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I don't know where to start with all of this, its a little…

Hi! I don't know...

Hi! I don't know where to start with all of this, its a little overwhelming, but I have been in a relationship with a south african (i'm american) for about 5 years, and we want to get his citizenship here, but we're scared of being denied. We have no idea where to start and many resources we've used have been discouraging. So where do we start?

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps has he taken? Has he filed any paperwork with the U.S. government?

No, none at all yet, we arent really sure how to do any of that

Lawyer's Assistant: Has he talked to a lawyer about this?

No, he isnt sure if he should or not

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I cant think of anything

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Answered in 1 minute by:
3/26/2018
Judith Ludwic
Judith Ludwic, Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 29,508
Experience: 34 years as practicing immigration attorney, with non-immigrant and immigrant visa experience.
Verified

Hello my name is ***** ***** I am delighted to answer your questions. I am reviewing it and will post your answer momentarily.

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Customer reply replied 28 days ago
Thank you!

Welcome to JustAnswer! I have 34 years experience as an immigration attorney and I am here to help resolve your immigration issue. Tackling these issues can sometimes get confusing. Should you need to chat on the phone or document review, I am able to do that for an additional cost. Let me know at any time during our question and answer session if you are interested.

How did your fiance enter the US? What visa?

Judith

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Customer reply replied 28 days ago
we have not met yet, we've been an online relationship for years. we video call, we even do some work together, we chat daily all throughout the day, we are trying to meet for the first time this Fall
Customer reply replied 28 days ago
but we have no idea how to get started, what our best option would be. I would marry him in a heartbeat, we want to spend our lives together, but we don't want him to be denied citizenship by being hasty or forgetting to do something. we dont know what our first steps should be.

You cannot do anything for him without having met in person. If you meet in person either in South Africa or some other 3rd country you can come back and file a fiance visa petition for him.

It will take about 5--6 months for the petition to be approved and then an additional 3-4 months to have he complete the immigrant visa processing.

Here is a step by step guide with links to all forms required to be filed with USCIS. You will want to submit with your petition evidence of your 5 year relationship including print-offs of emails, chats, letters, and photos of any gifts you have exchanged. The burden is on you to satisfy USCIS this is a real relationship and not one for your fiance to use for immigration benefits.

You can also marry him in South Africa or a third country and file for him as your immediate relative spouse.

Again you will need to provide evidence of your good faith marriage with evidence of the relationship having been established before the marriage.

Again this process can take up to a year, somewhat longer than a fiance visa petition because background checks are more intense to have him admitted as an immigrant.

Here is the link to this process of petitioning a spouse who is residing outside the US.

https://www.uscis.gov/family/family-us-citizens/spouse/bringing-spouses-live-united-states-permanent-residents

Most US citizens do a lot of research and reading about the process online before initiating the process either way. I would highly recommend an consultation with a local immigration lawyer since you are just beginning to learn about the process. It is intensely complex and you are right that you do not want to make any errors.

We only provide general information on this site and more indepth consultation should be done face to face with a licensed attorney

You can find one at http://www.ailalawyers.com

I hope that helps! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I appreciate this opportunity to help you. I do not receive a salary here at JustAnswer, and am only compensated for my time after receiving a rating. If you are very satisfied with my answer please take a moment to click on the 5 stars at the top of the page. The question thread remains open and you can ask follow-up questions.

Judith Ludwic
Judith Ludwic, Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 29,508
Experience: 34 years as practicing immigration attorney, with non-immigrant and immigrant visa experience.
Verified
Judith Ludwic and 87 other Immigration Law Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Customer reply replied 28 days ago
Thank you! I think this will help very much!

You are very welcome and all the best to you in love.

Judith

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Judith Ludwic
Judith Ludwic
Judith Ludwic, Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 29,508
29,508 Satisfied Customers
Experience: 34 years as practicing immigration attorney, with non-immigrant and immigrant visa experience.

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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