Green Card Catch-22
(Let the reader beware! This post is all about boring personal problems.)
I'M SO FRUSTRATED I COULD SCREAM.
Let's see if I can describe the situation without making it any more complicated than it already is.
In applying for Rie's immigrant visa, I (as the husband) am the petitioner, and she is the beneficiary.
One document required is the affidavit of support (I-864), which must be "completed, signed and notarized by the petitioning relative (sponsor)." I am both the petitioning relative and the sponsor on this affidavit.
But there are issues of current and sustainable income (in the U.S.) that are difficult for me to meet as the sponsor, since we live together in Japan and plan to move together to the US. So I FAX my questions to the embassy (they have no toll-free, live-operator number for visa info), and the response I get is, "Since you are currently living in Japan, you do not qualify as a sponsor. Please find a joint sponsor."
Wait a minute! I thought as the petitioning relative I'm also the sponsor. Besides, I coulda sworn I read something about sponsors living overseas. So I double check with the State Department I-864 FAQ page. Sure enough, it says right there that the "law requires that sponsors be domiciled (live) in any of the States of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any territory or possession of the United States." Well, the embassy fax did suggest I find a joint sponsor.
But the next paragraph on the FAQ states (emphasis added): "Under the law, a joint sponsor cannot sponsor an immigrant when the petitioner does not have a domicile in the United States."
What does this add up to? I can't sponsor my wife because we live together in Japan, and because we live together in Japan nobody else can sponsor her, either.
This sounds like a rule designed to encourage the Mail-order Bride trade.
Fortunately, a little farther down the FAQ, it says:
"The sponsor living abroad must establish the following in order to be considered domiciled in the United States:
- He/she left the United States for a limited and not indefinite period of time,
- He/she intended to maintain a domicile in the United States, and
- He/she has evidence of continued ties to the United States."
I believe I can establish these three. My question is, how do I convince the embassy folks if they weren't even willing to read this far in their own FAQ?