Author Topic: Successfully petitioned self for a green card  (Read 10985 times)

Paul der Krake

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Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« on: December 18, 2015, 06:27:25 PM »
Before the real attorneys gang up on me, yes technically my wife is the petitioner and I'm the beneficiary, but it doesn't sound as good for a thread title. Besides, I did all the legwork, all she had to do was sign. :)

Until now I was living in the US on a work visa (which is a convoluted story in and of itself). We married late in the spring of this year, after knowing each other for close to 5 years.

The internet is filled with horror stories of couples who experienced delays, rejections, and downright unpleasantness from USCIS. Many couples (a majority? not sure) opt to hire an attorney to guide them through the process. Apparently, an all-inclusive package for such a service is about $5,000.

Instead, doing it ourselves ended up costing just shy of $1,900 after you include:
- the unavoidable USCIS filing fees
- driving to and from apointments, including a doctor that is mandated to inspect my Johnson
- birth certificates, passport pictures
- notary fees for signed affidavits from friends and family
- USPS premium delivery with tracking

It took 25 hours of obsessing over filing instructions, gathering all the paperwork, triple checking everything, panicking over often contradictory instructions, and finally mailing it in. All in all, it took for the process to go from filing to final approval. At the final interview, the officer barely looked at our evidence and we were done in 10 minutes. It probably helps that we are both the same age and socioeconomic background.

So for $5,000 - $1,900 = $3,100 in savings, that's an hourly rate of $124. More than I make at my day job, AND not taxable? SCORE!

The advantages of being a permanent resident are huge. I no longer have to fear losing my job and having to leave immediately, I can start my own business, and I get to use the fast customs line at the airport.

UnleashHell

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2015, 07:25:58 PM »
Congrats! I've been down the visa - Gc - citizen route and I know of the pain involved. i also had a wife a 2 kids on that process too. My work covered most of it for me  but I had to sort the expenses out for approval. Its really not pretty. huge saving to you!!
I did most of the paperwork for citizenship and got a deal with a lawyer to file it. got an excellent rate for filing. I just couldn't bear the company paying out so much money for something I could do!!

galliver

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2015, 09:41:06 PM »
Congrats! I was fortunate to be included on my dad's several years ago, but I did my own citizenship paperwork this year.

... obsessing over filing instructions, gathering all the paperwork, triple checking everything, panicking over often contradictory instructions, and finally mailing it in.

Yup, just like that.

My favorite part of the whole process was the number of times I had to assert I was not a member of the Nazi party between 1933 & 1945... (I was born in the 80s)
« Last Edit: December 18, 2015, 09:43:09 PM by galliver »

sheepstache

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2015, 11:15:06 PM »
Congrats and welcome aboard!

sol

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2015, 11:51:45 PM »
Damn dirty immigrants.  The Donald says you're all drug dealers and rapists.  Which one are you?

Paul der Krake

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2015, 06:43:17 AM »
Congrats and welcome aboard!
Thanks! I'm excited to be/stay here.

My favorite part of the whole process was the number of times I had to assert I was not a member of the Nazi party between 1933 & 1945... (I was born in the 80s)
Ha! See, these questions might be stupid, but at least it doesn't take much brain power to answer them. It's the ambiguous language that gets to you. I was glad to have a copy of my attorney-prepared work visa petition to draw inspiration from. It all ends up being an educated guesswork game.

Damn dirty immigrants.  The Donald says you're all drug dealers and rapists.  Which one are you?
I only steal american jobs and women. Well, one of each, so far.

Kriegs, I'll pass on your neighbor. If you insist on a welcome gift, I'll take a 1911 and my weight in ammo.


lthenderson

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2015, 06:57:55 AM »
We went the DIY route as well. Of my acquaintances that had rejections, almost all didn't fully submit the required paperwork at each step. I submitted all the paperwork at each step and everything went quick and easy.

Megma

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2015, 09:12:16 PM »
Congrats PDK!

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2015, 09:45:25 PM »
Congrats and welcome aboard!
Thanks! I'm excited to be/stay here.

What country did you come from?

UnleashHell

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2015, 09:14:47 AM »
Damn dirty immigrants.  The Donald says you're all drug dealers and rapists.  Which one are you?

yes

wrangler05

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2015, 01:29:39 PM »
Congratulations!!!!

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2015, 02:04:22 PM »
Well done sir! As someone who went through the K1 fiancÚ visa all the way to US citizenship without paying for any outside help I know how frustrating and stressful the whole process can be. I've known others spend up to $10K to do the same and its a great feeling to be done with dealing with whatever they call the immigration people these days!

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2015, 02:27:38 PM »
High Fives, mofo!

We got married while DW was here on a student visa and I filed everything myself. One of her close friends at school also married a US citizen, and they got completely hosed by an attorney and lost a metric shit-ton of money on filing fees and lost wages while she waited for her green card. I felt so bad for them, and I wished they'd just huddled up with us to DIY it.

I don't think it's necessarily hard to do it right, but it takes patience and precision. I put a lot of time into learning about the process while waiting for our marriage cert to come back. I put even more time into building a master checklist, dotting every i, crossing every t, and reviewing the entire package multiple times before I sent it.

USCIS isn't a bad organization, but they've learned to minimize their own strain regardless of the effect on their "customers". IOW, if one tiny thing is wrong with a package, they're not going to "waste" time helping you correct it, or even check the package for other problems. Hence the nightmare tales of resubmitting the same package over and over again for typos or missing support docs. Going into the process with a clear understanding of this reality is key. If you really appreciate how painful even one minor error can be, you'll do everything possible to make it literally perfect.

I do think that my background as a volunteer tax preparer and general government stooge made this mentality easier to internalize. Hehe

Paul der Krake

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2015, 02:41:49 PM »
What country did you come from?
On paper I am a French immigrant, by birth. In reality, my family has been on the expat circuit since I was a little kid, moving every 3-4 years, so being "from" somewhere is an ambiguous proposition at best. My previous home base was London.

Well done sir! As someone who went through the K1 fiancÚ visa all the way to US citizenship without paying for any outside help I know how frustrating and stressful the whole process can be. I've known others spend up to $10K to do the same and its a great feeling to be done with dealing with whatever they call the immigration people these days!
That's impressive. There are still references to the INS scattered accross the various documents. Same beast, different name.

I do think that my background as a volunteer tax preparer and general government stooge made this mentality easier to internalize. Hehe
Very true. I have been doing my taxes by hand since I moved here, and that skill has paid off big time because it's the exact same mindset. Read, cross-reference, fill out, follow-up on the loose ends, repeat.

CheapskateWife

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2015, 03:05:53 PM »
- driving to and from apointments, including a doctor that is mandated to inspect my Johnson

Wait...shit, you have to have a functioning Johnson to be considered legitimately married?  WTF?  Between this kind of stuff and "defunding Planned Parenthood" I'm starting to feel like my country is run by crazy people.

KCM5

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2015, 03:23:14 PM »
Nice!

I did the paperwork for my spouse (I'm a bureaucrat - paperwork is my thing) and am starting to think about the citizenship portion.

Here's why my spouse will become a citizen: we plan on living abroad and would like to be able to come back to US when we want without the hassle of ever dealing with USCIS ever again. Also, I'm an American so from what I understand we'll already be filing taxes with the US and dealing with FACTA outside of the US (well, we won't be dealing with FACTA, our financial institutions will?).

Are you a conditional resident now with the requirement to remove conditions soon? At least that and becoming a citizen is a bit cheaper!

Cassie

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2015, 03:41:39 PM »
My son married a woman from Poland and did all the paperwork himself. This was 6 years ago and cost him a bout a $1000. They had been dating for 3 years and everything went very smoothly.  She gets free healthcare in Poland so if anything she would do dual citizenship but not sure if she is even interested.

FiveSigmas

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2015, 03:50:41 PM »
- driving to and from apointments, including a doctor that is mandated to inspect my Johnson

Wait...shit, you have to have a functioning Johnson to be considered legitimately married?  WTF?  Between this kind of stuff and "defunding Planned Parenthood" I'm starting to feel like my country is run by crazy people.

Better than dealing with nihilists, though: with them, you have to pay up or they'll take away your Johnson.

OP: Congrats on surviving the gauntlet! Most impressive.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2015, 04:12:33 PM »
- driving to and from apointments, including a doctor that is mandated to inspect my Johnson

Wait...shit, you have to have a functioning Johnson to be considered legitimately married?  WTF?  Between this kind of stuff and "defunding Planned Parenthood" I'm starting to feel like my country is run by crazy people.
It's part of the medical exam and everyone applying gets it, regardless of whether you apply through marriage or something else. It also includes chest X-rays and immunization shots if you're not up to date. The genital handling is very minimal, they basically take a quick look/squeeze at it for obvious signs of STDs. Of course hundreds of thousands of horny foreign exchange students come in every year and don't get screened, but that's beside the point.


---

Regarding future USCIS interactions and potential citizenship in the future: undecided. Like annajane, we will have to send another check for about $600 in two years to remove the restrictions. I'm not too thrilled about it, but it is what it is. Hey, at least you can pay the citizenship fees by credit card now!

Now here is the interesting part: my wife will be eligible to become a French citizen, by sole virtue of being married to me, in 5 years. There are no residency requirements for her whatsoever, which is a huge advantage as that could making country hopping within the EU dead simple once we FIRE. This is a phenomenal perk that we absolutely will take advantage of.

If we do travel the world for extended periods of time, then me becoming a US citizen makes a lot of sense. The US government will revoke your permanent residency if you don't live here, but they will let you keep your citizenship. And if one spouse is already a citizen, you don't get to opt out of the filing requirements anyway (correct me if I'm wrong on this). I understand that there are also some aspects of estate planning and trusts that are not available to non-US citizens, but we are not wealthy enough (yet? ever?) for this to be something to look at.

FATCA is a pain the rear and very murky still, so not sure how this will affect us. My assets abroad are well below the limit right now.

So the way things are looking, unless the political climate changes radically with regards to expat treatment in either country, we will likely end up with two passports each.

arebelspy

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2015, 05:39:42 PM »
Congrats!  I hope you know what you're getting into. :)
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about me, this Business Insider profile tells the story pretty well.
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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2015, 10:29:08 PM »
What country did you come from?
On paper I am a French immigrant, by birth. In reality, my family has been on the expat circuit since I was a little kid, moving every 3-4 years, so being "from" somewhere is an ambiguous proposition at best. My previous home base was London.

Wow, you sound very well traveled. I'm glad for you that you got your green card. I hope you can eventually get citizenship, if that is what you want.

UnleashHell

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2015, 09:31:14 AM »
- driving to and from apointments, including a doctor that is mandated to inspect my Johnson

Wait...shit, you have to have a functioning Johnson to be considered legitimately married?  WTF?  Between this kind of stuff and "defunding Planned Parenthood" I'm starting to feel like my country is run by crazy people.

Your country IS run by crazy people!!.

No medical needed for a work visa - which can run for years but apply for a green card and you are forced to have a medical by a federal approved Doctor only who has to follow the rules laid down for them.

We had to be tested for TB (again - we'd been living here for 5 years so its pretty stupid at that point). We had been vaccinated against it in the UK which meant that the test would return a positive result because of the antibodies. The test HAD to be applied anyway. As we tested positive we then had to book hospital appointments to have chest xrays at our own expense (another $1,200 ) to prove we didn't have TB. The Doctor stating that we'd had the vaccine wasn't good enough because it wasn't part of the rules to be followed....

To cap it all the local authorities were then informed that we'd tested positive for TB and they sent a nurse out to give us a six month course of medication to counter act it. They tried that several times before giving up and not getting over the doorstep.

Just a complete disconnect between the chain of events and reality.


lthenderson

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2015, 10:33:44 AM »
We had to be tested for TB (again - we'd been living here for 5 years so its pretty stupid at that point). We had been vaccinated against it in the UK which meant that the test would return a positive result because of the antibodies. The test HAD to be applied anyway. As we tested positive we then had to book hospital appointments to have chest xrays at our own expense (another $1,200 ) to prove we didn't have TB. The Doctor stating that we'd had the vaccine wasn't good enough because it wasn't part of the rules to be followed....

To cap it all the local authorities were then informed that we'd tested positive for TB and they sent a nurse out to give us a six month course of medication to counter act it. They tried that several times before giving up and not getting over the doorstep.

Just a complete disconnect between the chain of events and reality.

My wife went through an almost identical experience with the exception of the chest x-ray. She had one taken in England before immigrating that was accepted but she still had to take the six month course of medicine. Unfortunately these kinds of things are dealt with by immigration officials and not medical officials so they are unable to make rational decisions based on medical science.

Avidconsumer

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2015, 11:56:57 AM »
Well done! Me too - had my interview in 2014, need to apply for removal of conditions in 2016.

You should be proud you were a DIY-er. They don't make it easy.

I often thought, during the process, that this was another time when my privilege privileged me. In a number of ways - first, I'm sure having lots of education and experience traveling/filling out visa forms helped me have the confidence and ability to DIY. For immigrants with less experience with paperwork/bureaucracy, or indeed who can't speak English well (obviously not a sign of lack of education!) I think that DIY would be much riskier and certainly more daunting.

And second, my interview also lasted about ten minutes, and I'm sure in no small part due to the fact that I come from Australia - not war-torn, not in strife, developed, and accordingly a low-risk country in terms of fraud. I would have received much more scrutiny coming from a high risk country (understandably...I'm just recognizing it worked in my favor, and it could have been much rougher sailing if I was from a different part of the world or had different experiences/abilities/language skills).

I still mentally grumble about the cost of all this though. Especially that I have to pay around $585 to remove the conditions, to get a 10 year green card, and then one year later pay $1000sss for citizenship.

Speaking of which, and not to hijack your thread too much...are you going to get citizenship? I've met lots of expats who decline, because of tax filing implications (it's a hassle once you leave the US). Me, I don't know where we'll end up long term, so I think I'll do citizenship because it's easier than figuring out how to keep my green card if we move overseas for an extended period of time.

I just went through the process of removing conditions. I think the key is to show that you have a tonne of debt, plenty of bills in both your names. I would highly recommend that both your names be on your house and cars. You must also show that you have an income. Bank statements are useless. Mortgages, bills, W2s and car finance documents make the process run a lot smoother. It's insane, but it seems like they just want you to be fully integrated into American consumerism.

KCM5

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2015, 12:04:55 PM »
Well done! Me too - had my interview in 2014, need to apply for removal of conditions in 2016.

You should be proud you were a DIY-er. They don't make it easy.

I often thought, during the process, that this was another time when my privilege privileged me. In a number of ways - first, I'm sure having lots of education and experience traveling/filling out visa forms helped me have the confidence and ability to DIY. For immigrants with less experience with paperwork/bureaucracy, or indeed who can't speak English well (obviously not a sign of lack of education!) I think that DIY would be much riskier and certainly more daunting.

And second, my interview also lasted about ten minutes, and I'm sure in no small part due to the fact that I come from Australia - not war-torn, not in strife, developed, and accordingly a low-risk country in terms of fraud. I would have received much more scrutiny coming from a high risk country (understandably...I'm just recognizing it worked in my favor, and it could have been much rougher sailing if I was from a different part of the world or had different experiences/abilities/language skills).

I still mentally grumble about the cost of all this though. Especially that I have to pay around $585 to remove the conditions, to get a 10 year green card, and then one year later pay $1000sss for citizenship.

Speaking of which, and not to hijack your thread too much...are you going to get citizenship? I've met lots of expats who decline, because of tax filing implications (it's a hassle once you leave the US). Me, I don't know where we'll end up long term, so I think I'll do citizenship because it's easier than figuring out how to keep my green card if we move overseas for an extended period of time.

I just went through the process of removing conditions. I think the key is to show that you have a tonne of debt, plenty of bills in both your names. I would highly recommend that both your names be on your house and cars. You must also show that you have an income. Bank statements are useless. Mortgages, bills, W2s and car finance documents make the process run a lot smoother. It's insane, but it seems like they just want you to be fully integrated into American consumerism.

We went through no issues with no debt in my spouse's (beneficiary) name. The only debt we had was my student loans from before we even met. We did have an apartment lease with both our names on it and we made sure we each had a utility bill in our name. And our car was registered with both our names. Took way less time than his K1 visa and didn't require an interview.

Maybe you were just joking and I'm missing it?

UnleashHell

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #25 on: December 22, 2015, 12:19:15 PM »
We had to be tested for TB (again - we'd been living here for 5 years so its pretty stupid at that point). We had been vaccinated against it in the UK which meant that the test would return a positive result because of the antibodies. The test HAD to be applied anyway. As we tested positive we then had to book hospital appointments to have chest xrays at our own expense (another $1,200 ) to prove we didn't have TB. The Doctor stating that we'd had the vaccine wasn't good enough because it wasn't part of the rules to be followed....

To cap it all the local authorities were then informed that we'd tested positive for TB and they sent a nurse out to give us a six month course of medication to counter act it. They tried that several times before giving up and not getting over the doorstep.

Just a complete disconnect between the chain of events and reality.

My wife went through an almost identical experience with the exception of the chest x-ray. She had one taken in England before immigrating that was accepted but she still had to take the six month course of medicine. Unfortunately these kinds of things are dealt with by immigration officials and not medical officials so they are unable to make rational decisions based on medical science.

Oh yeah - I forgot - the six months was for a full course of antibiotics. A nurse was telling us this even after learning that my wife was breastfeeding the infant. sure - so we'll feed that shit straight to a baby for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

I thinnk even the nurse realized how stupid this was - but you gotta follow those rules you know.. don;t be questioning them... it is Homeland security setting down the law and we all know they are experts in everything....


I'm a red panda

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #26 on: December 22, 2015, 12:35:50 PM »
Unfortunately these kinds of things are dealt with by immigration officials and not medical officials so they are unable to make rational decisions based on medical science.

This seems to be the problem with SO many medical problems in our country.  Not just immigration ones.

Congrats to the OP.

Avidconsumer

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #27 on: December 23, 2015, 11:43:24 AM »
Well done! Me too - had my interview in 2014, need to apply for removal of conditions in 2016.

You should be proud you were a DIY-er. They don't make it easy.

I often thought, during the process, that this was another time when my privilege privileged me. In a number of ways - first, I'm sure having lots of education and experience traveling/filling out visa forms helped me have the confidence and ability to DIY. For immigrants with less experience with paperwork/bureaucracy, or indeed who can't speak English well (obviously not a sign of lack of education!) I think that DIY would be much riskier and certainly more daunting.

And second, my interview also lasted about ten minutes, and I'm sure in no small part due to the fact that I come from Australia - not war-torn, not in strife, developed, and accordingly a low-risk country in terms of fraud. I would have received much more scrutiny coming from a high risk country (understandably...I'm just recognizing it worked in my favor, and it could have been much rougher sailing if I was from a different part of the world or had different experiences/abilities/language skills).

I still mentally grumble about the cost of all this though. Especially that I have to pay around $585 to remove the conditions, to get a 10 year green card, and then one year later pay $1000sss for citizenship.

Speaking of which, and not to hijack your thread too much...are you going to get citizenship? I've met lots of expats who decline, because of tax filing implications (it's a hassle once you leave the US). Me, I don't know where we'll end up long term, so I think I'll do citizenship because it's easier than figuring out how to keep my green card if we move overseas for an extended period of time.

I just went through the process of removing conditions. I think the key is to show that you have a tonne of debt, plenty of bills in both your names. I would highly recommend that both your names be on your house and cars. You must also show that you have an income. Bank statements are useless. Mortgages, bills, W2s and car finance documents make the process run a lot smoother. It's insane, but it seems like they just want you to be fully integrated into American consumerism.

We went through no issues with no debt in my spouse's (beneficiary) name. The only debt we had was my student loans from before we even met. We did have an apartment lease with both our names on it and we made sure we each had a utility bill in our name. And our car was registered with both our names. Took way less time than his K1 visa and didn't require an interview.

Maybe you were just joking and I'm missing it?

Yeah I was somewhat joking. But you nailed it. You had utilities in both your names as well as the apartment lease. We ended up paying off the house in order to get my name on the title. The whole process was just frustrating. They moved our case to another office location after 6 months, then 3 months later, they asked for more information. You can provide them a tonne of evidence but if it isn't spelled out and exactly what they are looking for then good luck.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2015, 12:04:55 PM »
Yeah I was somewhat joking. But you nailed it. You had utilities in both your names as well as the apartment lease. We ended up paying off the house in order to get my name on the title. The whole process was just frustrating. They moved our case to another office location after 6 months, then 3 months later, they asked for more information. You can provide them a tonne of evidence but if it isn't spelled out and exactly what they are looking for then good luck.
Man, that must be frustrating. Good old "not surewhat we're looking for, we'll tell you when we see it".

We didn't have much to show in terms of joint assets. Maybe a healthy balance in our brokerage account convinced them? That's litterally the only joint asset we have, as everything else is in our individual names, either by law (retirement accounts), or kept separate for points maximization (credit cards).

My wife isn't even on the apartment lease, I have one utility bill in my name and she has the other, and we each own our own car. Never bothered to update the titles since the insurance companies don't care and the fleet represents < 5% of our net worth.

Maybe they'll be more strict in 2 years.

KCM5

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #29 on: December 23, 2015, 12:18:56 PM »
Yeah I was somewhat joking. But you nailed it. You had utilities in both your names as well as the apartment lease. We ended up paying off the house in order to get my name on the title. The whole process was just frustrating. They moved our case to another office location after 6 months, then 3 months later, they asked for more information. You can provide them a tonne of evidence but if it isn't spelled out and exactly what they are looking for then good luck.
Man, that must be frustrating. Good old "not surewhat we're looking for, we'll tell you when we see it".

We didn't have much to show in terms of joint assets. Maybe a healthy balance in our brokerage account convinced them? That's litterally the only joint asset we have, as everything else is in our individual names, either by law (retirement accounts), or kept separate for points maximization (credit cards).

My wife isn't even on the apartment lease, I have one utility bill in my name and she has the other, and we each own our own car. Never bothered to update the titles since the insurance companies don't care and the fleet represents < 5% of our net worth.

Maybe they'll be more strict in 2 years.

Take a look at the requirements and start getting everything lined up now. I'd think about getting her on the lease. But the utility bills  sound good as well as the brokerage. And I wouldn't worry about the cars. You just want to make sure it looks to them like you're a) living together and b) co-mingling your lives. So also save some boarding passes from flights or something like that.

FIREby35

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #30 on: December 23, 2015, 08:20:16 PM »
Congratulations!

Immigration attorney here, please quit stealing my job! All you DIYers are going to [insert immigration hell]. J/k of course.

Actually, immigration depends a lot on the case. Most of my clients don't speak English and have less than a HS education. So, they aren't quite as prepared as some of you all sound to be. Every once and a while I have someone that I ask them, "are you sure you want my help." Anyway, since there are so many immigrants on the board you can all free free to PM if you need a quick answer on those contradictory instructions.

Also, I married a foreigner. I'm surprised by how many are "in the club."
« Last Edit: December 24, 2015, 06:13:17 PM by FIREby35 »

Avidconsumer

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #31 on: December 24, 2015, 09:58:36 AM »
Yeah I was somewhat joking. But you nailed it. You had utilities in both your names as well as the apartment lease. We ended up paying off the house in order to get my name on the title. The whole process was just frustrating. They moved our case to another office location after 6 months, then 3 months later, they asked for more information. You can provide them a tonne of evidence but if it isn't spelled out and exactly what they are looking for then good luck.
Man, that must be frustrating. Good old "not surewhat we're looking for, we'll tell you when we see it".

We didn't have much to show in terms of joint assets. Maybe a healthy balance in our brokerage account convinced them? That's litterally the only joint asset we have, as everything else is in our individual names, either by law (retirement accounts), or kept separate for points maximization (credit cards).

My wife isn't even on the apartment lease, I have one utility bill in my name and she has the other, and we each own our own car. Never bothered to update the titles since the insurance companies don't care and the fleet represents < 5% of our net worth.

Maybe they'll be more strict in 2 years.

I would get both your names on the lease. You'll show them that your name is on the apartment lease and they will just ask for proof that both of you live there. For example both your names on the apartment lease. It's nuts. Utilities bills in both your names is a must, so that's good.

Bank account in both names with pay going to the same account is a good idea. You need proof over the full two years that you have been together, so you can't just send a months worth of bank statements as proof.

They don't expect much when you first petition, but removal of conditional status they expect a lot more.

This might give you an idea of what needs to be done.

http://www.experiglot.com/2006/06/08/our-experience-with-filing-form-i-751-petition-to-remove-the-conditions-of-residence-or-another-fun-jaunt-through-bureaucracy/

Cassie

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #32 on: December 24, 2015, 01:29:22 PM »
My son and his wife both have college degrees and she speaks 5 languages so I am guessing that many on this site don't need lawyers for this same reason.

Helvegen

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #33 on: December 28, 2015, 04:58:38 PM »
My son and his wife both have college degrees and she speaks 5 languages so I am guessing that many on this site don't need lawyers for this same reason.

Basically anyone who can read, has the filing fees/meets income requirements, and has some common sense can file the paperwork. All I used was Visa Journey. I have no idea how much money we 'saved' over an attorney because we never even thought to contact one. And such was the case with many people with more difficult immigration cases than mine who successfully navigated the process. The interwebz rule.

The only time I would think to contact an attorney is when you have messed up in some serious way - you have a criminal record, you entered the country without processing, you have a prior ban from the US for who knows what, this is your third K-1 application in 2 years, etc.

SwordGuy

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #34 on: December 28, 2015, 06:35:48 PM »
Congrats!

(And I hope you go for US citizenship, you're exactly the kind of citizen our country needs!)

FIREby35

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #35 on: December 28, 2015, 09:26:26 PM »
My son and his wife both have college degrees and she speaks 5 languages so I am guessing that many on this site don't need lawyers for this same reason.

Basically anyone who can read, has the filing fees/meets income requirements, and has some common sense can file the paperwork. All I used was Visa Journey. I have no idea how much money we 'saved' over an attorney because we never even thought to contact one. And such was the case with many people with more difficult immigration cases than mine who successfully navigated the process. The interwebz rule.

The only time I would think to contact an attorney is when you have messed up in some serious way - you have a criminal record, you entered the country without processing, you have a prior ban from the US for who knows what, this is your third K-1 application in 2 years, etc.

Yeah, there are approximately 12 million people who fall into that category.

Exflyboy

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #36 on: December 28, 2015, 11:25:46 PM »
Congrats! I was fortunate to be included on my dad's several years ago, but I did my own citizenship paperwork this year.

... obsessing over filing instructions, gathering all the paperwork, triple checking everything, panicking over often contradictory instructions, and finally mailing it in.

Yup, just like that.

My favorite part of the whole process was the number of times I had to assert I was not a member of the Nazi party between 1933 & 1945... (I was born in the 80s)

Hey Werner Von Braun was an SS officer and he didn't seem to have a problem becoming a citizen..

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #37 on: December 29, 2015, 03:14:23 PM »
Congratulations! My now-husband came over on a K-1 visa in 2000. We did all the paperwork ourselves, with help from an online group of people who had been through it. It was kind of like doing your own taxes, except less math and took a lot longer.

FIREby35

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #38 on: December 29, 2015, 06:38:05 PM »
Congrats! I was fortunate to be included on my dad's several years ago, but I did my own citizenship paperwork this year.

... obsessing over filing instructions, gathering all the paperwork, triple checking everything, panicking over often contradictory instructions, and finally mailing it in.

Yup, just like that.

My favorite part of the whole process was the number of times I had to assert I was not a member of the Nazi party between 1933 & 1945... (I was born in the 80s)

Hey Werner Von Braun was an SS officer and he didn't seem to have a problem becoming a citizen..

You'd all be surprised. I've never had a Nazi, but I have had some former guerrilla army members from Latin American countries. That is one of the questions right after terrorist and drunkard!

REAL WORLD EXPAT

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #39 on: December 30, 2015, 05:41:32 AM »
. We did all the paperwork ourselves, with help from an online group of people who had been through it.

BritishExpats.com? they guided me though our whole K1 to citizenship journey, great site, saved me thousands probably.

UnleashHell

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #40 on: December 30, 2015, 09:30:03 AM »
Congrats! I was fortunate to be included on my dad's several years ago, but I did my own citizenship paperwork this year.

... obsessing over filing instructions, gathering all the paperwork, triple checking everything, panicking over often contradictory instructions, and finally mailing it in.

Yup, just like that.

My favorite part of the whole process was the number of times I had to assert I was not a member of the Nazi party between 1933 & 1945... (I was born in the 80s)

Hey Werner Von Braun was an SS officer and he didn't seem to have a problem becoming a citizen..

You'd all be surprised. I've never had a Nazi, but I have had some former guerrilla army members from Latin American countries. That is one of the questions right after terrorist and drunkard!

LOL.

define drunkard was the thought running through my head when I applied... I mean i was brought up in England..

FIREby35

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #41 on: December 31, 2015, 07:48:31 AM »
Congrats! I was fortunate to be included on my dad's several years ago, but I did my own citizenship paperwork this year.

... obsessing over filing instructions, gathering all the paperwork, triple checking everything, panicking over often contradictory instructions, and finally mailing it in.

Yup, just like that.

My favorite part of the whole process was the number of times I had to assert I was not a member of the Nazi party between 1933 & 1945... (I was born in the 80s)

Hey Werner Von Braun was an SS officer and he didn't seem to have a problem becoming a citizen..

You'd all be surprised. I've never had a Nazi, but I have had some former guerrilla army members from Latin American countries. That is one of the questions right after terrorist and drunkard!

Fireby35, are you a USCIS officer?

No. I'm an attorney. I do "Crimmigration" i.e. Criminal Defense for Immigrants and Removal Defense. That includes family based immigration, such as K-1, Adjustment of Status, DACA, citizenship, etc. I also take accident and injury cases. So, my answers are based on working with private clients. I'm bi-lingual in English and Spanish so work with mostly Latino clients - hence the guerrilla forces clients.

mbk

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #42 on: January 04, 2016, 04:44:01 PM »

The advantages of being a permanent resident are huge. I no longer have to fear losing my job and having to leave immediately, I can start my own business, and I get to use the fast customs line at the airport.

Congratulations. I know the feeling as I still haven't filed for my GC.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Successfully petitioned self for a green card
« Reply #43 on: January 05, 2016, 07:22:21 AM »
Not just people - I drive across the border once a year with my dog, and have to show that she has her rabies immunization.  Within the previous year  :-(    I would much prefer to have her get the 3 year vaccination, but then we would have border hassles.  Medically it makes no sense.

I thinnk even the nurse realized how stupid this was - but you gotta follow those rules you know.. don;t be questioning them... it is Homeland security setting down the law and we all know they are experts in everything....