that expires mid-2021, but just entered the "overstay" category in June 2020 - no SSN or ITIN - no name on any lease/car insurance/utility bill - no credit card or credit score - unfortunately, we also did not renew her travel insurance which expired in March Quick info about me (USC): - make between $40k - $50k at a non-profit (above 125% FPG in 2019 Tax Return, and above 250% in the new career in 2020) - bachelor's degree - less than $25k student loans, $6k credit card debt - no health insurance (employer-offered plan was too expensive). Marketplace will not open till November ☹️ - credit score: good (700+) Questions: Is it possible to add her to anything (lease/bank account/utility bill/credit card) without having SSN or ITIN? Have any of y'all had success with getting a "no credit score report" without SSN/ITIN? Should I get private health insurance for both of us ASAP? Will $6k credit card debt and a not-so-great checking account be a negative factor? Would I have to show a healthy bank account and hence get financial deposit help from my family till the green card is approved? Is switching jobs seen as negative? If I find a better employment opportunity, should I jump on it or would it be seen as unstable? Is there any advantage to filing the forms concurrently versus sending them at different times? Will I-131 (Advance Parole) add an extra $575, and I-765 (Employment Authorization) add an extra $410 to the cost of Adjustment of Status application? If she has given the TOEFL in 2012 and all her education has been where official language of instruction is English, does she need to still prove her English proficiency? Do we need to get her British-education high school diploma and Asian-education medical school degree evaluated? P.S if anyone knows a company in Texas that does not take away half my income in private health insurance, please recommend! 😅
  16. Just curious, how accurate do you feel the visa journeys case approval estimates are? Was it accurate in your case? Or no?
  17. Hi everyone, We are currently filing the I130 form on the USCIS Website and at some point, they ask you "Was the beneficiary EVER in the United States?". My beneficiary traveled two times to the U.S. this year, with an ESTA. Then they ask you : - What was the beneficiary's class of admission? We are wondering what to answer because there is no Waiver Program or ESTA "class of admission" in the drop-down menu we can choose from. - What is the beneficiary's Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Record number? We never filed an I-94 as I don't think that it is an obligation while traveling with an ESTA? - What was the beneficiary's date of arrival? He arrived on July 4th 2019. - When does the beneficiary's authorized stay expire? As the ESTA authorizes 90 days in the U.S., do we just input October 4th 2019? As we can add additionnal informations for these questions, we wrote this : The beneficiary went two times to the U.S. as a TOURIST through the Visa Waiver Program, from 02/25/2019 to 03/07/2019 in New York City and from 07/04/2019 to 09/15/2019 in Fredericksburg, VA. If anybody has any idea on how to answer these questions in this case, we thank you in advance! Thanks!
  18. Hi, I am looking for advice on the next step in my wife and I's green card odyssey/debacle. I am from Ireland originally. Timeline: 2013-2019: 6 years on J1 visa (5 years general surgery, 1 year bariatric/foregut fellowship, board certified in gen surg) 2018: multiple failed Conrad 30 applications (I am a fellowship-trained surgeon) Early 2019: Spoke with immigration attorney, advised we might have a hardship case for a waiver of the two-year rule. Time was running short as my fellowship was ending July 2019 and with it my J1. April 2019: DS3035, I612 and I130 submitted (concurrent filing of J1 hardship waiver application and I130 spousal petition) May 2019: documents received August 2019: left the country within 30 days of J1 ending December 2019: received I-797 notifying us I130 spousal petition was approved Jan 7th 2020: I612 + I613 received by DOS from USCIS (no RFEs thus far) April 23rd 2020: DOS favorable recommendation (no RFEs!) Currently waiting for USCIS to give final approval for I612/613, pending any RFEs Our attorney outlined two options to now proceed and get the green card; 1. Apply from outside the US (which is where we currently are). Apparently we now have to file an I-824 for action on a previously approved application?? And then proceed with consular processing through the consulate in Dublin? 2. Return to the US on a 90d VWP tourist visa, overstay it and concurrently send in I485 and I765. Then sit around twiddling my thumbs for another few months. Issues: Option 1; why do I need to file an I-824? why doesn't my I130 just proceed to the NVC and get in line there where I submit my DS-260 etc.? The processing time for an I-824 is 6.5-15 months which is NOT in our plan. Option 2; overstaying a 90d visa does NOT seem like a good option. Surely this would be looked upon very unfavourably by USCIS?? Quote from our attorney "because your adjustment of status would be based on your marriage to a U.S. citizen, such an overstay does not count against you". Has anyone else done this or heard of anyone else doing it? Would really appreciate the collective wisdom.
  19. Hi All, My i130 is approved in USCIS and was sent to NVC for processing. NVC has reviewed my petition and has documentarily qualified it and is awaiting for an interview schedule at US consulate India. My question is, I haven't uploaded my PCC document in portal and have requested NVC regarding the pandemic situation and the temporary shutdown of PSK/RPO in my circle (Tamil Nadu). I have scheduled appointment at PSK twice and in both occurrence the PSK was closed, am unsure when the PSK will resume and will I be getting the PCC on same day of appointment. If the US consulate interview date is scheduled, what should I do to get the PCC expedite and is there any alternative? Regards, Rafic
  20. Do we know if the i130 petitions (spousal visa, etc.) are still being processed? It sounds like only interviews have been cancelled, but am I correct in thinking that they are still doing paperwork for the ones that haven't been approved yet?
  21. Good Morning, My I-130 case was recently approved. At the time we submitted the application my wife was pregnant with our child who has now been born (the child was born in April). However, we haven't been able to file the CRBA to get my child US citizenship since I'm a citizen because of the pandemic. On the Online Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application DS-260 do I list my child ? We now have the Colombian birth certificate for my child but how do I let NVC know that I haven't been able to get the CRBA for my child? I just don't want to have to do another i130 for my child because they'll get citizenship when we're able to do the CRBA. Or do I not mention my child since at the time of the application they (singular) were not yet born?
  22. Yesterday I received a rfe for a photo passport. I only submitted copy of passports, marriage certificates and copy of citizenship, but not birth certificates. am wondering if I can send photos of my wife and I ( us together) and birth certificate in order to avoid further rfes . I asked many lawyers if can do that. they told me to only submit the requested information. I am only wondering if someone has submitted evidences that were not requested before. Thanks
  23. Hi, I am now a US citizen and sent in two I-130s, one for my mom and one for my dad. We got a notice that they were both approved, but my dad's letter said "As the petitioner requests, we have sent the petition to the U.S. Department of State National Visa Center (NVC)" etc and also got an email that gives details to continue the process by logging in to the CEAC. However, the letter of approval for my mom says "The above petition has been approved. The beneficiary of this petition will be notified separately when a decision is reached on his or her pending adjustment of status application." My question is, Do they combine my parents now into one application going forward? Like I know the next step is paying the Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee and Affidavit of Support Fee to the NVC- are these fees for both of my parents as a unit or do I have to pay each fee x2? Thanks for the help!
  24. Hi, I am a USC I am wondering how am I suposed to do taxes with my husband who is Mexican and has lived there all his life? is it married filing jointly? thanks!
  25. Hello, I was wondering if anyone experienced this before or if anyone can help me figure out what I should do. My I130 was accepted 3/30/20 and was sent to NVC. I received an acceptance letter but just found out today that the NVC sent the I130 back to USCIS on 3/31/20 why would they send it back and what does this mean? Sorry, im just freaking out as I submitted the I130 on 7/29/19 and was really excited to have it continue on. Thank you
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