US spousal visa – how to get your wife or husband into the USA with a IR1 immigration visa and greencard

The post is to help you get an US spousal visa (immigrant visa- IR1 or CR1 via form I-130) or K1 visa (fiance visa which is a non immigrant visa). I did it for my wife and so can you, actually only the IR1. I wrote this more to get you thinking in the right way about this and ask me specific questions in the comment area if you have a question about your case. What is the right way? It’s about money.

Getting an American immigration visa or green card is next to impossible if you are not a famous scientist or a successful athlete and you do not have millions in your bank account, either. If you are just an average guy, you have a tiny chance of getting it. Unless you get married, in which case you win the golden ticket.

Ellis island when foreigners were welcome

I am not saying that you should get married to a U.S. citizen just to get a visa – this could have worked in 1960’s, but today it is hard if you think you can beat the system today. The USCIS will be watching you and if it is fake, the way they are checking now, in the department of homeland security it will not end good. Be sure they will find out and ship you back to where you came from. It is not worth it, because your legal entry to the States will be banned. And that is not good for anyone.

  • Marriage visa – However, if you happen to be in love with an US citizen who you intend to marry, it is a different story. I got my wife a Visa for the USA and I can help you if you have any questions. The first thing is go to the US embassy website and download form I-130 and follow the instructions. You need hots, all primary documents like birth and marriage and medical history and job history. But really the visa is about something else, you guessed it, the green stuff, money.
  • The only one real requirement to get someone a visa for the USA –  you have to worry about is you need 125% the poverty rate of US based income. That is you have to show US income for about six months to prove you can provide for your family. If you are in the military or teach English abroad do not assume this to be so easy. It has to be US based income.

Becoming a legal US resident is a process of filling out forms and a lot of people get turned down. The reason people do not meet the requirements is ‘money’. In my opinion this is not fair, it is not democracy. It is anti family. But those are the rules and arguing with embassy staff will not get you anywhere.  People have said, that government workers are rude and are on power trips. They take government jobs because they are looking for an alternative lifestyle and benefits, while not having to compete in the private sector.

  • You can read about my respect for US government system and workers here: ->

I know what they really, they want to see a high level of income. Having a degree and a job is always a good thing and increases your chances as it makes you look serious and like you could support yourself and your family without access to public funds, but US based income is that they want.

The USA has all these names and abbreviations for the forms and requirements in this process which foreign service workers know, and it rolls off their tongues, but the process comes down to money. The whole application process is about one thousand dollars and you need to be making about 20,000 dollars a year for a year, in the USA before you can bring your family over. That is it. They of course have to believe you are in love and married for love not a visa, but that is secondary in my opinion.

The income needs to be US based. That means the spouse or the the applicant some how has to make US based dollars if you are abroad and this needs to be proven on US tax returns, not a stack of meaningless paper. US signed tax returns the last three years can prove you meet the financial requirements.

This above chart tells you clearly how much US based income you need to come to the good old US of A.

Uncle Sam is about money.  The mindless Matrix bureaucracy of Washington does not want to know, not if you are in love or married in the church and have a family you care about. They want to know can you pay your bills and are you going to become a burden to other tax paying members of society.

I understand their point, these are the laws as a society we have agreed on. Yet, I think when it comes to love and marriage this is sacred and should be based more on years of marriage than income. Come on, once you get to the USA anyone can get a job. I read too many couples are denied entry or need to be separated until income in the US is established.

I intentionally simplified the above chart. It applies to most people looking to immigrate to the USA.  It is for non-military personal and excludes Alaska and Hawaii. It is based on current guidelines.

How to get a K1 visa to at least get your fiance into the USA to get married

This is a fiance visa and you have to get married within six months of entering.

  1. Your American spouse has to fill out the I-129 F form at the USCIS office in the district they belong to. This cannot be done at the embassy outside the country. Your kids under the age of 21 can get a visa as well if they are included in the petition.
  2. Wait for the petition to get approved by the National Visa Center. This might take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks for most cases and no longer than 90 days. It is then sent to your home country’s embassy or consulate. You can check on its status on USCIS website.
  3. The embassy will send you a letter with further instructions and a list of documents that you need to provide, including the affidavit of support. Take an extra copy of any document or form that you use. Fill out the IV- F04 form and send it back to them. Soon after that they will set an appointment for your interview. Make sure you bring all the papers from the list to your interview. They also require you to bring any personal items that will prove your relationship with your fiancé, such as pictures, letters or plane tickets, if you traveled somewhere together. The more you collect, the better, but try to choose the most significant ones if you have a big pile of them.
  4. You need a medical check up and some vaccinations, those cannot be done at the doctor’s office of your choice. You will get specific instructions in the letter. Bring the papers to your interview as well.
  5. It costs $350 to apply for the visa, you can pay it on the day of your interview or earlier, whatever is more convenient for you. The currency can be US dollars or the local currency, depending on the policy of your embassy or consulate. Keep the receipt, as you will have to present it to the interviewer.

The interview

You will most likely be surprised by how smooth it goes. People think this is the most important thing, it means little, money is the most important thing. You just wait in a big room and in front of the window like the Post office they ask you some questions. Everyone I know that has been down that road said it is a lot less ‘scary’ than they thought it would be. The questions you will be more than likely asked include: how long you have known each other, can you speak English, what do you do for a living, etc. If you ever applied for any kind of visa you will be familiar with some of these.

Here are some of my other posts about visa’s and citizenship:

I will answer your immigration questions

If you have questions about the US spousal visa or K1 visa just ask, I got my wife one.

I will try to answer all questions to the best of my ability, although I am not an expert or giving legal advice, just general ideas. However, you need to use proper grammar, and spelling and capitalization and paragraphs need to flow logically. If your story is too unbelievable and it smells of scam,  like you are both married to other people, yet you want to immigrate together, I will delete the comment.

I like legal immigration, people who want to live their dreams, be with the love of their life and actualizes their God given talents with the ideals of enlighten self-interest in a free society.

Author: Mark Biernat

I live in with family between two worlds, US and Europe where I create tools for language learning. If you found my site you probability share my passion to be a life long learner. Please explore my site and comment.

224 thoughts on “US spousal visa – how to get your wife or husband into the USA with a IR1 immigration visa and greencard”

  1. I am an American Citizen, and my husband is carrying a Jordanian nationality, but we are living in Kuwait, We have been married for a year now, and I want to make him Immigrant Visa for America.
    Do I have to fill out the I-130 Petition and then if gets accepted I give all the required documents? Or do I give all the required documents in first?

    1. I would fill out the application and pay the intial fee. Then the process is in motion. But there is no way they will even move foward unless you have all the documents in order. If you can for some reason not get these documents, do not try. I think the process takes about six months, so get those documnts in order and start the process. If you send in the application without that they will simply come back to you and ask you for it, which is not bad in itself, but tells you what you have to do.

      1. Here’s my situation and query, I am a Canadian citizen my Mother immigrated to the US when I was 3 or 4, I was given a Social Security number and green card at that time, lived back and forth between both countries during my life, met and married an American 6 years ago and we married in Canada and have been living here since he immigrated on a permanent resident status, we are thinking of moving to the US. Can I work there with my SSN without any further documents or is there a process to go through? Any initial thoughts/help are greatly appreciated.

        1. Having a Social security number is a good thing, yet what you need is a work or immigration visa. It will be no problem to get.

      2. Hi Mark — Great site. I am having difficulty deciphering the US governments visa website. I Am a US citizen and married a Romanian woman on July first. I meet all the income requirements, we have love and have had it for over 2 years. From what I can tell I need to submit the following and what are the steps:

        I-130 along with Marriage certificate, divorce decrease, birth certificates, anything else? Is there a form that shows I am financially capable of supporting her?

        Also, can I submit this at the US embassy in Romania or does it have to happen her in the USA?

        1. Do it all in Romania it will be easier. You do it abroad they have a staff that helps with this and I think it is better than the huge bureaucracy in the USA.
          The for an affiliated of financial support you need an I-864. Remember this has to be US income. You can be making that in Europe. The best is to show tax returns and W-2 income.
          For support documents you have everything you need you mentioned. I would also say hots and money and passports. But I would start the process as soon as possible with an informational interview at the US embassy in Romania.

    2. I Mark, Thanks for the great page! 🙂 I have some questions for you. I got married in Bulgaria last April and I have since then filed for the I-130 and also the I-129F(because I found out that it might get my wife here in only 6 months). Well I was wondering if you know of any other way to speed things up? It’s been almost two and a half years since my wife originally was in the USA on a J-1 visa, which is how we originally met and It’s been almost 8 months since i sent in the I-130 and almost 5 months since I sent in the I-129F. Is there anything else I can file to get her here faster, or is it just down to the waiting game now? Also, I might be out of the country visiting her for the 4th time this March, and if they contact me for an interview, can I do it in Bulgaria at the Embassy in Sofia? Last question 🙂 I’m in the process of becoming a Plumber, but I only made 12,000 last year because i spend half the year out of the country visiting my wife. Do you think they will give me trouble for that? I know you said I should show at least 19-30 thousand on my income, but will I be ok if they do the math? Thank you for any help you can give me! My wife and I will appreciate greatly! 🙂 Best wishes too you!

      1. I am sorry I do not have the answers as your case is complex. You can certainly come to the USA with less income, it is to get a Greencard that requires the higher amount. Bulgaria is a beautiful country, just the income is lower.

  2. I have questions regarding fiance visa. I read here that an American citizen has to fill out I-129 form for foreign fiance to get her in States. Is that just only I-129 form or there are any other forms that have to be filled or this is the only one? If you can help with first step guide it would be nice. Do you know how long it takes after documents sent to embassy for whole process? I know there is no exact time but just average time if you have clue. Thank you in advance

    1. You need to prove you can support that person if you are married and there are many other forms. I would go to the US embassy directly in person and set up an appointment with the a junior embassy Councillor. I was there many times a week at one point. You have to talk to them directly.

      You need a I-129F the application which is much easier as it is a non-immigrant visa. Once you get to the immigration visa stage, you have to prove you can support this person economically if you sponsor them for a visa and this must be with US based income. If your fiance is coming just to get married this is a temporary visa, like an extended tourist visa which will expire fast.

  3. Hi I am an American Citizen engaged to a Costa Rican national who resides in Jamaica, W.I. We filed the I129F and was approved for the first stage. He is scheduled for an appointment in 2 weeks. I have 2 concerns.

    First, in 2002 and 2004 he applied through Jamaica to get a visa to travel to USA for educational purposes and was turned down because his paperwork wasn’t up to date for his travels from Costa Rica to Jamaica.

    He has since then gotten it all straightened out. Do you think the fact that he was turned down before will cause a problem for him to get approved for the fiance visa? Also, 2011 my tax return didn’t show as much as necessary to meet the 125% poverty level as required as I was self-employed and my tax lady loves crunching numbers (that’s all I can say on that) anyways. I have obtained gainful employment since filing and am making well over the 125%. Do you think this will pose a problem? Thanks for your advice on this.

    1. I would contact the department of immigration and update the data about your current job situation. why would you delay. My philosophy has always been to give as much information and paper as possible to all bureaucrats as they love paper. If you have a new job, be proactive and get that paper to them. Show them your W2 pay stubs.

  4. Hi Mark,
    I don’t have a question but rather a correction, if I may. I came to American from Ireland in August 2012 on a K1 non-immigrant visa and then married a U.S. citizen. Upon entering you have 90 days (not 6 months)in which to get married or be deported. Also the applications sent to National Visa Centers can take up to 5 months or more to be processed. It took me that long even though all my paperwork was in order. If your paperwork is incomplete, it will take much longer.

    How long it takes depends entirely upon the workload of each visa center.

    You are quite right about the cost however and it mounts as you go through the process.
    Here is an example in dollars of the cost incurred for an EU citizen marrying an American citizen in U.S.

    Petition paperwork on U.S side $350 dollars.
    Petition paperwork on Irish side $240 dollars.
    Irish medical at their approved office $500 dollars.
    Travel to U.S upon approval $600 dollars.
    Change of status after marriage $1070 dollars.
    To process form I-130 $420 dollars.

    That’s over $3000 dollars before you even get to work there. Then you have to have a drivers license in the state you are in and ID and social security.

    I don’t want to put anyone off, but only to let them know that you don’t get told the half of what you have to pay.
    Very kind of you to help people out this way.



    1. They have to pay for their ridiculously lavish and high paid jobs in the government. Who today has full benefits and security and high pay like government workers. Believe me I have seen the waste with my own eyes. Government employees tend to be rude and not helpful. They are jobs for people who can not make it in the real world.
      But look at it this way, once you jump though their hoops and pay a lot of money, you do get a valuable asset, a citizenship.

  5. I’m currently teaching English in Korea and from what I’ve read from what you posted above, I have to go back to America, find a job that makes more than $30,000 a year, leave my husband who is Korean in Korea for an entire year, then I’ll be able to get him a spousal visa? That’s just crazy to me and a very discouraging. I don’t know why the U.S government has to make it so hard for people who are really in love and married for the right reasons.

    If you don’t mind sharing, what was your situation like?

    1. It was hard in this regard. However I have a small business or at least income from it that was US based and just enough to push me over the hurdle. I was lucky.

      However, I am sure there is a way, if you do not have the income. If you show and explain your case I am sure they can slide you under the wire in some way. I think I never ever want to be apart from my wife and to be in the USA for a year just to meet some income requirement is not an option.

      What you do is immigrate in on a marriage visa or another visa and then get established with a job and then go for the green card. The requirement of income above the poverty level is only if you go for a green card not a temporary visa.

      1. Thank you so much for the reply! I’ve heard of so many people successfully getting through this process, so I have some hope. I’ll definitely look into other ways of going about this process.

        Thanks again!

      2. It is quite hard for me to find real answers about my situation.

        My husband is American, we dated for 2 and a half years before we got married ( in 2011) in France and have been living here since.

        We would like to go live in America (mostly him) and all I read is about him going there and me staying here until he finds a job save money sponsor me etc. That’s crazy and I am not going for it at all.

        Now I read you mentioned if I apply for a non immigrant visa we don’t need the separation, am I correct? Now would he still need to go first to America and sponsor me from there or can we do it together from the American Embassy in Paris? And when from America when I would have to renew my non immigrant visa at the expiration date, just renew it for an immigrant visa? (honestly I don’t care about the green card as long as I can have a social security number and eligible for work, even part time, I am fine).

        What do you think would be best?

        1. You get a a K-3 or K-4 you can file a I-756 which will give you the right to work in the USA. The Social security card does not, it is just a number you will have to get anyway. The difference for the income requirements of the K-3 vs the I-130 is the I-130 is 125% of the poverty level for financial support while the K-3 is only 100% of the poverty level. Also with the K-3 they are more likely to give you a waiver or exception, once they determine the marriage is really real. I would try to get a waiver for financial support for the K-3. That is what I personally would do or get a lawyer who specializes in immigration but that is a lot of money, but best yet, talk to the US Embassy, make an appointment. I personally am not fond of the idea of being apart from my wife, that is crazy. I really love her. We are together 24/7. That is why I recommend getting a waiver for financial support if that is possible. Or go to the USA on a tourist visa he gets a job and then apply. Many people make it work and so can you. Once in the USA it is a wonderful experience. But to get here with a visa you have to do what is right for your life situation. Me I do not want to be separated from my wife over some visa issue. So find a way.

          1. Thank you Mark,

            Also the reason why I do not wish to be separated is because I have a daughter and that would be to big of a change to put her in a situation like this.

            My sister in law went to the USA with a tourist visa and changed it there once she got married, I guess that’s the only way to keep our family together. Sad though from the American Immigration Bureau to make it so hard for families.

          2. I agree with you. It is sad that families have to be separated. I am happy my family all got our visas. Yet if anything fell through I would have no problem living in Poland. The only thing that matters is that we are all together. Governments often are not family friendly, more worried about people who might scam them then the 99% of the others that are honest and legitimate. The main thing is do not worry. It will all work out, it did for us. I can recommend St. Augustine, Florida by the way as a wonderful place to live, very international, I call it the EU of the country of Florida.

  6. I am an American citizen and I got married in Nepal. My wife has a Nepali passport with her maiden name and in our marriage certificate she has my last name.
    Does she need to change her passport to the certificate one before filing for the petition?

  7. Hi I am a US Citizen and I want to petition my finace who is currently in the Philippines. We have been together for 2 years and I have traveled to the Philippines 2 times to see him. I have been working full time for almost 3 years already and I make more than $30,000 a year. I only have about $2,000-3,000 in my savings account. Do you know if I would have a problem getting my fiance here if I don’t have enough savings in my bank account but I make more thhan $30,000 a year.

    Also when do you have to file for the Affidavit of Support? Also when I fill out the Affidavit of Support do I have to put in how much is in my savings in the bank or can I leave it blank and just put how much I make a year? I have copies of all my tax returns, W-2 and pay stubs and also employment letter.

    I would really appreciate any advice you can give.

    1. You need to actually be married and when you are then you file all the documents mentioned above. 30k should be more than enough.
      If you are going for a fiance visa then you can apply before hand and it will not be a problem, the greencard is the only one you have to really pile the documents on because that means the right to live in the USA forever basically. But you can get other visas before that that are less stringent.

  8. Hi Mark,
    I am currently a student at Washington State University and will graduate this spring. My fiance in French and we met while I was traveling abroad and we were dating for two years before we got in engaged. I also studied abroad for a semester and we lived together in France for 6 months. We now plan to get married in France and then want to apply for the I-130, but obviously since I have been a student I have not been working so I was wondering what my chances of getting approved would be?

    1. If you are a fiancé or married, it is not a big problem. The main thing is to get permanent residency visa one of you will need income, and show you have means to support the other, however, for non permanent residence visa are granted until that time. Countries do not want to break up families. It sounds like you will have an interesting life and I wish you luck.

  9. Hi, I am British and due to marry my American fiancée in September in England. To save time, can she file the I-130 before we get married. Naturally we’d like to minimise our time apart after the wedding day.
    Many thanks.

    1. You can try, but there is not reason you would be apart, Why would you be apart? You can come over on some visa, just not an I-130 initially, you have to do an informational interview with the department of immigration and they can guide you. Each situation is different but there is no reason you should be apart.

      1. Thank you for the quick reply, Mark. I’ve since found out you can’t file the I-130 until after the wedding. Here’s the way I thought it would have to work. I can spend 3 months there in the summer (on ESTA VWP) before coming back to the UK to marry in September. After that, we can file the I-130, then a K3. This will take time and I have to wait in the UK while they’re being processed. Is this not the best way to do it?

  10. I am a US citizen and my husband is an Egyptian, I am 4 months pregnant, I want to move back to the states with my husband , we looked for I-130 and it needs an Affidavit of Support, the problem is being on a disability from SSI before coming to Egypt to marry him and not having anyone meets the requirements of the Affidavit of Support , even if I went back by myself, I wont be able to find a job that will meet the criteria , is there a way around the affidavit of support, putting in the mind that he can support us in the states till he can find a job?

    1. It is a problem for everyone. Even my friends are married and productive but do not have US based income. I would recommend having a relative or friend support you with assets or income, but they have to sign something that means they are responsible for you for ten years.
      Or you get some sort of exemption. The embassy should guide you with this. You can have a visa without a full greencard then when in the USA apply. You might just want to get a visa. Then work legally someday you will have the income to get a full greencard. I know you want it but the US is strict about the economic support idea.
      There are other ways that organizations can be your advocate because you do not want to split up a family. But you have to look into that avenue.

  11. I need some visa advice about my wife’s reentry to the USA. I hired and immigration lawyer to help me with filing the I130. My wife was here in the US on a travel visa, we got divorced some years back, but we have never actually been apart. We decided to come back for my youngest son, who received a basketball scholarship at chat state, My wife and I got married for the second time in June of last year, we went to immigration here in Atlanta shortly after we got our marriage license. No one told me that I could adjust her status why she was still here. to make a long story short, she ended up leaving to go home to Holland to get her birth certificate, when she returned she was denied entry, she had all the paperwork to prove her story. but the person in charge at the airport decided, he was not gonna let her in, I know in life there are special circumstances!but its always funny to me how they preach the value of family here, but they break up family’s. When we arrived we bought money into the country, even though it wasn’t millions, we have not been a burden in anyway on the, USA all we wanted was to watch our son follow his dream, she overstayed on her tourist visa, can I bring her back on the k3? I have filed the I130? any help would be greatly appreciated. Maurice.

    1. I think since you got divorce it sends a red flag up and since she overstayed her tourist visa they have a reason to keep her out legally. You will need a clever person who knows how to work the system legally to get her back. The general rule is they do not like it when you over stay your visa no matter what. However, you are right, the USA does not like to break up families but you have to find some advocacy group to help you with this.

  12. Hi Mark,

    Thank you for your posy it was very useful.
    I am 25 and a UK citizen and my boyfriend is a US citizen and lives in the USA. I have a B1/2 travel and business visa but cannot work on that so have been looking at getting a work visa but to be honest its near enough impossible.
    We have talked about getting Married and I just have a few questions about your post above:
    1. To apply for a marriage visa do you already have to be married or can you apply before the actual wedding?
    2. How long do you have to be married for before you can apply for a green card?
    3. If I had K1 visa are you required to marry in the states or could we get married in the UK?

    Thank you for posting this, it’s a much better way to hear from someone who has gone through the experience rather than reading a whole bunch of information online.

    1. You can apply for a fiance visa but not a marriage visa before you are married. Once married you can apply for a green card anytime if he has the income above like 25k a year. And you can certainly get married abroad and comeback to the USA on some visa, however, a green card is dependent on his income.
      We started the process aboard and lived in Poland and it took 1000 bucks and about six months. You can come to the US on a more limited visa and apply here for the green card. But as long as he has a job you should be OK.
      Work in the US is really hard and income is not the easiest to achieve, you basically have to have a semi-professional job to sponsor someone.

  13. My husband has a green card under the IR1 group. We started a business LLC. a year ago and I am working on filing my taxes with him as a partnership. But in order for me to do that I need to supply his social security number. Problem is that he never received a social security card or number. How do I go about getting one for him? what does it require?
    We need something as the tax filing season is gonna be over soon.

    1. You have to go to the social security office in your town today and get one. I did, we did not even have a car we road our bikes, there are no excuses. You also can get a temporary TIN from the IRS, you can call them directly, I did. So you have no excuses and basically two months before tax filing. Further you can get an extension if needed.

      1. Thanks so much for your quick reply. I have a few additional questions; if you don’t mind.
        A) I would like to know what documentation my husband needs to present when going down to the social security office. B)can it be done by mail or online?
        C)What is the difference between an immigration visa and green card if there’s any. And does the IR1 status fall into the green card category. My husband has what we think is his green card with an Alien Registration number; just want to make sure of that.
        D) As you mentioned I can get a temporary TIN; can you explain what that stands for?

        You’re really really helping me with this so thanks so much in advance,

        1. He needs a birth certificate or a US passport. Has to be done in person.
          Green cards means nothing it is jargon or slang for a permanent visa like an IR1. There are an array of temporary visas that are ‘less than’ a permanent visa, but would work.
          Get a TIN here

          1. I guess you are referring to his Native Birth Certificate. And I guess the green card in itself. Is that all documentation he needs to present?

          2. Yes that is all. They just need official documents. The social security office can tie into the US government database for immigration to confirm the data.

  14. My wife enter the US with a Fiancee Visa we got married in July 2012 and sent the I-485 and her biometrics was conducted in August 2012 and we still havent’ heard from USCIS. Do I also need to submit form I-130 or should I continue to wait.

    In advance thanks for your advice.

    1. I would go for the I-130 and not mess around, set up an informational interview with the Department of Homeland security and Immigration in your area.

  15. I came back to USA after marrying abroad because my baby has a serious heart condition. I am trapped here because of the travel loan back. They said I just can invite my husband when we get here. My health has declined and the baby and I need surgery. Finally I got a sponsor and he backed out at the end of process because they wanted his income tax copies.

    I have no one. My Mom died overseas with my husband. Her visa was messed up and he was trying to fix it and get her here. If I go down our baby will be ward of the State. There is no way I can make 30,000. Me and the baby get SSI of $1420 a month.

    These filthy dogs are saying I can’t support my husband. He is already on the lease here. He crossed the border into Turkey and is there as a refugee. They give him no support and he is not allowed to work. I have been sending $700 to him a month. I am supporting him, but if he was here it wouldn’t cost anything more than I already pay.

    Now I am selling my furniture to buy diapers. I filed I-131 and they want $30,000 a year too. I don’t know what to do. I would do anything just to spend 5 more minutes with my husband and child together with me.

    no one will help us, no groups or organizations,no one and no one will sponsor and the thing is all I need is a ‘Pretend’ sponsor because we would not accept anything from anyone. We take care of ourselves.


    1. Helen I am sorry for the trouble you have experienced. Really that is a lot, but for every problem there is a solution. Where is your husband from? You can not live there? I mean if I had a serious health problem I might go to Poland as it is cheaper. Life is easier in some ways abroad.

      Second something does not add up. You can support your family as you can get state assistance. You can get medical coverage for free from the State. Even in my poor State of Florida they have Florida kids and Medicare. You can quality for this and everything is paid for. You can get food stamps and all kinds of assistance.

      What is wrong with your health? You could go on disability?

      As far as your husband he can come on another visa not a green card. Of course the green card is the best but there are many other visas. I would research this day and night until you find a way around the law. legally. You can get a family advocacy group to write the department of immigration as they do not want to break up a family.

      I know you are alone, but he can come on a student visa and you collect from the state. Even a Student can work limited hours. I live in Florida and we go fishing and crabbing for food and only shop at the farmers market and ride our bike, you do not have to live the “American lifestyle”. There are many jobs you can do at home. You can even hunt for food. People 100 years ago use to wash Diapers, OK only 30 years ago. You have to think practical survival and get your husband over here legally on another visa. You need the love and support. That is all that matters.

      I could write a book on all the things you could do. You can work online, my friend a millionaire was disabled and did this laying in bed for ten years. Ask the embassy to guide you and be calm and polite to them. They may be rude but do not lose your cool.

      Do you pray and ask God to help you? If not why not? If you do then you have to be patient until the answer reveals itself.

      1. Dear Mark, I have been reading with interest the comments and answers you have online to people wanting to have there loved ones with them. I have an Egyptian friend that I love dearly. He wants to come here but he is a trader over there. We would love to get married but it will require a lot from him. I am an older citizen of US I am 72 years of age. I am not sure how his Egyptian clothes would sell over here. But the thing I am worried about is this. I am poor and would never make 30,000 a year. Any way I collect Social Security and can afford myself. He could live same as me with my income but I do not think they will let him.

        I wanted to know how your friend who works online can make money online? My daughter tried many and none are working for her and she spent money to try them? Do you know anyway we can make more money on line? Please let me know if any of them are not rip offs. You did not say if your friend had income to begin working on line? We do not.

        Please I need to know as I would love to make money online and help my Egptian boyfriend to come here to our family to live. We all love him dearly as we all Skype to him and he is wonderful to all my family. As I am getting older I would love to meet him in Person and yessss marry him.

        Thank you so much. Could you reply to my mail I will wait for your reply as I know your a busy man. I appauld your work for others. Thank you for your honesty. Brenda

  16. I am a USA citizen and have been living in the UK for the past 4.5 years. I just got engaged to my fiance and we have been dating and living together here in the UK for four years. We want to know if we are living in the UK and at one point want to move to the USA how do we get him a green card? We both work in the UK right now. and when we get married should we officially do it in the USA to make it easier if and when we want to move to the USA? I am not sure if we would move to the USA but it would be nice to have the option. any ideas?

  17. My husband and I have been married for one year now, he is in Mexico and the paperwork just got forwarded to the NVC. I am a little worried I only make about $24,000 a year, I have had the same job for 6 years now but will that matter? or should I try and find someone else to help file for support? Also what should I expect next and about how long? people helping me have told me I will pay $88 and $202 and the support papers and he gets his appointment. Is that all pretty accurate? Thanks for all you information.

    1. Should be enough, especially if you have other assets. It is 1.5X the poverty level plus 1/5 of any financial assets you have, I believe is the exact formula, so you can calculate it but if you are that stable it should be OK.

  18. My wife and I have everything together to send to Immigration except the I-864. My petition was approved. My question is which form to fill out as far as support? I live with my wife in Germany right now. We have both lived here since May of 2011. We were married in the US in August 2010. We are both working here in Germany so there for I do not have w-2’s or taxes. I have submitted my taxes each year but do not have to do Federal as I did not work in the US. I have a house and still own it in the US. This is were we will be moving to once the green card is on its way. I am just not sure what form or if we are exempt from filling out the I-864. As I said we both work here in Germany and when we return we both intend to work once we return to the United States with the correct documents and permission.

    So, I am not sure what to do?

    1. The green card or I-130 visa comes only in the USA once you are there. Before that you have the approval for one once granted entrance to the USA. You can not get this in Germany.

      What you need to do is prove with the formula provided to you by the department of immigration conveyed to you by the US embassy that you can support your wife. Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act is the most important thing for most people. As long as you do not have any legal problems this is really the only thing that matters.

      You must fill it out and follow it to the letter and are not exempt. there are no exceptions.

      I know it is a lot of work and many of my friends can not get US greencards as they do not Have US based income or sufficient assets. This is the US government not me. I am sorry.

      If you do not have sufficient income and assets, what I recommend is get a temporary visa for your wife and go to the USA and get a good job and apply while you are in the USA> Your wife can not work but must be patient. What can I say that is the law from my understanding.

  19. I’m a British citizen and my husband is an American citizen active duty, we applied for my visa in December 2012, and it got approved by I have yet to hear back from them about my next steps. My husband was stationed back in America last month, and me and our daughter are still in England. Is there a possibility of me going to the states, and continuing my visa process there or do I absolutely have to wait this out in England. I have heard so many different things, on the official websites they say that a spouse has no visa number and visa’s are always available to them. But then people are saying no you have to have a number. All information/advice/help would be greatly appreciated on the matter.

    1. I do not want to misinform you and I would make an informational interview with the embassy. However, I believe it works like this. Once you start the I-130 process you finish it. You do not want to put that on hold and apply for another visa like the J-3 visa as they are two different ideas.
      What you could do is go on a tourist visa which is 90 days. Some people extend this. This could in theory be sufficient time for the approval to come though. Since you started the process I would call the embassy and make an appointment. They do not like you to start once process and do another. However, that being said I am not saying it can not be done. I do know it is hard. I have no idea how you can stand it, but all this will pass and be a distant memory next year.

  20. I am a US citizen living in Germany. My husband and I got married last year in Texas. I do not work. I filed I-130 for my husband in Frankfurt in January 2013. The wait time is 90 days. In the meantime my husband got an job offer with Apple in California. My first question is : can we use his contract and the sponsorship letter from Apple as sponsor. My second question is : Apple is willing to file anH-1B visa for him as soon as possible. Can we do both? We are afraid that the process for the I-130 may take longer and we do not want to miss this job opportunity. Thanks a lot.

    1. I am not an expert but I personally would go for the H-1B and get the I-130 here in the USA if you are concerned about it would jeopardizes his work opportunity. I-130 take a long time. If he has a job he can support himself with assets or income but you as the citizen have to pledge support for ten years to him. I would not miss the job opportunity like working for Apple. If you are married and he has a job, there should be no problem. It is partly about money. He could also come on another visa but if he can get H-1B, I would talk to the embassy.

  21. I’m a little bit confused on the topic of sponsorship. My parents make enough money and would be plenty willing to sponsor my wife financially as she immigrates to the U.S.

    I do not make enough money to do so. Who fills out the I-130 form. Me or my parents?


    1. You fill out the I-130, then when it comes to the affidavit of financial support for the I-130 – the I-864 that is where you parents come in. They need to look at the whole picture but it will be no problem. Download the forms on the US website and start to fill them out. You can use a PDF editor to make it easier to work with.

      1. I am confused by this also. I spoke to a family friend who is a immigration lawyer. She said they would request the affidavit of financial support when they needed it, do not send it when I sent my I-130 and other documents for my husband. Now I am stressing out because one USCIS workers said it needed to be sent in with and another said not to it would be requested when needed like the lawyer said. I am trying to get all this done properly the first time as to keep the time my husband and I are apart to be as little as possible. My grandmother is sponsoring my husband so we are all ready to go with that, just super confused about the actual filing of this paper. They have the I-130 now and it’s been accepted in but haven’t heard anything back.

        1. They will need the documents for 125% of the poverty line for US based income. Nothing can go forward without it. It does not matter about the timing. I always get the timing wrong with government filing procedures. Yet what does matter is you will be able to prove you all have the financial means not to depend on the USA. So I would fill the I-134 with all the documentation and prepare it. When you send it does not matter as much. I would send it with my application like the embassy said, why not?

  22. Here’s my gist: How do I get my husband to USA although I don’t have a job or home there?

    When my husband and I met I was studying at university, had my own place, an income, etce. Then some things changed drastically, turns out it was our lucky break to reunite. Later, we got married in Dubai. I’m an American citizen, he’s a Pakistani citizen. After a while in Dubai, I went back to USA for a year, got a job, was living with family then. Conveniently enough (sarcasm) while on the job I had a severe allergic reaction and was dismissed from work for one month. During this month the surprise of my life came when i got my visit visa and my husband told me we were on our way again. So my job gave me six months off and when I’m ready to go back just show up and I’ve got my job back (hopefully). As of now, I’m on a family visit visa in Pakistan. We want to go back to USA to build our lives (plus one more) and what not. Since the beginning of all this we’ve been married for a little over a year now. We have the documents from Dubai, the documents from Pak, attested copies and originals, translated attested copies and originals, witness statements and any other damned signed form I can think of at the moment. We want to start our life, but I’m not rich and I surely don’t have 30k. My husband was a govt. worker but his sector is on the verge of shutting down. What vague and not so expensive alternative is there for us to get to USA? Getting a job is the easy part and even I can arrange a living area. Only question is how do we get there? We aren’t shooting for a green card right now. We were thinking along the lines of a work visa for him, then he can work and eventually apply for a GC and/or marriage visa. What do you suggest?



    1. There is no way he will get a Greencard without some US based income. You can bring him on a non-immigrant visa and you work and make like 25k and I think that will be enough or get your parents to help with the sponsorship. Why not go for the K-3 visa and then you get a job in the USA and get set up. Go somewhere that is booming like TX or ND and they pay a lot. North Dakota is booming if you can stand the cold.

  23. I just want to give you an outlook of our relationship.
    My husband and I met online, were solid friends for a year. We met in person and spent a week together, at which time we decided we wanted to be in a relationship. We were apart for 9 months, while I saved to return to the USA. I was there for 90 days, and I brought him back here (Australia) with me, for 90 days. Within that time, we ended up getting married, because we are in love and wanted to be as close as we could be, but now looking at all the paper work, and the affidavit of support, we are in a bad situation. He does not have a job, nor is he a student. He turned 19 this year (I am older than him but we have no issues proving our relationship is genuine, we have letters of support from friends and family) – so what, realistically, are our options? Can I get a US friend to sponsor me if they earn enough money? We don’t want to be apart.

    By the way,I honestly dont care about a green card or any of that, I just want to be with my husband, all of his family and friends are in the USA, which is the reason why we both want to go back.

    1. As long as your friend will sign that legal contract then, that will work. Look you are in love and I understand. The government does not want you apart but they have laws. Try the K-3 visa maybe, get him over to the USA and then get a job and work on the I-130. If there is a will there is a way. Talk to the embassy and let them guide you. The main thing is do not worry, you are both young and have a lifetime ahead of you. You can be together somewhere. I would live anywhere as long as I am with my love. You two could always teach English abroad and live for a while, I did, it is legal and good money.

  24. Hello,
    I am a US Citizen and my husband is from Jerusalem. We did the I-130 and got approved. The case now is located at the NVC. They sent me papers asking for AOS fee and DS-3032. I emailed the DS-3032, and they told me it is Ok. I am done with that. I paid the AOS fee, and then they gave an instruction to file an AOS form. I am not sure which form I have to file because I am a student and don’t work. I will have my cousin file for him. Do I still have to file a form, and if I do which one? What form will my cousin file?

    1. I would ask the embassy on this one as I am not sure, without more detailed research.

  25. Hi Mark,
    Let me say that your blog is very helpful, thank you for everything.
    I have a question:
    I’m an Armenian citizen who lives and works for more than 8 years in France(Paris), we decided to get married with my girlfriend who’s US citizen, and live in USA.
    As I understood from all the comments here, the most important detail is the income, and my US citizen fiance is not making too much money, in the other hand I have over 30K € income per year, but I’m a freelance graphic designer.
    My question is the following : If my income will have any influence on the visa allying process? Without forgetting that I’m a freelancer and my clients do not care from where I work until I still have internet and I can send them the completed work.
    Best Regards, and thank you again.

    1. You can get married and come on a K-3 visa. The I-130 visa is only if your future wife has enough income to support you, maybe like 25k a year, they base it on a multiplier of the poverty level. However, all income must be US based for your sponsor and current not future potential. However once you are here and get a job then they will take this into account. The main thing is for people going for the green card directly it must be US based income from the sponsor, if not for example a K-3 then it is not the same.

  26. I know you are mainly discussing the IR1/CR 1/K1 situation, but it is my understanding that applying for K3 COULD end with you having to apply for IR1/CR 1 anyway depending on processing times. Is that accurate?

    Currently I (American citizen) am residing with my Husband (Indian Citizen) in India. He is working, I am not. We want to come back to the US to settle for a few years and we are trying to get him there on K3. However, I have no income currently. I can have my father fill out the financial support affidavit as we are planning to reside with them until we find jobs and get on our feet in the US. Is that going to be valid? But will I also still need to fill out that same affidavit even though the answers are all going to be zeros?

    1. The affidavit of financial support can be filled out by your father alone. However, he must promise to support your husband financially not matter what, even if you get divorced or many years latter. Basically it is like he is adopting your husband financially in the USA and your husband can not obtain benefits from the government.

  27. Question One:
    I live in Korea and my wife is Korean, they don’t have birth certificates so you have to submit three forms:

    “Birth certificate of your alien spouse. (If your spouse is a Korean citizen, you should submit three different Certificates; Certificate of Marital Status, Certificate of Family Relation, Basic Certificate, all Certificates must be accompanied with English translation.)”

    But we got married in California, so is our marriage certificate from California a replacement?

    Question Two:
    Also, she’s a nurse with a masters degree in nursing, I have a job waiting for me, we have some savings, but I don’t make $30,000 US. So are we will not be able to get a greencard?

    1. I do not understand your first question but the money question I do understand. You basically have to make 1.5 times the poverty level of US based income. If you do not have that then you need to bring your wife over on another visa get a job and it should be fine. Many people do this. I have my own business in the USA so was able to do this lucky and get the I-130 from the start. But do not worry so much if you can not do this. You can bring your wife to the USA, you just have to figure out how to secure a job and bring her on a lesser visa.

  28. I am an American born citizen who just married a beautiful Russian woman here in the USA. She went back to Russia, as she works for the American Government over there, to terminate her contract and to sell her house. We applied for the I 130 just last week. As I understand it, once they accept the I 130, we then have to do the I 129. Is that correct?
    Can you please give me an estimate of the time it will take for her to be able to come back to the USA. She currently has a tourist visa until 2014, but we are afraid that since we already sent the I-130 application, there could be problems. Your comments are appreciated.

    1. My general recommendation is if you are on a critical path to get an I-130 visa I would stay on that path. I would not detail the visa process with other visas. Once you get the I-130, it takes about 6 months start to finish, then you should be all set. I personally would stick with this path.

    2. Stick with the I-130 and do not mess with other visa. I did not know why you need an I-129 which is a non-immigrant worker. Stay on the critical path that is the I-130 unless there is a real reason to diverge from that. It will take less than six months.

  29. Thanks for putting all this helpful information up.
    I have been engaged to a US Citizen for over 2 years now. At first we had wanted for him to move to the UK but the new Immigration rules over here have ruled that possibility out due to my disability.

    We are now looking at me moving over to the USA to be with him. We pretty much knew the things we needed to do with visa’s, medicals etc and how much that would cost ish. But we where struggling to work out how much he needed to be earning or have in savings to be able to sponsor me as his fiancé and then wife.
    In your post you wrote an income of 30,000 dollars a year
    1.5 times the poverty rate of US based income

    Do you know if this will need to be more, given I have disability’s and medical health problems?

    We are aware there are only certain states I could move to in US, due to the pre-existing medical insurance cover.

    But I just wondered if you know, if he would be expected to be earning more due to my medical needs.

    1. I can not imagine in any way your disability would affect anything. The US is very disability friendly based on our laws. Further you do not have to go for an I-130 directly but another ‘lesser’ visa than subsequently go for a US green card.

    2. I have been reading all of the posts, and came to the conclusion most of the people are unaware of the federal poverty levels, here is a website that gives that information, I found it quite informative.

  30. Hello Mark, I wrote to you before about joining my husband in America, and that he was joining the US army, well he is not now as he is about to be taken on permanently in his employment and he will earn good money. The only thing is we are kind of stuck now, how do we get me and our two sons there with him? He is currently staying with our family. But how long now do you think it could take to join him. We have been apart for 7 months as we thought military was the best way. We can’t be apart any longer we have been together 12 years and never been apart since now.

    1. I of course remember you, I think it was a very wise choice not to join the military as in my opinion it is a dangerous profession and a dirty one. A job that pays average money is eons better. I do not have the answers for you. I know if I were you I would be at the US embassy on a regular basis asking question and looking into free legal assistance. Why not? I would. I was at the embassy on a regular basis and let them guide me. Lawyers are expensive, but there are people that help out who are not lawyers for a fee which is much less.

  31. Hi I met my now husband online in 2010, at the end of that year after visiting we got married in America. We have been living and working in the UK (I was born here) we have now got a baby daughter and my husband wants us to move to America. Do you have any advice on the forms that I would need? Does he need to be there working first before we go over? Is it easy for me to get a visa for the US. We have been married for 3 years this year

    Many thanks

    1. You will not have a problem since you are a UK citizen, married for 3 years and have a child. I believe in marriage and think it a wonderful thing. Basically you can get to the USA on an I-130 which is a greencard, but he needs to have US based income or assets or his family support you. I would talk to the US embassy as they will guide you. I think you need to not go for the greencard initially because of the US based income issue and get another visa, which you can get no problem, then when your in the US get the I-130. However, if he can secure a job beforehand go for it.

  32. I’m a Chinese and my fiancee is an American citizen. We met on the internet more than 7 years ago and have been in a relationship for 5 years. He came to China once and I’ve been to the USA for 5 times on travel visas, basically twice a year with a month or two months’ stay each time. We did so to get to know more about each other before we could decide if we want to get married. Now we’re getting married this summer when I go to the US again on a travel visa. I’d like to ask you a few questions.

    1. My fiancee is a veteran from the army and he’s been on disability for about 10 years. He’s not working now. His income comes from his veteran pension and social welfare, adding up to about 28K a year. Would this make it harder or impossible for him to get me a green card or immigration visa?

    2. I myself have a stable job in China. One thing I’m thinking about is to get married in the US but still come back to my work for a couple of years. That is, I’d like to stay in the US twice a year, a month or two each time and the rest of the year I’ll live in China, just making sure that I won’t leave the US over 6 months a time. Do you think I could still get the immigration visa and greencard?

    3. We are getting married this summer on my travel visa. If we apply for the greencard and immigration visa for me, as I understand from your reply to someone else, I better wait in China till I get the visa rather than go to the US a second time on my travel visa (since it’s good for a year), right?

    4. Or if we decide that I move to the US and try to find a job there, would the fact that my fiancee is not working make it harder for me to get the visa and greencard?

    1. Whatever you decide you have to do it like you mean it. You want to be in the USA stay full time as much as possible until you get citizenship, none of this back and forth thing. Get a job in the USA even if it is a whatever job at a gas station (underemployed), pay your bills. Stay here and become a citizen. Then worry wealth accumulation. If he makes that much he is partially disabled and he could work, even at home. I know many disabled vets that are disabled, some fully and they are walking around and doing things. I guess my point is I would make the greencard my priority and that would start with a plan of economic self sufficiency based in the USA.

      1. Mark, you gave us some good ideas. Many thanks.


  33. I have read all the comments and suggestions on get your wife or husband to the US. Here is my situation, I have been married to my wife for 12 years and want to get here to the US. There were problems and our money situation that kept me from get here here. I am retired military drawing 2,000.00 per month. I am here in the Philippines with her now and have been here for going on 4 months I have extended my visa 2 times. My question is what would be the best way to get her to the states, I’ve read things about I-130s or take them on a different visa and file when we get there. I just don’t know what is best should i do the paperwork while I’m here or start it when we get to the US. Your info would be most appreciated. Thanks Robert

    1. Unless there is a great rush to go to the US for some reason I think it is cleaner to do it all before you move. Once you are in the US there will be a readjustment and mental effort to get assimilated or readjusted, you want to focus on your new life not paperwork from government offices. So I think the income for a military worker retired might just be enough.

  34. Hello I have been married for over a year my husband is Egyptian and I am American. I filed the I -130 but within two years I traveled to Egypt two times and stayed 6 months each time. My husband went to the interview for visa and they pended his case due to insufficient income in my taxes. For the pass 2 years I have only worked in the United states 6 months out of the year. They requested a joint sponsor. I have nobody to do a joint sponsor, but I do have a new job. I work for the University of Miami my income is 32000.00 a year. But I have not done taxes because have not completed a year with them, I actually started with them 2 months ago. What are my options if any?

    1. You need to show assets or income based in the USA. I think 32,000 a year would be enough to sponsor him. Get your taxes done and maybe work with someone that helps with immigration directly as this is too important to you, you do not want to be apart from your husband. I think they are looking at your case carefully as you have no been married long and there are many people try to scam the department of immigration so they are cautious. Therefore, you have to work with them to find a solution or hire someone.

  35. My American husband and I have been married for 5 months now. We are currently living here in the Philippines, and we want to move to the US. Our parents are willing to help us with the expenses, but the problem is my husband isn’t done with college yet and he doesnt have a job yet. Now I feel like he has to go back to the US and find a job so he can sponsor me, but the problem is Im 5 months on the way and I don’t want him to be away when I give birth. Can he still file for spousal visa even without income or do we have to wait and let him go back to the US first and get a job? I need advice. Thanks.

    1. I would try not to separate from your husband for any period of time, it is not healthy for the relationship. You can come to the USA on a tourist or spousal visa and apply for the I-130 when you are in the USA. It takes like a week to get a job in the USA even if it is stocking grocery shelves. I think be together and work with the US embassy to let them guide you how to achieve this.

  36. Hi!
    Having read through your blog and comments I do apologize if I’m asking you to repeat yourself with my question.
    I am British and will be marrying my American fiancé in Texas in September of this year. The way we understood it was that I would have to return to the UK afterwards (which incidentally is the plan anyway) and then he would start the process of applying for the green card for me.
    I read further above that you mention a few times that there may be a lesser visa to apply for to decrease the time spent apart and then AOS once I’m there.
    My question is what lesser visa?! I thought I had read the options back to front and inside out.
    Is it a K3 we can apply for?
    Many thanks for any help or advice you can offer us.
    Thank you
    Lisa & Kenneth

    1. You will have no problem as the US and the UK have very good relations and they make things easy for British citizens, even though on paper it is all the same. The visa you want to go for is the Nonimmigrant visa for a spouse (K-3). If you are not getting a I-130 right away. I went thought the I-130 abroad because I had US based income. However, if you do not, you can go for the Nonimmigrant visa for a spouse (K-3) and then when you are in the US get the process rolling for the I-130. describes it a bit more and I am sure you have been on this page.
      You can also make an informational interview with the US embassy and they can guide you and know more than me. However, my understanding is if you are not applying for the I-13- because of income, then apply for the K-3 and then subsequently apply for the I-130, however, I would ask the embassy.

      1. Thank you for your reply, much appreciated.
        I will have a closer look at the K3 visa now, but is that a quicker processing time then?
        My future hubby will have us based income and his mum will co sponsor for the I-130 but if it takes longer we’d rather go for the shorter one. Thoughts?
        Thank you

        1. Generally the k-3 is a quicker response than a I-130 which has to go through some additional checks. However, if all the paperwork is in order for the I-130 it could only be like three months or less. For us it was very fast for the I-130 but we were well organized with documentation and gave them what they want. That is a matter of weeks if you think about it, but again we did the leg work instead of going back and forth with missing documents. We went to the embassy and printed the list and got everything together organized and nothing was missing. So it was not a long wait. But it depends on each embassy and their staff etc.

          1. So forgive me for the excessive question time. But I was under the impression from looking online at ‘processing times’ – or that’s that it said they were. That it would take us more than 6 months, and more likely up to 9 months for the I-130? We would definitely be making sure every bit of paperwork was in order and correct before sending it that’s for sure.
            So for the K-3 (and we have made our information interview for earliest available date in Dallas of 2nd July.) – but i think if I’m right once we get married in Sept and i go home to England, he has to apply for the petition I-129 and once approved he then files for the I-130 – however at that point is this when we apply for a K-3 once the I130 is accepted but before it is approved? Its all so confusing. And to be honest with you i wouldn’t be this picky about getting it bang on, if when he arrived to visit me in England last year he didn’t get sent straight back to the US. Which actually happened to us. It was awful they just said we’re not convinced you’re not trying to stay and sent him home. He then applied for a tourist visa and came back successfully but it was all so scary that now, just reading the pages on the internet doesn’t seem to convince me its easy at all. So hence all the questions just wanted to explain..

      2. Hi again, when you say to go have an informational interview at a us embassy do you mean in England?
        Or is there an office or anything in the USA?
        Many thanks

        1. You can do it at the US embassy in the UK or the department of Homeland security and Immigration in the USA. Either one will be happy to do an informational interview. It takes only a day or two wait to set up. I did mine online.

    2. Hi Lisa

      I wanted to ask you how you feel about moving to the US? I’m a UK citizen and my husband is from the US. I’m finding it really hard to think of going. We have lived in the UK together for over 2 years and have a 4 month old baby girl. I am really close to my family and just find it difficult. I have so much support from them and with the baby it’s great for them. They are older and that is a worry for me.

      Are you in the same situation or is it different?

      1. Hi Pamela
        I have mixed feelings to be honest.
        I don’t have a child yet but we are thinking about it but probably going to wait until I’m over in the US, as I can imagine it being even harder to move a little one as well as me.
        I’m excited but also very nervous, I am also close to my friends and family but I can see a better life for me and my future family over in the US, it may make a difference with which state too as I’m moving to Texas and the people there are so friendly and welcoming that I know I will have no trouble making friends and meeting people to develop a new support network here.
        Maybe you could look online and see if there are any expat groups in the area you’re moving to, maybe look on Facebook or on blogs like this one, that is going to be my plan anyway.
        The other thing is I spend a lot of time in Texas, I go visit my fiancé every 4 weeks or so for a fortnight so I do have friends here and am close to his family too, could you maybe go on an extended holiday to the area & see how you feel once there?
        If you’re moving near Dallas I’m there!!!! If you want to chat more I’m on Facebook, if you want to try find me on there, I live in Yorkshire too if that’s anywhere near.

  37. Another quick question – if we were to apply for the K1 fiance visa but didn’t get it approved in time before we marry therefore leaving me having to go home (which is the plan anyway) – would that affect/would we have to cancel that to apply for the k-3 after were married?. I don’t even know if this makes sense.

    1. Just to clarify, I was told recently we should start the K3 process now even though we’re getting married Sept 7th, as its not just a fiance visa but a spouse too, so can we do that – Apply for the K3 visa and if it doesn’t come through before the wedding then I go home as planned, whenever it does come through then I move here and we carry on for the CR1?
      Thank you so much.

      1. These are not silly questions and I do not know if I have any answers, but I personally would not think about it, I would start everything now, before you get married. You can not start the I-130 until you married. You can get any visa basically, it will be sufficient then when you are over here in the USA, they will not separate a good law abiding husband and wife. Your husband can get a job and all will be OK. However, I would start hanging out at the embassy. I did I was there a lot and got all my paperwork in order and perfect order. Immigration is not out to get anyone, they just want to know you have all the required paper. I do not think you have anything to worry about really, you have plenty of time, but it depends on your speed and accuracy fulfilling the requirements, I would do it all by next week.

  38. My soon to be spouse came across the border without inspection and is undocumented. We have been together for over 5 years and will soon marry. During his stay and before our relationship, he was robbed at gun point. The local Sheriff’s office has completed I-918, Supplement B, which certifies that he was a victim of a qualifying crime, was cooperative with the identification and prosecution of the criminal which is now serving a prison sentence. In addition, the certifying authority (Sheriff’s Dept) stated he has suffered mental/psychological trauma associated with this life event.

    My question is which way would be best to go? Spousal sponsorship or U-Visa (Victim of a Qualifying Domestic Crime)? He has been here for near 11 years, which would also allow him to qualify for what is called “Cancellation B,” as he has been in the U.S. longer than 10 years and it would present an extreme hardship for him to leave as I am disabled and I solely rely on him for all my medical and life needs.

    So, with the 3 options available, I want the to consider the best way for him to go that would keep us from paying a lot of money for more hardships with immigration and get him on to the road to citizenship faster.

    1. I would recommend you seek legal help from an immigration lawyer on this one as it is so complex. I would do everything legal through the system, but to do that you need advice which I am not capable of giving you. I am sorry for the traumatic life event. I was the victim of a violent crime abroad and I got little support. So my recommendation is shop around for someone that might help you.

  39. Just some background for you first before I ask the important question.

    I have been married since Oct 2011 and a month and a half ago I had to leave my husband which I have sent my I-130 to take care of my elderly parents. Both need constant help day and night so I was forced to come back home without my husband. Not an easy thing to do he is my first and only and the pain of being far from him is killing me.

    Question, I can’t work because I do everything for my parents. There is a program I believe under Medicaid that would pay them to pay me to take care of them. This would only be for a short time until my husband who is an Engineer comes home to the USA. My parents will be his sponsors will taking this help disqualify them and if it does not how to I translate that to payment for Immigration? I’m between a rock and a hard place and don’t know which way to turn. Hope you can help would be much appreciated.

    1. I am sorry about your parents, I am sure it is a lot of work. Medicaid should not affect someone’s ability to sponsor someone for a I-130. It is based on assets or income or a combination of both. They have to achieve a certain limit, it is a simple formula. They can pledge assets or income to the financial equations.

      On anther note, once a person has an I-130 they can get emergency medical benefits, but usually not full on medicaid.

      1. Thank you so much for your help, I looked everywhere and found nothing. You are a true blessing in a sea of difficulties and for that you and your family will be in my prayers forever. God bless you.


  40. Hello, my story is similar so I can be brief. I have 2 teenage daughters; we live in Italy with my Italian husband. The first 4 years were split living in two countries back and forth. First two years of marriage were split the same; I worked for the schools in the US for 13 years. After too much separation we chose Italy to live. My husband’s family is close and he is in charge of all of their finances, etc. He was needed more here. We have been here one year; I have been out of work but our finances here are stable. My husband has properties shared as well as an inheritance, our home and other viable assets. He has held a stable job as well here. I did the same up until coming here. We are not in a hurry to run off; we have many things to do correctly before returning however, for many reasons, we need to return (my daughters and their futures are a large part of that). Our assets can easily be on paper around 100,000 euro. My job can be secured to return to as well but I have no proof of that as a future prospect before returning. I understand the options based on the comments; K-3 or I-130. There is timing also. We need to place our home for sale but don’t want to do this until we are approved for one or the other and are not in a rush. We are thinking realistically that this could easily be another year; we are sure the house will not sell before then. How long does the k-3 usually last to prove work stability in the US and apply for the I-130? The assets we have and are bringing are not an annual income; will this put a stop to the support aspect?
    I want to add as anyone else that you are really doing a lot for people. We have already fought some years to get this far between the countries with so many hurdles, just to build a life together; I hadn’t found your blog before now. Thank you. Dawn and Francesco.

    1. Lets do a back of the envelop calculation.

      If the US poverty level is 23,050 dollars a year in the USA. And the government US multiplier is 1.25 to get a visa then you need to make 28,812.5 dollars a year to bring a family of four to the USA. This has to be in US dollars.

      Alternatively you can make up the difference between the your income gap with your assets. Multiply your assets by .20 or 1/5 and this will what you can apply to the formula as income. So in your case the formula would look like:

      23,050 * 1.25*5

      Or you would need 144,062.5 dollars of assets to bring a family of four to the continental USA (Hawaii and Alaska have a higher multiplier). This is if you have no income.

      Remember these guys are following a formula and do not care if you have had a career or can get a job, they want you to fulfill the requirements on paper. If you can do this you can try to file an exemption but I doubt it. I would talk to the US embassy about all this, as I am not a legal expert, but this is what I understand. So you might not go for an I-130 visa right away. Once you have a job and can prove this income on a tax return lets say then you can file for the I-130. As long as you live in the USA what does it matter. I think the USA is a wonderful place to live, you just have to pick the right area of the country. A place where the values are congruent with your worldview.

      My family and my brother’s family both have US and EU citizenships and we have lived both places and both sides of the Atlantic are interesting in different ways.

      1. Thank you again for your help; can I bother you more? You answered a lot and I have a few more questions. If we are applying for the k-3 visa, how much time does that give us to get our green card and how long before we have to begin submitting the financial paparwork for the I-130? We actually think, at this time, that the sum of our assets will be a little above what is needed with the formula you kindly figured out for us but we would like to be sure of everything. I didn’t say but my daughters and I are natural born US citizens. We always lived in upstate NY; it is our plan to return there with my husband. Also, if it is a requirement to apply for the I-130 in order to apply for the K-3, will we have enough time to get back home together, get back established with my job and find a new one for him before we are requested to supply the affidavit of support and income? My daughters and I can come back before him while he is getting this done but we promised to never separate again; there is nothing more important actually.

        We do intend to retain both residences as your family has done and plan to at least visit and return here maybe again. Sorry to throw more at you; we will be contacting a lawyer for help with this all but would really like to be forearmed with knowledge. Thank you again, in all sincerity, for your valuable time and efforts. Dawn and Francesco.

        1. I love upstate New York, good home values nice nature and close to Montreal and NYC a lot of my friends are from there. Go here for more official information. contains a lot of good information about the K-3 but I am sure you know this.
          To obtain a K-3 or I-130 is not hat hard if your paper work is in order. It will take as short as three months as long as nine months depending. I know you are asking how much time do you have to go from K-3 to I-130.

          K-1 is for if you are not married. But you have 90 days to get married under the K-3 or have to depart in 30 days. I know you are not asking this, but maybe someone else reading this may benefit.

          K-3 is actually a temporary visa in theory but you can get authorization for work and leave and come back to the USA. It is not a bad visa. They are not going to deport anyone on a K-3 unless there is a real reason. You can just get it and come to the USA and get set up. Get some boring job and apply for the I-130. It is because the State department knows that not all people coming to the USA are set up and can get an I-130 day one. The K-3 is simply valid for two years and than renewed if needed. I am not a lawyer and not giving legal advice just what my experience with people conveying this to me has been.

          I do not ever like to be separate from my family even for a day. However, there might be some work situations that require this such as travel etc, but even that is really hard. We are together 24/7.

          1. Absolutely giving you tons of thanks for all the info from your experience; we feel a lot better starting this, as so many having read your posts do. Only one more thing to throw out at you before leaving you be; do you think the k-3 will become obsolete soon? There is a lot I have been reading saying that the I-130 and k-3 are being approved at the same time. From what I am understanding, they are now throwing away the approval for the I-129 if the I-130 approval is at the same time. I think I’m understanding they hold the k-3 until receiving the app for the I-130 to approve at the same time, as the I-130 (separation a little bit lengthier process after the receipt, first approval and then until the entire process is complete) is ‘preferred’. Have you had any new experience with anything like this? Again, thanking you sincerely and leaving you alone now (smile); just very confused to this. Even lawyers have differing ideas about the obsoletion of the k-3. Thanks ever so much.

  41. One more question for now please, is it possible for me to go on SSI (would be for a short time) and still be able to co-sponsor my husband? Will it hurt
    our case to use SSI?

    If God willing my husband is approved for the green card how long will they give him to leave for the USA?

    Thank you in advance for you generous help.


  42. My husband is Jamaican, we were married in Jamaica. Can he apply for a spousal visa to get to the US and then we can start the process for a green card? We are trying to figure out the best way. We have been together for 2 and 1/2 years and I have been the one traveling. We were just recently married. What is the best way? We just want to be together. And we want to be able to travel back and forth together.

    1. Congratulations I would just apply for the I-130 when you come here and until then a spousal visa. It is that simple.

  43. Hello again, when I posted orginally I asked about getting help ie Medicaid for my parents since I’m taking care of them but that fell through. I would like to know if I where to file for SSI? Also for me would this cause problems with filing the I-130 then the IR-1? Thank you in advance.

    1. The rule of thumb is taking cash payments from the government are frowned upon. However, non-cash benefits like medical or food might be allow. I would ask in detail someone from the department of immigration if they know as this is too important.

  44. Hey Mark, I must commend you on the good work you are doing. I am a Jamaican citizen and I have a fiance who I have met a little over a year ago. He is an American and we love each other very much. We have communicated via phone and the internet. He is now planning on coming to Jamaica to marry me next month which is October and then have me and my six year old migrate to the U.S with him. We don’t know what’s the best way to go about doing this so I am humbly asking for your advise. He earns 22k-25k annually. I met him while studying abroad but I had to withdrew from my study to come home and took care of my mother as she fell ill.

    1. Unless he has a lot of assets I think this cuts it too close to immigrate into the USA for you and you daughter in terms of earnings. You have to do the math yourself, there is a formula. Look at the calculation and see for yourself if you will honestly fulfill this requirement. I would get a spousal non-immigrant visa, then here when income improves go for the I-130.

  45. And also at my current job I only make 11,000 a year .

  46. I am American (61) and wife Ukrainian (52) currently living in Ukraine.. My wife have know each other for 5 years and have been married 3 years and have all legal documents pertaining to our marriage registered in Kiev. My wife has finished a 30 years career teaching English and I have now a permanent residency permit to live here.

    My wife currently holds a 5 year visitor visa to America that has about 4 years left on it and we have visited America once for about 2 weeks.

    Next September I will start receiving Social security and together with a small pension I now receive will increase
    our annual income to $26,000..

    I know the income as you have mention in other blogs can be an obstacle to allowing couples to move to
    the USA.. I currently own no property in the USA. My wife owns two apartment here in Ukraine. and will be eligible
    to receive her Ukraine pension when she is 60.

    My wife has mention she would like to immigrate to America to work until she receives her Ukraine pension or permanently live there but we haven’t decided what is the best course yet for the future..

    Do you think it would be reasonable to apply for a green card and move there or are we just wasting our time
    and effort trying to move?.. or is there any other status could get that would allow her to move and work now but not
    apply for a green card as I think my small income right now would make her ineligible..How long would it take about to get her a green card if its a reasonable thing to do?.. or should we just wait till next September when my pension starts and then apply?

    Any advise would be appreciated…


    1. I think you can apply, however, I would make an informational interview with the US embassy to determine their opinion as they has a formula and, you might just be able to do it especially if you have any assets. I would give it a try.

      1. I wish we knew the formulas you are talking about.. we can read and calculate too.. Our problem is we live pretty far from the embassy..I would be nice if we could find out more what our best course of action is without digging through endless documents that are almost impossible to understand.. I wonder if an immigration expert online.. I see many of them but I am certain there are many scammers out there.. is there anyone you can recommend that we can communicate with online and pay them a fee for advise?

  47. Thank you Mark! This blog article and responses have given me more direction and insight than anything else I have stumbled upon. It also gives me hope that we will find a way to do this! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! 🙂

  48. Hi Mark, I am an American Citizen living in France with my French husband. We got married in France 2 years ago. My husband is a recent graduate and would like to work in the USA. If I go to the US I would want to work part time and study. The only thing we have is money we saved up in France (around 30 thousand dollars). I have no one to sponsor me since most of my family who I speak to live outside the US. Do you think it is impossible for us to go to the US in our situation? Maybe he should try finding a job from overseas? Thank you in advance for your help.

    1. Sorry I did not reply sooner and this is short, I am busy with work/move, basically you can both come to the USA but the greencard will just take longer.

  49. Hi Mark,

    I am a Canadian who married an American in Canada. Currently we are living in Canada. My husband owns his own research business and can literally work from any where. However, he does get paid in Canadian funds and the people he contracts from are Canadian organizations. In your post you said that a person has to be making a minimum of thirty thou US to be able to get a I-130 approved. If my husband is living in the states, but earning Canadian funds (much more than US thirty thou) would this meet this requirement? Any info you can provide would be appreciated. Thank you,


    1. 30k is on the high side. The income requirement is 125% of the US poverty line although assets can be substituted at a 1 to 5 rate. The income needs to be shown on a US tax return. It is whatever is on a US tax return. As a US citizen he is required to pay taxes on all income foreign and domestic no matter where he lives and who he works for. There is of course an exclusion of 97.6k in 2013 so he might not have double taxation but he has to file for sure. If he has not then it could be a real problem and he might have to get a tax attorney and write a letter to the IRS, one of my friends did this.
      If he does report it on his US taxes you should be all set. I think somehow you can do it, do not give up. It is a wonderful thing to be in love, married and have the right to live in anywhere. You are living the dream.

  50. Hello! I’ve found you very helpful on this blog and just wondering if you would help me as well. I am a us citizen and met my fiancé who is from the uk while we were studying in America. After a year together we decided to move to australia to travel and work a bit. We have been there for 2.5 years and want to move back to usa. My question is, do you think it would be better to marry in australia and if so what visa can I bring him over to the US on if we do that, or do the k-1 visa then marry when we go back to the states. The problem with that is I think I have to file the petition while I am in the states and can not be abroad. We are both living in australia until we can figure out how to get to the us and do not want to be apart if we can help it. Since I have not been working in the states since we moved to australia I won’t have the income to sponser him,
    But we will be able to get a family or friend to sign the appropriate document to sponser him. I hope you can understand my question, thanks for your help!!

    1. I think where you get married has no influence on visas and citizenship. They base it on the ability to support someone economically and laws of citizenship. I would highly recommend getting married in a time and place that is romantic and beautiful for your lives. That is it. All the rest you can work out. I did. Governments will always put up barriers and obstacles but the reality is you can overcome these.

Comments are closed.