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Adjustment of Status Granted - Detroit Office

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Hi everyone, I have never posted on VJ before but have been a loyal reader since we began this process. I decided to post a detailed account of our preparation for the interview since I have benefited from so many here – I felt quite prepared about all the small details that would normally stress me out, so I hope this helps someone in return.

We were lucky to have a very quick and smooth process - under 4 months from filing to interview! We had a lawyer help us file the forms but organized the interview materials ourselves. I bought a 3-ring 4 inch binder with 30 divider tabs and printed out a ‘table of contents’ to refer to when looking for specific items. Each group of materials was placed in a clear plastic sleeve with the original facing one direction and copies on the other side. The items included:

1. Notices from USCIS – Appointment letter & NOAs

2. IDs – passports and DLs for both of us

3. Husband’s (USC) 2008 Taxes &W2s

4. Husband’s (USC) recent employment letter & pay stubs from last 3 months

5. EAD & AP docs

6. All my previous immigration documents (I have been on the US legally on various student and work visa for 15 years, so this was a lot of paper!)

7. Immigration documents from my most recent visa (F1)

8. Current F1 visa copies

9. Old Passports & I-94s

10. Birth Certificates for both of us (originals & copies)

11. Certified copy of marriage license

12. Joint bank statements (2 banks) – 3 months

13. Family cell phone plan statements – 3 months

14. Proof that I am beneficiary of his life and health insurance

15. Lease for our apartment next year

16. Joint AAA insurance

17. Print out of our wedding vows & Thank You cards we sent (with our picture & names)

18. Print out of invitation to our wedding party & signed Guest Book from the event

19. Print out of congratulatory email and Facebook messages we received

20. Greeting cards addressed to both of us (about 25)

21. Tickets & boarding passes for a recent trip to his brother’s graduation

22. About 60 photos from our years together, including photographs with family members and our dog!

23. Evidence demonstrating why we were temporarily living separately – my academic transcript and diploma showing I just graduated, pay stubs from my summer job here, my current lease ending this summer, etc.

24. Copies of all the documents we had sent in with our initial file

I'm not sure if this was necessary, but on all the financial statements etc. I highlighted both of our names so they would not get lost in all the jumble.

With this GIANT binder in hand, we headed to our interview! We were thrilled to have a quick and easy experience at the Detroit office this morning. The new building is very nice - convenient parking, friendly security guards, very bright, comfy chairs. We were especially impressed with the quotes and pictures on the wall, showing famous foreign-born Americans and quotes from past presidents about citizenship – they clearly put some thought into making the space comfortable and inviting.

Security was very quick with no wait when we arrived; the guard only asked to see my husband’s (USC) ID and asked us what we were there for. She directed us to place our interview appointment letter at one of the windows. There was no one at that window, so we just left the letter and sat down to wait. After a few minutes we got a bit worried that maybe we should have gotten a number from somewhere (they kept calling out the next numbers for service) but just as I was getting up to ask someone, they called my name, about 20 minutes before our appointment time. The officer interviewing us had an extremely deep voice and was very matter-of-fact and efficient. He walked us back to his office and swore us in. Then he asked us to sit at two chairs that were by the back wall of his office and he sat behind his desk and looked quickly through our file. He then asked us how we met (in graduate school) and what program we attended. I wasn’t entirely sure which one of us should answer since he did not direct the question to one of us in particular, but it was fine (of course!). My husband also mentioned that we currently live separately because he has a post-doc in another state and I had to finish my program – this was a fact we were nervous about and worried would be seen as a red flag, but the interviewer did not comment on it besides asking us which football team we would root for... (our alma mater and husband’s school are big rivals). Then the officer stated that for him, the most important evidence is financial; that some people are big on pictures, but personally he believes all that shows is that you have a camera. He asked us to pull our chairs up to his desk and provide him any financial information we brought. I asked whether he wanted information about husband’s (USC) employment/income for the affidavit of support, but he clarified wanted our joint information. I had brought a HUGE binder with all of our evidence and began to pull out our bank statements, credit card statements, AAA joint insurance, family cell phone plans, etc. He asked if these were copies he could keep and began to file them away. When I got to the proof of life insurance, my husband pointed out that I was the beneficiary of his plan and then the officer basically said, ok, I don’t need anything else, this is pretty serious proof you are married if you trust someone with your life insurance money or else you are crazy ;-) He gave us back everything else! At that point he pulled out a stamp and stamped approved on our file.

He then asked me all of the “have you ever committed a crime/been a terrorist/practiced polygamy” questions and checked all my personal information. We let him know I’d be moving to my husband’s address in a few weeks and asked whether we needed to change that information with the USCIS someplace else. He changed it on the form and said we wouldn’t (I will probably do so anyways, just to be sure). I don’t believe he asked us any other questions about our relationship, just made chit chat about my home country and his visit there several years ago as he organized my file and added some stuff into the computer. He then took my EAD and AP documents and let me know there were some delays in card production – he did not give an estimate for when it would be ready but complained that “fixing” the system made it less efficient… He also explained the removal of conditions deadline and recommended items he would want to see in our packet in order to avoid a second interview. He repeated that pictures were not important to him but other officers looked at them, and stated that financial documents such as insurance, wills, cancelled checks from joint accounts (showing that you actually use them, not just have them), any mortgages or joint property ownership – his focus was on items that demonstrate you USE the finances given that you can just add anyone you want to your bank account… I thought that was helpful, practical advice and will be sure to include that evidence when removing conditions.

The whole thing did not take more than 10-15 minutes and we were back in our car 5 minutes after our original appointment time! It was quick and easy, although I was almost disappointed he didn’t look through our binder – I’d worked so hard on it ;-)

Please feel free to ask us anything about our experience. I felt quite prepared after reading everyone’s experiences here at VJ so I hope this detailed account can help someone else!

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