Strychnine wrote:Hi tommy525,
Thank you for the very informative post. It was very helpful. It seems like no matter which option I go with, there will be a long wait ahead. That's a bit disheartening, but there doesn't seem to be any other choice. I'll do more research online and perhaps need to contact an attorney who specializes in this type of thing to find out more.
There are many companies in the USA who help with these issues. I engaged one company online who i hired to just help with my initial i129f application for a well deserved fee of around 200 bucks IIRC.
They helped with telling me exactly what documents I needed to put together my ap. And looked over all the data before telling me it was ok to send.
And they were great. Everything was in order .
They also can help (at extra cost) for the initial interview in China and when she is in the USA.
Many online companies charge something like 800 dollars for advice all the way through. If they only consult with you on the phone or online. IF they have to send someone in person, costs go up , way up, depending on what needed to be done.
You generally do not need an attorney (mucho big bucks) unless your case is particularly difficult. If she had overstayed while in the USa before , or she has multiple children from previous marriages, or she had a less then perfect record in China, etc.
Otherwise, for most people you can do the whole thing just by reading all about it online. Or hire a company to look over your ap and help you put it together like i did.
You can google i129f online and get tons of info. And the US embassy websites offer you much info as well.
I can tell you that it is a very very long journey that I would NOT want to ever repeat again. And I should warn you that basically you can only do this one time fairly easily and thereafter its going to be much more rocky.
There is the initial ap, which you better make sure is all in order. Because it can take months before they even get to it.
They took something like 8 months to even LOOK at our application !!
And then there is the interview at the embassy in China for her (you are not needed for this and actually may have to sit out for this interview). Along with the required hospital visit to get her immunizations done and a quick look over at a clinic prescribed by the embassy.
Then if approved there is the security check (which can take days to weeks to months to even years, but usually just days).
Then if that goes through they notify you and you can get the visa stamped in her passport. Then she has a limited time to arrive in the USA.
She will be interviewed by Immigration upon arrival (this is usually a breeze, as long as she follows instructions and brings the packet from the US embassy UNOPENED as instructed).
Then you better get hitched pronto and file the Green Card ap.
If you had already married you would have filed the i130 and I believe you can file for the green card once the i130 is approved , and of course you would already be married so no need to get married.
Both of you must go to an interview with an officer at a certain date they will set up. You have to pass this interview. They may request additional docs as well. There is also a biometrics session that she has to attend at a given location to get her prints taken and pics taken. This happens before the officer will interview you both .
I had 90 days to get certain docs related to my prior marriage in Taiwan after our interview.
Our interview went well, but those officers are not known to be super friendly . You have to convince him/her that your marriage is genuine. IF they feel you are fraudulent they will call in the heavies for a several hours long interview that can get ugly. And you may get denied. This is where you can call lawyers to help. We were so lucky, our interview was to the point and over in 15 mins. She just asked how we met and how we kept in touch and what we intended to do in the near term as a couple. OUr families. She asked for some pics showing us together. She asked me questions and her questions. Basically just wanted to know how we spent the time before arrival to the USA together and how we spent the time together after her arrival in the USA and before the interview. Just wanted to feel you out to see if there are any holes to your story. And trust me, they are known to be very good at detecting anything amiss. Our lady was nice but very professional. She didn't smile or make small talk. Her questions were all loaded ones !! She also left the room for a few minutes (and possibly you were being video-ed and recorded so what you say when she is out of the room is very important). They were probably watching and listening to see if you behaved like a couple would . I held her hand and told her she was doing fine and not to worry. This was the right reaction to being there and she promptly came back in and just said ok the interview is over and we will be contacted. They do not tell you on the spot if you passed or not anymore though.
IF you pass, you will be notified that you passed and a Green Card will be issued and mailed to the address listed on your ap.
Good luck on your endeavor. It is a very very long process and very frustrating at times.
And Ironlady's advice about her going to school is an excellent one. She could attend school while you guys wait out her visa approval. She will have to return to China to receive this visa though. As well as attend the embassy interview(s).
She will have to show that she paid a whole year's tuition at an approved school if she intends to apply for a student visa to the USA.
And she should actually attend this school. So there is no fraud on her part.
You guys have to play by the rules carefully because a falsehood of a substantial nature can get her banned for life from the USA.