(Closed) Immigration stories – share yours?

posted 3 years ago in Relationships
Post # 2
Member
1253 posts
Bumble bee

lexipediabride :  

I never had to go through the process but my dad did when he married my mom 27 years ago, of course things change; my only advice would be to do it sooner than later. They take a lot of time.

Post # 3
Member
823 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2017 - Sea Cider

As an American with a partner in Canada, I would suggest applying now. The process is long, and a change in administration could complicate matters 

Post # 4
Member
1942 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

We started the process in August and I will have my permanent residency before the end of the year, could’ve been sooner but because of my travel schedule I delayed my embassy appointment by 1-2 months from case number/approval. I’ve been told the quickest process in the world is via the U.S. embassy in London, which is what we are doing (but you can only use that route if the US citizen is a resident in the UK at the time of petitioning for you). Applying within the US I’ve been told can take 1-2 years but that’s not first hand information. 

ETA: overall, while there’s a lot of paperwork to gather (especially if you’ve lived in multiple countries) I’ve found the process straight forward, the U.S. government spoon feeds you extremely thorough checklists and information every step of the way. And you can still travel in and out of the U.S. while your application is in process.

Post # 5
Member
40 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: January 2017

lexipediabride :  My husband is from Colombia! We went the fiancé visa route – applied in October 2015 and he was here by the end of March 2016, though I believe things have slowed down quite a bit with that process now. We had our civil ceremony in April and then applied for his green card, which was approved last week! Woo! So for us it has been pretty smoothe. 

I don’t know much about the process of applying for a green card through a work visa, but I assume you will likely just apply through your partner once y’all are married? I agree that the sooner the better, just because you never know how long it will take. We were definitely lucky on that front, but I know couples for whom it has taken several years!

Good luck and happy wedding soon!

Post # 8
Member
40 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: January 2017

lexipediabride :  yes that is such a blessing! And I agree with your previous post that the change in admin makes immigration a bit uncertain, but I definitely think the affect on those going about things legally will be very small! Whatever timeline you decide on, I wish you the best 🙂

Post # 9
Member
7449 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

If you’re already here on a work visa, apply at least for permanent resident on your own, rather than applying on a fiancé or marriage visa. You shouldn’t tie your ability to stay in the country to someone else; you don’t need a sponsor if you’ve already been approved to work here. There is a ton of information on visajourney.com. I would urge you to start the process now. Who knows what the next administration is going to do, but I don’t think anyone expects them to make the process easier.

Post # 10
Member
9449 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2016

I came here on a student visa, met my husband, after 4 years together got married and a few months later decided to apply for a green card.  I’m not done yet, but I’m close (only thing left is the interview).  My lawyer told me that lately USCIS has been really fast and average processing time for people applying in the US this past year has been about 4 months.  She expects me to have a green card 4-6 months from when I applied.

Here are the things I didn’t know:

1. It’s not cheap.  This isn’t an issue in and of itself, but if you get the paperwork wrong at all then you start from SCRATCH and have to pay the $1.5k again.  

2. There is way more paperwork than USCIS lets you know.  On their website it looks like 2 documents.  I filled them out and booked an hour consult with a local immigration lawyer to make sure I did them right (see #1).  She was like “um, yeah these are fine but what about the other 8 documents?”

She was really nice and agreed to list them off to me and even gave me pen and paper.. She told me that if I hadn’t sent it in they would NOT have thrown my application out, but they would have sent me a notice for the next one, then a notice for the next one, etc.. which would drag out the application process.  In the end I ended up hiring her to prepare everything for us and have been very happy with the decision to do so.  She cost another $2k but she saved me so much headache I think.  She’ll also be there with us at the interview and will prep us for it before we go in.

So..

3. If you can afford it, hire someone to help you.  They’ll do all the paperwork better than you, they know all the annoying USCIS details, etc..

This is all for a marriage green card, btw.. my lawyer told me it’s much more difficult for pretty much any other type of green card, so I’d doubly suggest a lawyer if that’s the route you’re gonna go (just skimming other responses to this post).

Umm other random things: they want to see photos of your relationship (again, assuming marriage green card route), in particular ones that show you’ve been together for a long time (i.e. ones from a while back) and ones that show you were introduced to his family and vice versa (so that it proves it’s a real marriage).  Most people know this, but good to know so you can start gathering those. 

After that, a few months after you apply they summon you to get your fingerprints done (“biometrics” but the ONLY biometric is your fingerprint lol).  They give you a time and date (e.g. for me it was 1pm on a Monday) and if you don’t appear they consider your application abandoned and you have to start from scratch.  You can change the appointment date but they give you only 1 week notice of the appointment in the first place so OPEN YOUR USCIS MAIL.

 

Post # 11
Member
9449 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2016

Oh, and I seriously doubt they’d significantly change the marriage immigration process.  Changes to other immigration processes might gum up USCIS but the marriage residency process will probably be the last thing to change.. after all, doing so would negatively affect US Citizens as much as it’d affect the prospective immigrants.

Another thing that you probably know but just in case: you cannot leave the country while applying for the green card, until you get a travel permit (which you need to apply for seperately), otherwise they would assume you’ve abandoned your application. You also cannot re-enter the country right before applying.. otherwise they assume when you re-entered on your work visa (and told customs that you were re-entering to work) you were lying because in fact you were re-entering with intent to immigrate.  So if you have a honeymoon planned after the wedding add another 1-2 months from when you re-enter before you can/should start the process.

Also, PS.. I’m also a Canadian. 🙂

*I see this is significantly different than what a previous poster said–the difference might have to do with whether you’re applying from within the US or not.  

Post # 12
Member
1942 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

Interesting, when you apply through the US embassy in the UK your spouse doesn’t even have to be there for the interview and “relationship photos” does not come into it (the only photos to bring are two passport photos of yourself).

amanda1988 :  

Post # 13
Member
9449 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2016

annelise210516 :  hmm wierd.  Yeah no we had to provide proof of our marriage/relationship–travel together, if we lived together, travel to visit each other, photos.  We also need to bring them to our interview.  

It’s always possible that it’s not always necessary and that they only ask for that supporting proof from certain couples, but the lawyer just submit as if its a worse case scenario always to prevent a slowdown?  Dunno! 

I do think she said that Darling Husband wouldnt have to be there at the interview, but was allowed to come.  

Post # 14
Member
6107 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

lexipediabride :  my sister-in-law just went through this process. Basically they went to a lawyer and had to pay about $2,000 in fees to file for the green card plus the lawyer fees. The lawyer basically took care of everything though. She should get her green card anywhere from 4-12 months from now (their wedding was 11/5). It will be valid for 2 years and then they have to provide proof that they’re still married and she’ll get one that’s good for 10 years. After having the GC for 5 years she can apply for citizenship.

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