American in Love - Needs marriage info

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous (Czech-Related)' started by NEEDtoKNOW, Mar 24, 2004.


    NEEDtoKNOW New Member

    Please help !!!
    I am an American male in love a BEAuuutiful Czech girl ! We are planning a wedding for Sept in the Czech republic. Currently we are apart. She is in London, I am in the USA. We met in NYC and fell in love. She was in America on a work Visa, but returned to school in London in Sept 03. When she came to visit me for Thanksgiving, she attempted to enter the USA with Businness Visa. She was asked why she was there and said "to see my boyfriend for holiday" Well this was the wrong answer, they said you have a Business Visa and cancelled her visa. She has attempted to get holiday visas 2 times since and has been denied. I have been traveling monthly to see her. Well our love grew and we got engaged in London on Valentines Day. As we plan our wedding I am getting more and more concerned because I hear even after marriage it could take 6mo to a year for her to get a green card. I am soooo in the dark. I have called lawyers and they talk in circles. Can anyone advise me .. please I NEED to KNOW how to get my bride to be and soon tobe wife to the USA.
    Please help!!!
  2. King Jellyfish

    King Jellyfish New Member

    Simple. Fly her to Mexico and arrange for a citizen to pick her up and driver her across. I would do it. The border is but 3 hours drive from my home.
  3. timbanata

    timbanata New Member

    jajaja That last reply was kind of funny; however, the truth is there is no telling how long. My son married a young lady and began the process soon after. It has now been 2 years and she still has not been given papers. She already lives in the US and has a work permit. Can't you get a fiancee visa? Contact the INS, you may have a local office and let them know she is your fiancee; and don't forget to tell her she is your "FIANCEE". :p
  4. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    First of all, a couple of things about green cards:

    1) Getting a green card for a foreign spouse typically takes on the order of 2-3 years, not 6 months. The actual length of time will depend on the waiting list at the INS (now BCIS) office closest to you. For example, my wife's green card took 21 months.

    2) Once you get a green card for your wife, it's only a conditional green card, meaning that it expires two years after it's issued (You can blame this nonsense on those crazy people who will actually marry someone just to get into the USA and then get divorced). Some time within 3 months of expiration, you then need to apply to remove the conditional status, which means that you have to show proof that you really are married (e.g. living together, joint finances, having children together, etc.). This is typically fairly easy to do, but then again, when you're dealing with bureaucracy, "easy" is a relative word.

    Next, with regard to fiance visas, I have heard that they are notoriously difficult to get (probably for the same reason as the fact that INS now does conditional green cards, except that this is probably worse since technically there is no legal commitment in an engagement). I have heard from friends (only third-hand, I'm afraid) that the easiest way to get a fiance into the country is to travel to where she is, get married there, and then apply for a spouse visa as they are easier to get than fiance visas.

    I wish I could be of more help. I was lucky in that my wife was already in the country when we met and got engaged, so I haven't experienced this first-hand. Good luck!
  5. Dana

    Dana Well-Known Member

    If a fiancee visa is hard to get, can your fiancee come to the U.S. on a tourist visa? In that case, she must officially arrive as a "tourist", not a "fiancee" - otherwise she could be sent back for not having the proper visa. It seems that a person can only have one status when entering the country and must have the proper documentation to support that status - either you're a citizen (= passport), or you're a permanent resident (= green card), a tourist (= tourist visa), a fiancee (= fiancee visa), a student (= student visa), etc. You know best - it was the same problem when she came on a business visa but was in fact visiting on vacation - not possible.

    When my American husband and I (Czech) went through this process, our immigration lawyer strongly recommended we get married in the U.S. as opposed to the Czech Republic. The advantage of that is that your wife will immediately receive a legal status in the U.S. If she can come to the U.S. on a tourist visa and you guys get married, she can apply for her green card practically the next day. She'll get a temporary work and travel permit that will allow her to work in the U.S. and travel in and out of the country while her green card is being processed. That can take a year or longer but the wait won't really matter that much thanks to the temporary permit she'll have (renewable yearly). If I remember right, it may take a few months to receive the travel permit, so your wife wouldn't be able to leave the U.S. during that time since she'd have no way of coming back without it. Also, I'm not sure how it would work with her studying in London. That might complicate things.

    Based on what our lawyer told us, if you guys get married abroad, your wife will need to apply for her green card in that country and wait until it's processed, possibly for years, without being able to travel to the U.S. Remember about the status - as a wife of an American citizen, she won't be able to enter the U.S. as a regular tourist anymore, and she won't be a fiancee either. Sova mentioned a spouse visa, which sounds like something that would get her into the U.S. if you got married abroad. I unfortunately don't know anything about this visa and how easy/quick it is to get one. It probably wouldn't hurt to skip this extra step.

    One recommendation I have is to definitely hire an immigration lawyer for the green card process. It'll cost you but I believe it's worth every penny. A good lawyer makes the process a breeze, so you'll save time and especially lots of headaches.
  6. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    Apparently, the spouse visa I was referring to is also of the K variant, which includes the fiance visa (K-1 is for fiancees, K-3 is for spouses). Here is a weblink that describes the visa and application process:

    Note you can apply concurrently for the spouse visa (which is considered a non-immigrant visa) and for the green card.

    Nowhere on the USCIS (formerly INS) website, can I find any information as to the estimated length of time to receive either of these visas. Since both the fiancee and spouse visas are in the same category, perhaps there is not much difference. Either way, you'd have to apply for the visa outside the US. I would try to contact INS or else get a recommendation from someone as to a better lawyer than the ones you've contacted to ask advice on the best course of action. Lawyers definitely make the process easier, although I don't think they are able to speed up the process much if at all.
  7. Dana

    Dana Well-Known Member

    I don't think lawyers are able to speed up the process but they can save you time that you'd otherwise have to spend figuring out what to do, plus you can skip some trips to the immigration office where you'd otherwise have to go in person.
  8. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    Good point, Dana!
  9. idemtidem

    idemtidem Well-Known Member

    The easiest way is to get married in the Czech Republic, go to the US Embassy in Prague after the wedding and submit the paperwork needed.

    My husband and I did it that way, it took about 2 hours for the application to be approved (as opposed to 1 year or more) and then all I needed to do was to get a medical exam done by one of the three doctors (chosen by the embassy), schedule my interview, submit my application for my spouse visa and wait for about an hour to receive the visa. From the day I entered the US, it took two and a half months to receive my green card.

    Much faster, huh? :)
  10. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    Wow! Do you of anyone else who was able to get a green card so quickly this way? Was this with the help of a lawyer? I'm just curious if 2-1/2 months is a typical time-to-green-card for the route you took.
  11. idemtidem

    idemtidem Well-Known Member

    No, I don't know of anyone else who got the green card this fast. But I know there's people who got the visa the same fast way - I suspect they might have gotten the green card this fast too. I think it's so fast because USCIS doesn't process anything at all so you basically avoid all the waiting lists. The only thing left for them to do is just make the green card and send it to you - they don't decide whether you're eligible or not, you just are.

    And yes, we hired a lawyer to help us but he didn't deal with any institutions for us - he just filled all the forms that we took to the US embassy in Prague.

    Not every US embassy allows you to do it this way though. The one in Prague recognizes a marriage of a US citizen with a Czech citizen that took place in the Czech Republic right away so that's why you can go and submit the paperwork there after the marriage which speeds up the process immensely. But to be able to do it this way in Poland (if you're Polish of course) the US citizen has to live in Poland after the marriage took place for six months. I guess I'm glad I'm Czech!
  12. Kimocop

    Kimocop New Member

    I have a good friend who married a Czech girl last June in the US. She received her card in about 8 months. We are now looking forward to going to Praha in a couple of days for a traditional Czech ceremony. So, do the paperwork and it will take less than a year.
  13. p3_141597i

    p3_141597i Member

    Actually this varies by country, just getting married in the Czech Republic doesn't easily allow her to come to the US. It depends on the INS. My friend is trying to get his fiancee over to marry her, and he found out that the waiting list at the INS for couples wanting to come into the US after they got married abroad was almost at a two year wait at present. Your best bet is to go to the INS website and fill out the appropriate documents to get a Fiancee visa, this has a waiting list of approximately 7 months currently and your better off waiting half a year opposed to two years. And you don't need to waste time with lawyers the paper work is simple and doesn't require a lot of knowledge to fill it out. Just make sure you double check for errors and send the EXACT ammount for the processing fees, no less or more or it will get sent right back to you. Hope you the best of luck in whichever course you decided to take. Happy trails.
  14. idemtidem

    idemtidem Well-Known Member

    You're right about that. But this happens if you get married in the Czech Republic and then send out the paperwork to USCIS (it's not INS anymore). And you can very easily bypass this whole process if you submit the paperwork in person at the US Embassy after the wedding (not every US Embassy allows you to do that, but the one in Prague does) and so instead of waiting for two years for your application to be approved you wait for two or three hours.

    Again, I have to mention that this is NOT what everyone can do. You have to be a citizen of a country where the US Embassy allows this and you have to get married in that country. I don't see a single reason why would someone want to do it a difficult way if there's a much more convenient one...unless of course they want to spend more time apart (but in that case they might want to think again whether they should get married).

    Oh, and I just thought of something about the waiting lists - it depends where in the US you live and therefore what is the USCIS office that you come under.
  15. mama

    mama New Member

    I am a US citizen and my wife is Czech and we were married in Czech.

    The best way to go if you are a US citizen and married a Czech in Czech is to do the process at the US Embassy. It took my wife only 4 weeks to do the whole process from filing the first form to getting the immigration visa. The counsel told us when he approved our papers - "well, that would have taken a year and a half in the US". It took me 20 min at the US Embassy in Prague to get the petion and affidavit of support approved. My wife did her part which was another form, medical, and background check from the Czech gov't and she scheduled her interview and got the visa the same day.

    If you do this same process in the USA, it takes forever. That is where you hear all the horror stories of waiting. Maybe at other embassies it is also hard. But in Prague, it's a cake walk as long as you have all the info you need.

    ALSO - it is great because if you do it in Czech you do not need to get everything translated into English. They will take you info in English, Czech, or both!
  16. idemtidem

    idemtidem Well-Known Member

    Yes, this is exactly my experience. The only difference is that it took you 4 weeks (it took me a week and a half). How long it will take depends on you only, not on the officers - it really just comes down to how fast you can obtain all the information needed.
  17. Usal

    Usal Well-Known Member

    Hello everyone. I was reading the posts here and was wondering if someone could tell me a web site where I can find a list of the information needed for an American to marry a Czech in Czech. It seems (from the posts I've read) this is the fastest and easiest way to go to get a spouse into the US. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

  18. babicka

    babicka Well-Known Member

    I think your best bet is, as previously mentioned, is to contact a lawyer at this stage; especially for peace of mind.
    You also said that your future wife had in the first instance a business visa.
    If she had previously used that same visa to actually undertake business in the USA, then you should have been able to make an appeal at the time that one was cancelled; despite the fact that she had said what was foremost in her mind, namely meeting you. If she has also been since denied a tourist visa, this will probably be because of her previous details that have been stored on their computer in relation to her business visa being cancelled. Also, in subsequently applying for a tourist visa that was denied, the fact that she then made that application could be seen as additional proof that they were correct in their conclusion regarding cancelling that business visa. This could also happen with any other future applications, despite the type of visa.
    Sometimes what seems as the easiest option is not always the best course of action, as sometimes you can dig yourself deeper into the myre.
    I once had a similar problem when I went to visit my father in the States, but I stood my ground. I think I was given forty eight hours before I had to leave the country, so after flying from New York to Cleveland, my father and I went to their relevant office the following day, and the guy said:- "What is it that you British say - He must have got out of the wrong side of the bed yesterday.", and immediately stamped my passport and granted permission for my one month's holiday.
    Therefore, as I said at the beginning I would strongly recommend that you contact a lawyer, who will also be aware of any loopholes in the Law.
  19. babicka

    babicka Well-Known Member

    Usal, again this also applies to you, contact an Immigration lawyer, who specializes in this subject.
  20. Usal

    Usal Well-Known Member

    Thanks Babinka, I was going to contact an immigration attorney but I just wanted to know a little myself. The company I work for designs web sites for attoneys so it shouldn't be to hard for me to find one. :D


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