U.S. immigration Sponsoring a Spouse - , client of

This is / was the only one answered today - you might want to save it if you are considering moving to the USA, have friend, etc, etc., etc.
Hello David,
We are writing to you because we are considering moving back to the U.S. 
We are a family of four.  My husband, xxxxxxxs a Canadian citizen by birth; I  am a U.S. citizen by birth, and have been a permanent resident of Canada since 2005.  We got married in 2000.  We have 2 daughters -xxxx na (born in   2003 in the USA - she is a U.S. passport holder), and xxxxxxxxxxxx  (born 2006, in Canada and a Canadian passport holder).
We would like to move to the U.S. by Christmas of this year.
Question 1:
Other than the I-130 form (petition for alien relative), and the G-325 (biographic information) what other forms do we need to fill out?
Question 2:
At what point can my husband start (a) seeking employment, and (b) start working?
Question 3:
How long will it take for his petition/Visa to be approved?
Thank you so much for your time,


david ingram replies:

I am not a lawyer and not a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

What I am sending to has been distributed many times and I believe it to be true but if you have any serious questions, they should be directed to a US immigration attorney such as Terry Preshaw  at http://www.crossbordervisas.com/trry.htm

or David Andersson at - http://www.whoswholegal.com/firms/6194/andersson-cross-border-law-corporation

Off the record, You are not going to get to the US for Xmas unless you just go for a vacation and stay there and apply from within.  That is NOT something I recommend because you would be willfully violating US immigration laws if you crossed the border with yiour Canadian husband with the intention of staying and it is my opinion that it would likely take you longer to get his green card under those terms.
PLUS, if you went that route, he could not work until the green card was issued and that could easily take 18 months.

If you apply from Vancouver, you submit the I-130 to the Vancouver office.   However, your actual interviews, etc, will take place in Montreal.

You can, if you wish, also mail your paperwork to Vermont. Again, I recommend that you do not do so.

GO TO  http://www.consular.canada.usembassy.gov/immigration_usa_relative.asp  for a USCIS explanation of what you need.

Your Canadian born daughter is also a US citizen and your US born daughter is also a Canadian citizen.  I recommend that you get both daughters their alternate passports as soon as possible..

Another complication is that for you to sponsor your husband, you should have earned $25,000 or so a year.  You are not close to qualifying by income tests.  However, depending upon your assets, you may be able to qualify but you may find you need to find a US relative to be a co-sponsor for you.


Start your own application for Canadian Citizenship.  There is absolutely NO disadvantage to your being a Canadian citizen.  It means you can come back to Canada at any time without proving your status as a Permanent Resident and without having to live with your husband if something goes wrong with the marriage.

While youare waiting out your Canadian citizenshgip, you can get your husband's gren card at your leisure. It will take you at least a year to get his paperwork through so that he can just go down as a green card holder and work.

In the meantime, while he is waiting, he can continue to make his good income in Canada and maybe you can increase your income with a full time job for a year and a half and be in a better position to sponsor him withoiut depending upon a co-sponsor .

Also, be advised that while he is applying for a green card, he can NOT cross the US border in either direction.

Another possibility is that he gets another job visa to go down as I assume he had when you were married and your daughter was born in Scottsdale.

If he was there on a working visa and you decided to apply from within the US, the process could be simpler while he is working and you do not have the time constraints.

However, I still recommend that you get YOUR Canadian citizenship first.,

The following older question will likely help you as well.


I am an American on a NAFTA work permit stationed at an office in Vancouver since 2003.

My legal residence is in Seattle, WA I recently purchased a home in Bellingham and I will close the transaction at the end of June, 2007.

Last year, I married a Canadian citizen, and I am about to send K-3 forms in to the US Immigration in Kansas City in order that I can bring my spouse over.

According to the US immigration site, these forms expedite the moving of a spouse. Do you have any experience with these forms?  If so, can you review for accuracy? Please advise.

david ingram replies:

I apologize for just getting at this now.  It was buried in some 2,000 emails which I have finally got to as our June 30th season winds to a halt.

Bellingham  is a neat place.  I am looking at 4 steel Chile Pepper plates from the Mexican Restaurant that I bought when I was down there on June 18th.


Realize that from the time you submit your forms, your wife can NOT cross the border either way.  If she is in the US when you file them, she can not come back to Canada for any reason until the paperwork is done and the green card is issued. (there is an exception if something particularly important comes up - she can apply for an advance parole on an individual basis at a cost of $170.00.)

See general directions for form I-131 at:

See the actual form I-131 at  - http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/I-131.pdf

If she is in Canada when you file your I-130 Application for your wife, them, she can not go into the US either.  When applying from Vancouver if she is in Canada, the paperwork ends up being conducted through the Montreal Consulate.

I am assuming that the paperwork has gone already.  If it has not, I would be glad to look it over for you.

The following is a list of the forms that you will likely need (everything but the poverty guidelines) .

You can find all of the forms at:

Start off with form I-130 Petition for an Alien relative (this is after a marriage)

If you decide to go the fiancée route, he has to apply from out of the US and can NOT cross the border back to the US until it is approved, use form I-129-F

At some point you will need G-325 For his Biographic Information   http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/g-325.pdf

Or you might need G-325-A instead - http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/g-325a.pdf

He will need an I-683 - Medial certificate


You will need an I-134 - Affidavit of Support

http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/I-134.pdf or instructions at:

I-864 - Or another Affidavit of support - If you do not work, you will need a relative to co-sponsor or use other household income and assets

I-864A - contract between yourself and household member

You will want to read this for the poverty guidelines
Form I-864-P -
http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/I-864P.pdf - extra instructions at

Employment authorization  I-765
http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/I-765.pdf  extra instructions - Family Unity is Number 274a.12(a)(13)  here (Family Unity)

Hope this helps.

In the meantime, I hope that you are getting your US returns done properly and filing form T D F 90-22.1.  These are only necessary if you had more than $10,000 in Canadian accounts at any time in 2006.  If you had an RRSP account, you also need to file form 8891 for each RRSP.  See the following older question.


Hello Mr. Ingram:

I understand your rates.  I wish to find out if you have any experience in dealing with the following issue. 

A first-time filer, US citizen by birth only, 42 years old, trying to determine what non US accounts need to be reported to the Treasury Department and what the possibility is of leniency in the case of penalties on RRSP and such accounts, which were never before reported.

As background, I am a dutiful tax payer on the Canadian front, totally by the book.  I was ignorant of the full impact of delaying my US tax returns (I thought real estate would be my only issue).  I intend to renounce my US citizen (and have an appointment to do so) on July 27.  I cannot get an appointment any sooner.

I have a tax preparer in the US who deals with Ex Pat issues, but is not terribly familiar with Canadian situations.  He has prepared ten years' worth of returns for me but when preparing the Treasury Forms and looking into the background, and at Form 8891, he became concerned that I should seek advice from someone more familiar with actual practice in this area.

If you have experience of feel you can substantially guide me, I would like to call you and engage your services for the 15-50 minute time period.  I live in Vancouver and will of course provide more of my particulars.

david ingram replies:

With your occupation as a XXXXXXXXXXXX, I can NOT even begin to understand why you  would renounce your US citizenship.

If you ever intend to visit the US again, do NOT renounce your US citizenship.  If you are doing so to avoid having to file Income tax returns, you are banned from entering the US for life AND are still liable to file US tax returns for ten more years PLUS are subject to capital gains tax on your assets as everything is deemed sold upon your relinguishing your citizenship.

The most common and most important ex-pat forms after the TDF 90-22.1 Treasury forms and the rules for their preparation are the same,  no matter which of the 265 countries you may be living in.  In addition, the rules are the same for any US resident who may have an account in another country.

If your US preparer has 'any' question about the treasury forms, he or she is NOT an experienced preparer of EX-PAT tax returns.

The form 8891 is a substitute for form 3520 which applies to ex-Pats who live in any other country other than Canada.  An EX-PAT preparer would know how to fill in the 8 page 3520 which applies to retirement accounts in any country.  If he or she has any problem with the one page 8891, the same situation applies.  In my opinion, the person has NO credible ex-pat experience.

We provide the services you require.  If you have not done so already, You should read my Oct 95 newsletter (nothing new) which deals with just what you need to do as a US citizen in Canada (top ;left hand box at

Then you should read the US/Canada Taxation section in the second box down on the right hand side.

Then you should read the Oct 93 newsletter on dual citizenship.

If you would like to talk to me, call Gillian Bryan at (604) 980-0321 Monday to Friday between 10 AM and 4 PM.  If you come to see me, bring in the Dec 31 2005 and Dec 31 2006 year end statements for any RRSP accounts you have and bring in a list of all of your Canadian financial accounts including life insurance policies, trust company accounts, Credit Union accounts, Bank Accounts, Securities accounts, RRSP accounts and even a girl guide, church, brownie or company account you have signing authority over  I will need the highest balance in 2006 (to the nearest $10,000 or so). 

Rather than just talk, we can likely get the reporting done in the hour.


david ingram's US / Canada Services
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pert  US Canada Canadian American  Mexican Income Tax  service and help.
David Ingram gives expert income tax service & immigration help to non-resident Americans & Canadians from New York to California to Mexico  family, estate, income trust trusts Cross border, dual citizen - out of country investments are all handled with competence & authority.
Phone consultations are $450 for 15 minutes to 50 minutes (professional hour). Please note that GST is added if product remains in Canada or is to be returned to Canada or a phone consultation is in Canada. ($472.50 with GST for in person or if you are on the telephone in Canada) expert  US Canada Canadian American  Mexican Income Tax  service and help.
This is not intended to be definitive but in general I am quoting $900 to $3,000 for a dual country tax return.

$900 would be one T4 slip one W2 slip one or two interest slips and you lived in one country only (but were filing both countries) - no self employment or rentals or capital gains - you did not move into or out of the country in this year.
$1,200 would be the same with one rental
$1,300 would be the same with one business no rental
$1,300 would be the minimum with a move in or out of the country. These are complicated because of the back and forth foreign tax credits. - The IRS says a foreign tax credit takes 1 hour and 53 minutes.
$1,600 would be the minimum with a rental or two in the country you do not live in or a rental and a business and foreign tax credits  no move in or out

$1,700 would be for two people with income from two countries

$3,000 would be all of the above and you moved in and out of the country.
This is just a guideline for US / Canadian returns
We will still prepare Canadian only (lives in Canada, no US connection period) with two or three slips and no capital gains, etc. for $200.00 up. However, if you have a stack of 1099, or T3 or T4A or T5 or K1 reporting forms, expect to pay an average of $10.00 each with up to $50.00 for a K1 or T5013 or T5008 or T101 --- Income trusts with amounts in box 42 are an even larger problem and will be more expensive. - i.e. 20 information slips will be at least $350.00
With a Rental for $400, two or three rentals for $550 to $700 (i.e. $150 per rental) First year Rental - plus $250.
A Business for $400 - Rental and business likely $550 to $700
And an American only (lives in the US with no Canadian income or filing period) with about the same things in the same range with a little bit more if there is a state return.
Moving in or out of the country or part year earnings in the US will ALWAYS be $900 and up.
TDF 90-22.1 forms are $50 for the first and $25.00 each after that when part of a tax return.
8891 forms are generally $50.00 to $100.00 each.
18 RRSPs would be $900.00 - (maybe amalgamate a couple)
Capital gains *sales)  are likely $50.00 for the first and $20.00 each after that.

Catch - up returns for the US where we use the Canadian return as a guide for seven years at a time will be from $150 to $600.00 per year depending upon numbers of bank accounts, RRSP's, existence of rental houses, self employment, etc. Note that these returns tend to be informational rather than taxable.  In fact, if there are children involved, we usually get refunds of $1,000 per child per year for 3 years.  We have done several catch-ups where the client has received as much as $6,000 back for an $1,800 bill and one recently with 6 children is resulting in over $12,000 refund. 

Email and Faxed information is convenient for the sender but very time consuming and hard to keep track of when they come in multiple files.  As of May 1, 2008, we will charge or be charging a surcharge for information that comes in more than two files.  It can take us a valuable hour or more  to try and put together the file when someone sends 10 emails or 15 attachments, etc. We had one return with over 50 faxes and emails for instance. 

This is a guideline not etched in stone.  If you do your own TDF-90 forms, it is to your advantage. However, if we put them in the first year, the computer carries them forward beautifully.

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure:  To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, please be advised that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used or relied upon, and cannot be used or relied upon, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code, or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.--

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