Waiting for the one, holding off on the other..

It’s an interesting thing, balancing the two major bureaucratic “cases” and their respective time lines.

On the one hand, there’s Beloved’s naturalization. This process is expected to take approximately one year. We need to remain residents of our home country during this process. We cannot leave this country (for the US for more than a holiday) until he has his passport, because forfeiting legal residency makes one immediately ineligible for naturalization.

On the other, we will file for a CR-1 which for spouses has an average processing time of around five months. The CR-1 remains valid for six months after issuance. In that time, the beneficiary (me) needs to have entered the US and the petitioner (Beloved) must have established domicile there.

Now, if the average processing times were anything to go on, it would be simple.

Take exam and file for naturalization in April 2012. Be approved in April 2013. File for CR-1 December 2012, be approved in April 2013. Wrap stuff up and leave in May/ June 2013, with time enough to travel a little and then set up shop in our location of choice.

Except that a lot of cases filed when the US Citizen lives abroad have been approved with absolutely shocking timelines (the record sits at eight days before forwarding to NVC). And some other cases take seven months or more.

And except that naturalization may take only four months. Or more than a year? Maybe?

I think our safest bet is this:
Naturalization needs to happen ASAP, because there is no harm in staying here with a double nationality.

Since we want to leave at an absolute latest date of August 2013 and an immigrant visa is valid for six months after issuance, we should aim to have the CR-1 be approved in February 2013, so as to make full use of the six months of validity as “reserve space” for when the visa process gets delayed. This means that (given the average) I should file five months before February 2013 (which makes Sept 2012).

Should naturalization happen in much less than twelve months, I can bring the CR-1 filing date forward to allow us to leave as soon as possible (and get some more travel time in before Beloved needs to be in the US).

Should, on the other hand, processing speeds for non-domestically filed petitions for CR-1 stay at the rate they seem to be at now, I may need to file later than September 2012 to avoid running out of validity on the CR-1 while Beloved’s naturalization process prevents us from transferring domicile to the US.

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