We were down this path before when Pete proposed in Aug 2006 but I was really uncertain then. We stayed together, continuing our trans-Atlantic ultra-long distance relationship. And now that Pete's spent 3 months with me, I realized how lucky I am. We get along really well, and I especially love how we make each other laugh. We know it won't always be easy, but we spent a LOT of January talking about marriage, how we really feel and what our expectations are. We think we can make it work!
So yesterday morning we went to the immigration lawyer to start the process for the K1 fiance visa. Here's the timeline:
- I (via the lawyer) file the petition to the USCIS so that Pete can start his K1 part. USCIS approval is estimated to take 6-8 months.
- USCIS will then send my petition to the American consulate in London. Pete (via the lawyer) will complete his part of the application. He will also be interviewed in London, will have a physical exam, and will have a whole lot of vaccinations.
- It will then take the American consulate approx 4-6 months to approve his application and grant him the K1 visa.
- Once Pete has the K1 visa, he has 6 months to enter the US on that visa.
- Once Pete has entered the US on the K1, we have to get married in 90 days.
- After we get married, he has to file for a change in status immediately.
- 90 days after he files for a change in status, he will receive a 2 year conditional green card, his work permit, and he can apply for his social security number.
- 2 years after marriage, we have to be interviewed again by immigration to prove that we are in a continuing relationship. Then he will receive a green card that can be renewed every 10 years, like a driver's license.
- None of this means Pete would become an American citizen. That would be a whole separate process, should he want to pursue that.
So as of right now, we don't know when the wedding will be--most likely 2010. If we could, I'd have the wedding in May or June this year. We'd love to have a beach wedding on the Jersey shore in the Monmouth or Ocean county area. And now that I've been to a lot of weddings, I know what I like and what I will avoid like the plague!
Here's a sample:
- The officiant will not be allowed to ad-lib.
- The officiant will not be allowed to talk about failed celebrity marriages
- The wedding will be during the day, with a lunch reception.
- The cermony will be a civil one since we're agnostic.
- I will drive myself to the wedding. I have no interest in stretch Hummers.
- Transportation for the older folks will be provided. (I'd rather spend the money on getting the older folks there than myself).
- People will still be able to talk over the music that is played.
- It hopefully will be on the beach, or as close as possible to it.
- Any bridesmaids I have will not be wearing strapless gowns. I'm not interested in seeing bridal party members hike up their gowns for 4 hours.
- Chris Garrow will hopefully be the DJ, my Uncle Jim can hopefully play for an hour at the reception, and hopefully Wolfgang Bluhm can be the photographer (this is the first time the three of them are reading this)
- And I'd love to have it webcast in real time for all people who can't attend, whether they are in England or in America. Or at least taped and then put on youtube.
- Maybe I would sew my own wedding gown...but maybe I won't. I don't want a full-blown bridal gown, especially not if we're getting married on the beach.
We bought the ring at Menlo Park Mall after visiting the immigration lawyer. We looked at all the jewelry shops in the mall, and the last one, Littmann Jewelers, actually had the prices on display. The saleswoman, Jennifer, was very nice and low-pressure. The ring is a half carat princess (square) cut diamond with a white gold band. It sparkles very very nicely, or as my mom would say, "it has a lot of fire". :) And I want a diamond anniversary band as my wedding band (really, when have I ever done anything the traditional way?) The saleswomen in the store were really interested in the fact that Pete is English. One of them revealed that her son-in-law is from Australia and also came here on the K1 visa. Jennifer asked if I wanted to wear the ring out of the store. Of course! So she said Pete would have to propose so he said "will you marry me?" and I said "yes" and the 3 salesladies all clapped. It was so funny.
Then after buying the ring, we visited my parents down the shore. We drove past a few possible wedding sites. And I tried on my mother's wedding gown. It fit but it's not my style. The lace layer has yellowed but the underlayers are completely white as well as the veil.
I haven't blogged about my back but I think I hurt it while sneezing during my head cold last week. At first it wasn't so bad but the pain is getting worse every day. Getting into my car is the worst part; it brings tears to my eyes (and we got into and out of the car a lot yesterday). So last night we stopped at the doc-in-a-box and he prescribed some meds for my tendon and ligament separation and says I should feel better in a week. We're not driving anywhere today so that I can rest my back a bit. I also figured out a way of putting on my socks that doesn't hurt my back, after Pete had put my socks on for me this morning. And I have a grabber thing to help me pick things up off the floor after Pete leaves. Thank you Pete for helping me out!
Sigh, Pete leaves tomorrow night, day 89 of the 90 day visa waiver program. I'll save up vacay days and will visit him sometime in the spring. He'll come back here sometime in the summer.
I'm really excited and enthusiastic about our future. I'll be sad when he leaves tomorrow but it won't be so traumatic because the visa process has begun!
If you want to know even more details about the K1 visa process, here you go: Nonimmigrant Visa for a Fiance(e) K1