Marriage in VN and documents

Hello everyone,

  Ive been lurking on the forum for a while now reading all the topics about Marriage in Vietnam  and what not but I am still scratching my head on some things when it comes to my documents.

Ive printed off basically all the documents from the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington DC. Filled them out, had them notarized at my bank, sent up to my state capital to have an Appostile document on that notary from my bank. Ive also sent them back to the Vietnamese Embassy and paid for them to legalize my documents. Lurking some more tonight,  i found a thread that now says i needed 2 copies of everything, i only have one each minus the health examination and singles affidavit; i planned on getting those in Saigon. Do i really need two of everything? Now i should say I have been married before, in the US, but am now divorced. I have a certified copy of my decree along with an Appostile from a state level SOS.
The  Vietnamese embassy in DC WILL NOT nor offer to translate my Decree from English to Viet. A bunch of people are saying in different threads to go to some office on Pasteur street in Quan 1 and use their translation service. Does anyone know about how long it takes? Im basically quitting my job here in the States and taking two months off for Vietnam to complete everything even including have a small legal ceremony. Do i need my birth certificate and does that need to be translated?

Any and all help is greatly appreciated because ive already book my flight for the middle of May.

We just went to our local province government last week with one copy of everything just as was round-brad-stapled together from the Vietnam Consulate in New York and no comments about needing a second copy.  I don't ever recall reading that there was a need for two copies on any of the Vietnam consulate websites, either.  We still need our mental health cert as well as we didn't want to get it until we knew if the province would accept one from HCMC or mandate using their brother in law in the next town over.  (They said HCMC was fine.  Doing that this week and submitting everything next weekend.)  The funny thing was I managed to jump through every single hoop and get all of the US paperwork done perfectly, translated and chopped correctly and back to my house in the two weeks I was back in the states.  My fiance had to go to her local govt to get her statement of single status, spoke to an old friend at the government office there who prepared the form and when we got to the provincial government office they said they used the wrong form so the only thing she had to do was wrong LOL.

You may be hard pressed getting it all done in two months. If you spend each week day on it it may happen. VN officials are very,very slow and love to receive bits of polymer with Bac Ho's picture on it.

I dont like bribing people because thats dishonest but if that is what it takes to grease the wheel a little, then it is what it is.

SteinNebraska, would it be ok if i private messaged you about this topic? Its been a very stressful last few weeks rounding up documents, sending them off and waiting.

Lambert82 :

The  Vietnamese embassy in DC WILL NOT nor offer to translate my Decree from English to Viet.

This is a real problem.  In my case the embassy translated all of my marriage documents but I had to re-certify in HCMC one document for my work permit because they had not translated it.  It may be that they are simply inconsistent about which documents they translate and which they don't.   :mad:   I would guess that employment at the embassy is a very plum job that requires connections more than it requires competence.

I once tried calling into extension 122 of the VN embassy in DC and the man that answered said yes they do offer a translation service of $80 USD per document regardless how many pages it actually was. So thinking that they did translate divorce decrees, i mailed them a cashiers check of $440 which included the fees to legalize my documents and detailed letter asking them what to do and they bumbled that up. You guys want to know what they actually translated? The Appostile certificate from Ohio's SOS.... so they basically just took my money and said F you. If the guy was looking for coffee money, i would have gladly taken him to Starbucks or Dunken Donuts.

Lambert82 :

I once tried calling into extension 122 of the VN embassy in DC and the man that answered said yes they do offer a translation service of $80 USD per document regardless how many pages it actually was.

I just asked my wife, who handles all the money when in VN, and she says that she doesn't remember exactly, but it should not be more than $10-$20 USD per document if done in HCMC.  I went that whole VN Embassy document route before moving to VN but with the benefit of hindsight, I would never do it again.  Maybe if you live within a few hours driving distance of the embassy or one of the consulates and could hand carry the documents, but otherwise No.

Lambert82 :

I dont like bribing people because thats dishonest but if that is what it takes to grease the wheel a little, then it is what it is.

Your adjustment to Vietnam will be easier by lowering your western standards of morality over little things like paying someone 500,000d that will save you a week of time, for example. Same as paying extra for rush service at the post office.

When corruption is obscene, like when you wife is asked to pay $1000s to a manager to get a job, that's when it makes more sense to mount your horse and ride out of there.

ps Only took me a couple days to get divorce documents translated in Saigon.

I am from Vietnam, being in states for almost 40 years, plan to retire in Vietnam just to travel around Asia easier. Learning from this forum, it seems I have to adjust much to social aspects, corrupt, dirt, noise, and traffic.
Sorry, you may have close your eyes and ears to get the document complete.  Congratulation to you marry a Vietnamese lady, they are very loyal, adaptable, dedicate to her family.

OP - just curious, are you planning to stay and live in VN or return to the USA?  If you plan to return to the USA, it is a lot easier just to get a K-1 and get legally married in the USA.

Lambert82 :

SteinNebraska, would it be ok if i private messaged you about this topic? Its been a very stressful last few weeks rounding up documents, sending them off and waiting.

No problem.  No expert, just went through it.

vndreamer :

OP - just curious, are you planning to stay and live in VN or return to the USA?  If you plan to return to the USA, it is a lot easier just to get a K-1 and get legally married in the USA.

This.  Exactly this.  Different for me because I'm living here.

I plan to return to the US.  I originally wanted to go the K1 route BUT all my relatives kept telling me that it has a very low chance of success. It's easier if we got married in Vietnam, have a child together and then comes over.

I could probably handle that, about the same price as staying at a hotel across the street from the Palace in Dalat for a night.

Lambert82 :

I plan to return to the US.  I originally wanted to go the K1 route BUT all my relatives kept telling me that it has a very low chance of success. It's easier if we got married in Vietnam, have a child together and then comes over.

Each of us have different reasons, but if you really plan on returning to the USA, you might want to consider applying for the K-1.  First, you do not have to translate, all documents can be submitted in the original language, English and/or Vietnamese.  Second, you need to think about legal protections for your spouse and expected family as they relate to your USA assets, retirement accounts etc.  Getting married in the USA means you have a USA marriage certificate and that means your wife and family will have no problem getting what they deserve vs. getting married in VN and just imagine the red tape she will have to go through to prove she is entitled to your assets/retirement etc. in the future.  Third, have the kid in the USA and avoid the red tape in VN to get your kid a US passport/citizenship.  Fourth, getting legally married in the USA is so easy and can be done very quickly and no red tape.  Fifth, all of this can be done in the USA without coffee money and wasted time.  Sixth, you can still have a religious wedding in Vietnam and the get the K-1, just do not get legally married in VN.

But again, all depends on your reasons, but I would not get married in VN just because family assumes and tells you it might be easier to get a spousal visa vs a fiancee visa.  We had no problem getting the K-1 and I recently helped another friend, who only visited VN 3 times, and his fiancee got the K-1 on the first try without issue.  We met another couple here in the USA and the husband is 20+ years older than his VN wife who is divorced and has 2 kids in Saigon, but they live in the USA.  They told us he only visited her 1 time in VN, did not go to the interview and they got the K-1 on the first try as well.  No, he is not a rich guy with a lot of money.  He is your average joe in his 50's from the midwest. 

Just my opinion.  I wish you the best of luck.

In concurrence with vndreamer, the spousal visa is by no means easy.  In fact the K-1 may actually be easier.  I suspect the family may just be taking their position in order to retain a little longer contact with their loved one.  The spousal visa takes at least 6-9 months from first application to receipt of visa.  The documentation required to establish bona fides of the marriage is extensive and the interview is intrusive.  The K-1 process on the other hand removes the proof of marital validity to the US.  I understand that unannounced visits to the home are legally possible but don't usually happen unless there is suspicion.  The five year clock to US citizenship begins on arrival.  If you marry in Vietnam, the five years is the same but only the first two years in Vietnam count and she will need not less than three in the US.  Of course her agreeing to a few years together in Vietnam will prove her interest in you as well.  If you feel secure in your relationship and have no particular desire to live in Vietnam, I would say take the K-1 route.  I am not sure about this but it may be a little cheaper in terms of fees as well.

I hope this is taken as an objective statement and not a political one but just today the head of Homeland Security was fired along with the head of the Secret Service.  The head of USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Service) the agency that is part of Homeland Security that actually handles the visa applications is reportedly on the chopping block too, to be replaced with someone "tougher."  The sooner the better may be a good idea which would also mean going for the K-1.

I am getting married in VN then getting the spousal visa because she will get a green card upon arrivial  in the USA Also we will marry in Las Vegas

One new note since it's relevant to this thread.  When I researched getting the mental health exams they had 3 day service and an expedited next day service.  Last week we got "one hour service" which was really 25-30 minutes.  The "doctor" did not ask me a single question.  We did pay 1,400,000 for this expedited service but worth it to me to not have to return to pick up the forms.

Thats good to know.

SteinNebraska :

One new note since it's relevant to this thread.  When I researched getting the mental health exams they had 3 day service and an expedited next day service.  Last week we got "one hour service" which was really 25-30 minutes.  The "doctor" did not ask me a single question.  We did pay 1,400,000 for this expedited service but worth it to me to not have to return to pick up the forms.

The mental health check is an absolute joke.

I am going to HCMC where is this doctor for exam? Thanks

Going on Thursday 18th

expat48 :

I am going to HCMC where is this doctor for exam? Thanks

The peoples committee ,(UBND)that is doing your marriage license will tell you. They only accept it from certain places,you will need to ask them which one.

expat48 :

I am going to HCMC where is this doctor for exam? Thanks

Nhiet Doi Hospital, 766 Vo Van Kiet, Phuong 1, Quan 5. Go upstairs and when you reach the top of the stairs go left and go down the hall.  Better yet have your better half ask for directions.

expat48 :

I am getting married in VN then getting the spousal visa because she will get a green card upon arrivial  in the USA Also we will marry in Las Vegas

I hope you understand that all spouses who arrive through the spousal visa process (I-130) get a green card but there is a slight difference.  Those that have been married less than two years get a temporary green card which must be converted to permanent, together with a fee of $680 and another intrusive interview, on reaching the two year mark.  Those who have been married two years or more get a permanent card on arrival and have no contact with US immigration until they apply for citizenship or reach 10 years on the first card. 

Spouses who arrive with a K-1 get a temporary green card on marriage which, as with those who arrive in less than two years via I-130, is temporary and replaced after two years with permanent.  Same thing minus the time to wait for approval of the I-130 application process which is 9 months to a year.

Being married in Las Vegas may be nice if you like, but will not change your spouse's immigration status a bit.  If you were legally married in Vietnam, her application will be based on that marriage date and license.

Wow...mine took all of about three weeks from purchase of forms (1.5 million VND) to the cost of a couple extra copies and then a bunch of flowers at the end for the young lady behind the window.  OH, yea, a conversation with the Head physician at a local medical center and 150,000 VND for the stamp on the form that said I was OK.  I don't know why all the headaches I hear from others. 
As to any mention about heading to the US...not a chance.  I have no address, no residence and I will not supply the information the State Department needs for such to apply.  Much easier and cheaper here in Vietnam.

Thanks for the info and as I see it I should not marry here but is the K1 as easy to as the CR1

get

So I am on the fence with this. If I get a CR1 visa for her then she gets a green card when we arriale in the USA. But with a K1 then I need to apply for the green card after she is here and we are married. The only need for a green card is so she can travel back to Vietnam and then return to the US without having to get another visa

expat48 :

So I am on the fence with this. If I get a CR1 visa for her then she gets a green card when we arriale in the USA. But with a K1 then I need to apply for the green card after she is here and we are married. The only need for a green card is so she can travel back to Vietnam and then return to the US without having to get another visa

Travel is certainly not the only reason to have a green card.  Without a green card, she cannot have a social security number, she can't bank, she can't work, down the line she can't have the widow's share of your social security, and most importantly she can't legally reside in the country long term.  You speak as if a green card is optional. 

Again you speak as if the CR1 or IR1 visa is easy to obtain.  Believe me it is not.  The K-1 followed by marriage and the green card process within the US is arguably easier and does not involve personal separation.  Are you planning to live in Vietnam for two or more years after marriage and before her emigration?  You have made no statements to that effect.  If you marry in Vietnam and return to the US without her, you leave her alone for at least a year and at the mercy of the inquisitors at the consulate.

This is why i wanted to marry her in Vietnam and wait a few years before i tried to being her to the states. This will allow her time time to settle things there and to take classes to learn English and other things.

You don't need a green card to work in the USA.  My fiance arrived, we got married and filed the change of status and work permit request.  2 months after filing the paperwork she was issued a work permit and was legally permitted to work in the USA and no green card.  You don't have to wait for the greed card for her to work.  Second, you can get her a IRS taxpayer ID by filing Form W-7 and it does not require a green card.

vndreamer :

You don't need a green card to work in the USA.  My fiance arrived, we got married and filed the change of status and work permit request.  2 months after filing the paperwork she was issued a work permit and was legally permitted to work in the USA and no green card.  You don't have to wait for the greed card for her to work.  Second, you can get her a IRS taxpayer ID by filing Form W-7 and it does not require a green card.

What you say may be true but wasn't the work permit given because she has filed form I-485, pending receipt of the green card and social security number?  A work permit is available to those who have not filed I-485, but such permits expire in 90 days.  A work permit tied to a Form I-485 is good for one year.  The change of status that is requested by the Form I-485 is to a conditional permanent resident status.   Another change called removal of conditions (Form I-751) will be required in two years.  From the USCIS site:  "Conditional permanent residents must file a petition to remove conditions during the 90 days before the card expires.....A 2-Year card cannot be renewed. The conditions must be removed or you will lose your permanent resident status."

The W-7 will yield an ITIN which may be used in lieu of a SS# for things like opening bank accounts and filing taxes.  It can be used indefinitely by persons who need to be US taxpayers despite being non-citizens and even non-residents.  However upon receipt of the SS# the ITIN may still be on record but is not really needed.   My wife had an ITIN during our time in Vietnam so that we could file US taxes jointly as part of proving the bona fides of our marriage.  In our first filing from within the US, she had to use it as we could not file online because the IRS did not yet have an electronic record of her SS# despite the fact that she had the card in hand.  I guess that means the two can coexist.

Also the K-1 visa requires marriage within 90 days of arrival in the US and expires in 6 months.  This is why most immigration advice websites recommend marrying as soon as practical after arrival.  I suppose a couple could get married in the US, then move on to a third country or return to the spouse's country of origin but any work permit expires together with the K-1 in 6 months.   There may be the interim situation you describe but as a practical matter, the spouse must apply for change of status, as you apparently have, and hence a green card or leave the country.  Of course leaving the country would kind of defeat the purpose of all that effort.

Hey THIGV, not want to make it complicated, but it really depends on each others needs and what they are looking for.  I just wanted to make it understood that getting the K-1 and coming to the USA does not mean the fiancee cannot work, get a bank account, taxpayer id etc. without a green card.  If these things are important in deciding whether to get a K-1 or getting married in VN.

To keep it simple, here are steps one can take after arriving in the USA with a K-1:

1. get legally married within 90 days of arrival.  This is very simple and can be done in a day or 2, no red tape and cheap.
2. One can apply for a work permit, Form I-765, prior to applying for a temporary green card, but it is basically worthless because it expires soon after you get it.
3. Thus, One should apply for the temporary green card/adjustment of status, Form I-485, and also file for a work permit, Form-765, AT THE SAME TIME.
4. The foreign spouse should get the work permit within 2 or 3 months after filing and thus, she can be working within 3 or 4 months upon arrival.  Assuming they get legally married soon after arrival and file these forms ASAP.
5. Getting the IRS taxpayer id can be done individually or through an employer.  Once she gets the work permit and obtains a job, the employer can request the taxpayer id.  Otherwise, the individual will have to file a Form W-7.  My advice is to let the employer get it for her.
6. Once the taxpayer id is obtained, then she can open a bank account etc.

In addition, a "qualified foreign spouse" living in a foreign country may also be entitled to her USA husband's social security benefits.  The key here is "qualified foreign spouse" and the rules can be complicated.  Here is an article explaining the general rules a few years ago, but any individual should consult with the Social Security Administration before applying:

https://www.crevelingandcreveling.com/b … l-security

As I stated before, my preference was to get legally married in the USA to avoid the red tape and endless documents, translations, losing originals etc. that can arise with social security, retirement accounts, other assets etc.

That is a little more like it, vndreamer.  Your prior post sounded like one could arrive with a K-1, which by the way is a non-immigrant visa, and not apply for a green card and SS# indefinitely.  In fact in your new timeline, your spouse has applied for both when she submitted the I-485 in item #3.  The work permit and the ITIN are valuable but still temporary solutions that are ultimately replaced by the green card and SS#. 

By the way you might want to recheck your link.  I may have missed it but I could not find Vietnam in the list of countries from which a non-resident spouse could claim spousal social security survivor benefits.  Benefits are available if the couple has lived together for five years in the US but except in unusual circumstances, like studying for an advanced degree while on a student visa, that would mean legal immigration.  This means that, unless things have changed in recent years, a Vietnamese spouse will need to emigrate to the US and obtain a green card or later citizenship in order to receive such benefits.

Anthony64 :

Wow...mine took all of about three weeks from purchase of forms (1.5 million VND) to the cost of a couple extra copies and then a bunch of flowers at the end for the young lady behind the window.  OH, yea, a conversation with the Head physician at a local medical center and 150,000 VND for the stamp on the form that said I was OK.  I don't know why all the headaches I hear from others. 
As to any mention about heading to the US...not a chance.  I have no address, no residence and I will not supply the information the State Department needs for such to apply.  Much easier and cheaper here in Vietnam.

Depends which official you have to deal with. In the major cities the officials are very money hungry.

I did mine in a huyen in my wifes provence, total cost 3 million vnd.

We will marry in 2 weeks in Vietnam and then apply for a CR1 visa and go to the US and get married there also. We have been living together in Vietnam for 5 months and will keep living together until she gets her visa. I am retired so there is no need for me to go to the US until she can go with me. And yes I know how hard it will be to get a K1 or CR1 visa but she is worth the wait. Let's all keep in mind this is really about our love for one another and at the end of the day does it really  matter where we live as long as we are together.

expat48 :

We will marry in 2 weeks in Vietnam and then apply for a CR1 visa and go to the US and get married there also.

I know nothing about your personal finances, nor do I need to, but have you checked out the levels of income and/or assets required by the I-864 Affidavit of Support?  https://www.uscis.gov/i-864

I have more than needed. I worked very hard for 55 years to get to where I am at.

expat48 :

I have more than needed. I worked very hard for 55 years to get to where I am at.

Good to go!   :top:

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