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Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.
Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq., Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 108019
Experience:  10+ years of experience in various aspects of U.S. Immigration Law.
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The facts: She had a card issued in 1998, expired in 2008 I

Customer Question

The facts:
She had a green card issued in 1998, expired in 2008 I assume.
She moved back to Japan in 2007 and has lived and worked there since. Never married, no children.
We reunited this year (I am a born in the USA citizen).
In August she came to visit using the visa waiver program.
We married on 8/13/16 in Ventura County
She has gone back to Japan.
Sooooo, I am assuming having to start the whole marriage visa, K3. File I-130 process, but is there a better way by renewing an 8 year old green card? Can she renew her green card.
Joe Sigel...and thank you
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 9 months ago.

Hello! My name is***** and I am a licensed attorney with more than 14 years of experience. I am here to assist you with your questions. Please understand that if I ask you for additional information, you are NOT charged again and our communications are NOT timed. So please see this as a relaxed conversation between friends. I am here to help.

Unfortunately, she abandoned that a long time ago (after being out just 1 year without a Re-Entry Permit) and there is no way to reactivate it. She could have stayed while in the U.S. on an ESTA and you could have petitioned for her to do Adjustment of Status so that she wouldn't have to leave the U.S. Now, she could have problems entering on an ESTA if shey discover her intent is to stay. So the safe options are the following:

1) The K-3 spouse visa takes around 9 months, you must be married. The I-129F will cost $340 and $350 for the visa processing fee. Then after she enters the U.S., she must still file the I-485 for $1070 and wait for the marriage interview about 5 to 7 months later.

2) The CR-1 visa (or IR-1 if your marriage is more than 2 years old) was taking about 1 year or so but now it is closer to 9 months. You must be married. The fees are $420 for the I-130, $330 for the visa processing fee, $88 for an Affidavit of Support fee. But once she enters the U.S., she enters as a Resident and she does not have to file (or pay for) an I-485 nor does she have to attend an additional interview. She just gets her green card in the mail a few weeks later.

So the K-3 might be a little faster, but it's basically obsolete because it is generally more expensive. The CR-1 (and IR-1) is taking about as long as the K-3, but generally cheaper. And no, there is no middle-visa that she can use to enter the U.S. while that process is pending. She will most likely have to wait outside.

Here is a link to those visas:

and another link:

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Customer: replied 9 months ago.
We are married and she does not plan on moving back until she has her immigrant visa, but does want to visit as a tourist during this 9 months. So I shall file an I-130 and start the process I guess. Yes?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I can call tomorrow but not available the rest of today...
Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 9 months ago.

Unfortunately, once you file for hter to come to the U.S., she isn't going to be allowed to visit. She's going to be stuck outside. So maybe it's better for her to come before you file for her, you file for her as soon as she arrives in the U.S., she stays for a few weeks or months, then goes back home and waits outside.

Let me know if you need anything else, but please do not forget to rate me positively. You can do that by clicking on the 3rd, 4th or 5th stars if you see them, or the smiley faces if you see them. If you do not see the stars or smiley faces, please click on my name and they should come out. Also, we do NOT finish just because it says "Rate to Finish" or something like that. Your question does NOT close and you can continue to ask questions without additional charge on the same question thread even after you leave a positive rating. Thank you for your understanding!

Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 9 months ago.

Hello Joe. I'm just following up with you to see how everything is going. Did my answer help? Please let me know. Thank you!

Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 8 months ago.

Hello Joe. Thank you for your kindness and respect. Good luck to you.