And here is the short story…! After being married to my wife for over 2 years I got my Greencard approved today. *Yeay* For us the process was pretty fast and smooth other than filling out about 40 forms of redundant information. I think we really can’t complain after hearing what happened for other petitioners.
I met Tenni in 2001 while I was doing an internship for IBM here in San Jose. After the internship ended we went back and forth to see each other and finally decided to get married. Our big day was in May 2003 and after that we started the Greencard process right away. There are pretty much 2 different routes you can take when you want to apply for a Greencard based on a marriage and that depends on if the “non-American” wants to come to the US immediately or not.
a) K1 – You marry in the US, the fiance can enter the US 90 days before the wedding and is allowed to work more or less from the beginning on. The downside is that you have to notify
Citizenship Immigration Services (CIS) when you are leaving the country while the visa process is pending. You have to prove that your center of life is in the US.
b) K3 – You marry abroad and get your marriage acknowledged by the CIS. Since I was still working in Germany we needed to go this way. The downside it that you can’t enter the US until the first step is processed because the tourist visa is applicable as you then have a pending visa case. The good thing is that thereafter you can go in and out of the county. To be able to work you have to apply for a work permit.
In the end both ways lead to the Greencard. As I went with the K3 visa it took about 5 months, an interview at the American Consulate and a doctors visit and before I received the visa that allowed me to enter / leave / stay in the US and apply for a work permit. At that time I was still working for a German consulting company. After thinking all our options through Tenni and I decided that I would quit my job in Germany and move to the US. The funny thing is that if you quit your job in Germany you usually have to give a 6 – 12 week notice and this notice gets effective at the end of the current quarter.
Once I was here I applied for my work permit. That took about 2.5 month before I got the interview at the local CIS branch. By the time I had the permit I already accepted my job offer at eBay. When you apply for the Greencard you have to specify where you want to do your AOS (Adjustment of status) interview with the immigration. They finally decide if your petition is granted or not. Right after I accepted the offer I received a letter from Germany, telling me that I have an appointment in Frankfurt 3 weeks later for the AOS interview. As this was bad timing I re-applied to complete the AOS process in the US and about 8 month later I had the interview here. That was today. As Tenni and I are married a little over 2 years now, I received the unconditional Greencard, which makes me a “Legal Permanent Resident”.
Welcome to the club – MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
If you are in the K3 visa process or if you think about going that route, you can have a look at the K3 visa timeline that Tenni wrote. It has quite some records.