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Old Oct 1st 2017, 9:50 pm   #1
RJ1809 
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Default Marriage/ESTA

Hi all,

I have just recently got engaged to my partner of 3 and a half years who is a USC.

I am still currently living in the UK and have only ever travelled to the US under the VWP. My next trip out the States is scheduled for mid November and it is our intention to get married in a courthouse in order to begin the process for me to get my residency and have our actual wedding day in 2019 with all our friends & family.

I know a number of you have been through the process/are extremely knowledgeable about the whole immigration process and hoped to gain some clarity on a few points.

From what I've read so far on the forum, applying for AOS whilst in the US on the VWP is risky?
Is our best option then for me to return back to the UK after we get married (and before the 90 days are up) for my fiance to then file the CR1 Visa petition?

I have a friend who is also a UK citizen and is marrying a lady from Florida next month whilst he is there on the VWP. He has informed me that once you start the process for the green card, you are required to remain in the US for 6 months?

I am just very keen to ensure my fiancé and I don't encounter any avoidable issues and go through the process the best way possible.
I obviously would like to be over there living with him as soon as possible but certainly do not want to overstay on the VWP whilst we apply for AOS if this not recommended and may cause problems!
More than happy to return to the UK after we get married and begin the CR1 process if this is the best way. (I am assuming I can still visit the US under the VWP whilst the application is in process?)

Thanks in advance for your advice/comments!
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Old Oct 1st 2017, 10:02 pm   #2
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Default Re: Marriage/ESTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJ1809 View Post
Hi all,

I have just recently got engaged to my partner of 3 and a half years who is a USC.
Congratulations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJ1809 View Post
I am still currently living in the UK and have only ever travelled to the US under the VWP. My next trip out the States is scheduled for mid November and it is our intention to get married in a courthouse in order to begin the process for me to get my residency and have our actual wedding day in 2019 with all our friends & family.

I know a number of you have been through the process/are extremely knowledgeable about the whole immigration process and hoped to gain some clarity on a few points.

From what I've read so far on the forum, applying for AOS whilst in the US on the VWP is risky?
Uhh, it's illegal to enter the USA on the VWP with the intent to immigrate. So yes, it's risky.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJ1809 View Post
Is our best option then for me to return back to the UK after we get married (and before the 90 days are up) for my fiance to then file the CR1 Visa petition?
Yes, though it's a I-130. CR-1 is the visa category.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJ1809 View Post
I have a friend who is also a UK citizen and is marrying a lady from Florida next month whilst he is there on the VWP. He has informed me that once you start the process for the green card, you are required to remain in the US for 6 months?
Sounds like your friend is adjusting status. This won't apply to you if you go the CR-1 route.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJ1809 View Post
I am just very keen to ensure my fiancé and I don't encounter any avoidable issues and go through the process the best way possible.
I obviously would like to be over there living with him as soon as possible but certainly do not want to overstay on the VWP whilst we apply for AOS if this not recommended and may cause problems!
More than happy to return to the UK after we get married and begin the CR1 process if this is the best way. (I am assuming I can still visit the US under the VWP whilst the application is in process?)
Yes you can continue to visit.
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Old Oct 1st 2017, 10:02 pm   #3
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Default Re: Marriage/ESTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJ1809 View Post
Hi all,

I have just recently got engaged to my partner of 3 and a half years who is a USC.

I am still currently living in the UK and have only ever travelled to the US under the VWP. My next trip out the States is scheduled for mid November and it is our intention to get married in a courthouse in order to begin the process for me to get my residency and have our actual wedding day in 2019 with all our friends & family.

I know a number of you have been through the process/are extremely knowledgeable about the whole immigration process and hoped to gain some clarity on a few points.

From what I've read so far on the forum, applying for AOS whilst in the US on the VWP is risky?
Is our best option then for me to return back to the UK after we get married (and before the 90 days are up) for my fiance to then file the CR1 Visa petition?

I have a friend who is also a UK citizen and is marrying a lady from Florida next month whilst he is there on the VWP. He has informed me that once you start the process for the green card, you are required to remain in the US for 6 months?

I am just very keen to ensure my fiancé and I don't encounter any avoidable issues and go through the process the best way possible.
I obviously would like to be over there living with him as soon as possible but certainly do not want to overstay on the VWP whilst we apply for AOS if this not recommended and may cause problems!
More than happy to return to the UK after we get married and begin the CR1 process if this is the best way. (I am assuming I can still visit the US under the VWP whilst the application is in process?)

Thanks in advance for your advice/comments!
It is illegal to go to the US to get married and then apply for AOS, however the scenario you suggest is perfectly OK, marry there, return to the UK and start the CR-1 petition. To do otherwise, and get caught, could well get you a lengthy ban from the US. Once you have moved permanently to the US there is NO requirement to stay for the 6 months, you just need the appropriate stamp in your passport that shows you have a permanent resident petition in process through marriage then you can leave and return.
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Old Oct 1st 2017, 10:42 pm   #4
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Default Re: Marriage/ESTA

Thank you both!

If I had the K-1 Visa and married within the 90 day window upon entering the US, we could immediately apply for AOS and I would be required to remain in the country?

We'd only need to go down the CR-1 route if we got married whilst I was there on the VWP?

Is one option more favourable than the other?
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Old Oct 1st 2017, 10:52 pm   #5
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Default Re: Marriage/ESTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJ1809 View Post
Hi all,

I have just recently got engaged to my partner of 3 and a half years who is a USC.

I am still currently living in the UK and have only ever travelled to the US under the VWP. My next trip out the States is scheduled for mid November and it is our intention to get married in a courthouse in order to begin the process for me to get my residency and have our actual wedding day in 2019 with all our friends & family.
Congratulations on the engagement. You can most certainly enter the US for the full intent to marry your USC fiancée.

Quote:
I know a number of you have been through the process/are extremely knowledgeable about the whole immigration process and hoped to gain some clarity on a few points.
Yes, about 1/2 of our members have done what you are proposing to do ... marry a USC and seek residency to live and work in the US with their USC spouse.

Quote:
From what I've read so far on the forum, applying for AOS whilst in the US on the VWP is risky?
Is our best option then for me to return back to the UK after we get married (and before the 90 days are up) for my fiance to then file the CR1 Visa petition?
Risky is not the word for it. If you don't mind being found to have committed fraud by entering the US with the intent to marry and remain to adjust status and suffer the penalty of being banned from the US, then have a go at it. Can't give you a percentage on the number of people who are found to have done this and have suffered the consequences but if you are one of the risk takers and do this, note that your intent to do is now on the world wide web and believe me when I tell you that Homeland Security and the USCIS read immigration forums like this.

Your best and safest option is to return to the UK after your marriage and honeymoon and have your spouse file the I-130 and accompanying documents to the USCIS stateside. After you are married it is no longer a fiancée but a spouse

The USC spouse does not file for the CR-1 visa but files the I-130 with you as the beneficiary. After many months it will be approved and sent to the National Visa Center where an affidavit of support will need to be filed by him for you and paid for, etc. Once all of that is done, it is forwarded to the US Embassy in London where YOU will apply for the CR-1 visa.

Quote:
I have a friend who is also a UK citizen and is marrying a lady from Florida next month whilst he is there on the VWP. He has informed me that once you start the process for the green card, you are required to remain in the US for 6 months?
Your friend does not know what he is talking about. This is not true at all. I will not touch on the process called adjustment of status simply because I don't believe it is the best way for you to get your green card.

Quote:
I am just very keen to ensure my fiancé and I don't encounter any avoidable issues and go through the process the best way possible.
I obviously would like to be over there living with him as soon as possible but certainly do not want to overstay on the VWP whilst we apply for AOS if this not recommended and may cause problems!
More than happy to return to the UK after we get married and begin the CR1 process if this is the best way. (I am assuming I can still visit the US under the VWP whilst the application is in process?)

Thanks in advance for your advice/comments!
Go the CR-1 route for your own personal peace of mind. When the process is complete about 10-11 months after the initial filing of the I-130, you will enter the US with a shiny new visa and become a US Permanent Resident and will only have to deal with the USCIS once more when you need to remove the conditions from your green card two years after you become a CPR.

BTW CR = conditional resident which means you became a permanent resident before your marriage was past the second wedding anniversary.
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Old Oct 1st 2017, 10:54 pm   #6
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Default Re: Marriage/ESTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJ1809 View Post
Thank you both!

If I had the K-1 Visa and married within the 90 day window upon entering the US, we could immediately apply for AOS and I would be required to remain in the country?
Only until you have filed for adjustment of status (AO) and for an employment authorization document and advance parole. AP is what allows you to travel outside of the US for vacation, etc. (for a limited time frame) without abandoning your AOS petition.

Quote:
We'd only need to go down the CR-1 route if we got married whilst I was there on the VWP?

Is one option more favourable than the other?
Yes, there are many differences and you can find them in the comparison chart in the wiki at the start of this forum.http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Compar...ge-based_visas

Last edited by Rete; Oct 1st 2017 at 10:56 pm.
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Old Oct 1st 2017, 11:32 pm   #7
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Default Re: Marriage/ESTA

Having been through the CR-1 process (actually it was an IR-1 as we had been married for 2 years and a few months when I entered the US with my immigrant visa), I would strongly recommend this route. I arrived on December 19 last year, was a permanent resident immediately, started work less than 2 weeks later. It's also considerably cheaper than a K-1. You can visit throughout the process. I did just that.
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Old Oct 4th 2017, 4:54 pm   #8
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Default Re: Marriage/ESTA

Another vote for a CR-1 after marrying on an ESTA/VWP visit, and that is exactly what I did.

With a CR-1 you can continue to work in the UK while the visa is bring processed, and you will be able to work immediately you have cleared immigration in the US - literally right there in the airport if you had a job to go to.

Your friend is heading down a very iffy path, and if things don't go according to plan he risks being forced to leave the US and getting a ban from returning for over staying a VWP visit. Unfortunately many dubious immigration lawyers earn a crust encouraging such nonsense.
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Last edited by Pulaski; Oct 4th 2017 at 6:44 pm.
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Old Oct 4th 2017, 6:32 pm   #9
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Default Re: Marriage/ESTA

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Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Your friend is heading down a very iffy path, with a significant period, likely six months, but could easily be twice that, during which he will not be able to work and will not be able to leave the US because (i) his adjustment will be deemed abandoned, and (ii) he will get a ban from returning to the US for over staying a VWP visit. Unfortunately many dubious immigration lawyers earn a crust encouraging such nonsense.
The friend can certainly work and travel outside of the US while awaiting adjustment of status even if he entered the US under the VWP, married and applied for adjustment of status. The adjustment allows him/her to file the I-131 for travel advance parole and the I-765 for an employment document. Normally it only takes up to 90 days for this to be received.
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Old Oct 5th 2017, 8:45 pm   #10
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Default Re: Marriage/ESTA

Thank you all for taking the time to reply my post.

I will 100% be going down the CR-1 route, makes the most sense for us I think
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