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Have I made a problem for myself?

Have I made a problem for myself?

Old Jan 5th 2003, 2:10 am
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Question Have I made a problem for myself?

Hi, hope this is a simple question. My fiancee and I married last month while I was in Austin on a VW. Following this we filled out and sent the I-130 and I returned to the UK. She will be visiting me here while we await approval.

Basically, by coming back to Britain, have I ruined our petition? If I understand other posts correctly we should not have got married on a VW (I did declare this as the reason for entering the USA at Dallas, and the Immigration Officer simply wished me all the best and passed me through) and as we did do this I should have stayed in the USA and applied for Adjustment of Status.

Also, my wife is planning to visit me during the wait as this will be much simpler. If need be though, would I be able to visit her for a week or two?

Dave
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Old Jan 6th 2003, 3:45 pm
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Default Re: Have I made a problem for myself?

Originally posted by davewilliams
Hi, hope this is a simple question. My fiancee and I married last month while I was in Austin on a VW. Following this we filled out and sent the I-130 and I returned to the UK. She will be visiting me here while we await approval.

Basically, by coming back to Britain, have I ruined our petition? If I understand other posts correctly we should not have got married on a VW (I did declare this as the reason for entering the USA at Dallas, and the Immigration Officer simply wished me all the best and passed me through) and as we did do this I should have stayed in the USA and applied for Adjustment of Status.

Also, my wife is planning to visit me during the wait as this will be much simpler. If need be though, would I be able to visit her for a week or two?

Dave
Dave, it seems to me that you have broke every rule in the book!

First of all, you flew into Austin and told the officer there, that you are getting married? well technically he/she should of deported you back to the UK on the spot.

You have also only filled out part of the petition to file adjustment of status (AOS) that being I-130. You cannot file to be a resident (I-485) whilst you are in the UK, YOU HAVE TO BE LIVING IN THE US.

The only legal way to get married then leave the U.S for filling for AOS, was to ask for Advanced Parole (basically you have to ask permission to leave the U.S).

Sounds like a real mess, prehaps other ex-pats on this forum can shed some light?

Good luck on getting out on this one.
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Old Jan 6th 2003, 5:00 pm
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Default Re: Have I made a problem for myself?

Hi Dave. My wife and I did virtually the same thing, although in our case we married completely on the spur of the moment and I had no intentions of getting married when I entered the U.S. on a Visa Waiver (we'd originally intended to marry in London a couple of months later, but decided to do it while I was on a visit so we could get the ball rolling sooner). Like you, I returned to the UK after getting married while my wife filed the I-130. We had no problems at all. I got my visa at the U.S. Embassy within a few months and became a conditional permanent resident. The INS never gave us any problems or asked any questions about it. By returning to the UK after getting married, you are showing that you didn't enter the country with immigrant intent, which is a good thing. The fact that the immigration officer let you through even though you declared your intent to marry is not your fault, and there should be absolutely no repercussions for you.

Basically, now your wife has filed the I-130, all you need to do is wait for a notification from the U.S. Embassy in London, who will send you a package of forms (you will also need to obtain a UK police certificate). The whole process is quite straightforward. You will then have to go to the Embassy to collect your visa, once they have processed the paperwork.

There is no rule preventing you from marrying on a visa waiver, but it is technically illegal to enter the country on a VW with the intent to marry as you did. But since the INS inspection officer didn't give you any problems when entering, you should be okay.

The route you have chosen is called Consular Processing. The alternative would have been for you to stay in the U.S. and file for adjustment of status, which typically takes much longer. However, either option is valid and based on personal experience, I don't think that you will have any problems.

I wouldn't recommend trying to reenter the U.S. until you have been approved, because the immigration officer will see that you have a pending I-130 and might suspect immigrant intent, which is grounds for immediate removal. But there will be no problem with your wife visiting you in the UK, as mine did. It's definitely worth waiting until you are approved before entering the U.S. otherwise you could create a real problem for yourself.

Other than that, everything should be fine.



Originally posted by davewilliams
Hi, hope this is a simple question. My fiancee and I married last month while I was in Austin on a VW. Following this we filled out and sent the I-130 and I returned to the UK. She will be visiting me here while we await approval.

Basically, by coming back to Britain, have I ruined our petition? If I understand other posts correctly we should not have got married on a VW (I did declare this as the reason for entering the USA at Dallas, and the Immigration Officer simply wished me all the best and passed me through) and as we did do this I should have stayed in the USA and applied for Adjustment of Status.

Also, my wife is planning to visit me during the wait as this will be much simpler. If need be though, would I be able to visit her for a week or two?

Dave
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Old Jan 6th 2003, 5:27 pm
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Very interesting to read your experiences shaggy,

but

If its so easy to fly into the U.S, and get married, then wouldn't everyone be doing it?

Your right there is no rule, stating you can't get married on a VW but I am sure I read somewhere, that once you have done this, you have to stay put in the U.S whilst your AOS goes through and under no circumstances must you leave the U.S. I could be wrong through.
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Old Jan 6th 2003, 6:32 pm
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Default Re: Have I made a problem for myself?

Basically, now your wife has filed the I-130, all you need to do is wait for a notification from the U.S. Embassy in London, who will send you a package of forms (you will also need to obtain a UK police certificate). The whole process is quite straightforward. You will then have to go to the Embassy to collect your visa, once they have processed the paperwork.

There is no rule preventing you from marrying on a visa waiver, but it is technically illegal to enter the country on a VW with the intent to marry as you did. But since the INS inspection officer didn't give you any problems when entering, you should be okay.

<snip>

I wouldn't recommend trying to reenter the U.S. until you have been approved, because the immigration officer will see that you have a pending I-130 and might suspect immigrant intent, which is grounds for immediate removal. But there will be no problem with your wife visiting you in the UK, as mine did. It's definitely worth waiting until you are approved before entering the U.S. otherwise you could create a real problem for yourself.

Other than that, everything should be fine.
Thanks very much. On the declaring the wedding on a VW side, the immigration officer on a previous visit (about three or four visits ago) actually asked me if I was going to get married on that visit. I told him that I was not, and that I did not know it was possible without a fiancee visa, he said that I could do almost anything on a VW as long as I did not work or break the law and I left within 90 days. He actually suggested that this would be the quickest way if I could not afford to be in the country for a long time without working.

Does the advice about not entering the USA apply to all methods, or might it be worth applying for a tourist visa first, stating the whole position (I have a mortgage in the UK and have not yet put my home up for sale, I can also prove that I will get a **big** redundancy payment from work as long as I am still there in June and I have air tickets from London to Malaysia for our honeymoon in June)? I **really** don't want to jeopardise my future with my wife, so I'll stay away if I really have to, but it's definitely not my preference.

Cheers in advance
Dave
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Old Jan 6th 2003, 6:56 pm
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I think that you are only prevented from leaving the country after getting married if you have overstayed a visa or are otherwise out of status---you would need to obtain advance parole in this scenario. Ordinarily, the only restriction on getting married using a visa waiver is that you are not allowed to enter the country with the intent to marry---this is technically visa fraud, although from what I have read, the INS tends to let this slide more often than not. Technically, if you marry in the U.S. on a visa waiver, the INS is supposed to investigate whether or not you entered the country with the intent to marry, since you are supposed to obtain a K1 if you intend to get married. However, given their limited resources and the fact that intent is often very difficult to prove, they do not appear to look into it too deeply in most cases. I may be wrong, but I get the distinct impression that they have bigger fish to fry than worrying about whether someone entered the country with the intent to marry, especially if the person doesn't overstay their visa and returns to their native country after the wedding. The INS, in my humble opinion, is probably more concerned with immigrant intent than marriage intent. They might investigate a little more thoroughly, however, if you enter the country on a visa waiver, marry and then try to adjust status.

The original poster made a faux pas by telling the immigration officer that he was planning to marry. Of course, he was entirely correct not to lie to the INS, but the immigration officer clearly wasn't doing his job correctly by allowing him entry into the country. According to the law, he should have been denied entry. It could be that the officer simply didn't understand that part of the law, but for the immigration officer to report that he allowed somebody into the country on a VW when they said they were planning to marry would be for him to admit negligence. From my experience of dealing with officers at POEs, I don't think they record what you tell them as a matter of course---not unless they have reason to suspect something doesn't quite fit. INS inspection officers are under Congressional mandate to inspect every visitor within 45 minutes of a plane landing, which means that they probably don't have time to record what every single person tells them.

If the INS decided to look deeply into this person's case, they might be able to establish intent to marry. For instance, if the wedding was arranged before the date of entry, or if relatives were present at the wedding, this might raise a red flag. In my case, we arranged everything within the last few days of my visit and didn't even tell our families until it was all done. We subsequently had a proper wedding for our families in London about six weeks' later. Nobody at the INS has ever asked me any questions about it. I personally know of one other friend who has also been through the same process. I had to return to the UK anyway because I still had an apartment and professional obligations to fulfill. Staying in the U.S. immediately after getting married was not a viable option for me.

In a way, I think the INS has dug a hole for itself in making it so complicated for couples to get married. If the restriction on marriage didn't exist for visitor visas, then the K1 wouldn't be necssary. Couples could simply enter the country, get married, and then either file the I-130 (if the alien is returning to their home country afterwards) or the I-485 with I-130 (if they decide to stay). That way, the INS could concentrate more on investigating fraudulent marriages---such as those involving mail order brides---than trying to establish a person's intent when they entered the country... which is a little like staring into a crystal ball. Or perhaps they could concentrate more resources on investigating real threats to society. It breaks my heart to think that people such as the original poster are unknowingly breaking the law just by wanting to marry the one they love. Perhaps the reason INS often overlooks these cases is because "intent to marry" is such an obscure aspect of visa law, and in most cases, it is not as if genuine couples are getting married as an excuse to commit illegal immigration.

From INS point of view, they can generally discover fraudulent marriages by granting you conditional permanent residence. This means if you have been married for less than two years when you apply for an immigrant visa (as in my case), you are only given a two-year green card. At the end of the two years, you have to apply to get the conditional status removed. This means proving to the INS that you are still with your partner. We were required to provide joint bank statements, signed affidavits from friends and relatives, proof of joint residence and various other documentation to prove the validity of our marriage. If you fail to convince the INS, they revoke your permanent residence. Simple as that.

I believe that most marriages are genuine, and conducting a transatlantic romance is complicated and stressful enough without worrying about all the hoops you have to jump through just to get married. I understand the reasons for having these laws, but they often have the effect of ruining what should be one of the happiest experiences of peoples' lives, and perhaps if INS simplified the process, they would create less work for themselves.

Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox now.



Originally posted by southcoast
Very interesting to read your experiences shaggy,

but

If its so easy to fly into the U.S, and get married, then wouldn't everyone be doing it?

Your right there is no rule, stating you can't get married on a VW but I am sure I read somewhere, that once you have done this, you have to stay put in the U.S whilst your AOS goes through and under no circumstances must you leave the U.S. I could be wrong through.
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Old Jan 6th 2003, 7:15 pm
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From what I have gathered by researching and reading these boards, you should not leave the country if your intent is to stay in the U.S. and apply for AOS. What the poster did was marry in the U.S. and left while his I-130 is being processed. Once his paperwork is finished (i.e. visa granted) he will then be able to travel to the U.S. without problems. Once his visa is granted he will be a conditional permanent resident and automatically be able to work and travel freely. The I-130 skips the AOS process. If, however, his wife files for a K-3 visa for him he would then have to go through AOS once he is in the U.S. on that visa. The K-3 is supposed to be quicker, however, many people have reported that their I-130 petitions have been approved before the K-3.

As far as I know, what he has done is completely legal and one of the proper ways to complete the process. This is especially true given he stated that his intention was to marry on his last visit. He should not try to re-enter the U.S. as he will most likely be turned away at the border and that could create future problems with the granting of the visa. As his situation stands now, he should have no problems with obtaining his visa, though the wait may be longer than they would like. His wife would of course be able to visit him in the UK.

I hope this helped. Again, this is just my understanding from researching this topic and the experience's of others. I am not an attorney. Good Luck!
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Old Jan 6th 2003, 8:00 pm
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Default Re: Have I made a problem for myself?

Basically, now your wife has filed the I-130, all you need to do is wait for a notification from the U.S. Embassy in London, who will send you a package of forms (you will also need to obtain a UK police certificate). The whole process is quite straightforward. You will then have to go to the Embassy to collect your visa, once they have processed the paperwork.

There is no rule preventing you from marrying on a visa waiver, but it is technically illegal to enter the country on a VW with the intent to marry as you did. But since the INS inspection officer didn't give you any problems when entering, you should be okay.

<snip>

I wouldn't recommend trying to reenter the U.S. until you have been approved, because the immigration officer will see that you have a pending I-130 and might suspect immigrant intent, which is grounds for immediate removal. But there will be no problem with your wife visiting you in the UK, as mine did. It's definitely worth waiting until you are approved before entering the U.S. otherwise you could create a real problem for yourself.

Other than that, everything should be fine.
Thanks very much. On the declaring the wedding on a VW side, the immigration officer on a previous visit (about three or four visits ago) actually asked me if I was going to get married on that visit. I told him that I was not, and that I did not know it was possible without a fiancee visa, he said that I could do almost anything on a VW as long as I did not work or break the law and I left within 90 days. He actually suggested that this would be the quickest way if I could not afford to be in the country for a long time without working.

Does the advice about not entering the USA apply to all methods, or might it be worth applying for a tourist visa first, stating the whole position (I have a mortgage in the UK and have not yet put my home up for sale, I can also prove that I will get a **big** redundancy payment from work as long as I am still there in June and I have air tickets from London to Malaysia for our honeymoon in June)? I **really** don't want to jeopardise my future with my wife, so I'll stay away if I really have to, but it's definitely not my preference.

Cheers in advance
Dave
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Old Jan 6th 2003, 8:01 pm
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Originally posted by shaggy
I think that you are only prevented from leaving the country after getting married if you have overstayed a visa or are otherwise out of status---you would need to obtain advance parole in this scenario.
Advance parole is necessary whenever AOS has been applied for but not received. Leaving without advance parole during this time abandons the petition. Those out of status (for more than six months) specifically should not use advance parole, even if the INS erroneously grants it. They could still be denied re-entry at the border and would be subject to a ban.

And to jump on the soapbox you just hopped off of, the INS could do a number of things differently to make things less bureaucratic without compromising security or immigration control objectives. This whole advance parole procedure is pointless. Why not issue an AOS-pending travel permit with the EAD? If they're worried about losing revenues, they could raise the filing fee for this combined employment/travel application.

And I agree the K visas are unnecessary. They'd have fewer bad marriages to assess if they didn't prod folks who may only want to date in the short term to tie the knot within three months.
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Old Jan 6th 2003, 9:23 pm
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I absolutely agree, John. Right now, the INS seems to be struggling to cope with a bureaucratic jungle of regulations that is not only ruining the lives of innocent people but is overburdening their own workforce with confusing, shifting and often contradictory processes as well.

Perhaps once INS is absorbed into Homeland Security, we might see them review some of their regulations and apply a bit more commonsense..... or am I being absurdly optimistic? I am still convinced that an improved, better coordinated intelligence framework is the best way to improve homeland security rather than creating more regulations for the INS, who are doing the best they can with the archaic restrictions that have been imposed upon them by politicians who have less invested in a smooth and efficient immigration service than they do in finding someone to blame for all our woes. But I still think it is possible for INS to streamline many of its procedures within the auspices of the Immigration and Naturalization Act. Unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen in the current anti-immigration climate, where streamlining is mistakenly equated with cutting corners.

Man, I gotta get me a new soapbox. This one is wearing out


Originally posted by John McHugh
Advance parole is necessary whenever AOS has been applied for but not received. Leaving without advance parole during this time abandons the petition. Those out of status (for more than six months) specifically should not use advance parole, even if the INS erroneously grants it. They could still be denied re-entry at the border and would be subject to a ban.

And to jump on the soapbox you just hopped off of, the INS could do a number of things differently to make things less bureaucratic without compromising security or immigration control objectives. This whole advance parole procedure is pointless. Why not issue an AOS-pending travel permit with the EAD? If they're worried about losing revenues, they could raise the filing fee for this combined employment/travel application.

And I agree the K visas are unnecessary. They'd have fewer bad marriages to assess if they didn't prod folks who may only want to date in the short term to tie the knot within three months.
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Old Jan 7th 2003, 4:17 pm
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Originally posted by southcoast
Very interesting to read your experiences shaggy,

but

If its so easy to fly into the U.S, and get married, then wouldn't everyone be doing it?

Your right there is no rule, stating you can't get married on a VW but I am sure I read somewhere, that once you have done this, you have to stay put in the U.S whilst your AOS goes through and under no circumstances must you leave the U.S. I could be wrong through.
Actually just about everyone is.

What the OP did was foolish as he could have remained inside of the US and filed the I-485 along with the I-130 for adjusting status while here in the US. By having his wife just file the I-130 at the service center, he has placed himself in a long wait mode of at minimum 6 months, but more like 12 to 16 months, before he interviews in London. His wife does have the option of filing for a K-3 for him, however, and this might cut the wait down to 3 to 5 months instead. He would still have to adjust status when he gets to the US but what the heck. At least they will be together.

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Old Jan 7th 2003, 4:20 pm
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Well that might not work because I see many people, yes, folks women usually, who do not marry USC and work in the US. So EAD's for them are not required. If they come in with a K-1, they get a social security number and can get their driver's licenses with that so there is no need for an EAD.

What about automatic A/P with adjustment petitions. But then you would have the problem of people 180 days and over in overstay.

Rete

Originally posted by John McHugh
Advance parole is necessary whenever AOS has been applied for but not received. Leaving without advance parole during this time abandons the petition. Those out of status (for more than six months) specifically should not use advance parole, even if the INS erroneously grants it. They could still be denied re-entry at the border and would be subject to a ban.

And to jump on the soapbox you just hopped off of, the INS could do a number of things differently to make things less bureaucratic without compromising security or immigration control objectives. This whole advance parole procedure is pointless. Why not issue an AOS-pending travel permit with the EAD? If they're worried about losing revenues, they could raise the filing fee for this combined employment/travel application.

And I agree the K visas are unnecessary. They'd have fewer bad marriages to assess if they didn't prod folks who may only want to date in the short term to tie the knot within three months.
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Old Jan 7th 2003, 5:16 pm
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Originally posted by Rete
Well that might not work because I see many people, yes, folks women usually, who do not marry USC and work in the US. So EAD's for them are not required. If they come in with a K-1, they get a social security number and can get their driver's licenses with that so there is no need for an EAD.

What about automatic A/P with adjustment petitions. But then you would have the problem of people 180 days and over in overstay.

Rete
Good point...I didn't consider that. It just seems odd that somebody who can freely travel before AOS and freely travel after AOS can't travel (easily) for some unspecified block of time in between, and there's no purpose to this except the INS is too backlooged to quickly process permanent resident applicants. It seems logical that ANY person who files for AOS may want to travel. Why should anyone care particularly? These are people that are here already.

Well, anyway, it's just frustration talking. My wife still has no AP and hasn't been home for over two years. :-(
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Old Jan 7th 2003, 5:21 pm
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Originally posted by shaggy
I absolutely agree, John. Right now, the INS seems to be struggling to cope with a bureaucratic jungle of regulations that is not only ruining the lives of innocent people but is overburdening their own workforce with confusing, shifting and often contradictory processes as well.

Perhaps once INS is absorbed into Homeland Security, we might see them review some of their regulations and apply a bit more commonsense..... or am I being absurdly optimistic? I am still convinced that an improved, better coordinated intelligence framework is the best way to improve homeland security rather than creating more regulations for the INS, who are doing the best they can with the archaic restrictions that have been imposed upon them by politicians who have less invested in a smooth and efficient immigration service than they do in finding someone to blame for all our woes. But I still think it is possible for INS to streamline many of its procedures within the auspices of the Immigration and Naturalization Act. Unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen in the current anti-immigration climate, where streamlining is mistakenly equated with cutting corners.

Man, I gotta get me a new soapbox. This one is wearing out

Yeah, I'm not overly optimistic on this one. There's been some recent suggestions that the public wants to be even more restrictive on immigration than even the politicians. I'm not a big believer in polls, but it's hard to imagine the policies getting friendlier in the current climate.
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Old Jan 7th 2003, 6:10 pm
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Default Re: Have I made a problem for myself?

Originally posted by shaggy
Basically, now your wife has filed the I-130, all you need to do is wait for a notification from the U.S. Embassy in London, who will send you a package of forms (you will also need to obtain a UK police certificate). The whole process is quite straightforward. You will then have to go to the Embassy to collect your visa, once they have processed the paperwork.
Shaggy,

Thanks, how long did this take in your case?

Dave
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