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  • Does my wife have to leave?

    I was married to a Colombian girl in June. We dated each other for a little over a year. We fell in love and she came to America last June on a Tourist visa. We married 9 days after her arrival. We also had a ceremony in Colombia with her friends and family before she came up here, however, it was not a legal ceremony so we have no legal documentation of a ceremony in Colombia. It was a large, formal wedding and we do have lots of pictures and even invitations. We gotr married as soon as we returned to the US solely for the purposes of having a legally recognized marriage.
    We lived in Texas and I was told that since we might be moving to another state for reasons of my profession (I am a minister and I actually met her while doing mission work in Colombia) that the best thing to do is to wait to file her papers because a move can jeopardize the papers on file with INS. We have arrived safely in Florida and we just went to work with Catholic Family Services on Friday, June 11. They told us that becasue we got married to early, that INS will reject her forms for a greencard, because she violated "double intention" It is because she had a tourist visa and she intended to get married and she intended to outstay her visa. They said we should have waited a couple of months before making our marriage legally official. Well, now they are saying that she has to go back to Colombia and I have to file for a K-1 Visa (which is like a fiancee visa). We prepared and sent off her I-130 yesterday. The reason they say she has to go home is because she is now illegal, and she has to leave the country before her illegal status goes beyond 6 months (she went illegal on Dec. 20). Evidently if she stays longer than six months after her she was supposed to leave (again, back in December) they can revoke her visa priveleges totally. This is a nightmare and we are both totally devestated. All of this again is because they say that we got married too soon after she came to the United States with me. Is there any way to start working on her permanent Visa without her having to leave the US? Surly there is another answer? Can anyone help me with any ideas?

  • #2
    I was married to a Colombian girl in June. We dated each other for a little over a year. We fell in love and she came to America last June on a Tourist visa. We married 9 days after her arrival. We also had a ceremony in Colombia with her friends and family before she came up here, however, it was not a legal ceremony so we have no legal documentation of a ceremony in Colombia. It was a large, formal wedding and we do have lots of pictures and even invitations. We gotr married as soon as we returned to the US solely for the purposes of having a legally recognized marriage.
    We lived in Texas and I was told that since we might be moving to another state for reasons of my profession (I am a minister and I actually met her while doing mission work in Colombia) that the best thing to do is to wait to file her papers because a move can jeopardize the papers on file with INS. We have arrived safely in Florida and we just went to work with Catholic Family Services on Friday, June 11. They told us that becasue we got married to early, that INS will reject her forms for a greencard, because she violated "double intention" It is because she had a tourist visa and she intended to get married and she intended to outstay her visa. They said we should have waited a couple of months before making our marriage legally official. Well, now they are saying that she has to go back to Colombia and I have to file for a K-1 Visa (which is like a fiancee visa). We prepared and sent off her I-130 yesterday. The reason they say she has to go home is because she is now illegal, and she has to leave the country before her illegal status goes beyond 6 months (she went illegal on Dec. 20). Evidently if she stays longer than six months after her she was supposed to leave (again, back in December) they can revoke her visa priveleges totally. This is a nightmare and we are both totally devestated. All of this again is because they say that we got married too soon after she came to the United States with me. Is there any way to start working on her permanent Visa without her having to leave the US? Surly there is another answer? Can anyone help me with any ideas?

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    • #3
      The legal way to bring a fiancee to the US is by using a K-1 visa. Once you are married, the way to bring a spouse is through a K-3 visa or CR1. So, obviously now that you are married she can't apply for a K-1.

      You bypassed the INA by using a tourist visa with immigrant intent. That is a big no no in the immigration world. Once she goes out of status, she starts to accrue unlawful presence. 180 days = a 3 year bar from the United States. 365 days = 10 year bar.

      You might want to retain counsel before you get yourself in too deep. It sounds like you aren't too well versed in immigration rules.

      Good luck.

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      • #4
        "they are saying that she has to go back to Colombia and I have to file for a K-1 "

        who is "they"?

        do they have dcf in Columbia?

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        • #5
          It sounds like you have a pretty good idea of how tings are.

          If you had not married until after a month or two, there would not have been such a problem adjusting, although there could have been. BUt by having married nine days after arrival (along with the evidence of a private ceremony before arrival-if they were to know that), you would have the burden of proof to overcome the presumption that she intended to overstay and apply for residency when she came in. If you lose on this, she will *never* get immigration benefits.

          You are correct that if she overstays by more than 6 months, then she will not be able to return for three years without a waiver.

          If you applied yesterday from Fl., then you sent your form to Texas, which will now forward to California. You should get approvval within a couple of months. As long as you put down a consulate and not a US District office, they will then schedule an interview 4-10 months after approval. If she departs before the 6 months are up, she could then retrun with her residency.

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          • #6
            In response to "Still Learning" the "they" i was talking about was Catholic Family Services. They are the only people I have met with since we began this whole process. I am convinced now that I need to seek professional legal counsel. I had heard that Catholic Family Services was kind of iffy. They helped a friend of mine who married a Russian girl, but they seemed to offer no other soution other than sending her back to Colombia to file for this other visa.

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            • #7
              To continue in my quest for answers, is there anything else that can possibly be done to remedy the situation? Is there anyone out there who knows of other options than sending her away. We had no earthly idea about this consequences of getting married immediately after arriving to the States, and even more than that, we were told that it was okay to marry for her to come in and marry me with only a tourist visa. As a matter of fact, we were told that was okay, AND it was okay to begin the process of a resdent visa afterwards. Sphyrapicus3 was right, I am not very well versed in immigration rules. Again, does anyone else have any further suggestions? Is there any hope out there for the two of us? Thaks for all of your input :-)

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              • #8
                There is no law that says you can't come on a tourist visa and get married. It is the fact that she doesn't plan to leave that is the problem. It would be very difficult to convince USCIS that she did not have immigrant intent if she married so quickly after arriving. As such, I don't see much recourse. You could try and adjust status but you have a mighty uphill climb to make. It would be pretty risky. The safest solution would be to file for the CR1 or K3 (as before, the K1 is out of the picture since you are already married) and have her return to her consulate for the interview before her overstay reaches 180 days.

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                • #9
                  I am just having a really hard time accepting this. There are people who enter this country illegally. They commit and are convicted of criminal acts while they are here. They are sent to prison and released and later given visas, and yet the same system that would give them a visa can't take the time to give the benefit of the doubt to a girl who only loves and wants to be with her husband? This is loco!! Hopefully sometime this week I will be able to talk with a lawyer who can give some bright ray of hope in this dismal situation. If any of you are beleivers in God please say a prayer for us, and thank you to all who gave advice and input.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    9 days later??? I'm sure you and I both know that you and her planned on getting married after she entered.

                    When she entered the US, she came under the disguise of being a tourist. Someone who comes and then goes back.

                    So technically she broke the law. She has to answer to those charges first. If people can just come as tourist and get married, what's the purpose of the K1 visa?

                    Since the intention is so obvious (9 days later!) she has no choice but to enter and do things the _right_ way.

                    "Unfortunately" we are a nation of laws and procedures. If one breaks them, is it no one else's fault but theirs. You can't pull that stunt in germany or japan or isreal. No reason you should be able to do that in the US.

                    -= nav =-

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                    • #11
                      Actually the laws have changed so much that a Legal Permanent Resident will be deported for committing a crime in the Us. I am so sick of Americans who say why does my country allow this and not that. Your wife came into the country intending to be with you. You were already married when she came. She had to lie at the Port Of Entry in order to come into the country. The marriage was legal in the eyes of the Lord so legal or not..you and her both condoned lying. You assumed that as soon as she came here you could live with her happily ever after and this is not the case. Being a Minister wont save you from the process. You can risk it and try to adjust her here but you more than likely will be denied and she will be deported. What you need to do is file a K3 visa for her which is the marriage visa rather than the K1 which is the fiancee one. If she hasnt accrued the 6 months overstay yet then she should be able to file DCF and come back to the Us within months. There is no way around it. USCIS are not very forgiving with those that try to circumvent the Immigration laws as you tried to do.

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                      • #12
                        in the beginning description of my situation, i did not elaborate as much as i perhaps should have. i feel as if i am being painted as the bad guy here who tried to go above the law.

                        before coming to back to america with my wife, i had made several calls to catholic family services to inform them of the situation. they had helped a couple of my friends who were marrying US citizens to acquire their visas. the question i asked them, again on several occasions, was this: "is it legal for someone to marry a US citizen off of a tourist visa and then to procede in trying to aquire a permanent visa?" i talked to several different people in catholic services and they all told me "yes." not a one of them ever mentioned anything about getting married to soon after arriving in the states. the first time i ever heard anything about that was last friday (feb. 11), when we were with catholic family services trying to get all the paper work together for her permanent visa. i understand that ignorance of the law is no excuse, and i now know that i should have done more investigating, however, none of this was done maliciously or with evil intent.

                        i have an appointment today with an atorney to see if there is something we can do about this. my question is this, if she does go back to Colombia within the 180 days, will they also notice that she overstayed her original date of needing to return before December 20, and will they hold that against her? will the fact that she married off of a tourist visa cause problems? she has no criminal record, she is in good health, she is a student at a university in Colombia, and more than that she is a wonderful wife and the thought of losing this to a stupid mistake just scares us to death. thanks again for your input.

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                        • #13
                          >she has no criminal record, she is in good >health, she is a student at a university in >Colombia, and more than that she is a >wonderful wife and the thought of losing this >to a stupid mistake just scares us to death. >thanks again for your input

                          Every immigration judge in the US hears ALL day long of how everyone who stands in front of them is a "great person", who's "wonderful" and "going to school and working".

                          I don't think they even pay attention anymore. Every alien charged with a crime, is made out to be the next best thing to sliced bread on paper.

                          If they're soo wonderful -- why did they lie? It's a sin to lie! Didn't those church people say that too?

                          -= nav =-

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            let's not be mean spirited. yes it is a sin to lie. the church "should" be teaching that. God's holy scripture teaches that and i believe that. in this case nobody lied.

                            my wife had her visa long before we even met each other because she has family here in the states. she has a five year visa that she recieved four years ago. that is the same visa she used to enter this country.

                            the day we entered the US together, there was a thunderstorm that shut down ATL airport for 2 hours and they were literally rushing people through immigration. not only that, they did not even have customs open. they were only taking people's forms (i remember thinking that people could get into this country with anything right now). at the US point of entry, they only asked her one question. "Are you here for personal or business?" that was it. of course her reason was personal (not a lie). they stamped her for 6 months, took her picture and fingerprints, and sent her on her way.

                            there were no lies.

                            once again, we were told on numerous occasions that it is okay to marry off of a tourist visa and more than that it is also possible to begin working on a green card once you do marry, even though you only entered the country on a tourist visa.

                            i just spoke with an attorney today who told me the exact same thing. it is possible for us to begin this process in spite of the marriage so quickly upon entry into the US. yes, the burden of proof is in our court, but, as our attorney pointed out, we do have the proof that she did not intend to stay. some of which is she was planning to return to school (which is the truth). we were just waiting to see where we would end up before starting her visa so she culd go finish school, which has taken this long. another thing she said that we have in our favor is that we did not file for her green card immediately after marrying. she has been here for 7.5 months now and we just filed her I-130 this last friday. again, nobody lied, nobody maliciously intended to deceive anyone. what this boils down to is a terrible misunderstanding of the law. the only reason i have been writin these things is to see if anyone had any constructive things or helpful ideas to share regarding out situation. thanks again for the comments.

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                            • #15
                              It is indeed possible that because she entered the USA on a tourist visa and married almost immediately that they can get her with something like "fraud". This would be because she obtained/used a tourist visa under false pretenses. The fact that you held a ceremony in Colombia makes this even more obvious. Thus, you definitely do not want to show those pictures.

                              However, at the same time, this occurs rather infrequently. Generally, people are allowed to adjust status.

                              If she leaves the USA you will have to go through the entire visa process... meaning wait for approval of I-130/I-129F, wait for interview, go to interview, and finally get visa. This would mean a great deal of time apart.

                              Also if I remember correctly (and I may be wrong here) since she entered legally and the I-130 was filed while she was still legal... she may be in a protected status until the I-130 is adjudicated.

                              If for some reason things should go wrong and they deny her adjustment of status and tell her she has to leave the country. Please feel free to check www.immigrate2us.net for information on how to file waivers, etc. But hopefully that won't be necessary.

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