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Old 05.12.2011, 12:28
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Huge marriage question

I'm hoping that I can get some guidance from the forum on this issue.

I am a US citizen, my fiancé is French. She has been working on an H1-b visa in the US and is looking to work in Switzerland. We have been putting off marriage for a while because we were not sure where we were going to be. Now we know we want to be in CH and would like to make arrangements for that.

The main issues has been that the H1-b visa requires certain extra paperwork when the visa holder marries which limits travel rights and work rights. We are aware that in CH there is a family regroupment process that allows married couples to be together. However, we have not gotten married because of the current visa. We see that we will need to now.

So...it appears that it is a matter of timing. If I can secure work in CH, then we are not worried about marriage as we will both have work visas in CH. but, we need to plan for the event that I cannot find work.

If anyone can offer guidance for timing and the like...I will be forever grateful and will offer you a puppy and a bag of coffee as a gift.

Cheers!
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Old 05.12.2011, 12:33
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Re: Huge marriage question

I would suggest that you marry because you are in love and want to spend the rest of your lives together. And you do it when you are ready to make this lifelong commitment in front of your friends family (and deity if applicable).
But if you want to base your life and relationships purely on paperwork then that's up to you.
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Old 05.12.2011, 13:11
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Re: Huge marriage question

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I would suggest that you marry because you are in love and want to spend the rest of your lives together. And you do it when you are ready to make this lifelong commitment in front of your friends family (and deity if applicable).
But if you want to base your life and relationships purely on paperwork then that's up to you.
With all due respect, I don't see where the various governments in question even recognize that love exists. In the eyes of beurocracy, Marriage is not about love, it's about property/goods. This can be proven quite easily as there is not one litmus test provided by a governmentent that love between two people exists. As such, we should not be compelled to marry because have to for the purposes of immigration. Not that it matters, but I can assure you that those who truely love each other likely don't need marriage to prove their love to themselves or to the public. Or more to the point, demonstrate their commitment to each other.

I would, if you could, prefer that you offer tangible advice. I'm asking for practical assistance. Not a lecture.

Thank you kindly
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Old 05.12.2011, 13:23
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Re: Huge marriage question

I'm sorry but your post is a bit confusing without clarifying a few things.

It seems that you are in US contemplating a move to CH, yet your location seems to indicate otherwise (neuchatel/zurich?).

Do one or both of you have a job/job offer here? that will determine whether you can live/stay here, but slightly easier for her for job seeker permit if no job.

Yes, you can come here on family regroupment after marriage, also potentially with finance visa, under certain circumstances.
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Old 05.12.2011, 13:36
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Re: Huge marriage question

The process for getting a work visa for EU versus non-EU is different.

Your girlfriend/fiancée will get one automatically because she is EU.

You on the otherhand have to apply for one. The acceptance for
a work visa depends on cantonal quotas, your skillset, nationality, etc.

It is MUCH easier if you are married, but is it enough for you to
make an enduring commitment?
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Old 05.12.2011, 13:37
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Re: Huge marriage question

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I'm sorry but your post is a bit confusing without clarifying a few things.

It seems that you are in US contemplating a move to CH, yet your location seems to indicate otherwise (neuchatel/zurich?).

Do one or both of you have a job/job offer here? that will determine whether you can live/stay here, but slightly easier for her for job seeker permit if no job.

Yes, you can come here on family regroupment after marriage, also potentially with finance visa, under certain circumstances.
We do indeed reside in the US. She is currently interviewing for one of two positions: either in Zurich or Neuchatel. It is very likely that a move will come to fruition as the Zurich offer has been extended.

I was not aware of a fiance visa. Do you have a link for this?
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Old 05.12.2011, 13:52
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Re: Huge marriage question

I've been through this, sort of.

Application for permanent residency is always optional - you can marry and your wife can stay an H1B until you're sure. You don't have to do anything after marriage unless you intend to stay in the US. Unless the laws have changed, an H1B visa holder can marry a US citizen, but you don't have to adjust H1B status till you want to. The other side of the coin is that just because you marry a US citizen, you don't have any immediate rights to permanent residency, just the ability to apply and you don't have to wait for an available visa number, if that makes any sense at all.

My husband and I got married when he was on his H1-B, actually it was the start of his H1B. We didn't apply for his green card (which I believe is what you're talking about) until we were sure we were going to stay in the US. You have 6 years on an H1B, if I'm not mistaken, and I think we applied after 4 years, and got his green card 2 years later. One of the questions that the immigration guy asked us at the green card interview was why we waited so long to apply for the green card and I simply said that we hadn't decided where we wanted to live.

The extra paperwork you're talking about is advanced parole,I think, which is a travel document. If you are in the US on an H1B, and you apply to adjust status to permanent residency based on marriage, you are not permitted to leave the US while your green card is in process, so you apply for what's called "advanced parole". This is a travel document allowing one or more entries back into the US while the application is in process. It's a pain in the ass, like most filing, but it's not insurmountable.

So I'd say, get married when you want to.

Now I should qualify this by saying that we married in 1995, filed for the green card in 1999 and got it in 2001 (we were lucky that it was before 911). Maybe the rules have changed.

Now, if she takes the job in Switzerland and you come too, and you decide at one point to go back to the US, then you can apply for permanent residency on the basis of marriage from Switzerland. Her travel to the US may be restricted while that's in process, but it's usually 6 months or so rather than years. I just wanted to make the point that marital status is independent of visa status and you can be married to a non-US citizen and she doesn't have to have a specific US visa unless you intend to live and work in the US.

hope that helps.

Last edited by edot; 05.12.2011 at 14:24.
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Old 05.12.2011, 23:24
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Re: Huge marriage question

Edit....thank you. You confirmed what bits and pieces I have put together!! Thank you so so so much.
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Old 05.12.2011, 23:26
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Re: Huge marriage question

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Edit....thank you. You confirmed what bits and pieces I have put together!! Thank you so so so much.
That was supposed to say EDOT...but the iPad corrected it! Sorry edot!
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Old 06.12.2011, 09:03
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Re: Huge marriage question

None of my business, but French, you say....?
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Old 06.12.2011, 10:08
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Re: Huge marriage question

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That was supposed to say EDOT...but the iPad corrected it! Sorry edot!
Love that autocorrect! Not! Good luck.... US Immigration is less than fun.
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Old 06.12.2011, 11:27
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Re: Huge marriage question

The Kreisbüro in our block (ZH7) has been very helpful when we had questions of a similar kind. Maybe you can ask your.
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Old 06.12.2011, 18:28
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Re: Huge marriage question

Hi,

We had a similar situation (I'm a US citizen, husband is a French citizen, we were living in the US). Everything above seems generally true-- you don't have to get a green card, especially if you will be moving away pretty quickly.

I wanted to add that my employer in Switzerland recommended that I (the US citizen) use the family regroupment procedure to get a work permit and visa, rather than apply for my own through my work. B permits for work often have restrictions if a non-EU citizen applies alone, and they are subject to quotas. If your EU citizen spouse has a job in Switzerland, they have an unqualified right to live and work in Switzerland. As their spouse, you also have the same unqualified right. Your permit depends on your spouse, but will be easier to get, isn't subject to quotas, and won't be tied to your specific job. I would recommend that path if you can do it.

Another tip is that the Swiss immigration authorities in the canton we are moving to have been very helpful and transparent, and we have also called our local consulate several times with questions. If you have immigration questions, you or your spouse's employer can easily call the authorities and get good answers.
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Old 06.12.2011, 21:29
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Re: Huge marriage question

I'm not sure about the U.S. regulations as my SO and I got married in Europe and then moved to the U.S., but yes, there is a fiance visa. I think she may need to go back to France and come in on that visa, but I can't remember the fine print. As a US citizen coming to Switzerland, you will get a B permit right away (which is like a green card) if you are married to an EU citizen. It will reduce your bureaucracy here in CH because you will be treated like an EU citizen thanks to that marriage certificate.

Could you get married in France? That may be the easiest option.
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Old 06.12.2011, 23:15
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Re: Huge marriage question

my hubby is french. i am american. we met, married in nyc and moved to switzerland with his job. he had a visa as an eu with job and when we moved, i went to the controle des habitants and applied, gave paperwork and received a permit with permission to work. it was extraordinarily easy and required nothing of us to do beforehand.
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