I want to find out about marrying my girlfriend from over seas. Nothing yet I haven't asked her. Just want to get it all

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Customer: I want to find out about marrying my girlfriend from over seas
JA: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any paperwork with the U.S. government?
Customer: Nothing yet I haven't asked her. Just want to get it all ready for when I do.
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this?
Customer: Not yet.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: Nope
Answered by Guillermo Senmartin in 2 hours 11 months ago
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Guillermo Senmartin
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Guillermo Senmartin
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Guillermo Senmartin
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Guillermo Senmartin, Expert

Hello! My name is***** and I am a licensed attorney with more than 18 years of experience. I am here to assist you with your questions. If I do not respond quickly, I promise I will reply as soon as I can. It may take a little time to research and write your answer, I could be helping other customers, or I could be attending to personal clients as I have my law practice.

You are a U.S. Citizen?

Customer
My girlfriend is coming in to town next moand I'm going to ask her to marry me. She lives in the UK and has a Italian passport. I was wanting to know what the steps would be for us to be married here & what we would need to do so she can stay & us start a family.
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Guillermo Senmartin, Expert

First, let me explain that if she has an ESTA Visa Waiver or B visitor visa (or will apply for one), she is NOT supposed to use either visa to enter the U.S. if she intends to stay. That is considered visa fraud, and if they do not let her in, one of three things can happen:

a) They will allow her to withdraw her request to enter the U.S., and she can go home with no penalty.

b) They will not allow her to withdraw her request to enter the U.S. and will order her excluded. That has a 5-year penalty that she cannot come back unless she gets a waiver that is hard to get.

c) They will not allow her to withdraw her request to enter the U.S., and they catch her in a lie, and they exclude her with a permanent bar due to fraud or misrepresentation, and with that charge, she cannot come back unless she gets a waiver that is hard to get.

IF you don't take my advice and she tries to come in because you can't stand to be separated for the many months it will take for her to get the correct visa to go to the U.S., and she does make it in, then she should wait 90 days or more after entry before taking any steps to stay, or she could get charged with visa fraud. Take a look at this link:

https://immigrationworkvisa.wordpress.com/2019/09/17/green-card-adjustment-after-b2-entry/

What is happening is that they are cracking down on people that are misusing ESTAs and visitor visas when they have immigrant intent.

IF she does make it in, then wait more than 90 days to marry after she enters (if you aren't already married) and files the following forms:
I-130 (Petition for a family member).
I-130A.
I-485 (application for Lawful Permanent Residency).
I-765 (Application for a work permit).
I-131 (Application for Advance Parole).
I-693 (Medical exam that a certified doctor must fill out).
I-864 (Affidavit of support).
You will need to file each form with supporting evidence and appropriate filing fees. You can find these forms at www.uscis.gov/forms.

The supporting evidence that you would file would be birth certificates, marriage certificate, divorce certificates if either of you have been married previously, proof of your U.S. Citizenship, evidence of your spouse's legal entry into the U.S., and financial documents to prove your income over the last year at least.

In about 5 to 7 months after filing, the work permit and Advance Parole (travel permit) should arrive. About 9 to 10 months after filing, the interview should be scheduled (maybe more due to COVID). If all goes well, a few weeks later, the U.S. Lawful Permanent Residency card (green card) should come in the mail.

If you are already married before you enter the U.S., this may not work, and she may get charged with visa fraud. You would then have to file an I-601 waiver asking that the government forgive her for the deception. To win that, which is not guaranteed, you would have to prove that her deportation would cause you EXTREME hardship.

IF you take my advice and have her not try to enter on a visitor visa, then there are essentially three ways to bring her, and none are fast, unfortunately (one if you are not legally married yet and two if you are):

1) The K-1 fiancée visa takes around nine months, but you must have met before at least once during the last two years to process it. The is the form that starts the process is the I-129F. After she enters the U.S., then you have to marry, and then you have to file the I-485 (the I-130 and I-130A are not needed), and she will have to wait about 5 to 7 months and gets another interview that you attend with your new spouse so that she can get Residency. Remember, in order to use this method; you cannot be legally married until AFTER entry into the U.S. on the K-1 visa.

2) The K-3 spouse visa takes around nine months; you must be legally married to start this process. The I-129F and I-130 are used to begin the process. Then after she enters the U.S., she must still file the I-485 and wait for the marriage interview about 5 to 7 months later.

3) The CR-1 visa (or IR-1 if your marriage is more than two years old) also takes around nine months (making the K-3 almost obsolete). You must be married. The I-130 is the form that is needed to start this process. But once she enters the U.S., she enters as a Resident, and she does not have to file (or pay for) an I-485, nor does she have to attend an additional interview. She gets her green card in the mail a few weeks later.

So the K-1 and K-3 might be a little faster but generally more expensive. The CR-1 (and IR-1) might be a little slower but usually cheaper. And no, there is no middle-visa that she can use to enter the U.S. while that process is pending. She will most likely have to wait outside.

Here is a link to those visas:

http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/immigrate/family/fiance.html

and another link:

http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Resources/Resources%20for%20Congress/Congressional%20Reports/I-129F%20Petition%20for%20Alien%20Fiance%28e%29.pdf

The only other thing that I can think of that might shave off a few months from the process is Direct Consular Filing (DCF), IF it is available. Here are some links:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/the-immigrant-visa-process/step-1-submit-a-petition/filing-petitions-outside-the-us.html

https://www.boundless.com/immigration-resources/direct-consular-filing/

I know you do not want to wait. I know it is very inconvenient. I know you want to be together sooner rather than later, but I have this same conversation two or three times per day on this website. No one ever likes it, and believe me, if there were an easier or faster way, I would tell you. I know you will probably say, "but what about this...?" or "but what about that...?" But I will most likely continue to have bad news for you. I am genuinely sorry. The problem is that the U.S. concerns over security and fraud in this area are more important than a 6 to 9 months inconvenience to you. The way they see it is that if it truly is a real relationship, it will survive that length of time apart. Again, I am genuinely sorry. I wish I had a faster and easier way to tell you about it. Remember, you can visit her.

What else may I answer for you?

Customer
Well she is just coming for a visit she has no idea that I'm thinking about proposing to her. As fast as she know it's a 2 week vacation for us. So of she says yes I understand she has to go back and then we start with the paperwork. Knowing this which option is the best way to start?
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Guillermo Senmartin, Expert

Well, the risk is still there. You better hope that they don't find out she is in a relationship with a U.S. Citizen. She will have just a few minutes to prove to a usually sour and cynical (because people lie to them all the time) CBP Officer at the Port of Entry she is not planning to stay during that trip. They can often go through luggage, cell phone, WhatsApp messages, emails, social media accounts, etc. They can even make her call whomever she says would be picking them up at the airport. They have their ways.

IF she makes it in, then you have to wait 90 days or more to marry and file the paperwork for her to stay.

What else would you like to know?

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Guillermo Senmartin, Expert

I hope I have been helpful up until now.  Do you have 2 or 3 more questions that I may answer for you?  While you are not limited to questions you may ask, I may have to go in a bit.  I don't want to leave you waiting too long for a response.

What other U.S. Immigration Law questions do you have for me?

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Guillermo Senmartin, Expert

I assume you have no additional questions for me.  Thank you for being a valued customer.  My goal is to provide you with excellent service – but that does NOT mean we finished if you need to continue.  If you feel you have received anything less than quality service or have additional questions, please reply.   I am happy to address 2 or 3 follow-up questions for you.  There is no additional charge for that.  For any different cases in the future, please post a NEW session and remember to use FOR GUILLERMO in the subject line and message box so that no one else grabs the question.  That way, I can become your exclusive immigration consultant.

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