Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A comment on marriage and immigration (Cairo, Egypt)

Someone left a comment on THIS POST. I posted the answer here because it was too long for the comment form.


Anonymous said...
Thank you, again! Now, more questions! Here, on this blog, you have mentioned the neccessities for which is needed, for this process... But these forms are SOOOOOO confusing!!! What USCIS forms, other than say, the obvious I-130, I-864 etc... should I have prepared? As I mentioned previously, I'm getting married in Dec, and I plan to be there for 6 months or so, until his visa is accepted... and the whole, K3/Cr1 form is a big confusion, as well. Do you think you could help me on the specifics of my situation? I know each case of marriage is unique in its own form, but the more I can find out the better! The closest Homeland Security for me is no less than 6 hrs away... So my trips here have to be limited, due to financial reasons. Your help is greatly appreciated! P.S- My Fiance and I did meet online, but I've done research and taken steps to make sure our relationship isnt fraudulent. I have met his family through web-cam and this has been our main correspondence. Any additional information you can share with me, that I should expect or prepare for? Thank you!


First of all, this post was mainly dealing with issues of getting married in Egypt. These questions are about immigration, which for the record, are two entirely different things. But here is what I know about immigration:

- You will have to establish residency and remain in Egypt for a period of 6 months prior to even beginning the filing process. Once you meet the residency requirement you can file for immigration visas DCF (direct consular filing). This means you file the I-130 and other forms in Cairo instead of through the States. It sounds like this is what you plan to do. However, the filing is only the beginning of the process and you are still looking at a minimum of a year till approval. So are you planning on staying in Egypt only till you are eligible to file or until the visa is APPROVED? Because approval will absolutely take longer than 6 months. It could even take 2 years. You can find out more about the process on this website for the US Consular Section in Cairo.

- Do you have a co-sponsor in the US? If you do not have a co-sponsor you must have a job making $18,500 per year in order to even be considered as a spousal sponsor. If you are planning on living in Egypt to wait out the process it is highly unlikely you will meet the income requirement. So it would be in your best interest to make sure you have a co-sponsor lined up. The co-sponsor must meet income requirements as set forth by US poverty guidelines for family sizes. The co-sponsor must be a US citizen and submit proof of employment, plus tax returns for 3 years prior - among other documents.

- If you do not have anyone who can act as a co-sponsor, you can meet the income requirement by having savings (cash) in a bank account that preferably is a joint bank account with you and your husband. For a family of 2 (that is you and your husband with no children) the amount of savings needed to waive the income requirement is approximately $54,000.00 (US Dollars). Basically for every $30,000 you have in the bank they remove $10,000 from the income level. So for example, if your income requirement is $18,500 and you have $30,000 in the bank - you will only have to have a job proving $8,500 in income. Which will be easier to do if you need to work in Egypt. However, since technically (even with marriage residency) you will not be permitted to work in Egypt - this income may not be valid.

- K3 vs CR1: from what I understand about these (and I'm not an expert) the difference is one allows you to enter the US and remain there ONLY on the condition that the alien remain married to the US citizen. Also, your husband would not be eligible to work right away upon entering the States. He would have to apply for an adjustment of status. If you were ever divorced he would not be eligible to remain in the US.

The other allows the alien spouse to enter the US on an immigrant visa thus allowing them to seek a social security number and employment immediately. Also with this version - they are eligible to become a US citizen after being married to you and living in the US for a period of 3 years. If you were to divorce, your spouse would still be able to stay in the US and would still be able to be naturalized (as long as you remained married prior to the naturalization).

I recommend you look at and join Visa Journey. This is a very important and informative website/forum regarding immigration through marriage to a US citizen. There are sample forms on here as well as an explanation of each visa K1/K3/CR1 and the differences between them.

- The fact that you met online will make it harder for you. You must start an immigration file which should contain things like: W-2 forms, letters from your jobs stating how many hours you work and your salary, tax returns for the last 3 years, birth certificates, translated birth cert for your husband, have his college transcripts translated, certified copies of his degrees and certificates, photos of the two of you together, copies of boarding passes from flights to and from Egypt, printouts of your conversations online (msn, skype, etc.) Unfortunately due to the way you met, your relationship will be scrutinized.

I'm not sure why you think you need to go to Homeland Security if you are planning on filing through Cairo? Did you just want to go there to get information? A good place to start would be here with the website of the US Citizenship and Immigration.

My second piece of advice to you is take it one step at a time. Get here and get married first before you worry about immigration stuff. I would also recommend talking to an immigration attorney. You cannot afford to make critical mistakes at any point in this process. It can result in a denial. This process is not an easy one and marriage is not an automatic guarantee of approval. There is also a limit on the amount of times you may try to apply for a visa.


  1. To the wife-to-be: that was a wonderful post which I'm sure has answered tons of your questions! The only two things I'd like to add are... I know you must have heard this a million times and are thoroughly sick of it... but *please* do be aware that there will be an enormous difference between your real-life relationship with an Egyptian and and your internet-based relationship with an Egyptian. Hold on to your hat, because chances are it's going to be a heck of a ride, regardless of where you and he ultimately end up!

    And secondly, for what it's worth, we waited just over two years for my husband's visa to be approved, not six months. I agree with the suggestion that you should join one of the many websites devoted to visa issues, because that way you can get lots of help plus a range of time-frames from people's real-life experiences. Good luck!!!!!

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  3. well my name is aisha and im american muslimah revert maried to an egyptian and personally,, when me and my husband marrieed not much changed in our lives other than the fact that were married and happy to be together, it isnt good to think all ppl are the same from a particular country, i wish u the best in luck and hope u to have the best marriage,