THE K-1 VISA WAITING GAME

k1 visa Mar 04, 2019

Immigration takes time, and the K-1 process is no exception. I won't give estimates for how long it takes here, as this varies depending on a number of factors. For the most up-to-date information, check in with both USCIS and the forums of your choice. In my experience, USCIS is more conservative in their estimates of time, which makes sense as their reporting is going to set expectations for future processing wait periods. To supplement that information, your forums will be a great place to find firsthand accounts of others' visa processes. VisaJourney has a great feature called the timeline where you and other users can share the dates that you filed your paperwork and that the subsequent steps took place.

One certainty is that there will be waiting. So what can you do to maintain your peace of mind during that time? Here's some advice:

1. REMEMBER TO DATE

Don't forget to date your partner during this waiting period. Before you ask, yes even do this...

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ASSEMBLING YOUR K-1 VISA APPLICATION

Uncategorized Feb 25, 2019

The K-1 visa process is no joke, as anyone who's gone through it can tell you. It only makes sense, as this is a pretty special visa which doesn't exist in many other countries. Rather than requiring a marriage and subsequent spousal visa to bring your partner to the US, a K-1 visa allows a non-citizen fiance to come to the US with the stipulation that their wedding must happen within 90 days. Following is a list of tips and resources to help you assemble your application, which is the first step of the K-1 process.

1. DECIDE IF YOU WILL HIRE A LAWYER

The decision to hire a lawyer to help you with your K-1 process or not is a personal one. I don't automatically recommend either option, as it depends on a lot of factors. Some of those things to consider include where your non-citizen fiance is from (and if it is a country considered "high fraud" by USCIS), whether either one of you has applied for a K-1 visa before, criminal history, and your own comfort with this process. If you...

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ADVICE FOR AMERICAN IN-LAWS

Uncategorized Feb 18, 2019

The majority of this series has focused on visiting your partner's family in a country other than your own, but in this final chapter, I'd like to offer a bit of advice to the American in-laws. Now, before anyone asks, no, this advice isn't unique to Americans. I think anyone with a son- or daughter-in-law from another country would benefit from reading it, but I feel more comfortable addressing it to Americans. This is in the spirit of "calling in" people from my own country, rather than speaking like I'm criticizing a group that I'm not a member of.

OPEN YOUR MIND

It is hard for all of us to have our world views challenged. Creatures of habit, we definitely are. But if you've been blessed with a brand new son- or daughter-in-law from a country different than your own, you've just gotten such a beautiful opportunity to have your view expanded. And this is like passive education — you don't even need to crack open a book!

If you've got some preconceived ideas about...

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LANGUAGE BARRIER BLUES (PART 2)

Uncategorized Feb 11, 2019

So far this series has focused on the partner who feels isolated and unable to communicate, but what about the other half of the couple? If you are the partner who does speak the majority language, then family visits can be stressful for you, too. You're feeling torn between your family and the person you love; you may be watching your person struggle and at the same time feeling pressure from your family, too. How can you make the best use of this time and still manage to enjoy yourself?

YOUR FAMILY

Before you even go on your vacation, I recommend setting some expectations for your relatives. If this is their first time meeting your partner, they may not realize the extent to which language is a limitation. They may be feeling so excited to get to know someone special to you and not even consider that there may be obstacles in the way. Even if your family has already met your partner, it's possible they will feel disappointed again that they are not able to...

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LANGUAGE BARRIER BLUES

Uncategorized Jan 28, 2019

By this point in the series, I hope you’ve learned some strategies for managing your language anxiety and had some necessary conversations with your partner. You should be feeling more prepared for that visit to your in-laws’ house…but what about once you’re actually there? In this post, I’m outlining advice for while you are actually with your family members with whom you experience a language barrier.

BE REALISTIC

First of all, remember those expectations you set with me the last time we talked? Yeah, don’t forget them. You can prepare and meditate and visualize and journal until the cows come home (do people still say that?), but the reality of being a human interacting with other humans is this: stuff will come up. Whether it’s stuff that you didn’t prepare for or stuff that triggers your negative emotions or stuff that leaves someone feeling misunderstood, STUFF is guaranteed. (I’m...

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TIPS FOR LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE

foreign language Dec 31, 2018

Learning a language as an adult can be a challenge. Unless you’re gifted with a unique ability to pick up a new language, you may find yourself struggling with new vocabulary or unfamiliar grammatical structures and ensuing frustration. As both a teacher and a student of languages, these are some of my favorite tips for making learning fun.

GAMIFY IT

There are so many apps out there for people who want to learn — so. so. many. Some of the most popular ones are Duolingo and Memrise, but there are countless others. Before you wonder why I’m not sharing any of the others with you, let me share the most important piece of advice with this tip: pick ONE. One app. Try one, and see if you like it. If you don’t, delete it and try a new one. But do not do what super eager students do (and I’m definitely speaking from experience here) and download five apps and then spend one very zealous day diving into each one for an hour.

Because here’s...

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PREPARING FOR A TRIP TO SEE YOUR IN-LAWS

When you don’t speak the same language as your in-laws, preparations for an extended visit should include more than just double-checking that you don’t forget to pack your contact solution. As we’ve touched on previously, it can be a stressful time for the partner who feels unable to communicate. Thankfully, there are some strategies the two of you can implement together to help make your trip as close to a vacation as possible.

CONVERSATIONS TO HAVE

As soon as you start to plan a trip to visit one of your families, it’s important to check in with each other about how the language barrier will be navigated. If it’s been an extended length of time since your last visit, it’s likely that some dynamics may have shifted slightly, so check in with each other.

1.) How can I support you? This is a question for both of you to ask the other. If you are the partner who isn’t able to speak the dominant language well enough to feel comfortable,...

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MANAGING FOREIGN LANGUAGE ANXIETY

If you read last week’s blog about feeling like a failure because you can’t speak your in-law’s language, then you may be pleased to discover that this week we are talking about practical strategies that you can use to manage your language-related anxiety. Just to be clear, I am not offering a substitute for medical advice. If you are in need of professional assistance for anxiety, then I can only encourage you to seek that out for yourself. For anyone facing mild situation-based anxiety, read on.

BREATHING

Don’t underestimate the power of taking a deep breath. We tell children to do this when they are overcome with stress, and anyone who has attended a yoga class can speak to the benefits of breathing deeply and filling up your lungs. I am not suggesting that you start doing sun salutations in a room full of your in-laws, but by all means, do steal away for a few minutes and take some deep breaths. (Fun fact: you can actually take deep breaths in...

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OUR K-1 VISA TIMELINE

k1 visa Oct 29, 2018

If you’re currently going through the K-1 (Fiance) Visa process, you know that it is long, and that it can be difficult to find information about how it works, especially in the specific embassy where you are applying.

Here, I’m sharing our timeline from application to adjustment of status.

APPLICATION:

On May 24, 2016, we sent our initial application (I-129F) to USCIS. Preparing this application packet took probably about two weeks — it required a number of forms that included information about both of us, proof that we’d met in person, and an affidavit of support. As we were living in Turkey at the time, we opted to send the packet back to the US with some friends who were visiting, rather than braving the international mail route.

On June 2, 2016, we received our first Notice of Action from USCIS, which is basically a verification that they have received your documents. It’s a relief to know that everything has arrived, but then there is no...

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WHEN YOUR IN-LAWS SPEAK A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE

It’s been relatively quiet here on the blogging front since our last trip to Turkey. As we prepared for our trip, I mentally prepared myself for the struggle I anticipated experiencing with the language barrier. I’d felt poorly in the past about my inability to communicate as well as I’d like, and I’d been frustrated with how I seemingly regressed to being the shy little girl that I once was as a child here in my own country. Not being able to be myself and truly engage was disappointing, frustrating, and I had decided that enough was enough.

While my husband (and my therapist) both reminded me not to be too hard on myself or my feelings, I was determined to face this language anxiety thing head on and conquer it once and for all.

Honestly, my plan failed — hard. By expecting perfection from myself, I immediately let myself down, which can easily spiral into feeling like a failure. One bad day gets blown up to mean that you won’t be able to...

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