I assisted our clients, a couple consisting of a United States citizen and a German national, in completing their I-130 Petition for Alien Relative and consular processing.
If a person is outside of the United States (as was the case with this particular spouse of the US citizen) the person must apply for an immigrant visa at a United States Department of State consulate in their home country. Once that process is completed and approved, the person would then be able to be admitted to the United States as a permanent resident and can reunite with their spouse.
My clients came to me because this was their first time going through a complex immigration process, as neither client had previously submitted a marriage-based immigration petition. My clients were worried for a few reasons:
- They had been married for only a short time;
- At some points their relationship was a long-distance relationship; and
- They were concerned that process would be delayed by the COVID pandemic.
Every relationship has different strengths, and sometimes those strengths are relevant to one’s immigration case, which is why I go to great lengths to understand my clients’ unique relationships. In this case, the couple enjoyed traveling the world together. That travel was at the core of their relationship. Not only were their trips together well-documented (e.g. by airplane tickets), but they also demonstrated the closeness of the couple.
Often my clients come to me with concerns that their marriages seem “short,” and ask whether that might affect their case and immigration outcome. (Of course, that depends on many particulars.) But if they had been together as a couple for a significant time before they decided to get married, that can serve as strong evidence to show that they entered into a legitimate, bona fide marriage. Many clients are not aware that they can use evidence of their relationship prior to the marriage, and can include it as part of their overall marriage immigration application packet. That is what happened here.
My approach was the following:
- We drafted a detailed declaration describing the beginning, development, and current state of their relationship not only as a married couple but also to shed light on their relationship pre-marriage;
- We retrieved, organized, and described the many flight itineraries, hotel stays, admission tickets (like to museums), and other documentation of their experiences throughout their travels; and
- We communicated with the U.S. Embassy in Germany to confirm that their case was processed expeditiously and not lost or forgotten.
My approach is very hands-on. I am an advocate of communicating with USCIS and US Consulates abroad to do everything in my power to ensure that my clients’ cases are being properly handled, that they are not waiting on my clients or me for anything, and that these governmental agencies are complying with standard and reasonable timeframes.
In this case, I developed a list of questions based on the evidence that we had compiled and provided, we prepared for my client’s marriage interview abroad, and her case was approved.
I sent the first few marriage immigration petitions on behalf of my clients in May of 2021. In January of 2022 (only 8 months after), my client had already been approved for her immigrant visa at the US Embassy abroad, and had been given the green light to travel to the United States and reunite with her spouse.