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US Imigration visa for wife ... Must she stay in the US?


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I am afraid I must disagree with your assessment. Filing the IR-1 Spousal Visa will at least allow Ron to obtain a 10-year permanent immigrant green card for his wife. That in itself puts them both in a much better position than they are in right now. Of course, once she receives her permanent green card, the longest she can stay out of the US is one year at a time. So yes, the green card does not solve Ron's situation for their wanting to still live in the RP permanently. But at least it does start the clock and the process for getting her into the immigration system and the pathway for US naturalized citizenship.

 

IMO, Ron appears to have several options:

 

a.) Apply for the IR-1 Spousal Visa and obtain a 10-year permanent green card for his wife where they both return to the states for an extended period of time. Once she has legal residence in the US for the USCIS specified period, she can then apply for her US naturalized citizenship. Once that is obtained, she and Ron can decided whether to leave the US permanently as expats if she wishes (she can also re-obtain her Filipino citizenship in the process)

 

b.) Ron could remain where he is and pre-prepares the required forms and documents for his wife's US immigration under the I-360 Widow/Widower's Visa as you suggested. However, this could become tricky if the I-360 Widow/Widower's Visa qualification rules change before or after Ron dies or if the paperwork and documents are lost. I'll assume Ron's wife may require much directed assistance in filing these papers with USCIS and seeing the actions through to completion to obtain her visa. If USCIS denies her petition, loses her doucments or if there are any snags in the paperwork process, who will assist Ron's widow in getting it all straighten out once Ron is gone?

 

In any event, Ron is in a rather sticky situation. But the outcome is up to him as he has to determine which is more important...their house in the RP or his wife's future US immigration green card and naturalized citizenship status. If it were me, my wife's immigration and US citizenship future would definitely come first before the house. He can either try to sell the house and take the loss, rent it out to RP foreign tourists or long-term vacationers or advertise it as a "timeshare rental" to Filpino-American groups in the US.

 

Regards,

 

Herb

 

Hi Herb...

 

First of all, thank you for the Social Security benefits information and for the links that you provided.

 

As to your comments above, I am wondering if Ron could simply apply for an IR-1 / CR-1 Spousal Visa while he and his wife live in the Philippines. Or, would he need to apply for the visa while living in the U.S.? It would certainly make things easier all around if he did not have to return to the U.S. in order to apply for the visa. Selling or renting their home would become less of a factor under this scenario.

 

Even if he were required to apply for her visa while in the U.S., it is my guess that he would be able to return to the Philippines almost immediately to rejoin his wife. In other words, Ron would not have to stay in the U.S. for the six (or so) months it would take to obtain his wife's visa. Using this approach, would he and his wife even need to go back to the U.S. once she received her green card...at least initially?

 

Having been through a visa process myself, and having read many other people's accounts of their visa process, I agree with your point about an I-360 Widow's Visa. It would certainly be a much more difficult process if something went wrong with the process and Ron were not around to get things squared away. However, it is still a viable option.

 

After Ron's wife received her IR-1 / CR-1 Visa, they certainly could spend most of their time living in the Philippines. In that case, it seems to me that they would need to return to the U.S. for short periods of time only on three consecutive years...until his wife became a U.S. citizen. After three years, once she became a naturalized citizen, then it would be a whole new ball game.

 

I also agree wholeheartedly with you about priorities. If it were me, my wife's green card (and citizenship) would trump any short-term concern about my home in Bacolod.

 

...just saying

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... I am wondering if Ron could simply apply for an IR-1 / CR-1 Spousal Visa while he and his wife live in the Philippines. Or, would he need to apply for the visa while living in the U.S.? It would certainly make things easier all around if he did not have to return to the U.S. in order to apply for the visa. Selling or renting their home would become less of a factor under this scenario.

 

Even if he were required to apply for her visa while in the U.S., it is my guess that he would be able to return to the Philippines almost immediately to rejoin his wife. In other words, Ron would not have to stay in the U.S. for the six (or so) months it would take to obtain his wife's visa. Using this approach, would he and his wife even need to go back to the U.S. once she received her green card...at least initially? ...

 

After Ron's wife received her IR-1 / CR-1 Visa, they certainly could spend most of their time living in the Philippines. In that case, it seems to me that they would need to return to the U.S. for short periods of time only on three consecutive years...until his wife became a U.S. citizen. After three years, once she became a naturalized citizen, then it would be a whole new ball game...

I believe he can apply directly with the embassy in Manila if he is currently residing there. However, the intent of the visa is that he moves back to the US with his wife. He will have to provide an address where he will be living as well as a means of support like a job or other income.

 

Correct me if I am wrong but the spouse visa is an entrant visa. No green card issued until she enters the US.

 

The idea of citizenship of course is that her allegiance and domicile will be with the US. It has been mentioned in other forums that any excessive time spent outside of the states prior to her citizenship interview may be docked against her and increase her wait time- even though she is within the legal guidelines. The N-400 clearly asks for this info.

 

I don't see any way around this one- immigration surely knows the purpose of gaining citizenship in a case like this.

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Thank you everybody for all the info you have provided.

 

In our case, we don't mind going to the US at all for a period of time. I just didn't want to have to stay there a full 3 years + it would take my wife to get US citizenship.

 

Correct me if I am wrong, but here looks to be the best scenerio:

 

1. Since we have been married 2 years and since I will be getting the 13a Permanent Residence visa soon, I can file for the IR-1 Immigrant visa with Direct Consular Filing (DCF) for my wife right here in the Philippines .... I am required to show permanent residency (13a) here in the PI to use the DCF option.

 

2. When she is approved for the IR-1, we both go to the US. Since I sold my house in the US, I guess I can use my daughters address in the US as a domocile.

 

3. I won't need to work in the US since I am recieving 2 pensions .... both a US Military retirement and a US Federal Civil Service retirement pension (retired pilot).

 

4. I understand that my wife will be able to get her 10 year "Green Card" without the 2 year Conditional Residence restriction (since we have been married more than 2 years) after her arrival in the US using the IR-1 visa. How long it actually takes to get this Green Card is unknown by me. I believe once she gets this Green Card, she can actually travel out of the US as long as it's for no more than 1 year at a time, however, I have heard that trips should be limited to 6 months or less.

 

5. I understand that after having her Green Card for 3 years , she then can apply for US citizenship and a US passport.

 

 

If what I stated above is correct, at least we can travel to and from the US and Philippines once she gets her Green Card in hand.

 

BTW ... My wife already has a TIN (Tax ID Number) from the IRS and we filled a "Joint" 1040 tax return for tax year 2008 and will continue to do so.

Edited by Turbota
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Thank you everybody for all the info you have provided.

 

In our case, we don't mind going to the US at all for a period of time. I just didn't want to have to stay there a full 3 years + it would take my wife to get US citizenship.

 

Correct me if I am wrong, but here looks to be the best scenerio:

 

1. Since we have been married 2 years and since I will be getting the 13a Permanent Residence visa soon, I can file for the IR-1 Immigrant visa with Direct Consular Filing (DCF) for my wife right here in the Philippines .... I am required to show permanent residency (13a) here in the PI to use the DCF option.

 

I don't know the rules regarding this potential option, but it sounds good, and I hope you can make it work for you. If you're not sure about the legalities, you can always check with visajourney.com, or the USCIS web site, or a good immigration attorney.

 

2. When she is approved for the IR-1, we both go to the US. Since I sold my house in the US, I guess I can use my daughters address in the US as a domocile.

 

This is what I was thinking too..."borrowing" a permanent address from a friend or a relative in the U.S.

 

3. I won't need to work in the US since I am recieving 2 pensions .... both a US Military retirement and a US Federal Civil Service retirement pension (retired pilot).

 

If the IR-1 Visa is anything like the K-1 Visa, or like the K-3 Visa, there will be an minimum income requirement. For you and your wife (no children), I would think that the requirement would be in the ballpark of $19,000. / year (gross income). Also, you might be able to count assets toward the income requirement. The USCIS uses some kind of ratio for this, such as four to one...for every four dollars of assets you own, they will add one dollar to your income.

 

4. I understand that my wife will be able to get her 10 year "Green Card" without the 2 year Conditional Residence restriction (since we have been married more than 2 years) after her arrival in the US using the IR-1 visa. How long it actually takes to get this Green Card is unknown by me. I believe once she gets this Green Card, she can actually travel out of the US as long as it's for no more than 1 year at a time, however, I have heard that trips should be limited to 6 months or less.

 

It is my understanding also that there is no two-year conditional green card involved with an IR-1 / CR-1 Visa. Instead, you're wife will receive a ten-year (permanent) green card a few weeks after she arrives in the U.S. I believe the actual IR-1 / CR-1 Visa process takes about six months or so. Visajourney.com is probably the best authority on this...just check out the timelines of other petitioners.. If you use an attorney, figure on a few months longer. <_<

 

5. I understand that after having her Green Card for 3 years , she then can apply for US citizenship and a US passport.

 

This sounds about right.

 

 

If what I stated above is correct, at least we can travel to and from the US and Philippines once she gets her Green Card in hand.

 

The only question that remains here has to do with the limitation on the length of time she can be out of the U.S. without running afoul of the rules.

 

BTW ... My wife already has a TIN (Tax ID Number) from the IRS and we filled a "Joint" 1040 tax return for tax year 2008 and will continue to do so.

 

Ron...I see a plan taking shape.

 

~ Evergreen

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Greetings Evergreen:

 

Hi Herb...

 

First of all, thank you for the Social Security benefits information and for the links that you provided.

 

As to your comments above, I am wondering if Ron could simply apply for an IR-1 / CR-1 Spousal Visa while he and his wife live in the Philippines. Or, would he need to apply for the visa while living in the U.S.? It would certainly make things easier all around if he did not have to return to the U.S. in order to apply for the visa. Selling or renting their home would become less of a factor under this scenario.

 

You're most welcome. I feel some older men here (and at other forums too, like VisaJourney) are making grave errors in their estate planning by not knowing the facts behind SSA Survivor benefits and younger Filipina widows once the men die. It appears the US Government, in its infinite wisdom, long decided that SSA Survivor benefits are mostly for spouses who are near the same retirement ages. When one older spouse dies, the other older spouse receives the survivor benefits from the deceased older spouse in addition to the surviving spouse's own SSA benefits. The SSA Survivor benefits system does not appear to be geared towards younger spouses. I guess the SSA decided that younger widows can go out and work up until their own retirement ages, then take advantage of their late husbands' SSA Survivor benefits when they're at least age 60 and are almost eligible for their own SSA benefits. For the old guys married to very young Filipinas who have never resided in the US, or have never earned their own SSA benefits, these young women are likely screwed for SSA Survivor benefits until they reach at least age 60! Older Kano husbands should have other ways and means to support their younger Filipina wives (and their children) when they die, rather that relying solely on SSA Survivor benefits.

 

Ironically, for older guys formerly married to Kano spouses and have children under age 18, the Kano ex-wives can take advantage of their late ex-husbands' SSA Survivor benefits for herself and the minor children...while the current younger Filipina wives with no children from their deceased older husbands get NOTHING from the SSA until age 60! In a nutshell, a Kano ex-wife with children under 18 or a Kano ex-wife at age 60 or above can draw from her late ex-husband's SSA survivor benefits while the young Filipina widow can draw NOTHING until she reaches age 60! Is this unfair? You betcha! But it appears that's the way it is!

 

The big difference for younger Filipina wives and SSA Survivor benefits is having kids with their late older Kano husbands. If a younger Filipina has kids with her deceased older Kano husband, she and each child under age 18 would be eligible for her husband's SSA Survivor benefits. The benefits will begin to drop as each child reaches 18. After the last child turns 18, the benefits for that child, and for the widow, will stop until the widow reaches age 60. At age 60 (or 50 if disabled), the widow can re-start her late husband's suruvivor benefits for herself only. So old guys, if you want to ensure your young Filipina wives will receive your SSA Survivor benefits when you die...then you both better get busy and start making babies!! ;):D

 

Even if he were required to apply for her visa while in the U.S., it is my guess that he would be able to return to the Philippines almost immediately to rejoin his wife. In other words, Ron would not have to stay in the U.S. for the six (or so) months it would take to obtain his wife's visa. Using this approach, would he and his wife even need to go back to the U.S. once she received her green card...at least initially?

 

Having been through a visa process myself, and having read many other people's accounts of their visa process, I agree with your point about an I-360 Widow's Visa. It would certainly be a much more difficult process if something went wrong with the process and Ron were not around to get things squared away. However, it is still a viable option.

 

After Ron's wife received her IR-1 / CR-1 Visa, they certainly could spend most of their time living in the Philippines. In that case, it seems to me that they would need to return to the U.S. for short periods of time only on three consecutive years...until his wife became a U.S. citizen. After three years, once she became a naturalized citizen, then it would be a whole new ball game.

 

I also agree wholeheartedly with you about priorities. If it were me, my wife's green card (and citizenship) would trump any short-term concern about my home in Bacolod.

 

...just saying

 

I agree with all you're saying. As I mentioned before, Ron may be able to apply for his wife's IR-1 Spousal Visa, and perhaps her permanent green card, through the US Embassy in Manila. Ron's best bet is to get to the Embassy ASAP, sit down with Consular and Immigration officers, then determine his options. While I think he can certainly apply for the IR-1 Spousal Visa through the Embassy, I am not sure about the green card. There may be a US residency requirement for his wife to actually receive the green card, I don't know. But if she can receive her green card while still living in the RP, that solves their situation for the near term. The IR-1 Spousal Visa process will likely take more than a year (15 months?) to process and complete. So at least Ron and his wife can wait out the spousal visa in the RP, then leave for the US if the green card requires US residency before issue. But even after Ron's wife receives her permanent green card, whether in the US or in the RP, the longest term she can remain outside the US is one year at a time. So she still must return to the US eventually. Also, if Ron's wife ever wishes to become a naturalized US citizen, she may have US residency requirements to meet first. She may not be able to meet the citizenship residency requirements if she spends too much time outside the US.

 

Regards,

 

Herb

Edited by HueyPilot
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I believe he can apply directly with the embassy in Manila if he is currently residing there. However, the intent of the visa is that he moves back to the US with his wife. He will have to provide an address where he will be living as well as a means of support like a job or other income.

 

Correct me if I am wrong but the spouse visa is an entrant visa. No green card issued until she enters the US.

 

The idea of citizenship of course is that her allegiance and domicile will be with the US. It has been mentioned in other forums that any excessive time spent outside of the states prior to her citizenship interview may be docked against her and increase her wait time- even though she is within the legal guidelines. The N-400 clearly asks for this info.

 

I don't see any way around this one- immigration surely knows the purpose of gaining citizenship in a case like this.

 

Greetings Af_Phils:

 

Good to see you posting here and as always, you bring excellent, rational information and great points of reference to the discussions as you do so well on other forums. Your points make perfect sense and is likely the case for green cards and US naturalized citizenship.

 

Regards,

 

Herb

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Thank you everybody for all the info you have provided.

 

In our case, we don't mind going to the US at all for a period of time. I just didn't want to have to stay there a full 3 years + it would take my wife to get US citizenship.

 

Correct me if I am wrong, but here looks to be the best scenerio:

 

1. Since we have been married 2 years and since I will be getting the 13a Permanent Residence visa soon, I can file for the IR-1 Immigrant visa with Direct Consular Filing (DCF) for my wife right here in the Philippines .... I am required to show permanent residency (13a) here in the PI to use the DCF option.

 

2. When she is approved for the IR-1, we both go to the US. Since I sold my house in the US, I guess I can use my daughters address in the US as a domocile.

 

3. I won't need to work in the US since I am recieving 2 pensions .... both a US Military retirement and a US Federal Civil Service retirement pension (retired pilot).

 

4. I understand that my wife will be able to get her 10 year "Green Card" without the 2 year Conditional Residence restriction (since we have been married more than 2 years) after her arrival in the US using the IR-1 visa. How long it actually takes to get this Green Card is unknown by me. I believe once she gets this Green Card, she can actually travel out of the US as long as it's for no more than 1 year at a time, however, I have heard that trips should be limited to 6 months or less.

 

5. I understand that after having her Green Card for 3 years , she then can apply for US citizenship and a US passport.

 

 

If what I stated above is correct, at least we can travel to and from the US and Philippines once she gets her Green Card in hand.

 

BTW ... My wife already has a TIN (Tax ID Number) from the IRS and we filled a "Joint" 1040 tax return for tax year 2008 and will continue to do so.

 

Ron:

 

Looks like you have thought through all the contingencies very well. I have nothing further to add about your immigration situation. However, if you have not done so yet as a US military retiree expat, please ensure your wife has a US military dependent's ID card and that she is accurately enrolled in the DEERS system without delay. To get her an ID card, you may have to fly her to the nearest US military installation either in Japan or Korea. Make sure you have all your documents (notarized or certified copy of divorce decrees, certified birth certificates, her RP passport, etc.) when you take her for the ID card. Once she has her dependent's ID Card, she can then be enrolled in DEERS and would be eligible for your same military benefits, including TRICARE health, dental and standby Military Treatment Facility care, base PX and commissary shopping privileges and much more as a military retiree widow upon your death.

 

Regards,

 

Herb

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The Mason
For the old guys married to very young Filipinas who have never resided in the US, or have never earned their own SSA benefits, these young women are likely screwed for SSA Survivor benefits until they reach at least age 60! Older Kano husbands should have other ways and means to support their younger Filipina wives (and their children) when they die, rather that relying solely on SSA Survivor benefits.

 

Its even worse than this. If your widow is living outside the US when she reaches 60, she is still ineligible to collect unless she is a US citizen or resided in the US for at least 5 years while married to you. The SSA site is unclear if this must be 5 consecutive years or 5 years in aggregate over her lifetime.

 

There are a lots of ifs and buts, but basically if your wife plans to be in the Philippines in her old age she will not be entitled to survivors benefits unless she has US citizenship or lived in the US for at least 5 years while married to you. None of the other qualifications based on age or children or anything else matter unless this residency requirement is met first. Children have a different set of rules, but I won't get into those, it will just cloud the issue. Survivors from certain countries are exempt from the residency requirement, but the Philippines is not one of them.

 

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10137.html#additional

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Hi everyone...

 

Here's some information from visajourney.com about Direct Consular Filing that I found helpful:

click here.

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Information from the USCIS web site regarding how traveling outside of the U.S. affects permanent residency. Read the section titled "Maintaining Permanent Residency." click here.

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Well we did some research on the IR visa thing and it says the petitioner must be living in the US at the time of the interview for the wife??? and we did notice you can apply the visa to the kids under 18 at the time of the marriage so how does it work if you live in the Philippines ?

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Here's a thread from visajourney.com which talks about establishing domicile in the U.S.: click here.

 

 

Well we did some research on the IR visa thing and it says the petitioner must be living in the US at the time of the interview for the wife??? and we did notice you can apply the visa to the kids under 18 at the time of the marriage so how does it work if you live in the Philippines ?

 

If you are living in the Philippines, you can file for your wife's (and kids) visa directly to the U.S. Embassy in Manila. They call this method of applying for a visa "Direct Consular Filing."

 

You can stay in the Philippines while the Embassy is processing the visa, and when your wife receives her visa, you can travel to the U.S. together. Check out the discussion about "domicile" in the above link. As part of the visa process, you will have to convince the Embassy that you are indeed planning to move to the U.S.

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to all visa masters or those who know more then me which is everyone... I was thinking of applying for the IR-1 visa and including 2 of the children who were under 18 when we married but are NOW over 21 .. Is there a different visa that i can apply for to include 2 un married step children over 21 in my paperwork... Like a F amily visa where they would be F1 status and what does that mean in time.. Is it the type of visa you hear about where the kids wait 10 years to be called...??

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