So if any of you were thinking that it’d be such a great idea to marry someone foreign and how great that would be to hear a cute accent your whole life…maybe reconsider.
Just kidding honey! I love you!
Malcolm and I are now officially engaged! Yes, KB is Malcolm and I am Andrea. For all my freaking out about my privacy and everything like that, I figure only about three people are reading this thing anymore so who cares about anonymity?
Anyway, after the crazy weekend of telling family and trying to get in touch with people over four different time zones and in three different countries, we finally settled down a bit. And started thinking about visas.
OH MY GOD, THE VISAS.
This is an incredibly frustrating, horrible, mind-numbing, coma-inducing exercise, but unfortunately we have to do it. And every option we discover is worse that the last.
Basically we have two options for visas. There’s the K1 Visa, which is the ‘fiancée visa.’ This visa will take approximately 6-8 months to process. It costs approximately $900 and can only be used to enter the US once. Malcolm has six months to use it from the time it is issued and once he enters the US we have to get married within 90 days. He cannot work or leave the country during this time. One we get married, we have to apply for Adjustment of Status, which changes the status of his visa from Fiancee to Legal Permanent Resident. We also have to apply at the same time for permission for him to work and to travel outside of the country. This can take 1-2 months. Oh, and it’ll cost us over $1000. Visa total: $1900.
Second option is the K3 visa, which is for a spouse. This costs less as we don’t have do the whole ‘Adjustment of Status’ song and dance, but takes longer (8-12 months). We’d basically have to get married in Scotland but Malcolm can’t enter the US until his visa is approved. However, he can work as soon as he arrives into the US. Cost of visa: $950.
With either of these visas, we’re pretty much going to be apart for most of the next year. We are not happy about either of these things. It’s frustrating to be planning a wedding with no groom to plan with! Plus it’s also virtually impossible to take engagement pictures or pick out a wedding registry (which we desperately need, because we own NOTHING) with your other half in another country. It’s a horrible situation.
Enter: Direct Consular Filing.
Now here’s the deal with the DCF. It’s fast – currently processing in 5 months from application to approved visa. It’s cheap(er) – approximately $750. We can apply directly to the London Consulate instead of having to go through US immigration services. Once the visa is approved and Malcolm enters the US, he can work immediately.
The only catch? We have to be married. And we have to apply while I am still resident in this country.
So we are now in the situation of having to decide, after being engaged for less than a week, if we want to attempt to get married sometime in the next four weeks. There’s no Vegas here so we’d have to apply for a marriage license, which takes at least two weeks to process, possibly longer. I have to give myself enough time after the wedding to gather evidence of our relationship (sworn affidavits to establish the legitimacy of our wedding, marriage certificate, evidence of shared bank accounts) and send in the initial application form before I leave the country in October. This isn’t really how we wanted our wedding to be, plus none of my family are even here and I have no idea if any of them would be able to jump on a plane for a wedding a few weeks away.
However, the benefits of doing this are so huge that I’m starting to think we should just do it, even if it’s not exactly how we’d planned to get married. We can always still do a big ceremony in the US, we may even manage to get married on the exact same day, just a year later. We’d save SO much money and it would allow Malcolm to work as soon as he arrives in the US, but the best part is that he’d BE THERE. We could plan our wedding together instead of being apart for the next year.
I think this may be the craziest idea I’ve ever had, but I’m starting to think it could be done. Malcolm just wants to be together and married, so I bet he’d go along with whatever insane thing I decide would be easiest. Can I plan a wedding in three weeks? Hmm….