Green card question

Discussion in 'General International Discussion' started by BellKicker, Jun 9, 2002.

  1. BellKicker

    BellKicker Twisted Miler

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    My friend and her husband are moving to the US. She's a US citizen; he's Danish. They're applying for a green card for him.

    She'll be going to grad school (in Madison, WI); he's an engineer. Now, someone told her that she had to prove that she can support him financially before he can get his green card. What's up with that? He'll be the one making the money. That same person (who's not at the embassy but she's supposed to know these things) said that they may have to have her parents sponsor him financially.

    Could someone fill me in on how these things are done? And does someone know how long it takes for the paper work to go through. I think they keep your passport during this time, don't they.

    I would really appreciate an answer since I'll be in the same situation in a few years.
     
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  3. The best thing to do when looking for official, latest information on immigration questions is to get it straight from the horse's mouth (the INS website). Check the INS site out. It's more informational than expected for a government site.

    I recently went through the ordeal of getting a green card (I'm Spaniard, my wife is American). Yes, your friend has to prove she can support her husband, otherwise they have to get someone else to sign an affidavit assuming responsibility for the financial aspects. I know it doesn't make much sense now, but what happens if the engineer husband (God forbid) is hit by a drunk driver and becomes permanently incapacitated? The government wants to make sure that no federal money (insurance, welfare, etc.) will go to support him. Instead they want assurances the wife will have enough means for that. Of course, this is not always true, but the bureacracy is still there. There have been many cases of Americans gone abroad, who got married and thought that marriage alone was enough to get a green card. Wrong! If the American part of the marriage cannot prove enough solvency, the green card won't be issued. It's harsh, but you must know the rules of the game before you play.

    The green card itself will require tons of support documents and paperwork so it's best to hire a lawyer who can file everything and knows the ins and outs. From the time the paperwork is filed to the time you get a shiny new green card in the mail will be about two to three years (more like three years now). While you're waiting for approval, you cannot leave the US unless you have a letter stating the length of the trip, purpose, etc. and that you intend to come back. Otherwise, you might not be allowed back in the US. Again, know the rules of the game well. Hire a good immigration lawyer for advice; it's worth the money. They'll save you headaches and surprises and make your life easy by taking care of all the small details.

    Good luck!
     
  4. BellKicker

    BellKicker Twisted Miler

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    Whoa!!! <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" />

    Are you for real? They are planning on moving in 3 months! How can it take 3 years? 3 years?!? From when they first go to the embassy here till they can move? But you write "you can't leave the US". Maybe you're talking about the actual GREEN CARD and I'm talking about that very first immigration visa that will allow him to go there and look for jobs. It can't be three years for that. She'd be done with school by then.

    I asked the question about how long it took because I was once told at the US embassy that once you get the immigrant visa you only have 6 weeks to enter the US. So I was thinking they shouldn't apply too soon. Guess I was very wrong.

    Well, I really can't see them hiring a lawyer. Isn't it supposed to be really straight forward? I think most countries allow someone to bring their spouse into the country. But I guess they will have to get her folks to sign that affidavit. Man, I'm not even gonna tell her this; they're shipping like ALL their stuff in a big container in a few weeks.

    Could you tell me more about your story, though? Could you work during those 2-3 years? I mean, is there like a little version of the gren card I don't know about?

    If anyone has a comment, jump on in.

    And hey, thanks for your reply.
     
  5. BellKicker

    BellKicker Twisted Miler

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    Ok, I'm sitting here in the wee hours looking through the INS site. I SHOULD be studying. Damn viruses, I'll get back to you, don't worry. Who knew Variolavirus carried its own RNA polymerase. What the h*ll does it need that for???

    Anyway, if anyone is interested, The aforementioned affidavit is the spouse promising she/he'll take care of the in-coming spouse. She and the spouse combined must document an income of 125% of the poverty line which translates into a little less than 10,000 dollars.

    Now, that's no prob for my engineer friend. For me and my wife, however..... We're both students. We're living on a rather slight stipend, so we'll have to look into other sources of sponsorship when our time comes. Maybe H-1, huh?

    Still, if anyone has personal horror stories to add to this, please do.
     
  6. (Yes, I'm for real...much to some people's regret)OK, then...we're talking about different things here. Perhaps you got all your info at the INS website, but here's some more. The visa you're thinking of is called an "H-1B" visa (for professionals, like engineers). They take about two to three *months* to obtain (perhaps more now, after 9/11). To apply, you need a sponsor, which is an employer (and no need for the letter of support from the spouse). So your engineer friend needs to be offered a job and have the employer go through the motions of sponsoring him for the H-1 visa. This visa will last for 6 years and is non-renewable after that. The green card is considerably different. It basically makes you an immigrant. You can stay here and work. The green card will take three years or so to obtain, not only because of the volume of applications, but the screening and checking of credentials (again, probably takes longer now after 9/11...gotta be careful who you let in). Your friend can also come in on a tourist visa (obviously) but then he won't be allowed to work. Investigate carefully...there might be some other visa types out there I'm not familiar with (I'm not an expert or anything, I just know about H1-Bs and green cards since I've gone through the agonizing process of obtaining them).

    Since I obtained my H1-B visa a while ago through an employer, that's the way I'm familiar with (I'm also an engineer). I'm not sure if his spouse, being a US citizen, can sponsor him for one. It's fairly straightforward, but lawyers really help smooth out the process, since any mistake can mean big delays (or worse, denied visas).

    One important thing: the number of H1-B visas to be given out each year is limited (the limit is set by Congress). If your friend applies and all the H-1Bs are already "spoken for" for that year, he'll have to wait for the next year. So applying early is best. Good luck.
     
  7. BellKicker

    BellKicker Twisted Miler

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    I really think you're wrong. I mean you've been through it, I know, but my friend asked at the the American Embassy in Denmark. Here's what they told her:

    You apply for a green card through your spouse (with the sponsorship described above). They take your passport at this time (weird, but they do). That takes (I quote) 3,5 months. After you get the immigration visa issued you have 6 weeks to get to the US and convert it to a green card.

    Now comes the hard part. You're on probation for I think 3 years where you're not allowed to get a divorce and you have to ask permission to leave the US (like you said).

    I think you had such a tough time because you went there for work and THEN married. I think that's when they get suspicious. Everything depends on how they view your marriage, ie do you share a spoken language, do you have kids, have you lived together, is your spouse in the US or with you at the time of application. Things like that.

    I guess we could be misunderstanding each other. But if you think a married couple with a history together has to wait three years before they can move to the US, then you're really misinformed.
     
  8. X-tremist

    X-tremist Member

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    CHECKING MY NEW AVATAR
     
  9. Fine. I was just relaying my experience and that of other people I know, who were either married or not and had to wait the same amount of time to get their visas (for example my brother, who's not married and was sponsored by his employer and had to wait about three years as well. A Canadian co-worker of mine who also had to wait that long). I didn't mean to confuse you or alarm you. I'm not an immigration law expert, just someone who went through the process and knows many people that did also. My attorney (he's the expert) told me it's average to wait two to three years (two to three years wait to get the green card, not three years wait to be allowed into the US). Think about it: there's tons of people that want to get into the US. It cannot possibly be that easy to just get hitched and three months later you have a "no-holds barred" green card. Perhaps the three years probation period is a period where your friend can stay in the US and work but will not be issued the actual green card per se. Remember I was also allowed to stay here and work but didn't have the little green thing until after three years. I didn't have to wait three years to live and work in the US, I was allowed to do it right away (like your friend will be), but I wasn't issued the card right away. A couple doesn't have to wait long at all to come to the US, it's just that the INS likes to "check" the spouse out before letting him/her stay in the US indefinitely (hence the probation period).

    Anyway, just trying to share my experience. If your friend can get his green card in three months, more power to him. I'm not here to tell you it's impossible, I'm just telling you how I had to do it.

    Perhaps other people can share their experiences? I know there have to be more green card people out there. It seems you and I are just sending messages back and forth without any "real" conclusion. Sorry if I caused you any confusion. I meant well. :(

    (X-tremist...nice Avatar. You wouldn't happen to have a green card, would you?)
     
  10. <img border="0" alt="[Wowie]" title="" src="graemlins/wowie.gif" />

    Wow!!! I take that back, X-tremist!!! When I first saw your Avatar it was some sort of flag (kind of looked like Argentina's flag or something). When I hit the "Add Reply" button the page refreshed and your Avatar became a Fascist Flag with a Swastika on it. I think that's pretty stupid. Many families were torn apart because of that stupid symbol and what it represents. Never mind. Your Avatar definitely sucks. I try to keep an open mind and have a sense of humor, but things like that cross the line. I don't want to get into a flame war. If that's the Avatar you like, so be it. But how would you like it if someone's Avatar was the twin towers burning? Funny? I don't think so.
     
  11. BellKicker

    BellKicker Twisted Miler

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    Doraemon, I think we're starting to agree. So you're saying that the probationary period is a pain in the @ss. I can imagine. I've been through it once with my wife here in Denmark and I imagine it's a lot worse in the US. The trial period here is also like 3 years and we were called into meetings every 6 months. You feel like you have to hold her hands and call her "sweetheart" the whole time just so you seem like a real couple. I mean, these people are seriously suspicious of everything.

    And the lawyer thing really makes sense to me now. I thought you meant getting a lawyer before you applied the first time. You meant getting one after getting to the US. Hopefully I'll be at a hospital where they have someone to consult but I'll pass your advice on to my friend.

    Thanks for the advice.

    Finally, X-tremist, what the hell? Are you saying you're keeping America clean from foreigners by posting Swastikas? I'm not even gonna get worked up over it. I think your SDN days are numbered anyway.......

    Do
     
  12. Yes, indeed...immigration is a pain, but necessary. It's a case of a few bad apples making it hard for decent people to get their visas/green cards. Anyway, good luck to your friends. UW-Madison is a great school (I hope to go there for Medical School someday...cross my fingers).

    It seems X-tremist removed his Avatar. Good move. There are better ways to make a "statement" than that. Perhaps he was just trying to get a rise out of people? (almost worked with me).
     

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