4/17

DISCLAIMERS:

  1. My and Daniel’s K-1 visa has just been approved. The visa has been issued and is in his passport. Therefore, I can tell you that the process described below DID work for us.
  2. However, even though we have successfully completed the K-1 visa process, we are not experts. We are not immigration lawyers and do not work for any immigration services. I am only offering advice, and if you want professional, 100% certain advice – go to a lawyer or government official.
  3. This information is only applicable to a U.S. citizen whose foreign fiancé(e) is immigrating to the United States.

So, you have fallen in love with a foreigner. No? Just me? Well, if you have, let me offer some rudimentary advice on how and why to go through with the K-1 visa.

Visa JB Graffiti

What is the K-1 fiancé(e) visa?

In layman’s terms, K visas are “family” visas that allow for family members to join their relatives in the United States. The K-1 visa allows non-U.S. citizens (like my Australian Daniel) to join their U.S. citizen fiancé(s) (like me!) in the United States. The immigrant DOES NOT become a citizen with this visa.

Can my fiancé(e) and I get a K-1 visa?

Technically speaking, there are only three requirements for getting a K-1 visa.

  1. You must be truly engaged to the immigrant (duh).
  2. The two of you must have met in person within the last two years (of the petition filing date).
  3. You must make above the poverty line for your household size. Or, if you are a part-time worker and do not make enough annually (like me, as a college student), you must have a co-sponsor, and the two of you together must make above the poverty line for your household size. This is to ensure that the immigrant will not become a ward of the state until s/he finds employment.

Should my fiancé(e) and I get a K-1 visa?

Making the choice to immigrate to a foreign country to be with the person you love is exciting and romantic – it is also stressful and risky.

  1. First, ask yourself all the traditional “ready for marriage?” questions. Are you certain about this person? Do you truly love him/her? All that jazz.
  2. Next, are you (as an individual) ready to have your entire relationship literally examined and picked apart, not only by the government, but by your family and friends?
  3. Is one of you really and truly willing to leave your home country (and family and friends and everything you’ve ever known) for the other person WITHOUT EVER GUILTING THEM ABOUT IT OR USING IT AGAINST THEM LATER?
  4. Can you afford it? The entire visa process (counting postage and final plane ticket) costs roughly $3,000. This cost is spread out over several months, but it is still something to consider.

Is there any way to save money?

Obviously, as Broke-Ass Brides, we’re always looking to save. Unfortunately, because most of the fees are government-mandated, there are not many opportunities to save money. Here are the few (read: only) ways Daniel and I have found to save money during this process:

  1. Don’t hire a lawyer to help you. This one is a risk. On one hand, an immigration lawyer comes with a guarantee that your I-129F petition will be accepted. On the other hand, they cost at least $1,000 and honestly, you still have to provide all the same information and do most of the grunt work. We decided to skip the lawyer, and it worked out fine, but it was a risk.
  2. Do it right the first time. Seriously, quadruple check all directions before you begin your forms. Quadruple check the forms before you mail them. If you mess up, you may have to start over from square one, and then you’ve lost your entire investment.
  3. Sign up for frequent flyer points. Daniel and I have been extremely lucky in that we have had several visits together. From the second visit, Daniel has been accumulating frequent flyer points for our airline of choice. Plus, his family and friends have contributed to those points as well. Because of this, his final plane ticket will be (close to) free. This will save us about $1,200 to $1,500.
  4. Exploit the conversion rate. Right now, the U.S. dollar is stronger than the A.U. dollar. Therefore, my money goes farther than Daniel’s does, and visa expenses are “cheaper” for me. Some people may struggle with putting up cash for their significant other, but the way we see it, this is a joint venture, and in the end, what’s mine is his and his is mine anyway.

So how do you even get a K-1 visa?

There are quite a few steps and a TON of supporting documentation, but here are the bare bones:

  1. Get engaged (again, duh).
  2. The U.S. citizen completes an I-129F petition (and sends in a ton of paperwork). This says, “Hey, Government, my fiancé(e) and I love each other. He/She’s pretty cool. Will you let him/her apply for a visa to be with me?”
  3. Once the I-129F is accepted, the foreign fiancé(e) applies for the actual K-1 visa. This says, “Hey, I’m the fiancé(e). Can I come over?”
  4. Once the K-1 visa is approved, the immigrant has six months to move to the U.S.
  5. Once the immigrant arrives, the couple has 90 days to become legally married.
  6. Once married (yeah, it’s NOT over), the immigrant applies for an “Adjustment of Status,” which makes him/her a permanent resident of the U.S. and gives him/her a “temporary green card.”
  7. After two years, the immigrant receives a permanent green card.

Again, the immigrant is NOT a citizen at the end of this process. S/he is only a permanent resident, which means s/he can remain in the United States permanently, but will not have all the rights of a citizen. Citizenship is a whole different barrel of monkeys.

How long does this take?

It depends. The I-129F petition can take anywhere from one month to one year to get approved. Ours took 1.5 months. After the petition is approved, it typically takes another three to six months to get an interview with the U.S. embassy/consulate in the foreign country. Daniel’s interview was only about 1.5 months after our approval date. At that interview, the immigrant will receive an approval or denial.

Where can I get more information?

  1. Always check out the official website of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services first.
  2. The Bureau of Consular Affairs (U.S. Dept. of State) also has a helpful guide.
  3. Another great resource is Visa Journey, which explains the entire K-1 visa process with handy dandy step-by-step guides and timelines.

Visa Love

I know it’s overwhelming. I know it seems ridiculous and crazy. But, trust me: if you really love someone and cannot live without him/her, it’s worth it! If nothing else, now you know why this international bride-to-be has way too much on her plate to pick out flowers just yet!

And to you other international couples, best of luck!

Kate

4/16

affiliate disclosure

You guys, I’m admittedly the worst high-heel wearer on the planet. I live for my flip-flops (no, seriously. If there isn’t snow in my direct walking path, flip-flops are on my feet. And I’m from Wyoming, so that ‘s some serious dedication). I’m 5’2″, so you’d think the opportunity to be just a little bit taller every once in a while would get me going, but really, the only time I’m faced with the prospect of rockin’ a killer pair of stilettos is for a wedding or some other schmancy event. And those are usually in the spring or summer and outside. Since I’m laughingly far from a dainty ballerina who can flit about on her toes, heels + grass = inevitable sinking, which takes me back to my starting height, but adds a splash of comedic relief as I try to unstuck myself.

SM logo_no HH_web

For years, I’d been seeing the Solemates High Heeler around the Internets — but I think my initial introduction was in a wedding magazine, when I was planning my first wedding. And my curiosity has been piqued ever since. Last November, in Florida for my fella’s cousin’s wedding, I was finally in a situation where I could try them out for myself … and nudge right into the good graces of his family by getting a pair for the bride’s mother — who was wearing a pair of killer heels that would have javelined themselves right into the soggy lawn. That’s what I like to call a double-win, if I do say so myself.

I got them, immediately put the Solemates on my go-to black strappy heels and dashed — er, rather, hobbled like a baby giraffe learning to walk, because I’m that graceful — outside to see if they really, truly, actually worked. And they did. Duh.

This is me. For realz. Can’t you tell by the unicorn outfit?

So, what are they and what do they do? Solemates High Heelers are little plastic things that stand about an inch tall, slip onto the bottom of your heel and expand the base size of your heel, keeping you from sinking like a stone or falling through the cracks in the boardwalk. They come in clear, black, silver or gold, and since grass is typically taller than an inch, you can’t see them in your wedding photos. Not that people are closely examining what’s going on with your stiletto anyway, though I guarantee that there will be chicks who note that you and your needle-thin spikes seem to be floating above the grass and will ask you what your secret is. They come in different sizes — narrow, classic and wide — to accommodate different heel fatnesses (making up terminology here, folks) and you can pop them on and off different heels to reuse for each wedding and each different pair of shoes. Bonus for you city slickers: Wear them with your heels on cobblestone to protect your precious kicks and save yourself some skrilla by making your trips to the shoe doctor less frequent.

IMG_2500

If you’re planning on wearing your fanciest shoes for your wedding, or as a bridesmaid, you should probz get some of these. And if you’re the bride, go ahead and get the Wedding Rescue Kit, one for yourself and one for each of your girls. Trust me, you’ll thank me in the long run. With a huge swath of goodies inside (earplugs, tampons and antacid, just to name a few) any wedding disaster can quickly be averted and the partying can continue.

 

christen

4/16

Wedding registries are hard. Everyone’s telling you “don’t forget anything!” “register for more than you need!” “don’t forget China!” “you can always return it!”

Why can’t I just register for the things I want? Neither Michael nor I drink coffee so we really don’t need a coffee maker. My parents …

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4/15

BALANCING ACT

This article popped up on The Huffington Post, and as I tend to do with all things wedding- or marriage-related on a site I frequent, I opened it and read it. And my heart fluttered a bit. There does often seem to be this abounding sense of pessimism surrounding

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4/15

Train cars

I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that my original Joshua Tree location was a bust. The wind, small size, and remoteness have officially become deal-breakers. It would’ve been so hip and cool! Look at the train cars again!




There’s a ping-pong table in the pink one!

After a …

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4/14

affiliate disclosure




Hey BABs! You know we’re always trying to find the coolest, sweetest partners to work with to bring you rockin’ frocks at a price that won’t kill your budget. And with our ever-lovin’ love for cool, retro styling, Unique Vintage is one of those partners that holds a special spot …

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4/14

What I imagine the bulk of our wedding photos to look like. (For the record, I know these people. I

The one and only thing that Justin asked to have the most input on (after the venue, naturally) was our wedding photographer. I came from the state of mind that I could edit my own damn photos, all 9,000 of them. And that my friend only paid $300 for hers …

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4/11

affiliate disclosure




The weekend is upon us, so before you bust out your shopping shoes and grease up that debit card, take a gander at the 10 rockin’ deals I found for this week’s Ten for the Weekend! Whether you’re aching for some killer Cole Haan pumps or scheming ways to share …

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4/11

affiliate disclosure




Happy Friday, Broke-Asses! From what the ubiquitous Facebook has been telling me, spring has definitely sprung, and with that comes the beginning of beautiful blooms. Now, I’m not a huge flower person, but I can certainly appreciate a nice little dose of floral from time to time. So in the …

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