Adjustment of Status Support: This is what I offer, that No one else does. Personal attention to work together to make your dreams of a life together in the USA come true
Adjustment of Status 101: for Permanent Residency in USA
When applying for Fiancee or Spouse Visas, or Adjustment of Status to Permanent Residency US Immigration requires that the sponsor demonstrate his financial eligibility. For most sponsors the financial proofs required are proof of employment, year to date earnings statements such as pay stubs and the sponsors most RECENT Federal Tax return.
Proof used for Fiancee Visa evidence typically starts with a few well chosen photographs that show a happy and bona fide couple. Below is my video that explains how to choose the “right” photos, and avoid the “wrong” photos to submit with your Fiancee Visa or Spouse Visa Petition. For forms I-129F and I-130
In preparing a fiance or spousal visa petition for USCIS it’s important to include some photos that proves that you and your life partner have met each other.
In addition you have the opportunity here to tell the story about your relationship and to to give the impression how sincere your relationship is. So it is important to choose the right photos and that’s what this presentation is all about. Continue reading “Evidence Photos”
A foreigner who is already in the U.S. is welcome to marry a U.S. citizen or other person while here. Marriage procedures are set by the state and local governments, and not involved with immigration which is a Federal issue.
For example two Canadians fly to Las Vegas, get married, return to Canada. Immigration is not involved. And the marriage is valid worldwide.
I personally did about the same thing. I was living in Hong Kong and engaged to Joyce. I had been an expat (American living outside the USA) for about 15 years by then. My friends and family were scattered all over the world. We decided to get married in Las Vegas, cause flights, food, and rooms in Las Vegas were bargain priced especially 20 years ago, and it would be easy for my family and friends to meet us there for our celebration. Joyce already had a B-2 visitor visa, so we just flew in from Hong Kong, met our friends and family, got licenced, married, met Elvis, had a short honeymoon then returned to Hong Kong. Immigration was not involved at that time. About 7 years later, when our first child was ready for kindergarten, we then finally applied for a spouse visa for Joyce. She was interviewed and got her visa in Hong Kong, then we all moved back to the USA.
Flying in, getting married, flying out. Is not a problem. Immigration is not involved.
What is more complicated, but possible, is the case when the foreign born spouse wants to remain in the USA without leaving. Who wants to remain permanently in the USA and obtain a green card.
We already know about the fiance visa. The k1 visa anticipates that the foreign born fiance, will marry during her 90 day temporary visit, and then apply for green card and permanent residence without leaving the USA. That is its normal and expected process.
But foreigners who arrive on visa waiver programs, or on work, study or visitor visas are expected to leave after a set period of time. Usually the maximum allowed time of stay is stamped onto their passports when they land.
What can be done in these cases? Must they return overseas and apply for a spouse visa?
In some cases, without leaving it is possible to obtain a green card. In some other cases it’s not so likely, and probable that the new spouse will be required to leave and must obtain a spouse visa before returning.
Two issues apply. 1. Intent to remain 2. Restrictions on the visa
Intent to remain
For example a Japanese tourist travels to USA for holiday, is walking on the beach meets a handsome American LifeGuard, ( falls in love, and after a few weeks marries.)
There wasn’t any advance contact between the couple, the traveler was not planning or intending to use her tourist visa to remain the USA. Immigration will probably believe that this case is legitimate, that there was no actual intent to misuse the visa. They will probably grant the foreign born spouse, permission to remain permanently in the USA and there won’t be any need to leave the USA first and apply from overseas for a spouse visa.,
The outcome may not be so happy for a couple who was corresponding for a year, the foreign girlfriend arrived on a tourist visa, and married after a week. Immigration may be unlikely to accept that this all occurred spontaneously without pre-planning and without prior intent for the foreigner to remain past the expiry date of her visa. The application for Green Card would probably be denied and the foreign spouse required to return overseas.
Some visas, regardless of intent, won’t permit the foreigner to remain to obtain the green card, such as some J student visas that require the student, to return to home country for 2 years, without fail.
Conclusion: Marriage in the USA is not a concern by immigration. Foreign travelers who marry an American while traveling on a temporary visa, providing they had no prior intent to remain in the USA, and whose visas don’t have restrictions, may be able to successfully apply for permanent residency without need to leave the USA at the end of the original allotted time on their temporary visas.
By Fred Wahl
K1 Fiance Visa Mistakes: Visitor visa for Residency
I got a call from an American who wants to marry a lady from India. I am in the middle of explaining to him how fiance and spouse visas work, and then he tells me he doesn’t need to know about that, because HIS “plan” is that he is going to apply for a visitor visa for her. Marry her in the USA, then apply for her green card. He want’s to know how long it will take for her to get permanent residency.
What he is planning, is simply put “immigration fraud”. A visitor visa is by definition for a short visit. No more no less. For him to plan to use the visitor visa for his girlfriend to stay permanently, is a misuse of the visa. Continue reading “Visitor Visa Permanent Resident”
Green Card Through Marriage
is when a foreign national becomes eligible to live permanently in the USA, due to him or her being married to a US citizen. This occurs natually at the culmination of the Fiance Visa process. A foreign fiancee is granted permission to enter the USA via a K1 Fiance Visa. If the marriage takes place within 90 days of arrival, the foreigner has the ability to apply for Adjustment of Status, to obtain her Green Card through marriage.
Next most common is the marriage of a US citizen to a foreigner who is resident outside the USA. The American spouse applies for a CR1 Spouse Visa for his foriegn born spouse. She eventually travels to the USA using the CR1 visa, and her Green Card is already granted, and will be provided without must additional petitioning
Finally there comes the situation where a foreign national is inside the borders of the USA, and has married a US citizen. He or she would be also eligible for their Green Card through marriage. Depending on the circumstances, and the visa which the alien entered the USA, would determine whether the alien must return to home country, and apply for the CR1 Visa, or could remain in the USA, apply for Adjustment of Status, and be granted the Green Card without need to depart the USA.
Often I am asked about what can be done, when an American marries a foreigner visiting the USA on a tourist, visa waiver, student or work visa.
In most cases the foreign spouse hopes to remain in the U.S. and apply for a green card based on marriage. In some situations, without leaving it is possible to obtain a green card. In other situations, is it highly unlikely, or simply impossible to obtain the green card without leaving the USA.
Getting married is not an issue. There are no restrictions regarding the ‘immigration status’ of someone to marry. As long as you follow the rules and procedures in your state, (or Las Vegas) you can marry.
The real issue is: whether your new spouse will be allowed to remain in the USA, appling for permanent residency, or must leave the USA, and wait in her home country pending approval of a Spousal visa.
Basically, the visa that is designed to allow your fiancee to enter the USA for the purpose of marriage, and with permission to remain and apply for permanent residence, is the K1 Fiancee Visa. This is the only visa designed for this purpose.
If the foreign enters the USA after traveling on another visa, two issues apply. 1. Intent 2. Restrictions on the visa used.
Intent to remain
Lets say a tourist travels to USA for holiday, meets a new American friend, ( falls head over heels in love, and after a few weeks marries. As there actually was no advance contact between the couple, and no apparent ‘intent’ to use the tourist visa to REMAIN in the USA, immigration will probably believe that this is a legitimate case was no actual intent, and allow the foreign spouse, to remain, apply for her green card, and be granted it, all without leaving the USA.
Conversely an American’s girlfriend after corresponding for a year , is able to obtain a tourist visa, arrives in the USA and marries after a week. Immigration will be unlikely to believe there was no intent to remain in the USA, so most likely, her green card application would be denied, and she would be asked to return home.
Some visas, regardless of intent, won’t permit the foreigner to remain to obtain the green card. Visitors on Visa Waiver are not permitted to remain, and must return to home country to await spousal visa approval. Some student visas include provisions that the student, must return to home country for 2 years, NO MATTER WHAT.
If you have an EXISTING relationship, AND are considering marriage, the correct, direct and reliable immigration procedures to follow are to apply for a Fiance Visa, or marry (here or there) then apply for a CR1 visa while she waits in home country.
Read this article on what can happen when the correct and direct procedures are not followed Green Card through marriage problems
By Fred Wahl, your Personal Immigration Guide
I came across an interesting article in the New York times.
It describes the problems many couples have with
Immigration even after arrival in the USA and marriage.
It indicates, that even after you have successfully brought your fiancee or spouse to the USA, the work is not yet over.
For your wife to remain in America she must apply for a Green Card. Successful granting of a Green Card is NOT guaranteed. Not even if your Fiancee Visa or Spousal Visa petition was perfect. Still needed is a well prepared, well assembled Adjustment of Status ‘Green Card’ application.
Still needed is iron clad, compelling evidence of a ‘bona fide’, ‘genuine’ relationship. And in addition to proving the genuine relationship, you must ALSO prove ‘beyond the shadow of a doubt’ that the two of you are living together, and have bound your lives together.
Click here to read the articles:
By Fred Wahl
Most of the couples I work with by helping them apply for Adjustment of Status and Removal of conditions on residence, have their Green Card interviews waived, because the VisaCoach “front loaded” application that I craft for them, tells their story so completely, that a USCIS reviewer finds he has all he needs to approve without an interview.
But for various reasons including random spot checking, some of my clients are asked to attend an interview at USCIS prior to their Green Cards being approved and issued. Whenever this happens I always ask my couple to describe for me what happened, and give me a list of what questions were asked. As time has gone by, this has allowed me to compile a detailed and accurate list of sample questions that are actually asked. I use these to prepare VisaCoach couples for their interviews.
First, lets review the basics. If you are the foreign born spouse of an American Citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident, the final step before permanent residency is granted, and before the Green Card is issued, will be an interview for both you and your spouse at USCIS office near where you live in the USA. There the officer asks questions about you and your spouse. The official is tasked to look for fraud. He is seeking to trip you up to catch “sham marriages” by couples who fraudulently marry solely for the purpose of obtaining entry to the USA.
You must convince him, that you are co-habitating as a sincere and honest committed married couple. Only then, will he approve your Green Card. During the interview it is ESSENTIAL you are calm and poised. That you don’t stumble over your answers, or take too long to answer, or give too many “maybe” or “i don’t know” responses. There should not be any question the officer may ask that surprises or finds you unprepared to answer.
It’s a good idea to review these questions with your spouse well in advance of the interview, so that you both have consistent answers. Yes, sometimes if the officers have suspicions they will separate the two of you, putting you each in separate rooms, and while videotaping, independently ask both of you the same questions. And then they compare the answers side by side. A genuine couple’s answers should match. But a nervous or unprepared couple may not.
The interview is a stressful time. The way to minimize the stress is by preparation. Not only to prepare for the interview itself, but by submitting a well crafted application that match’s VisaCoach’s high standards. While most VisaCoach green Card clients don’t have to attend the interview, the ones that do usually experience a very short interview: with only a very few easy questions asked. This is due to the high quality standard that I apply to preparing for you your “front loaded” application.
If your application was not crafted to VisaCoach’s high standards, expect to have a less pleasant interview. The weaker your original petition, expect more questions, tougher questions and a longer interview. This is when couples who innocently prepared their own DIY petitions, or hired budget “robot form filling” services, really get into trouble, and wish they had hired VisaCoach to bring them safely to the other side.
By Fred Wahl
Fiancee Visa proofs are required for visa approval. This video describes how to prove a bona fide, genuine relationship for USCIS when applying for a K-1 Fiancee or CR-1 Spousal Visa, using I-129F or I-130 Petitions
The most common reason Fiancee or Spouse Visa petitions are rejected is that Immigration is not convinced the couple have a genuine “bona fide” relationship.
There are many ways to prove the relationship, photos, phone bills, emails, log files, on and on. Some couples though don’t really think about saving this “paper trail” until they are just about ready to file their I-129F or I-130 petitions. By then it is too late. And they may end up rejected due to lack of planning.
I put together a video that teaches how to prove you have a genuine relationship. It speaks directly to couples who are applying for Fiancee or Spousal visas. And tells them what documents and proof to attach to their K visa petitions.
I think that a new couple who has just found each other, should ALSO view this lesson, so that from the start of their relationship they will know what is needed later on, and so can save from the beginning, what they should have later.
For example: Proof that the couple has regularly communicated with each other is essential. What about the couple that uses Instant messenger every day, but never turned on “logging”? What proof do they have? NONE. !
If they turned on LOGGING, they could print out a page, or pages that show each and every time they communicated, when they logged in, when they logged out. It is not necessary to show the words of each conversation, but is extremely valuable to show the frequency and dates of the conversations.
The same applies for telephone bills or logs. It used to be that everyone got a regular phone bill each month, that showed the numbers called and the duration of each call. Now there are ways to save money by buying pre-paid phone cards or joining discount calling services. Some keep track of your calls, and you could print out statements to prove your calls. But many clients use prepaid phone cards, which don’t provide you any record at all! The time to choose a service that provides you a record of you calls, is at the Start of your relationship.
If you are starting a relationship, or still looking, take a minute to watch this video on “How to prove a genuine relationship for the Fiancee or Spousal visa”. You will be much better prepared in case you find you life partner and hope to live together in the USA.
Of course if you have already found your partner and are applying for a K-1 or K-3 visa, use the suggestions shown on the video to make your petition more believable and thus help to ensure a happy ending to your visa application.
By Fred Wahl
PS: If your fiancée or spouse is not a citizen of the United States and you want her (or him) to enter the US, then you will need to obtain a K1 Fiancée visa or CR-1 Spousal Visa.
Here’s how that’s done…
My mission is to give you Peace of Mind
By Fred Wahl
The hardest part for any couple who is embarking on applying for a fiance or spouse visa to understand, is that at the end of the day the decision made by the consular officer reviewing the case, by the interviewer who has the absolute power to approve or deny, is that he or she is making a SUBJECTIVE decision bases on the APPEARANCES of your situation. Does the officer FEEL that in his or her OPINION, you APPEAR to be a bona fide couple?. Does he or she feel you appear to have followed a similar path that other couples in your partner’s country have traveled before?. Does your courtship APPEAR to follow normal and reasonable practices, timing, and so on?
Sad but true, What is expected by the officer, may not match what YOU want to do. Continue reading “How to Prove Bona fide Relationship”
Timothy, a client whom I had helped get his wife’s fiance visa, and also prepared her Adjustment of Status petition, called to advise that his wife had returned to the Philippines and to ask “how that would affect her Green card application?”
There had been a family emergency, her 12 year old daughter had narrowly escaped a kidnap attempt. Mom was on the plane the following day. Unfortunately, in all the excitement, they acted first, and only called me for advice a week after her departure.
Leaving the USA while the Green Card is pending, without permission from USCIS, called “Advance Parole”, may result in her application for permanent residency being considered “abandoned” and automatically denied.
For Mom to return to the USA, might require, the couple to repeat the whole immigration process again, this time applying for a spouse visa (as they are now married).
Adjustment of status from K1 visa starts after your Fiancee enters the US and marries you. Then in order for her to remain in the US she must apply for Adjustment of Status to obtain her greencard.
USCIS MUST be notified in order to change the Fiancee’s status from that of a foreigner visiting the U.S. for 90 days, to that of a foreigner now married to a U.S. citizen entitled to remain in the U.S. indefinitely as a Permanent Resident.
As soon as possible after Marriage, the Adjustment of Status application should be completed and submitted to USCIS.
When this is approved, her status is officially changed to that of a Conditional Resident. She is given a drivers licence sized id card confirming her permission to remain in the U.S. . This is traditionally called the “Green Card”.
For help to complete your Adjustment of Status application Click Order.
Cost is only $595.If you order both K1 Visa Support and Adjustment of Status services at the same time, you save $200.
In order to successfully petition for your spouse to obtain a Green Card after marriage, you, the US sponsor must demonstrate to Immigration you have enough income coming in, to support your spouse, and household.
The financial requirement is that your income equal must be over 125% of the poverty income level where you live.
Each year the Department of Health and Human Services publishes their Poverty Guidelines.
The new Poverty Guidelines have risen about $560 from last year.
As of February 2019, for residents in the continental US the Financial Eligibility requirements for Permanent residency are as follows.
A traveler on a Fiance Visa, enters the USA then has 90 days to marry her or his American Citizen sponsor.
The visa was only good for 90 days, And regardless of whether married or not, your new spouse is officially required to leave the USA once the visa expires.
Unless your new spouse, with your sponsorship applies to “Adjust Status” from being a temporary visitor, to a permanent resident.
The fees to accomplish this are as follows:
Green card through Marriage
Income Requirements for Marriage Based Immigration
Usually about 9 months in after applying for a fiance or spouse visa, or at the get-go when applying for green card and permanent residency, you will have to provide clear evidence of your income to convincingly demonstrate your future family will not need welfare or other public benefits. It is best to understand what the exact dollar requirements are early, before moving forward, so that you can make sure you have all that is needed, or if you are lacking so that you have time to find a financial co-sponsor.
In order to successfully petition for your spouse or fiancee to come to the USA, or obtain a Green Card after marriage, in the USA, you the US sponsor must demonstrate to US Immigration that you have enough income coming in, to support your new spouse, and whole household.
The minimum financial requirement is that you must have income equal to and preferably more than 100% of the poverty income level where you live to be eligible to sponsor a Fiancee Visa, and over 125% of the poverty level to be eligible for Spousal Visa or Adjustment of Status.
And often, even when applying for a fiance visa the consular officer might
apply the higher 125% range, at his/her discretion. So its best whenever
possible to aim to exceed the higher standard.
Each year the Department of Health and Human Services publishes their Poverty Guidelines. As of March 2020, for residents in the continental US the Financial Eligibility requirements are as follows.
Required Annual Income (For Fiancee Visa)
$17,240, if 2 Persons in Family or Household
$21,720, if 3 Persons in Family or Household
$26,200, if 4 Persons in Family or Household
For each Additional person add $4,480
Required Annual Income (For Spousal Visa or Green Card)
$21,550, if 2 Persons in Family or Household
$27,150, if 3 Persons in Family or Household
$32,750, if 4 Persons in Family or Household
For each Additional person add $5,600
The Financial eligibility thresholds are lower for active military, and higher for residents of Alaska or Hawaii.
Proving your Income.
Normally you provide your most recent Federal Tax Return, 3 to 6 pay stubs showing ‘Year to date’ earnings, plus a letter from your employer confirming your job, and what your expected annual pay is.
If your income might be low, but you have ‘money in the bank’ your cash assets, can be used as a alternative for annual income.
‘Cash’ assets are assets which can be easily converted (sold) to cash. For example: stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, cash in the bank
You may have a lot of other assets such as your car, boat, coin collection, business or investment property but because these can NOT be easily turned to cash immigration will not accept them as alternatives to annual income.
The one exception to an asset that is hard to convert, but CAN be counted is your home. If the market value of your home is higher than your mortgage you may use the equity just like a cash asset.
$5 cash assets is the equivalent of $1 annual income
For example, a retired Fiancee Visa sponsor living in California,
with NO income, and no dependents would need to have
5 times $17,240 or $86,200 in cash assets to quality for the Fiancee Visa.
5 x $17,240 = $86,200
Alternatively a combination of income and assets can work.
For example, if the sponsors income is $10,000 per year, then his annual income is short by $7,240 so he should have 5 times that amount or $32,300 cash or convertible assets to qualify.
$17,240 – $10,000 = $7,240 x 5 = $ 36,200 cash assets needed.
What if you don’t have enough income OR assets?
In that case you could ask a relative or friend to act as a co or joint-sponsor. Just like buying a car, your joint-sponsor could ‘co-sign’ your loan.
When a joint-sponsor is used the size of the household increases. The combined household (for the financial calculations) would include the household size of the sponsor combined with the household size of the co-sponsor.
For example, a college student petitioning for his fiancee, asks his father to joint-sponsor.
Both the college student and the father would each complete an affidavit of support. The student’s household is just 2 persons, himself and his fiancee. The father’s household would be father, mother, and the two siblings
still living at home.
Thus the combined household would be 6 persons,
and the combined income of both sponsor and joint-sponsor would have to be $35,160 or more.
A joint-sponsor can be used for any Spousal Visa or Adjustment of Status petition, and can be used for MOST Fiancee Visa petitions. However, not all consulates allow the use of a joint-sponsor for a Fiancee Visa.
For example: Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Nigeria do not allow Fiance Visa joint-sponsors.
If you are applying for a Fiancee visa and need a joint-sponsor, before filing the petition, best is to contact the consulate directly and confirm whether the consulate’s policies permit the use of a financial joint-sponsor or not. If they won’t allow a co-sponsor then switch plans, marry then apply for a spouse visa, and your co-sponsor can be used when needed.
This was Fred Wahl, The VisaCoach