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Australian in Singapore with US "missionary" wife - IN319B?

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Australian in Singapore with US "missionary" wife - IN319B?

Postby PNGMK » Sun, 01 Feb 2015 5:15 pm

Australian in Singapore with US "missionary" wife - can I use I-130->IR1->IN-319B to expedite US Citizenship?

My wife of 7 years works for a bonafide US mission organisation in Singapore - we are trying to determine if she is actually a 'missionary' (note - she is paid about 50% of what she should be as it's a mission group so we believe she is).

We are looking at options for me to quickly obtain US LPR/citizenship for the following reasons: I'm 50 and I want to pay into the US SS for 40 quarters as I have a snowballs chance of getting an OAP in Australia thanks to the new 35 year residency rule (never mind losing eligibility to Medicare as well - I need to find a forum to bitch about those on) and secondly I may lose my job this due to the oil price collapse. HOWEVER the trap is I don't want to LEAVE my well paid job in Singapore for the 3 years residency in the USA to get LPR / USC (IF I lose my job - well all bets are off).

As I understand the process I should; 1. File I-130 ASAP via Chicago lock box (any chance as all of a DCF - seems very hard to do now). 2. Obtain a IR1 immigrants visa in <15 months hopefully (We should be able to avoid the CR1 AFAIK). 3. Travel to the US and apply immediately for a IN-319B with supporting paperwork. I believe I can leave while the paper work is being processed and return for the swearing in later. 4. My current employer is a US listed company - once I'm a US citizen they need to then start paying SS contributions and I'd need to file with IRS - pay tax in the USA (separate discussion).

Does anyone see any points I've missed? Any one on SEF with experience in this via the Singapore embassy office?

FYI 1. My wife owns a house (i.e. domicile in the USA) but has not lived in the USA for 15 years - always filed taxes tho and we have the wherewithal for her to sponsor me no issues. 2. We married in Australia - all paperwork is in English thank God. 3. We have an adopted daughter who we successfully put through the N-600K visa / citizenship route last year.
The immigration subreddit and the http://www.visajourney.com/content/compare has been very helpful but there's not much on there about the 319B. See this to understand it;
http://www.andersonvisa.com/blog/tips/u ... ies-abroad
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Australian in Singapore with US "missionary" wife - IN319B?

Postby zzm9980 » Sun, 01 Feb 2015 7:19 pm

Are you planning to reside in the Us or singapore?

If you can stay in the Us for 3-4 months and live near a USCIS office, just travel as a visa-free tourist and apply for an adjustment of status to PR (greencard) once there ~60 days.

Once you have pr, you can apply for citizenship in 2y 9 months. You're supposed to be resident in the Us during that time but there isn't any way to really prove it as long as you lay your taxes and don't claim he earned income exclusion. And honestly as long as you pay your full taxes that is probably all they care about.

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Re: Australian in Singapore with US

Postby PNGMK » Sun, 01 Feb 2015 7:29 pm

zzm9980 wrote:Are you planning to reside in the Us or singapore?

If you can stay in the Us for 3-4 months and live near a USCIS office, just travel as a visa-free tourist and apply for an adjustment of status to PR (greencard) once there ~60 days.

Once you have pr, you can apply for citizenship in 2y 9 months. You're supposed to be resident in the Us during that time but there isn't any way to really prove it as long as you lay your taxes and don't claim he earned income exclusion. And honestly as long as you pay your full taxes that is probably all they care about.


I'm trying to remove the residency issue altogether by progressing to USC status ASAP and working where I need to while paying tax/SS. I'd almost agree with you except that I'd be outside far more than inside the US and I suspect CBP wil pick it up.
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Re: Australian in Singapore with US

Postby PNGMK » Mon, 02 Feb 2015 1:22 pm

zzm9980 wrote:Are you planning to reside in the Us or singapore?

If you can stay in the Us for 3-4 months and live near a USCIS office, just travel as a visa-free tourist and apply for an adjustment of status to PR (greencard) once there ~60 days.

Once you have pr, you can apply for citizenship in 2y 9 months. You're supposed to be resident in the Us during that time but there isn't any way to really prove it as long as you lay your taxes and don't claim he earned income exclusion. And honestly as long as you pay your full taxes that is probably all they care about.


zzm - can I leave the USA while waiting for the LPR card to come through (the 60 day period)?
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Re: Australian in Singapore with US

Postby GSM8 » Mon, 02 Feb 2015 4:03 pm

PNGMK wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:Are you planning to reside in the Us or singapore?

If you can stay in the Us for 3-4 months and live near a USCIS office, just travel as a visa-free tourist and apply for an adjustment of status to PR (greencard) once there ~60 days.

Once you have pr, you can apply for citizenship in 2y 9 months. You're supposed to be resident in the Us during that time but there isn't any way to really prove it as long as you lay your taxes and don't claim he earned income exclusion. And honestly as long as you pay your full taxes that is probably all they care about.


I'm trying to remove the residency issue altogether by progressing to USC status ASAP and working where I need to while paying tax/SS. I'd almost agree with you except that I'd be outside far more than inside the US and I suspect CBP wil pick it up.

Citizenship application requires 50% of the days physically present in the US during the preceding 5 year period, then 3 month uninterrupted residence in the same county before application - that's where the minimum 2 years 9 months comes from. The application form specifically asks for entry and exit dates from the US during that preceding 5 year period and I'd guess they could easily verify if they wanted to.

Green cards themselves used to be easier to maintain with a once a year entry, but in recent years immigration seems to be questioning people at point of entry if they are out for more than a few months a year repeatedly - although this process appears to be subjective based on the CIS officer one encounters

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Re: Australian in Singapore with US "missionary" wife - IN31

Postby zzm9980 » Mon, 02 Feb 2015 7:40 pm

PNGMK wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:Are you planning to reside in the Us or singapore?

If you can stay in the Us for 3-4 months and live near a USCIS office, just travel as a visa-free tourist and apply for an adjustment of status to PR (greencard) once there ~60 days.

Once you have pr, you can apply for citizenship in 2y 9 months. You're supposed to be resident in the Us during that time but there isn't any way to really prove it as long as you lay your taxes and don't claim he earned income exclusion. And honestly as long as you pay your full taxes that is probably all they care about.


zzm - can I leave the USA while waiting for the LPR card to come through (the 60 day period)?


You have to apply for something called "advanced parole", and it comes with your temporary work permit. My wife got hers 6 weeks after initial gc application, but the gc itself was in hand less than 4 weeks after that.

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Re: Australian in Singapore with US

Postby PNGMK » Mon, 02 Feb 2015 8:20 pm

GSM8 wrote:
PNGMK wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:Are you planning to reside in the Us or singapore?

If you can stay in the Us for 3-4 months and live near a USCIS office, just travel as a visa-free tourist and apply for an adjustment of status to PR (greencard) once there ~60 days.

Once you have pr, you can apply for citizenship in 2y 9 months. You're supposed to be resident in the Us during that time but there isn't any way to really prove it as long as you lay your taxes and don't claim he earned income exclusion. And honestly as long as you pay your full taxes that is probably all they care about.


I'm trying to remove the residency issue altogether by progressing to USC status ASAP and working where I need to while paying tax/SS. I'd almost agree with you except that I'd be outside far more than inside the US and I suspect CBP wil pick it up.

Citizenship application requires 50% of the days physically present in the US during the preceding 5 year period, then 3 month uninterrupted residence in the same county before application - that's where the minimum 2 years 9 months comes from. The application form specifically asks for entry and exit dates from the US during that preceding 5 year period and I'd guess they could easily verify if they wanted to.

Green cards themselves used to be easier to maintain with a once a year entry, but in recent years immigration seems to be questioning people at point of entry if they are out for more than a few months a year repeatedly - although this process appears to be subjective based on the CIS officer one encounters


This above is why the IN319B interest me - it does away with 3 year naturalisation waiting period.
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Re: Australian in Singapore with US "missionary" wife - IN31

Postby zzm9980 » Mon, 02 Feb 2015 11:37 pm

Ok so I had to google for uscis 319(b) to find what you're talking about...

http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/file ... %20FAQ.pdf

Is this the section you're hoping your wife qualifies under?

A person who performs ministerial or priestly functions for a religious denomination or an interdenominational organization with a valid presence in the United States.

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Re: Australian in Singapore with US "missionary" wife - IN31

Postby PNGMK » Tue, 03 Feb 2015 12:31 am

That doc is a little out of date - the jobs now include missionaries (which includes missionaries who teach etc). But yes, that's the clause I hope to eventually use to short cut the naturalisation period.
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Re: Australian in Singapore with US "missionary" wife - IN31

Postby USPM » Tue, 03 Feb 2015 8:09 am

Long time lurker here.

I’m by no means in expert here, so I must give you the obligatory disclaimer to talk to a professional that actually knows what they’re talking about. With that being said, I’m a natural US citizen who sponsored my Singaporean wife for a green card years ago, so hopefully I can give you a few points to consider. Our situation was quite a bit different because we were both in the US at the time, so the method we used was to file an i-131 and then an i-485. My wife was already in the US on a work visa so once the petition (1-131) was approved we simply needed to adjust her status via the i-485. We did this ourselves without any attorneys and the process was fairly straight forward and quick.

In your case:

Section 319b of the N-400 requires you to hold a visa status that is eligible for immigration before applying. I see that you are intending to file the IR1 for this purpose. Your assumptions in points 1-4 seem correct as far as I can tell, and IMO if you can go this route it looks like a great plan because many people do not qualify for this and it can save you some hassle.

One other alternative process to consider. Once you have filed an 1-131 you are immediately eligible to file for a K3 visa via i-129f I believe. But beware that once you get a K3 you can not apply for the IR1, it’s one or the other.
http://www.uscis.gov/family/family-us-c ... rant-visas
You can then file an i-765 to apply for employment authorization on your K3 visa, which then allows you to receive a social security number. You may have to travel to the US to do this. After your 1-131 is approved you can then file an i-485 to adjust your previous K3 visa status and then receive the “green card” (if my memory is correct).

So why would I even suggest this? It’s not because I think it’s a better option, just a different (and less preferred) one in case you do end up leaving singapore. Should you decide to physically move to the US with your wife it may be easier and quicker this way. Even if you stay in Singapore, it may give you an alternate path to getting your SSN, which is what you need to pay into SSI. Contrary to common belief you do not need to be a US citizen to be liable (or receive) social security benefits if you meet other eligibility requirements.
http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi/spotl ... tizens.htm
If you are a US “greencard” holder you are technically subject to the same tax expectations as US citizens (a whole different topic). For the purposes of your goal to gain SS eligibility ASAP, as soon as you gain the appropriate legal status and an SSN you should be able to pay into SS regardless of whether or not you are a citizen since you work for a US company.
http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Internat ... ing-Abroad

There are two hurdles you are trying to jump through at once - gaining “PR” visa status, and gaining citizenship. The paths to each can vary quite a bit. With that being said, just gaining a greencard should provide a path to your goal. Personally I would probably try the original plan you suggested (i-130>IR1>N400/319b) even though it may take you longer in the intermediate step (the IR1). Either way, your eligibility/obligation for SS begins when you receive the greencard, not citizenship so keep that in mind as I’m sure you want to start paying into SS asap. The big problem of course, would be keeping your “green card” status if you are not physically resident in the US. A greencard holder can lose visa validity living abroad but a citizen can not (again, first hand experience here). On the other hand, with expedited naturalization it seems that you will be expected to immigrate to the US once your wife’s qualifying employment ends.

One thing you may want to look into with someone who knows more about this than I do is whether it might be faster to go i-130>K3>i485, and then do the N400/319b - or whether or not that is even a logical/possible decision.

It would be great if you can get the US citizenship asap and be done with it, but if for some reason the N400/319b path doesn’t work out and you don’t get citizenship approved right away - you should still be fine with getting the greencard/ssn to pay into SS while in singapore for a couple years and then immigrate to the US before the window runs out on your greencard. I’m sorry if any of this is confusing, and again I’m not an expert at this but I have been through some of it. Essentially what you need to do is follow the pattern of petition->visa->adjustment into an immigrant class that grants you work rights to pay into SSI. Citizenship is icing on the cake and guarantees your long term status.

So in summary, if you’re planning to stay in Singapore I would stick with your original plan but try to start paying into SS once your IR1 goes through while waiting for citizenship. I have personally used the US embassy in Singapore for similar issues with good results and I was going to suggest your wife file via DCF but it doesn’t look like that’s an option any longer.

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Re: Australian in Singapore with US "missionary" wife - IN31

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 03 Feb 2015 9:05 am

Excellent informative posts. Many thanks. This is good stuff. I got my wife her green card 30 years ago and we kept it for around 3 years, but as I was still working here and we had decided to put our kids into the local school system, We gave up her card voluntarily (I used to share an office with the INS immigration officer here in Singapore back when his office was in International Plaza - worked with JVA at the time) It was on his advice to give it up and then 3 to 6 months before I decided to move back to the US, to reapply and include the original Visa number for reference. However, lots of water under the dam and years down the road so not sure how that will pan out on my retirement in 7 years.

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Re: Australian in Singapore with US "missionary" wife - IN31

Postby USPM » Tue, 03 Feb 2015 10:58 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Excellent informative posts. Many thanks. This is good stuff. I got my wife her green card 30 years ago and we kept it for around 3 years, but as I was still working here and we had decided to put our kids into the local school system, We gave up her card voluntarily (I used to share an office with the INS immigration officer here in Singapore back when his office was in International Plaza - worked with JVA at the time) It was on his advice to give it up and then 3 to 6 months before I decided to move back to the US, to reapply and include the original Visa number for reference. However, lots of water under the dam and years down the road so not sure how that will pan out on my retirement in 7 years.


It looks like I'll be running into the same issue. We didn't realize that leaving the country for 12 months would be considered "abandoning" green card status. If the amount of time spent outside is only a couple of years it may be possible to file for an SB2 re-entry visa for the former green card holder to restore validity. If that option doesn't work out it is likely that the entire process is started again (petition, etc). This is one of the issues the OP and others should be aware of, especially since many Americans such as myself married non-citizens.

For what it's worth though, if you "have all your ducks in a row" the process of dealing with USCIS is fairly easy albeit slow.

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Re: Australian in Singapore with US "missionary" wife - IN31

Postby USPM » Tue, 03 Feb 2015 11:15 am

For the OP, here are a couple links that might help you out. I have no connection with these. The first link gives information on the "supporting" process for non-US based i-131 petitioners since this is a common point of difficulty for the US citizen living abroad. I think it should be easy for your wife to show "keeping ties" to the US since she owns a home and should file US taxes each year. There is an interesting tidbit in there about allowing filers to use (faster) DCF in "exceptional circumstances" such as reassignment. Probably doesn't apply to you but it's worth being aware of in case your situation changes.

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/ ... broad.html

The second link I came across talks pretty extensively about expedited naturalization and section 319b, with some interesting info in the comments. Hopefully this helps you out.
http://lawandborder.com/expeditious-nat ... ed-abroad/

Good luck! I'll probably have to deal with all this US immigration stuff again in a few years myself.

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Re: Australian in Singapore with US "missionary" wife - IN31

Postby PNGMK » Tue, 03 Feb 2015 4:36 pm

USPM wrote:For the OP, here are a couple links that might help you out. I have no connection with these. The first link gives information on the "supporting" process for non-US based i-131 petitioners since this is a common point of difficulty for the US citizen living abroad. I think it should be easy for your wife to show "keeping ties" to the US since she owns a home and should file US taxes each year. There is an interesting tidbit in there about allowing filers to use (faster) DCF in "exceptional circumstances" such as reassignment. Probably doesn't apply to you but it's worth being aware of in case your situation changes.

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/ ... broad.html

The second link I came across talks pretty extensively about expedited naturalization and section 319b, with some interesting info in the comments. Hopefully this helps you out.
http://lawandborder.com/expeditious-nat ... ed-abroad/

Good luck! I'll probably have to deal with all this US immigration stuff again in a few years myself.


USPM - all helpful. I have an immigration attorney looking at this now - she concurs the I-130 route is probably ok if I am not in a huge rush. The main issue is not a lot of people have experience with the IN319B - it's a pretty niche visa.

Thanks for the support on the SS issue - every one else seems to of the view that it's not worth it but they are either have a pension or the wherewithal not to worry about it. THE MAIN issue for me is to have medicare in the USA - not so much a pension.
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Re: Australian in Singapore with US "missionary" wife - IN31

Postby GSM8 » Fri, 06 Feb 2015 3:49 pm

PNGMK - based on a recent article in WSJ, non-US person may not have to pay into SS/Medicare for themselves, if US citizen/GC spouse already qualifies for those benefits.

http://blogs.wsj.com/expat/2015/02/02/u ... n-spouses/

(If link doesn't work try directly google for WSJ and "U.S. Social Security Tips for Expats & Non-Resident Alien Spouses")


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