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What can I do?

What can I do?

Old Jul 2nd 2013, 9:19 pm
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Default What can I do?

So... much to my dismay it turns out I'm one of those stupid schmucks who leaves England behind for an American woman only to find out, once all my money was gone of course, that she's a kinda psycho, drugged up, f***ed up, gambling addicted lying bee-atch.

After trying for over 5 years to make this marriage work (and all the endless lies, BS & broken promises I'm sure you can all imagine) I just can't do it any more, unfortunately, due to our self imposed poverty I'm still without a green card so unable to work legitimately, I do what I can but in a good month I might manage to scrape up $300-400 (and often a fraction of that), clearly a long way from where I would need to be to support myself.

I do have some money coming in a few months from an accident I was in so I figure I could carry on with the marriage visa & then leave her, but iirc you're supposed to stay together for 5 years after & that's just not gonna happen, so I'd rather not take my chances with that (tho I will if that's my only option). Is there *anything* I can do to get away from this CFB, stay in the country and work towards getting legal?
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Old Jul 2nd 2013, 9:29 pm
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Default Re: What can I do?

You don't have a green card? What is your visa status?

You appear to have two separate but related issues. I think your only realistic chance at getting your green card is patching up your marriage at least long enough to adjust your status, but if you've been here illegally for five years, you need an experienced immigration attorney, otherwise you're looking at deportation and a lengthy ban from returning.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jul 2nd 2013 at 9:39 pm.
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Old Jul 2nd 2013, 9:36 pm
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Default Re: What can I do?

As well as answering Pulaski's very important questions, please look at our domestic violence wiki page:

http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Domestic_violence
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Old Jul 2nd 2013, 9:44 pm
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Default Re: What can I do?

Originally Posted by zaphod1066 View Post
After trying for over 5 years to make this marriage work (and all the endless lies, BS & broken promises I'm sure you can all imagine) I just can't do it any more, unfortunately, due to our self imposed poverty I'm still without a green card...
So you entered the USA on some other visa, or the VWP, married an American woman, and then never applied to adjust status? What was the last date you entered the USA, and under what status/visa (VWP, K-1), or were you already in the USA on a work or student visa when you married? We know you didn't come on an Immigrant Visa; if you did you'd have a green card. Sounds like you have a very lengthy overstay situation.

I do have some money coming in a few months from an accident I was in so I figure I could carry on with the marriage visa
Carry on with the marriage visa? You've already been in the USA for 5 years, haven't you? What marriage visa do you currently have in the process, and why is it taking so long?

... but iirc you're supposed to stay together for 5 years after & that's just not gonna happen, ...
No, you're not supposed to stay together for 5 years (after what, marriage?). If you had received a green card (i.e. become a US PR), then you could have applied for US citizenship after having been a PR for 3 years. Since you never become a US PR, none of this is an option for you.

Is there *anything* I can do to get away from this CFB, stay in the country and work towards getting legal?
You can certainly get away from the marriage. But I do not see a legal way for you to stay in the USA at this point, no. And if you leave the USA, you'll probably face a 10-year ban from returning because of the lengthy overstay.

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Old Jul 2nd 2013, 9:45 pm
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Default Re: What can I do?

I don't understand why you didn't attempt to become legal (adjust status) after you married instead of living in the US illegally. What was going through you mind at that time?
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Old Jul 3rd 2013, 12:42 am
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Default Re: What can I do?

Oh yeah, sorry I forgot to mention I entered the country on a tourist visa, which expired ... uhhh ... four-and-a-half years ago or whatever it is now.

The reason we never made any progress with getting my legal status after we got married is, she'd rather throw her money (and she made it very clear on more than one occasion, it's her money) away at the local casino than do ...well, anything basically.

We did file one form, sorry I don't remember it's name, the initial form you're supposed to file for a marriage visa I think, it was a couple hundred bucks for a background check or something.

I'm just at my wits end ...

edit

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
You don't have a green card? What is your visa status?

You appear to have two separate but related issues. I think your only realistic chance at getting your green card is patching up your marriage at least long enough to adjust your status, but if you've been here illegally for five years, you need an experienced immigration attorney, otherwise you're looking at deportation and a lengthy ban from returning.
I do not have a green card. I guess, long expired.

Originally Posted by Noorah101 View Post
No, you're not supposed to stay together for 5 years (after what, marriage?). If you had received a green card (i.e. become a US PR), then you could have applied for US citizenship after having been a PR for 3 years. Since you never become a US PR, none of this is an option for you.


You can certainly get away from the marriage. But I do not see a legal way for you to stay in the USA at this point, no. And if you leave the USA, you'll probably face a 10-year ban from returning because of the lengthy overstay.
Ahh, for some I thought you were supposed to stay together for five years after getting a green card.

I genuinely have thought about just walking out on her & living on the streets, but no matter how much I hate my current situation living rough doesn't appeal.

Last edited by zaphod1066; Jul 3rd 2013 at 1:02 am.
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Old Jul 3rd 2013, 12:55 am
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Default Re: What can I do?

Originally Posted by zaphod1066 View Post
Oh yeah, sorry I forgot to mention I entered the country on a tourist visa, which expired ... uhhh ... four-and-a-half years ago or whatever it is now.

The reason we never made any progress with getting my legal status after we got married is, she'd rather throw her money (and she made it very clear on more than one occasion, it's her money) away at the local casino than do ...well, anything basically.

We did file one form, sorry I don't remember it's name, the initial form you're supposed to file for a marriage visa I think, it was a couple hundred bucks for a background check or something.

I'm just at my wits end ...
It is much easier to get approval when everything is done right and on time. As time passes, it becomes much less of a DYI project but since you have been married and living together for 5 years, one obstacle of whether the marriage was "Entered in Good Faith" is in your favor. How long you continue to remain married after an adjustment of status may or may not be of concern since you have already been married and living together for 5 years.

I think you should at least have a one time consultation with an immigration attorney to determine the best way to proceed.
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Old Jul 3rd 2013, 12:59 am
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Default Re: What can I do?

Originally Posted by zaphod1066 View Post
Oh yeah, sorry I forgot to mention I entered the country on a tourist visa, which expired ... uhhh ... four-and-a-half years ago or whatever it is now.
Was it an actual visa, as in you applied, paid money, went to the US embassy, had an interview and they took your passport and issued a visa, or was it the visa waiver program where 5 years ago you would have filled out a green form on the plane and turned it into immigration?

Either way you are in a pretty bad situation. It would seem you have overstayed long enough to trigger a 10 year ban from the US as well as working illegally. You either need a really good immigration lawyer to see if there is some way you could stay legally (which is probably a low chance) or you should leave the US and realize that you won't be able to return for 10 years and it will be very difficult to get a visa to ever return.
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Old Jul 3rd 2013, 1:09 am
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Default Re: What can I do?

Originally Posted by Duncan Roberts View Post
Was it an actual visa, as in you applied, paid money, went to the US embassy, had an interview and they took your passport and issued a visa, or was it the visa waiver program where 5 years ago you would have filled out a green form on the plane and turned it into immigration?

Either way you are in a pretty bad situation. It would seem you have overstayed long enough to trigger a 10 year ban from the US as well as working illegally. You either need a really good immigration lawyer to see if there is some way you could stay legally (which is probably a low chance) or you should leave the US and realize that you won't be able to return for 10 years and it will be very difficult to get a visa to ever return.
Normally if an adjustment of status is granted, overstays and working illegally are forgiven. Based on that, the chance of remaining in the US without a ban may not be as low as it may at first seem.
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Old Jul 3rd 2013, 1:13 am
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Default Re: What can I do?

Originally Posted by zaphod1066 View Post
Oh yeah, sorry I forgot to mention I entered the country on a tourist visa, which expired ... uhhh ... four-and-a-half years ago or whatever it is now.

The reason we never made any progress with getting my legal status after we got married is, she'd rather throw her money (and she made it very clear on more than one occasion, it's her money) away at the local casino than do ...well, anything basically.see

We did file one form, sorry I don't remember it's name, the initial form you're supposed to file for a marriage visa I think, it was a couple hundred bucks for a background check or something.

I'm just at my wits end ...

edit

I do not have a green card. I guess, long expired.
OK. So at the moment you have a simple choice to make which will determine what you need to do, and how we can help you, if at all.

1. Patch up your marriage, retain an immigration attorney, and attempt to adjust your status to permanent resident (green card holder). The success of this route is far from certain. You must NOT leave the US until your status has been adjusted, otherwise you will be banned from returning to the US under any circumstances for 10 years.

2. Leave the US, receive a ten year ban from returning under any circumstances, you can NEVER use the visa waiver program again.

Those are the options you have at this time (assuming that, you're not eligible for any other visa independent of being married to a USC, which appears unlikely if you've spent the past five years hanging around in a casino). It's your choice.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jul 3rd 2013 at 1:25 am.
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Old Jul 3rd 2013, 1:22 am
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Default Re: What can I do?

Originally Posted by Duncan Roberts View Post
Was it an actual visa, as in you applied, paid money, went to the US embassy, had an interview and they took your passport and issued a visa, or was it the visa waiver program where 5 years ago you would have filled out a green form on the plane and turned it into immigration?
Oh yeah, it was the visa waiver thing.

Originally Posted by Michael View Post
It is much easier to get approval when everything is done right and on time. As time passes, it becomes much less of a DYI project but since you have been married and living together for 5 years, one obstacle of whether the marriage was "Entered in Good Faith" is in your favor. How long you continue to remain married after an adjustment of status may or may not be of concern since you have already been married and living together for 5 years.

I think you should at least have a one time consultation with an immigration attorney to determine the best way to proceed.
Yeah, I was thinking about getting in touch with an attorney once my settlement comes through, so we'll prolly do ahead with that... I was just kinda hoping they'd be another avenue I could take that didn't involve throwing a bunch of money at an attorney
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Old Jul 3rd 2013, 1:27 am
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Default Re: What can I do?

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
OK. So at the moment you have a simple choice to make which will determine what you need to do, and how we can help you, if at all.

1. Patch up your marriage, retain an immigration attorney, and attempt to adjust your status to permanent resident (green card holder). The success of this route is far from certain. You must NOT leave the US until your status has been adjusted, otherwise you will be banned from returning to the US under any circumstances for 10 years.

2. Leave the US, receive a ten year ban from returning under any circumstances, you can NEVER use the visa waiver program again.

Those are the options you have at this time (assuming that, you're not eligible for any other visa independent of being married to a USC, which appears unlikely if you've spent the past five years hanging around in a casino) it's your choice.
Prolly option one then... I figure I can manage to stay with her another year or so if that's in progress and assuming it's approved.

Even at the beginning I was never particularly fond of casinos btw, now I positively hate them.
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Old Jul 3rd 2013, 1:32 am
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Default Re: What can I do?

Originally Posted by zaphod1066 View Post
Yeah, I was thinking about getting in touch with an attorney once my settlement comes through, so we'll prolly do ahead with that... I was just kinda hoping they'd be another avenue I could take that didn't involve throwing a bunch of money at an attorney
You could try it yourself and that is usually successful when done in a timely manner but since so much time has elapsed, that could be very risky. If an adjustment of status is denied, then the appeal process could cost 10 times that amount plus many years.

However if you don't care if you are deported, have a one time consultation (maybe $150) to evaluate your prospects of remaining and try it yourself but brace yourself for a possible denial. Even with an immigration attorney, approval may be far from guaranteed in your case.

If the adjustment of status is granted, you can file for divorce the next day since you will have an unconditional green card since you have been married more than 2 years.

Last edited by Michael; Jul 3rd 2013 at 1:37 am.
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Old Jul 3rd 2013, 1:38 am
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Default Re: What can I do?

Originally Posted by zaphod1066 View Post
Prolly option one then... I figure I can manage to stay with her another year or so if that's in progress and assuming it's approved.
I don't know how your relationship is with her right now, but keep in mind that adjusing status (AOS) takes two people...you and her. There are forms she needs to fill out, and forms that you need to fill out. She will need to fill out an I-864 affidavit of support, which she might not want to do (seeing as it binds her to you for a good long while...divorce does not relieve her of her obligations). If she was reluctant to spend the money to do your AOS 5 years ago, do you think she'd be willing to now? Although I guess you can use your settlement money to pay all the fees. And,she will need to attend an in-person AOS interview with you, when the time comes. If you are in an awkward relationship, she might not cooperate.

You need to find out what form was filed all those years ago, and what the result was. If it was just ONE form, after you got married, I'm guessing it was an I-130 petition. But then I guess no one ever followed up on going through with the immigrant visa process...that's a shame.

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Old Jul 3rd 2013, 1:40 am
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Default Re: What can I do?

Originally Posted by Michael View Post
You could try it yourself and that is usually successful when done in a timely manner but since so much time has elapsed, that could be very risky. If an adjustment of status is denied, then the appeal process could cost 10 times that amount plus many years.
Since the OP entered on the VWP, there won't be an appeal process.

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