Immigration Issues/Wishing to marry filipina girlfriend
Dear Mr. Sung,
Im an enlisted man in the U.S. Army. Ive been dating a Filipina originally from Manila for a few months. At the end of this month, she is going back home to Manila.
I have leave coming up in October. Im heading out there to spend my leave with her and I will propose to her.
What is the best way to deal with marriage to a foreign national? Should we marry here in the States or there in the Philippines?
If here in the States we plan on applying for a K visa for around Christmas time and getting married in the 90-day window. But if it would be easier to marry in the Philippines, please let me know.
Can you recommend a law firm to help me with filing the proper forms?
Sounds like she is already here in the United States. If she is here, then the easiest way is to get married in the US and apply for permanent resident status based on marriage. This options assumes, however, that you will not be deployed while the application is pending.
If she wants to process this from the Philippines, she can do the K-1 visa or the CR spouse visa after marriage here or in the Philippines. The location of marriage does not matter if she wishes to process her visa from the Philippines. This may be a better option if you are doing to be deployed because your presence is not required at the US Embassy to process her visa, but your presence is required in the US if she wants to apply for permanent resident in the US.
You should know, though, that K-1 visa takes about 7 to 9 months to process from Manila, so a Christmas entry may be unrealistic. CR visa takes even longer (12 to 14 months).
You should also know that K-1 visa or CR visa cannot be done in the US. They can only be issued by the US Embassy in Manila and she will have to return home for visa processing. If she elects to stay in the US, she will be applying for "adjustment of status" as she is already in the US and does not need a visa.
My firm can help with either option (applying in the US or through the US Embassy). Please email me if you are interested (firstname.lastname@example.org)