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Questions about J-1 visas and green card thru marriage Permanent Residency

Discussion in 'Green Card, Residency, Naturalization' started by ry1982, Nov 17, 2008.

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  1. ry1982

    ry1982 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I have been an american citizen all my life, born and raised. My girlfriend has been here for just about a yr and a half on a J-1 visa working as an au pair. I asked her to marry me and she said yes. Bu then explained to me that she is here on a J-1 visa. i just wanted to see if i can get some preliminary info before i meet with lawyers, just to see if its even possible. I read a little bit online about it but i am still a little confused about some things. I am looking for info regarding how to initiate the whole process. her j-1 says she does not have to go back to mexico for the 2 year foreign residency requirement. so we just need to start the process of changing her visa i think. any help would be appreciated. i just want to feel like i know something before meeting with a legal advisor. thanks you

  2. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Congratulations. Your legal advisor or attorney can explain the whole process for you. There are going to be different ways to get your fiancee her green card. One is to apply for a fiance visa - here is information from the government that will give you a great idea about what you may talk about: Nonimmigrant Visa for a Fiance(e) (K-1)

    The K-1 allows you to get married within the US - although there are other options and you will discuss the pros and cons of each with your advisor - good luck and congrats!

    What Is a “Fiancé(e)”?

    A fiancé(e) is a person who is engaged or contracted to be married. The marriage must be legally possible according to laws of the state in the United States where the marriage will take place.

    In general, the two people must have met in person within the past two years. The Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants some exceptions to this requirement. For example, it may be contrary in some traditions for a man and woman to meet before marriage.

    Sometimes the USCIS considers a person a "fiancé(e)" even though a marriage contract has been concluded. In such cases, the American citizen petitioner and his/her spouse have not met, and they have not consummated the marriage.

    How Does a Fiancé(e) Visa Work?

    If you are an American citizen and you want your foreign fiancé(e) to travel to the United States to marry you and live in the U.S., you must file Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) in the United States.

    Petition: Filing and Next Steps at NVC and the US Embassy

    You must file the Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), Form I-129F, with the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office that serves the area where you live. See the Department of Homeland Security's USCIS Field Offices for information on where you can file the petition. Note: You cannot file this petition at an embassy, consulate or U.S. immigration office abroad.

    After the USCIS approves the petition, it sends the petition to National Visa Center for processing, prior to sending it to the embassy or consulate where your fiancé(e) will apply for a K-1 nonimmigrant visa for a fiancé(e).

    What Should I Know about International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA)?

    Detailed information about the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA) of 2005 petition requirements are shown in the new Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) instructions.

    Extending the Petition

    The I-129F petition is valid for four months from the date of approval from USCIS. Consular officers can extend the validity of the petition (revalidate the petition) if it expires before the processing of the visa application is completed.

    A Fiancé(e) Is Also an Immigrant

    Because a fiancé(e) visa permits the holder to immigrate to the U.S. and marry an American citizen shortly after arrival in the United States, the fiancé(e) must meet some of the requirements of an immigrant visa.

    Applying for a Visa

    The consular section at the embassy or consulate where you, the fiancé(e) of an American citizen, will apply for a visa, will tell you about any additional specific requirements that you need to fulfill to complete your visa application, such as where you need to go for the required medical examination. During the interview process, an ink-free, digital fingerprint scan will be taken. Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant's interview by a Consular Officer. The following is required:

    A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions).
    Birth certificate
    Divorce or death certificate of any previous spouse for both the applicant and the petitioner
    Police certificate from all places lived since age 16
    Medical examination (vaccinations are optional, see below)
    Evidence of financial support (Form I-134, Affidavit of Support may be requested.)
    Two Nonimmigrant Visa Applications, Form DS-156 (A Form DS-156, prepared in duplicate.)
    One Nonimmigrant Fiancé(e) Visa Application, Form DS-156K
    Two nonimmigrant visa photos (each two inches 50 X 50 mm square, showing full face, against a light background)
    Evidence of a fiancé relationship
    Payment of fees, as explained below.
    The consular officer may ask for additional information according to the circumstances of the case. Documents in foreign languages should be translated.

    Take clear, legible photocopies of civil documents, such as birth and marriage certificates, to the interview. Original documents can then be returned to you.

    Should K-1 fiancé(e) visa applicants use the I-864 or the I-134?
    Since fiancé(e)s are nonimmigrant visa applicants, they should use the I-134. They will need to submit an I-864 to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when they adjust status to conditional immigrant in the United States after they are married.

    Fees - How Much Does It Cost?

    Fees are charged for the following services:

    Filing an Alien Fiancé(e) Petition, Form I-129F
    Nonimmigrant visa application processing fee
    Medical examination (costs vary from post to post)
    Fingerprinting fees, if required
    Other costs may include translation and photocopying charges, fees for getting the documents required for the visa application (such as passport, police certificates, birth certificates, etc.), and expenses for travel to the embassy or consulate for an interview. Costs vary from country to country and case to case.
    Filing Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status
    For current fees for Department of State, government services select Fees.

    What Must Happen After Getting the Fiancé(e) Visa?

    After getting the fiancé(e) visa, your fiancé(e) enters the U.S. through a U.S immigration port-of-entry. The U.S. immigration official gives your fiancé(e) instructions on what to do when he/she enters the United States. You must get married within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s entry into the United States.

    After marriage, your spouse must file Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status with the USCIS office that serves the area where you live in the United States. You must fill out the Affidavit of Support, Form I-864, with the USCIS for your spouse's application to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR). See Permanent Resident at the Department of Homeland Security's, USCIS internet site.

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