Chinese fiancee -- Visa application and other advice sought

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by bobber205, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. bobber205 macrumors 68020

    bobber205

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    Oregon
    #1
    I realize that this may be a strange topic for a Community Discussion forum on a Macrumors site but I figured there are lots of smart people here, some that may have experience with what I am about to do.

    So I've met that absolute gem of a woman. In China. :p
    And before you start the post I know several people are thinking about writing right now,
    this isn't some "I want a green card" person.

    This is the "real deal". ;)

    We're both in our mid twenties and mature for our relatively young age. I live in Oregon and she in China.
    We've sent probably 200,000 or more instant messages to each other, hundreds of emails, and many many hours together (usually Skype or Yahoo Messenger's video chat when skype is being stupid).

    We haven't explicilty talked about marriage. We both know that's where this is headed. She's met my parents (online through Skype) and I will meet her parents in person come this fall (Sept or Oct).

    So what's the process of getting her over here, as soon is reasonably possible?

    I know there will be LOTS of paperwork for us both to fill out. I've read it's a big bonus if I'm there for her initial interview at the embassy. I assme that would be the second visit.

    Does anyone here have any advice? Websites with forms so we know all the information we'll need? Would it be worth to hire an attorney to help faciliate the process? How much is a reasnoable cost for that?

    Thanks for your time and advice!
     
  2. e²Studios, Jul 4, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011

    e²Studios macrumors 68020

    e²Studios

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    #2
    Nonimmigrant Visa for a Fiancé(e) (K-1) is likely what you are looking for.

    http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_2994.html

    You can do most all of this yourself so long as you are willing to read and put some time in to it. Don't waste money on an attorney unless the situation calls for it. If she has overstayed a tourist visa and was caught, or was expelled from the US for any reason an attorney might be needed, otherwise just read the fine print and give the information they are asking for.

    Be prepared for a rather lengthy and very personal interview with INS. They will expect you to prove the relationship is legit, this goes from how you met to interpersonal communication and how well you know the other person. It can get quite personal. She will also have to take a medical exam from a approved INS doctor, and be free from any disease that could cause her to be a burden to the people. You will also have to prove that you can fully support her financially as her sponsor (you can't use "she will get a job" as support, you must be able to fully support yourself and her).

    Lots of reading, lots of paperwork, but if its "the one" then it'll all be worth it.
     
  3. benhollberg macrumors 68020

    benhollberg

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    #3
    My friend had a similar situation except the girl was from Brazil. Well she'll be coming later this summer. He hired an attorney and everything to do the process, it took him a lot of time and I was busy with it a lot. Don't know all the details but I know he did, or still has, hired an attorney.
     
  4. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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  5. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #5
    If the INS is like their Canadian counterparts, then start with the assumption that they are in fact thinking that way. There are very few romantics in the department.... You are going to have to prove to skeptics and cynics that she is, in fact, the real deal.

    So, as E*Studios has suggested - start the process and get ready for a long exercise in frustration. We have a friend who is trying to bring his sweetheart into Canada from Turkey. It's been long and trying and frustrating, and they still haven't managed it.

    Good Luck with this... the INS won't be romantics, but I am! :)
     
  6. Abstract, Jul 5, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011

    Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #6
    Out of curiosity, have you met her in person? :confused:

    If not, then you may as well not even bother trying. On second thought, try it if it doesn't cost you a lot of money.

    However, you may have an easier time moving to China than vice versa. My friend just married a Chinese girl when he lived in China. He met her in China, they got married after.....a year (?), and had been married for over 1 year, and now she's in Canada.


    EDIT TO ADD: Actually, they've been married for 2 years, and I'm certain they had to prove that they have had a long-term relationship, and were married (photos, party/wedding invitations addressed to the couple, marriage certificate, bills sent to the couple's address). You can't just say, "Believe me."
     
  7. bobber205 thread starter macrumors 68020

    bobber205

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    #7
    We're meeting in late Sept or Oct. Depends on work, when is best for me to take a 2 week vacation. :p

    Once she's here with a K-1 visa, will she be able to apply for a job?
     
  8. e²Studios, Jul 5, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011

    e²Studios macrumors 68020

    e²Studios

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    #8
    According to 8 CFR 274a.12(a)(6), you are eligible to apply for work authorization with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS, based on your K1 visa, but USCIS must still issue an employment authorization document (EAD), commonly referred to as a work permit.

    Work permits require more paperwork, and yes more money to apply. They used to require an interview, but I am not sure if that's still the same. You have be granted the K-1 first, then apply for the work permit.

    The Visa is valid for 6 months but you have to get married within 90 days of entering the US, are you two really thinking to get married that fast once you get back to the states?

    Go out there and meet her, honestly if you two haven't spent a lot of time together it will put a ton of red flags up to whomever is doing the investigation/application process at INS. Plus you really never know what a person is like until you are up close and personal. I hate to sound negative, but while skype has brought down boundaries there still is no substitute from getting to know and being with someone that is right next to you vs. on a computer screen.

    K-1 and all associated docs aren't too cheap (green card is substantially more), take your time. Getting the K-1 first will make the green card interview a lot easier from what I heard. Anything that makes the green card interview better would be good since its not the most pleasant of interviews.

    You need to make the first step for this to happen before you leave for China btw.

    Here's a link for you :)
    http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_2994.html#14
     
  9. puma1552, Jul 6, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011

    puma1552 macrumors 601

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    #9
    A K-1 Visa is a huge PITA.

    Your best bet would be to head to China, marry there (pending their requirements on residency in order to file an I-130, you may have to live in China for six months if it's like Japan), and then file an I-130 petition to bring her home, via Direct Consular Filing (DCF). MUCH quicker than dealing with the National Visa Center (NVC), because the entire petition/visa is processed in-house at the embassy.

    I live in Japan and just went through the I-130 process and got my wife's visa stamped in the passport last month. Total time from filing the intial petition to receiving the visa was only about 2.5 months. It would've been quicker but my wife didn't have a chance to get back to Tokyo for the visa interview until after May, when she got a new allocation of time off from work. Could've done it all in 1.5 months.

    I considered both a K-1 and an I-130 for a long time, and the truth of the matter was the I-130 was difficult enough as it was and though the process only took a couple months, it took about 4 months to get the paperwork together for the intial filing. The K-1 just seemed to have a much larger number of steps/headaches/hassles, but then again I live abroad so I had DCF at my disposal, which is far and away considered the premiere avenue to take if possible. So we just went to city hall, signed marriage papers, and that was that. Then we got started on the process.

    EDIT: You haven't met her in person? Forget about this for now then, and actually meet her and spend time in her country learning about her culture and language. If you just yank her out of China it's a guaranteed failure if you haven't gone through culture fatigue yourself and learned a lot about her culture and stratification. If you haven't been through that process yourself, it will be utterly impossible for you to understand her position when it happens to her in the first few years after moving to America. International relationships are much harder, and something like 80% end up in divorce. You have to learn about her society before you can attempt to make a comfortable life for her in the US.

    DOUBLE EDIT: But if you insist, www.familybasedimmigration.com and www.visajourney.com are the better places to be. In your case, since you are worlds away and unmarried, a K1 is probably your only option. However, at least for an I-130, they want proof that the relationship is genuine. For us, an official marriage certificate from the Japanese government, translated, and my name on my wife's government-issued family register, and ring receipts were not enough proof that our relationship was real. They wanted pictures of us together over time, greeting cards, and even an invasive personal explanation in writing about how we met and how the relationship developed over time. And in both interviews we had to do, we were quizzed about what we had written to see if we were lying. So, if you have none of that, and assuming the K1 process is similar in regards to relationship proof, you've got one tough battle to fight, especially being that China is a developing country.
     
  10. bobber205 thread starter macrumors 68020

    bobber205

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    #10
    What's this "first step" before leaving for China? The K-1 visa? confused. :p
     
  11. Surely Guest

    Surely

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    #11
    Bwahahahaha!


    Yeah, find yourself an immigration lawyer. Don't leave anything to chance.
     
  12. arkitect macrumors 601

    arkitect

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    #12
    ^^^^
    Best post and advice so far.

    OP, move yourself to China for a while and experience what it is like — suddenly you don't have family or friends — you start from scratch. A language you're not proficient in, sounds, smells, … yes, at firts it's an adventure but the novelty wear off soon and the daily grind is just like back home — only more so.

    I know this sounds cliched, but if you really have feelings (to call it love right now?) for her then respect her and her culture and literally go the extra mile.
    Who knows? You may end up staying forever. China is a great place to be right now. Opportunity knocks. :)
     
  13. puma1552 macrumors 601

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    #13
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    I would skip an immigration attorney. Unnecessary IMO, just follow the instructions on the embassy website for whichever process you do...that's all the immigration attorney will do anyway, and you'll still be responsible for gathering all the paperwork for them as it is.

    Definitely meet her. Having spent a few years here I really know what my wife is like and where she's coming from; spending time here allows me to see what things are different and how, and has helped me prepare her for those things. I also know how Japanese people approach things which also helps. All of the culture fatigue I experienced was mitigated by the fact English speakers are all over the world, and usually have common places to meet such as foreigner bars, or most of us come over with companies with many foreigners so it's easy to make friends.

    Depending on where you live in the US she may or may not have such resources; I know I'm more or less my wife's sole friend/lifeline in the US; there are nearly no Japanese people in Minneapolis and she can use Japanese nowhere whatsoever, so my next task is networking to find her some Japanese friends ASAP that she can gripe about Americans to in her native tongue on those tough days (what would've happened to me without "my people" so many times before here in Japan, lol).

    Seriously, go out there. The above aside, you have no chance proving to immigration that your relationship is genuine, so think of it as you don't have a choice.
     
  14. eljanitor macrumors 6502

    eljanitor

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    #14
    I woulsd seriousy think aboutthis before doing anything

    It's my opinion that even if your not sharing a place with someone you need time to be around them physically to know if there really the one for you. Reasons being you may find that online and on the phone there just absolutely perfect. When you spend some time around them you may change your mind and decide that it's just not quite what you thought. You just won't know much really until you spend time around them.

    Marriage is a serious commitment, "Till death do you part, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer..........." Most people like to make sure that they have a good picture of what there getting into when they make those vows.

    She's from China, and shes looking to marry an American citizen. I do so hope you know that there are many people who take advantage of others usually seeking lonely American citizens, to gain citizenship, and reap all the benefits here. I so hope that shes not just using you to get what she wants only to leave you if and when things get bad, or when tough times arise.

    Foreign women know that in America they can divorce their husbands and demand alimony, and child support if they have children with you. They know that they would never ever see this in the country they currently live in. This is a common thing that happens and many lawyers will tell you the same. By the way this also applies to foreign men seeking lonely American women for citizenship and other benefits that they wont see in their country.

    Peoples feelings sometimes change over time. Even though she may not be some evil manipulative woman looking to take advantage of what sounds like a nice guy with a a big heart, however it can and does happen.

    Believe it or not regardless of how many women complain that some men just don't get it etc etc etc and use women and all men are pigs. Truth is there are these women out there that are like horrible soul sucking vampires. They are just as bad as any man if sometimes not worse, and although they may fool you with a pretty face and sweetness. It can be just an act to get whatever they want, and then one day show you a side of themselves that may surprise you in ways you just don't want, and never would have imagined.

    Something I've heard from many women, "Men are stupid." Yes we certainly can be so my advice to you is use your brain and think about this whole thing thoroughly before you make a long term commitment that may affect you in so many ways down the road, financially, legally, and emotionally.

    Give it some time and maybe go fly over there a few times and visit her see how she is in person and how her family is. See if maybe you can fly her out here for a little bit with a visa, however she may need to go about applying for one if possible. Think about these things because at 20 something you're looking at something that will make a huge impact on your life for a long long time to come.

    I do believe in love and that there are honest people out there, so don't get me wrong. She may seriously be the love of your life, I have no idea, only you will know that. Just don't rush into something that you don't know a whole lot about and make big decisions that need serious thought.

    Marriage is a serious journey full of ups and downs, and sometimes unimaginable trials. It really is the rest of your life and the rest of hers so take it seriously. She may gain 200 lbs and become blind in one eye and become paralyzed some day, really only God knows that. So ask yourself would you stay with her if that happened, and be faithful to her?
    Would she do the same for you? Have you made plans on how you will support each other? Have you considered where you will both live and what you can afford? Will she be able to work out here?

    So many things to consider before making a huge commitment like this.
     
  15. Internal Fury macrumors 6502

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    #15
    I did it with a thai girl. She was already here on her own though. No mail order bride stuff.(although i sometimes pick on her about getting a refund) You can either hire an attorney or do it yourselves. My wife organized everything since she was a business major.The process took six months with us, that was with her physically here though. I can't tell you how long with the person being in another country. With her organizing everything its costed us maybe 1,500. Lawyers charge around 5,000 just to get the paperwork.

    If its real good for you, if not be careful. I have seen a bunch of navy guys get screwed over, hell even my closest friend got screwed over. My wife and I are still happily married, its been just over two years. We didn't need to get married really though as I said before she was here on her own. She had the option to go back and forth between Thailand and here with her status, alternating every one year. She chose to stay here strictly with me and become a permanent resident. I'm completely in love with her, very close to her younger sister who is in thailand and her mother adores me. There are genuine people out there but a lot of the times it's to use you.
     
  16. bobber205 thread starter macrumors 68020

    bobber205

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    #16

    1 )Her English is easily fluent

    2) She works with lots of foreigners (lots of americans, probably reason for #1)

    3) I live in a town with a sizeable chinese population.
     
  17. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #17
    My brother did the K-1 thing (his wife is American). It's a bit of a hassle and you then need to get the work thing and permanent residency sorted out afterwards but it's workable.
     
  18. 184550 Guest

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    #18
    IMO, that's rather presumptuous.

    Have fun in divorce court.
     
  19. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #19
    You are aware that INS has nothing to do with visa issuance, right? You will have a 5-minute interview (maximum) with a consular officer at a U.S. consulate in China or at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

    Wtf? Completely wrong again. The State Department provides a list of authorized physicians in the general vicinity of the embassies and consulates, none of which are run by the INS (which does not operate in the majority of overseas posts) and are probably not free.

    None of these matter at all. If this is what you are relying on to get your "fiancee" a visa, you are going to get rejected within the first minute of your consular interview.
     
  20. bobber205, Jul 7, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2011

    bobber205 thread starter macrumors 68020

    bobber205

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    #20
    How is that presumptuous in any way? I was stating facts, not opinions.

    Not relying on any of these things. Simply stating facts to go along with the post I was quoting. :p
     
  21. Surely Guest

    Surely

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    #21
    The interview can be 2 minutes or 10 minutes or longer. I don't know where you got the 5 minute maximum from. I saw people standing at the window being interviewed for much longer than 5 minutes while I was waiting for my interview.

    The authorized physicians don't have to be in the general vicinity of anything. They just have to be authorized by the US government to perform these types of physicals. The consulate that I interviewed at was in Montreal, the physician that performed my physical exam was in Toronto. And they did charge for the exam.....I believe it was around $200. It seemed weird at the time to pay for medical services in Canada.......not that I'm in the US, it seems like quite the bargain!
     
  22. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #22
    At the visa mills (like all the China posts), consular officers are expected to do upwards of 100 visa interviews per day. Simple math gives you 5 minutes maximum per person, which is what they stick to. Canadians are treated significantly different than the Chinese as well.

    That's nice. I never said they had to be in the vicinity.
     
  23. Surely Guest

    Surely

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    #23
    There weren't only Canadians being interviewed at the US Consulate in Montreal. I spoke with people from Asian countries, Europe, and the Caribbean while I was waiting. I am sure that the officers at the consulate I went to are expected to perform a certain number of interviews per day as well. Besides, it's not like people just line up without appointments for these interviews.....they know who is coming to be interviewed and how many to expect.

    Er, yes you did:

    Very nice.
     
  24. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #24
    No, they don't line up at will. However, the simple numbers make the time constraint per interview in Beijing much different from that in Montreal. Having been at both posts for significant periods of time in my line of work, I would say I have a better idea about these kinds of things than you do.
    No, I did not. Read. I said that the State Department provides a list of authorized physicians in the vicinity. I did not state that you had to have your medical examination done there. Your misinterpretation does not make your statement true.
     
  25. Surely Guest

    Surely

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    #25
    Fair enough.

    No, you read.

    You stated that "the State Department provides a list of authorized physicians in the general vicinity of the embassies and consulates". That's verbatim.

    In actuality, the State Department provides a list of authorized physicians. Some of these doctors might be in the vicinity of the embassies and consulates, but some of them aren't in the vicinity of the embassies and cosulates. All that matters is that these doctors are authorized to perform the exam. It doesn't matter where they're located.
     

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