Thursday, April 28, 2011

Standard of Living

I took a consumer survey today that asked me if I would be willing to experience a decrease in standard of living in favor of my environmental concerns, (for me this means to use less energy, buy less stuff, pay more for organic local food, grow your own food, etc.) I didn't like how the question was posited, because it assumes that having less pollution (cleaner water, air, land) isn't an increase in standard of living. Honestly, some people are annoyingly clueless. (In this case survey writers. What's worse, there was no place on the survey to express this.)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Proving domicile in the USA on the I-864 (the affadavit of support)

How to show domicile on the I-864 when you're living abroad. I totally had an "immigration zombie" moment with this one.

I believe the reason showing domicile is important is because U.S. Immigration wants to be sure that you will be arriving in the United States with or before your spouse. If you're not living in the States, but your alien spouse is, I imagine that makes the I-864 pretty worthless to the government.

The domicile part of the I-864 is sort of confusing because if you are applying DCF, it's because the U.S. citizen applying is a "resident" in another country. However, you have to prove your "country of domicile" is the United States. You can be a resident somewhere outside the U.S. and have you country of domicile be the United States. If you go to Part 4, question 15 on the I-864 instructions, it gives you options A, B, and C. For most people trying to prove B and/or C is the way to go.

Possible proof of domicile:
On the I-864 instructions they list the following as proof of U.S. domicile:
  • your voting record in the United States,
  • paying U.S. State or local taxes,
  • having property in the United States,
  • maintaining bank or investment accounts in the United States,
  • having a permanent mailing address in the United States.
  • evidence that you are a student studying abroad or that a foreign government has authorized a temporary stay.
Or if you don't have these, you can show the following:
  • accepting a job in the United States,
  • signing a lease or purchasing a residence in the United States,
  • registering children in U.S. schools.
On the visa forums, users make even more suggestions of what to submit as proof of domicile:
  • a letter from parents/siblings/etc. saying that you are welcome to live with them while you get set up in the United States
  • a bill from a U.S.-based health insurance in your name or that you're included on
  • that you are giving up your lease or selling your house abroad
  • if you will be studying in US, send them documentation that you are enrolled in a college or university
Also there's a wiki at British Expats which is super helpful. It gives suggestions on how to prove domicile in the USA.

For more info on this, i.e., other people's experiences, it's very helpful to do a search for "I-864 and domicile" or something to the effect at british expats forum on the "USA, Marriage-based visas" branch.

Here's a link to the USCIS forms. As of April 14, 2011, anyway.