The holidays are often a time of magic, love, family, and travel. It’s no wonder that many couples get engaged this time of the year.
I met with a couple last week that reminded me of this, and how immigration, romance and the realities of life don’t always work together seamlessly.
With Consular Processing, the foreign national would seek an immigrant visa outside of the United States, but the process right now would take at least a year – meaning a year apart.
With Adjustment of Status, the process would be done in the United States and potentially be done within five months – the drawback being that the last entry to the United States cannot have been with the fully formed intent to live here permanently. Otherwise, it could be viewed as visa fraud and lead to huge problems in the future.
The couple looked at each other, their faces sad and confused. They explained that the foreign national had a flight back to Italy the following night. If he left and came back, it would be with the intent to stay. They were ready to start their lives together, and they wanted to start now.
I told them that perhaps they should think about doing Adjustment of Status.
Their faces became animated as they realized that he might just not get on a plane the next night. Their lives together really could start now. They could get married and start the immigration process sooner than either one had imagined.
Within a matter of minutes, in my consultation room, their marriage timeline completely transformed.
I hated to break up their conversation about who they were going to tell first and how they were going to tell his boss that he wasn’t coming back, but I did have other people to see that day and that conversation was going to take them some time.
As they left, the U.S. Citizen turned to me and said thank you. She’d been wanting to get engaged for a long while, but her boyfriend had been hesitant – not because he doubted his love for her, but because he didn’t know how they could live together because of U.S. immigration laws. Now that he knew, she felt that the engagement would happen any day.
He heard her say that, and with an ornery smile, he said that maybe Santa would bring her something in a little box. And maybe he’d even make an early visit.
I don’t know when they’ll get engaged or married – very soon, I’m sure – but I know there was an empty seat on a flight from Atlanta to Milan the day after our consultation.