British Expats

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-   -   Those First Few Steps. (https://britishexpats.com/forum/marriage-based-visas-35/those-first-few-steps-715975/)

FearlessxRin May 6th 2011 10:52 pm

Those First Few Steps.
 
Hey Everyone.

I guess the best way to go about this is to explain everything about us first, then explain the current plan and everything that I have managed to research by myself and hopefully you guys can let me know or point out what (if anything, but there is always something based off past experiences) it is that I might have overlooked or missed. I keep slowly finding snags, but hey, we (my fiancee and I) don't let it get us down, we just plan around it together. Now to the point after a little "disclaimer" I suppose you could call it.

I have read up on a few threads here, and some people will probably have their opinions on certain things, feel free to state them if you so desire, I'll read them, but ultimately my mind and heart are made up and I know what I want. Just basically saying that your completely entitled to your opinion, however I'd prefer it if I got advise rather than being "flamed".

My Fiancee & I (USC and UKC respectively) met on Xbox Live, and pretty much have spoken to each other everyday for at least 12 hours a day over the 4 months I have known her. After about 2 and a half months of talking to her on a daily basis about anything and everything with ease, finding out that we have the same interests, same ways of looking/thinking of things, even the same down to our little OCD things like having to have our TV volume on either 5, 10, 15, 20, etc... I told her one night that I loved her, which led to quite an interesting conversation.

We pretty much both said we didn't want to just have a pointless online "fling" like most people these days, we said we both wanted an actual relationship, physically as opposed to virtually. It was at this point that I decided to bring up the idea of me going over to the US to visit her for a couple of weeks, as friends, just to see how we got on when it was physical. She was all for the idea, so after booking a flight with 10 days notice and calling up work to try and get time off on such a short notice (this was due to prices, I'd been looking previously just out of curiosity and I found most were roughly £1000 so when I saw one for £470 I couldn't refuse). I got my ESTA sorted out, and off I went.

It didn't take long for either of us to realize we got on even better physically than we did virtually, I'm not much of a physical person when it comes down to it, but that first time we met and both just held onto each other in the airport terminal for what seemed like ages definitely meant something. So from there, we decided to step it up a level, and I asked her out on a "date" if you will, because despite having had boyfriends previously, none of them had taken her out... Seeing as we were in Seattle, the Space Needle kind of ended up being the location of choice, which was great considering we both have a thing when it comes to heights.

Then came the day before I had to leave, we both sat and talked about what we wanted, the way we felt about each other, what we thought now we had actually met in person and so on. After about a 2 hour discussion about all of that, I asked her if she would like to marry me, to which she said yes :)

So, my apologies for the life story I ended up typing there, but that is a summary of what has happened so far. Now is the part I kind of need you guys to pitch in for, because there is a lot of stuff out there, I'll give you everything I have so far.

I'm currently assuming that the best way for me to get over there would be with a K-1 Fiance Visa.

From what I have gathered so far, the process is something along the lines of this;

A) My Fiancee files an Alien Fiancee Petition, Form I-129F.
B) My Fiancee will then receive an I-797, then another I-797 when the petition is approved.
C) The USCIS sends the paperwork to the NVC.
D) The NVC then sends the paperwork/case files to the specified US Embassy (London).
E) The US Embassy will send me a letter saying they have received the petition, then another letter again at a later date with all the required forms and requirements I will need, which I fill out and return.
F) Medical and then Interview at a later date/possibly on the same day.
G) After the Interview, I will be told if I the visa has been approved or not. If it is approved, I leave my passport with them and they return it to me with the visa enclosed at a later date.

Paperwork-wise I think I have everything up to this point covered, the only form I have read about that is a requirement for the Fiance Visa is I-134, which I take it doesn't have to be filled out specifically by my fiancee, seeing as at the moment I'm the one with the most financial backing (it isn't much, but I moved out at 17 and have been making my way in life so far just fine. My bank account after spending the ~$1000 to go over there still hovers at about ~$1600 for the time being, and due to the fact I'm engaged now I have got more hours at work, which makes my paychecks almost $300 a week as opposed to $200 that I was getting before) but after finding out that K-1 Visas take roughly 2-8 Months to process, that might be different, and I don't spend money often, so it will only go up more.

My police record is clean, I know that for a fact so there won't be any issues when they background check that, my only doubt would be the financial aspect for the time being. Which brings me to the next snag, bottom line is after spending $350 on the Petition, then $1070 for an Application of Permanent Residence followed by another $380 for Entitlement To Employment (As far as I know, at this moment in time, I'm assuming I NEED all of these. If that isn't the case, let me know because that will help greatly) and flights over there, we aren't going to exactly be in a great financial position to have the kind of wedding we want in the 90 day time frame, so yes, whilst we will get married to meet the requirements of the visa, there will be a proper wedding later down the line after we both work and save up enough to make it the day we both want it to be. A wedding is something that we talked about, and we both said we are only having one in our lifetime, so when it comes down to it, I want it to be perfect and I want us to have enough money together to make it that way... Though I'm not sure how they will look at that, I haven't read anywhere that you need to spend $20k on your wedding anyway.

Well, I'll leave it here for now, any of your guys input is welcome. Any questions, post them and I'll answer them as best as I can. Sorry again for making this wall of text, I get a bit carried away when typing.

Thanks~

meauxna May 6th 2011 11:21 pm

Re: Those First Few Steps.
 
Hi there and welcome aboard :)
I'm still looking for the flame-worthy stuff.. what's that all about?

It looks like you have done a lot of research, and that it's pretty spot on. What I hear from you are some financial concerns (legitimate IMO).
We generally round it out to set aside $2000 USD for the immigration portion. Add for travel & wedding. With that amount set aside, your fees & incidentals will be covered.

WRT sponsorship, there are two parts.. this seems to confuse K applicants.
For the visa, the I-134 & its loose requirements apply. But that only buys you the 90 days admission the K visa will get you. What you need to look ahead to is the Adjustment of Status/AOS application (for your green card) because it uses form I-864, which is quite specific. Your spouse needs an income of roughly $20K/year gross. If she doesn't earn that, there are workarounds. Read form I-864 + instructions carefully.

Other than that, it sounds like you have been reading a lot, and most of it good. You can check out our wiki entry here for more details on the documents you'll want to gather up (including a couple that go with the initial petition submission). The hardest part is getting started and that wait for the petition to be approved.
A more realistic timeline is 6-8 months from petition to visa.

Congratulations on finding each other, and welcome to the neighborhood. Expats here seem to be the most contented in the country.

JennaB May 6th 2011 11:28 pm

Re: Those First Few Steps.
 
Firstly, I just want to say that am not and have not gone through the K-1 process, so I know virtually nothing about that, and my advice should be taken with a grain of salt.

However, I do know someone who was in a similar situation to you (a USC who med a UKC online...not sure what site) and was able to get a K-1 visa. Their biggest problem was providing evidence that they were a genuine couple. Like you guys, my friend and her fiance had only met one time. She said that the interview guy was pretty rigorous, and she said he seemed very skeptical about the relationship. I guess this can be expected, since a lot of people might think that a relationship that plays out for the most part online is not a viable one (even though it's becoming more and more prevalent). Do you have chat-logs, e-mails, logs from Xbox (if that's possible) showing when you started talking? Do you have lots of pictures from when you visited? Did you meet her family? My advice would be to start compiling evidence now, so that you can prove it is a real, loving relationship.

ian-mstm May 6th 2011 11:30 pm

Re: Those First Few Steps.
 

Originally Posted by FearlessxRin (Post 9348223)
... like having to have our TV volume on either 5, 10, 15, 20, etc...

Oh crap... I do exactly the same thing!



I'm currently assuming that the best way for me to get over there would be with a K-1 Fiance Visa.
This would be true if not working for several months after you arrive in the US is not a priority for either of you. If working is a priority, the K-1 may not be the best method.



From what I have gathered so far, the process is something along the lines of this;
Seems 100% correct.



I think I have everything up to this point covered, the only form I have read about that is a requirement for the Fiance Visa is I-134, which I take it doesn't have to be filled out specifically by my fiancee...
Correct. The I-134 can be completed by anyone willing to sponsor you or, if you have sufficient assets, you can sponsor yourself, so to speak. That said, assets need to be 3x the amount you'd otherwise need in income (which is why it's usually less expensive for the US citizen fiancee to file the I-134)... and the current income number to go off of is roughly $18,350/yr.



Which brings me to the next snag, bottom line is after spending $350 on the Petition, then $1070 for an Application of Permanent Residence followed by another $380 for Entitlement To Employment (As far as I know, at this moment in time...
After the fee for the I-129F, the other stuff can't be applied for until after you are already married. Also, there is no longer a separate fee for employment authorization. So, if you want a fancy wedding... you're going to either need that up front within 90 days of you entering the US, or you get married at city hall (which allows you to file all the adjustment paperwork) and then plan a fancy wedding at some point in the future. It's less romantic that way, but dealing with immigration has a way of taking romance out of the equation. US immigration isn't interested in how large or small your wedding is... they're interested only in the marriage certificate that you receive afterwards.

We have a great K-1 Wiki (in the blue bar at the top of each page). I did a K-1 visa many years ago... and we also met online - in 1997!

Ian

avanutria May 6th 2011 11:31 pm

Re: Those First Few Steps.
 

Originally Posted by meauxna (Post 9348266)
Hi there and welcome aboard :)
I'm still looking for the flame-worthy stuff.. what's that all about?

I think he was worried about the relatively short time they were together and possibly the online-meeting aspect. Whereas I would say to the OP, it sounds like you have a very good head on your shoulders and both you and your fiancee have given this a lot of serious thought and discussion. What's to flame? And my DH and I originally met online as well, as did many of the people here I'd imagine.

If you're worried about having only met each other once and how that might look to immigration, I suggest inviting her back to your home town to see your life, meet your family etc. It'll be great fun for you both and will add more ammo to your immigration file.

Wolfy May 6th 2011 11:57 pm

Re: Those First Few Steps.
 

Originally Posted by avanutria (Post 9348283)
I think he was worried about the relatively short time they were together and possibly the online-meeting aspect. Whereas I would say to the OP, it sounds like you have a very good head on your shoulders and both you and your fiancee have given this a lot of serious thought and discussion. What's to flame? And my DH and I originally met online as well, as did many of the people here I'd imagine.

If you're worried about having only met each other once and how that might look to immigration, I suggest inviting her back to your home town to see your life, meet your family etc. It'll be great fun for you both and will add more ammo to your immigration file.

I think I also read that if you follow your heart who cares what others think although these others are the ones that will either keep you aoart longer or reunite you.

Having said that a recent survey states that the average person knows its LOVE within a fith of a second when they ask themselves the question.

If its of any conselation, my wife and I also met online and not through the usual sites others have met and i jumped on a plane about a month after chatting, had the same conversation as the original poster had. so the OP is not alone. The WWW has made the planet very small and brings people together that otherwise would not .

Noorah101 May 7th 2011 12:12 am

Re: Those First Few Steps.
 

Originally Posted by ian-mstm (Post 9348282)
Correct. The I-134 can be completed by anyone willing to sponsor you or, if you have sufficient assets, you can sponsor yourself, so to speak. That said, assets need to be 3x the amount you'd otherwise need in income (which is why it's usually less expensive for the US citizen fiancee to file the I-134)... and the current income number to go off of is roughly $18,350/yr.

For the I-134, the rule of having to be 3x the amount doesn't apply. That's only for the I-864. That said, his savings of roughly a few thousand dollars probably is not going to be enough to "self-sponsor".

Fearless, I take it your fiancee does not work or have any income? If she doesn't qualify financially for the I-134, she can find someone else in the USA who does. As meauxna pointed out, the more strict form is the I-864, due when you want to file AOS. But again, if your fiancee doesn't have enough income, she can use a Joint Sponsor on the I-864.

I see nothing wrong with your plan, but as Ian said, if working in the USA right away after arrival is important to you, you might want to consider the spouse Immigrant Visa instead. There is a good comparison chart in the Wiki.

Welcome to BE!

Rene

FearlessxRin May 7th 2011 12:35 am

Re: Those First Few Steps.
 

Do you have chat-logs, e-mails, logs from Xbox (if that's possible) showing when you started talking? Do you have lots of pictures from when you visited? Did you meet her family?
Closest thing to Xbox Logs would be Bungie.net which has all our Halo: Reach games saved on it which are all dated and timestamped. As for pictures, I have had my iPhone for a year and two months, and only found out it had zoom on the camera whilst I was there. So yea, quite a few pictures of her and her mother who I also met.



I'm currently assuming that the best way for me to get over there would be with a K-1 Fiance Visa.
This would be true if not working for several months after you arrive in the US is not a priority for either of you. If working is a priority, the K-1 may not be the best method.
Hmm, well working would be something I'd like to get started on as soon as possible. I know that I can't apply for all the other stuff until we are married, so it would depend on how quickly we get that sorted. Moving there is going to cost us a lot, and I don't really don't want to sit at home all day while my Fiancee goes to work to pay for me sitting around. We will have to cross that bridge when we come to it I guess.



Which brings me to the next snag, bottom line is after spending $350 on the Petition, then $1070 for an Application of Permanent Residence followed by another $380 for Entitlement To Employment (As far as I know, at this moment in time...
After the fee for the I-129F, the other stuff can't be applied for until after you are already married. Also, there is no longer a separate fee for employment authorization. So, if you want a fancy wedding... you're going to either need that up front within 90 days of you entering the US, or you get married at city hall (which allows you to file all the adjustment paperwork) and then plan a fancy wedding at some point in the future. It's less romantic that way, but dealing with immigration has a way of taking romance out of the equation. US immigration isn't interested in how large or small your wedding is... they're interested only in the marriage certificate that you receive afterwards.
Oh nice, so that saves me a bit in the long run, and I'll take all the savings I can right now. As for the fancy wedding, pretty much what you said is our case. We can't go straight for the huge wedding that we want to have purely due to the lack of finance. The city hall would be the option that I mentioned to her, just so we can get started together and work our way towards our wedding with each other. I told her, I'm going to give her a proper wedding and I think we would both rather bite the bullet for now and give up the more romantic side so we can be together physically until we do actually have enough set aside.


I think he was worried about the relatively short time they were together and possibly the online-meeting aspect. Whereas I would say to the OP, it sounds like you have a very good head on your shoulders and both you and your fiancee have given this a lot of serious thought and discussion.
Pretty much hit it. Most people I tell say "Oh that is too fast." or something along those lines, and I guess when you try explaining it to someone who doesn't do much when it comes to online related things it makes it harder because they don't understand the concept.

Oh, and the other minor little thing that I left out, in case you couldn't tell from my first post I'm only still 19, 20 in November, (though my mental age is probably about ~25) which could bite me in the ass as well I for see, but hey, like I said, I left home when my parents lived in Spain at 17 and moved back to the UK alone and supported myself. I have the bank statements to prove it, done it before, I can do it again... Though this time I won't be doing it alone for once.


Fearless, I take it your fiancee does not work or have any income? If she doesn't qualify financially for the I-134, she can find someone else in the USA who does.
Not currently, she is moving back down to NM tomorrow and may have a job there, but that isn't set in stone just yet. I'll have to wait an see what happens when she gets down there. Plus her mother could/would cover me on the I-134 so that is fine.

And Thanks For The Welcomes ^^

meauxna May 7th 2011 12:53 am

Re: Those First Few Steps.
 
If you guys plan a year for your immigration, getting to know each other better, I'm sure you'll solve many of these issues naturally with the passing of time.

Begin documenting your relationship. You've met the legal mark, which is meeting once in person in the 2 years before filing the petition.
The evidence thing is not usually a big deal for couples who share a common language & culture. Don't fret about this too much.

As far as working, it's simple. PLAN to be not working for your first six months in the US. Save enough to get you though at least that. Do NOT cross that bridge when you come to it; make a map to deal with it now.
Deal with the fact that you might have a harder time finding employment than your female, but USC spouse. Many men here have posted on that topic; you don't want to turn as bitter and twisted as some of them did. :D

No ONE individual wants to be sitting home while their spouse is out earning and having a life.


As regards your age and the speed of making your decision, that's down to you and your families as far as I'm concerned. We've seen every permutation of couple pass through this group, some stay together, some split up, I've quit laying odds on it. My only advice for you is the same I'd give to anyone: Travel safe. Keep an emergency fund of your own, keep your passport current, keep up to date on your OWN immigration case and keep your own set of files. Don't let yourself get trapped due to someone else's actions.. ever. I think that is good advice for anyone, in almost any circumstance, but when you're moving to a new country at the whim of basically one person... well, CYA.

Noorah101 May 7th 2011 1:09 am

Re: Those First Few Steps.
 

Originally Posted by FearlessxRin (Post 9348363)
Oh, and the other minor little thing that I left out, in case you couldn't tell from my first post I'm only still 19, 20 in November...

Is your USC fiancee over 18, or will she be by the time you want to marry after you arrive on the K-1 visa? She needs to be 18 in order to sign the I-864 affidavit of support.

Rene

FearlessxRin May 7th 2011 1:11 am

Re: Those First Few Steps.
 

As far as working, it's simple. PLAN to be not working for your first six months in the US. Save enough to get you though at least that. Do NOT cross that bridge when you come to it; make a map to deal with it now.
Deal with the fact that you might have a harder time finding employment than your female, but USC spouse. Many men here have posted on that topic; you don't want to turn as bitter and twisted as some of them did.
Hmm, well the good part about that is if I do allow 2-8 Months of processing time then having enough saved up to not work for those first few months would be quite plausible. Based on the place she will be moving to I'd be paying out $175 in rent a month ($700 PCM split 4 ways, or we would be paying out $350 for the both of us) , which has utilities included and other than that it would just be food and personal expenses to keep an eye on.

Oh, and I always have a back up plan. I caught onto the fact life like the try and screw you over at every turn quite awhile ago, so I plan for it now.



Oh, and the other minor little thing that I left out, in case you couldn't tell from my first post I'm only still 19, 20 in November...
Is your USC fiancee over 18, or will she be by the time you want to marry after you arrive on the K-1 visa? She needs to be 18 in order to sign the I-864 affidavit of support.
Yes, She is 21, so only a year between us.

Noorah101 May 7th 2011 1:55 am

Re: Those First Few Steps.
 

Originally Posted by FearlessxRin (Post 9348407)
Hmm, well the good part about that is if I do allow 2-8 Months of processing time...

I'm not sure where you're getting this 2 - 8 months processing time figure. A typical K-1 visa takes about 8 - 10 months to process. If you get lucky and your case goes VERY quickly, it MIGHT be 6 months (but doubtful). Definitely not 2 months. It can take up to 6 months just for the I-129F to be approved, and then you have the subsequent visa process to get through.

Rene

meauxna May 7th 2011 2:37 am

Re: Those First Few Steps.
 

Originally Posted by FearlessxRin (Post 9348407)
Hmm, well the good part about that is if I do allow 2-8 Months of processing time then having enough saved up to not work for those first few months would be quite plausible. Based on the place she will be moving to I'd be paying out $175 in rent a month ($700 PCM split 4 ways, or we would be paying out $350 for the both of us) , which has utilities included and other than that it would just be food and personal expenses to keep an eye on.

You should realistically think of this being a year from now; it's not a race or a contest and the more preparation you have, the better off you'll both be.

I also said you should PLAN for six months of not working, from arrival. Not 'first few'. 6-8+ months for K-1 visa processing, not 2.

I really, really encourage you to do some reading around here, in this forum and the other USA forums. You have no idea the expenses you'll run into making this relocation. It's all well and good to say all you need is your teddy bear and you're good to go, but it's rarely that simple. Investing the time to prepare well for the move will make a big difference in your success, from the stories and experiences I've read, and had.

ian-mstm May 7th 2011 1:11 pm

Re: Those First Few Steps.
 

Originally Posted by FearlessxRin (Post 9348407)
She is 21, so only a year between us.

So, not quite the cradle robber that my wife is... she's 2 years older than me! :D When we were dating, she used to introduce me to her friends as her "boy toy" - which was a bit weird, as we were in our 40s at the time! :eek:

Ian

FearlessxRin May 8th 2011 5:18 pm

Re: Those First Few Steps.
 

Originally Posted by meauxna (Post 9348470)
You should realistically think of this being a year from now; it's not a race or a contest and the more preparation you have, the better off you'll both be.

I also said you should PLAN for six months of not working, from arrival. Not 'first few'. 6-8+ months for K-1 visa processing, not 2.

I read 2-8 Months on a site that I google'ed when looking up how long it takes, but I'll take your guys word for it though I prefer to think of it as 2-8 Months... Makes it seem like it isn't so far off for the time being.

But your right, it isn't a race, I just want to be there but I can't change the paperwork aspect, I'll just have to wait it out. Waiting though, on a brighter note will help with the financial aspect seeing as I will be working for that time.

I take it that during this process she could still come and visit me if she wanted? Hopefully when she gets down to NM she has the job she might be getting, if she does then we will probably go 50%-50% on flights so she can come over here for a couple of weeks just to pass the time that we will have to wait, well, after she gets her passport anyways ^^

If not, well then maybe she could come over for a month and just stay here with me seeing as again, I will be working and will have enough to provide for her to remain in the UK for that time, though the first option is probably better in the long run seeing as I'm pretty sure if we both have a decent income then it will help the whole visa process move along more smoothly.

Once again I thank you guys for your input and help, it is really appreciated because I don't want to mess this up and then have to do it all again, and wait another year.


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