Jun 9, 2004

Green Card Catch-22

(Let the reader beware! This post is all about boring personal problems.)


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?


At 1/14/2006 9:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, we're in the very same situation right now. Could you tell me how you proved that you still domiciled in the U.S., even though you were living abroad? Couldn't find your email on here. Mine is: s (at) b r o s i n s k i (dot) c o m

At 3/16/2006 1:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this might help.

Establish an account with a company using a U.S. address. This usually would be something like a utility company or phone company.

Since the name and address is in the U.S., the immigration dept can not tell the difference. If you have a relative in the U.S., then buy a cell phone online with a U.S. shipping and billing address.

This should be able to cover the requirement.

It's similar to dealing with capitol gains taxes when selling real estate. You must have the property be your primary residence for several years. This basically means that your mail must go there as your primary residence, however it does not mean that you really have to live there. The government can not tell whether you lived somewhere for a number of years, but they can tell how long you have been recieving mail for a specified address.

Good Luck!

At 2/06/2007 7:54 PM, Anonymous Pat McGinley said...

Is a sponsor reponsible for all of the medical expemses of the individual beeing sponsored? That would appeare to be a huge exposure.

At 9/21/2008 3:04 PM, Blogger Eric said...

My wife and I are going through the exact same thing. I imagine you're living in the U.S. by now, and I'm curious as to how you handled it. If you could email me I'd really appreciate it.

bruceleeeroy[at mark goes here][yahoo goes here].com


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