I'm a California resident for 3 1/2 years now (Green Card holder). I'm planning to petition my girlfriend in the Philippines when I become a U.S Citizen. My first question is, which is the best way to get her here, if we get married before I apply her for a petition or not? My last question is, how much is the required annual income in order to petition for someone's visa (Affidavit of Support)?
Speak with an attorney for advice specific to your case.
Assuming you naturalize as a citizen, you have the option of either filing for a fiance visa for her, bringing here here and getting married here within three months and then applying for her green card here, OR getting married there, petitioning for here here and having her process for permanent residence in the Philippines to come to the U.S.
She might get here slightly quicker with the fiance visa, but it will take longer before she has an actual green card (probably about eight months longer, give or take). If you go the route of marrying abroad, you might wait a couple months longer for her to get here but she will have the green card when she gets here. Going this route permits applying for a K-3 visa to get her here in about the same time as the K-1, shaving off maybe a month or two at best, but is rarely worth the additional expense and effort.
With regard to how much income you need to show, you need to show 125% of the federal poverty guidelines for a household of your size - probably just the two of you, but "household" would also include other dependents and other people you've sponsored. I'm attaching a link to what those numbers are - take a look at the top table showing just over $18,200 for a household of 2 in the main 48 states (if you were in the military, you only need 100% of poverty line - the first column).
Speak to a lawyer to narrow down the best options for you.
It would be wise to consult with an immigration attorney to review the advantages and disadvantages of each option by which a U.S. citizen may accomplish a marriage and sponsorship for attaining Lawful Permanent Resident status.
Sufficient income is required for consular processing or adjustment of status, but not for the process for getting a K-1 fiance visa. Generally, the sponsor (for example, the U.S. citizen applying for his/her spouse) must demonstrate earnings of at least 125% of the poverty guidlelines for the applicable family size. Here is a link to the Guidelines: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-864p.pdf If the sponsor does not earn a sufficient amount of money to meet these requirements, a joint-sponsor (sometimes called a co-sponsor) may help.
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David N. Soloway
Frazier, Soloway & Poorak, P.C.
1800 Century Place, Suite 100
Atlanta, Georgia 30345 www.fspklaw.com
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