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strifescenario

As a K1 applicant stuck at TSC, I turn to you all for help and hope

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Hello everyone,

I am very new on this site (this is my first post) - and I wish I had discovered it prior to beginning our immigration process. To be honest with you, my fiance and I were completely clueless in regards to the fact that I would need some kind of visa prior to being able to get married because as a Canadian, I guess we just assumed it wouldn't be difficult. Boy where we ever wrong.
We learned that we needed to apply for the K1 in early December 2014, and after consulting with an immigration lawyer and doing research online were assured that the maximum amount of time the application could take would be 9 months. So, we sent in our application on December 19, 2014 and began to plan our wedding for September 2015 (taking the maximum possible processing time into account). As luck would have it, my fiance resides in New York, so our application was sent to the Texas Service Center - where the nightmare began. Our application was received on December 22, 2014 and it has been silent ever since. After hearing nothing for a month, we began looking at their processing times and were horrified to find out how behind they were. We then discovered this site and read about the backlog and our fears have been rising steadily ever since. We have already invested a lot of money into our wedding, so at this point we can't turn back. At the same time the fear that as the bride I may not be able to make it to my own wedding absolutely devastates me so I'm here to get some more information from you guys and to see if there is a glimmer of hope at all for our case to be processed before September 1.

Here are my questions:
1) Does anyone know the specifics behind the backlog at TSC? Why is there such a drastic difference between their processing times versus those in California and Vermont? Is this the first time that they've had this kind of backlog and what are the chances that it will be reduced?
2) Can you request for your application to be transfered from TSC to another processing center? I ask this because my fiance and I are planning to move to California - so if he moves there before hand and changes his address, will the application be transfered to CSC?
3) Is there anything WE can do to raise awareness of the backlog and to force TSC to reduce the backlog and process our applications faster? Should we call them everyday? Should we email them? Who should we contact and what can we do? I have read that some of you have written to your senators - has this ACTUALLY produced any positive results in terms of getting your application processed faster? What about involving immigration lawyers?
4) I've also read that people applying from the Philippines get their application expedited. Does this mean that there is an hierarchy for countries whose applications get processed faster rather than others? If so, what is the hierarchy and what is it based on? Is there any kind of clauses or exceptions that help you process your application faster?
5) This set of questions is particularly for beneficiaries from Western Canada who had to go to the Vancouver Embassy for ther interviews: How long did it take for you to get a call back from the Vancouver Consulate? And how many days did it take before you were able to come in for your interview? I just read that it takes 88 days (which is extremely upsetting) but I wanted to double check to see if others can share their experience there. Is there any way to reason with them to get an interview faster?
6) Since applying for the K1, I have not re-entered the United States. I've read that although it is NOT illegal for K1 applicants to travel to the states, immigration officers at my local airport have advised me I wouldn't be able to travel until I got the K1. Given that we have no idea how many more months this will take, I believe that it is absurd for them to expect for us to be apart by denying me entry into the states. I have a job here, I also volunteer, my family is here - so if I am able to provide them with proof of ties to Canada and a return ticket - do I have a chance of being able to enter the states? Has anyone done this?

That's it for my preliminary questions. I'm sorry this is so long but I am desperate and I would highly appreciate any and all of your help and responses.

Edited by strifescenario

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With regards to the TSC backlog: http://www.visajourney.com/forums/topic/537595-tsc-k1-backlog-what-can-we-do-for-tsc-non-expedites-only/

Sadly, this isn't the first time TSC is running such a backlog, though the current backlog seems to be getting bigger by the day.

If the current processing times stay like they are, you won't get a NOA-2 before July. Current average approval times run around 210 days. Having the visa in hand by September is tight - no guarantees, sadly. I do not know how long the process takes on the Canadian end, you can check the Canada guides at the top of the page. Btw, I believe I have read that since recently all Canada filers have to go through Montreal.

Filipinos are getting expedites due to the typhoon in 2013 - it was supposed to be a needs based excercise, but apparently USCIS just expedites everyone with a Filipino passport, whether or not they actually live there. It is unknown how long this will be going on for or if it is still going on at all.

For you, getting an expedite is nigh on impossible, I am afraid. I have seen exactly one successful case since I have been here - and there the foreign fiance lived slap bang in the middle of the Ukrainian war zone.

There is basically nothing you can do until your petition is outside of what USCIS considers normal processing times - which realistically is something in the 8-9 month range.

Transfers to other Service Centers happen at USCIS discretion - if they decide a bulk transfer for load balancing is in order it will happen. But this is rare. Moving will not trigger a transfer, your petition stays at the center that received it.

And yes: you can visit. It is up to the border officer to admit you or not, as always. The majoritiy of people have no problems. Bringing ties is a good idea. I myself am visiting for a few days next week - first time since we filed - I am nervous about immigration, but hope to be okay.

Edited by TabeaK

K1 time line

 


I-129F sent: 12/23/2014
NOA-1: 12/29/2014
NOA-2: 06/05/2015 (158 days)
NOA-2 hardcopy: 06/11/2015 (6 days post NOA-2, 164 days total)
Sent to NVC: 06/16/2015 (11 days post NOA-2, 169 days total)
NVC receive: 06/25/2015 (20 days post NOA-2, 178 days total)
NVC case no: 06/30/2015 (25 days post NOA-2, 183 days total)
NVC left: 07/02/2015 (27 days post NOA-2, 185 days total)
Case Ready: 07/07/2015 (32 days post NOA-2, 190 days total)
submitted DS-160, paid visa fee.: 07/21/2015 (46 days post NOA-2, 204 days total)
Packet 3 sent: 07/25/2015 (50 days post NOA-2, 209 days total)
Pack 4 received: 07/30/2015 (55 days post NOA-2, 214 days total)
Medical: 09/17/2015 Interview: 09/23/2015 (108 days post NOA-2, 268 days total)
Interview Result: Approved Administrative Processing: 09/23/2015
CEAC Status Issued: 09/24/2015
Visa in hand: 09/28/2015
POE: 12/29/2015 Wedding: 01/11/2016


AOS Time Line

 

AOS package mailed: 01/13/2016
AOS package received: 01/20/2016 (day 1)
AOS NOA-1 text/email: 01/23/2016 (day 3), actual NOA-1 date 01/22/2016 (day 2)
AOS Fingerprint fee received: 01/22/2016 (day 2)
AOS check cashed: 01-25-2016 (day 5) Got 6 month NJ driver's license: 01-25-2016
3x NOA-1 hardcopies: 02/03/2016 (day 14)

Biometrics letter: 02/05/2016 (day 16) Biometrics appt (Elizabeth, NJ): 02/17/2016 (day 28)

EAD and AP approved email/txt: 03/29/2016 (day 67)

GC approval email/text: 04/04/2016 (day 74)

I-797 for I-765/I-131 in mail: 04/04/2016 (day 74)

EAD/AP delivered: 04/05/216 (day 75)

GC card being mailed status update: 04/07/16 (day 77)

GC received: 04/11/16 (day 84 post AOS NOA-1)

DONE WITH USCIS FOR 21 MONTHS!

ROC Window opens: 01/04/2018

 

ROC Time Line
ROC package mailed to Vermont 01/04/2018
ROC package received at Vermont 01/08/2018 (day 0)
Check cashed: 01/16/2018 (day 8 )
NOA-1 date: 01/09/2018 (day 1)
NOA-1 received: 01/16/2018 (day 8 )
Biometrics notice received: 02/09/2018 (day 32)
Biometrics appointment: 02/23/2018 (day 46)
Received 18-month extension letter: 08/13/2018 (day 209)

event.png
 

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TabeaK,

Thank you so much for your prompt response. I'm doing as much research as possible, and the fact that the timelines are varying so much (even the idea of 5 months versus 8 months) makes a huge difference to us.
Can you please let me know your experience when you travel to the US next week? I'd like to get as much feedback on others experience as possible and will share mine as well. But if you can do it, then I should be able to as well.

Again, thank you so much!

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You are welcome. With regards to the visiting: check this out:

http://www.visajourney.com/forums/topic/67796-yes-you-can-visit/

And try to keep your spirits up - I know this process is harsh and unfair... I have my moments too...


K1 time line

 


I-129F sent: 12/23/2014
NOA-1: 12/29/2014
NOA-2: 06/05/2015 (158 days)
NOA-2 hardcopy: 06/11/2015 (6 days post NOA-2, 164 days total)
Sent to NVC: 06/16/2015 (11 days post NOA-2, 169 days total)
NVC receive: 06/25/2015 (20 days post NOA-2, 178 days total)
NVC case no: 06/30/2015 (25 days post NOA-2, 183 days total)
NVC left: 07/02/2015 (27 days post NOA-2, 185 days total)
Case Ready: 07/07/2015 (32 days post NOA-2, 190 days total)
submitted DS-160, paid visa fee.: 07/21/2015 (46 days post NOA-2, 204 days total)
Packet 3 sent: 07/25/2015 (50 days post NOA-2, 209 days total)
Pack 4 received: 07/30/2015 (55 days post NOA-2, 214 days total)
Medical: 09/17/2015 Interview: 09/23/2015 (108 days post NOA-2, 268 days total)
Interview Result: Approved Administrative Processing: 09/23/2015
CEAC Status Issued: 09/24/2015
Visa in hand: 09/28/2015
POE: 12/29/2015 Wedding: 01/11/2016


AOS Time Line

 

AOS package mailed: 01/13/2016
AOS package received: 01/20/2016 (day 1)
AOS NOA-1 text/email: 01/23/2016 (day 3), actual NOA-1 date 01/22/2016 (day 2)
AOS Fingerprint fee received: 01/22/2016 (day 2)
AOS check cashed: 01-25-2016 (day 5) Got 6 month NJ driver's license: 01-25-2016
3x NOA-1 hardcopies: 02/03/2016 (day 14)

Biometrics letter: 02/05/2016 (day 16) Biometrics appt (Elizabeth, NJ): 02/17/2016 (day 28)

EAD and AP approved email/txt: 03/29/2016 (day 67)

GC approval email/text: 04/04/2016 (day 74)

I-797 for I-765/I-131 in mail: 04/04/2016 (day 74)

EAD/AP delivered: 04/05/216 (day 75)

GC card being mailed status update: 04/07/16 (day 77)

GC received: 04/11/16 (day 84 post AOS NOA-1)

DONE WITH USCIS FOR 21 MONTHS!

ROC Window opens: 01/04/2018

 

ROC Time Line
ROC package mailed to Vermont 01/04/2018
ROC package received at Vermont 01/08/2018 (day 0)
Check cashed: 01/16/2018 (day 8 )
NOA-1 date: 01/09/2018 (day 1)
NOA-1 received: 01/16/2018 (day 8 )
Biometrics notice received: 02/09/2018 (day 32)
Biometrics appointment: 02/23/2018 (day 46)
Received 18-month extension letter: 08/13/2018 (day 209)

event.png
 

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Some years ago my K1 took 11 months, worst comes to worst you could always get married as planned but then the K1 would be dead.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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Thanks for the link to the visiting thread! I'll check it out!

Sorry! One more question if maybe you know! I just read that you can apply to expedite your application. But I can't see the exact criteria for this for K1 applicants or what the process looks like. Do you know anything about this?

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What would your basis be of a request for an expedite?


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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Boiler,

Financial loss due to the fact that we booked a venue, musicians, photographer, caterer, ect for our wedding. Which right now stands at about USD40000.

Edit: and I guess 'technically' this is our fault for booking all this - but we consulted with immigration lawyers, we did our research online, and in december when we applied 9 months really looked like the MAX.

Edited by strifescenario

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I think the USCIS criteria are "Emerging situation" and "Extreme hardship" - or some such.

An expedite based on a booked/non-refundable wedding? Sadly, never gonna happen. I am really sorry for that - but it wans't the best plan to invest such resources without a visa in hand...

Like I said, right now you might have a chance with an expedite if you were living in a war zone or hit by a environmental catastrophe. Say Eastern Ukraine. Or maybe Syria.

People living in safe Western countries? Never. And I think that is alright. What is not alright is the unfair treatment of CSC vs TSC filers. But that is a different kettle of fish.

Edited by TabeaK

K1 time line

 


I-129F sent: 12/23/2014
NOA-1: 12/29/2014
NOA-2: 06/05/2015 (158 days)
NOA-2 hardcopy: 06/11/2015 (6 days post NOA-2, 164 days total)
Sent to NVC: 06/16/2015 (11 days post NOA-2, 169 days total)
NVC receive: 06/25/2015 (20 days post NOA-2, 178 days total)
NVC case no: 06/30/2015 (25 days post NOA-2, 183 days total)
NVC left: 07/02/2015 (27 days post NOA-2, 185 days total)
Case Ready: 07/07/2015 (32 days post NOA-2, 190 days total)
submitted DS-160, paid visa fee.: 07/21/2015 (46 days post NOA-2, 204 days total)
Packet 3 sent: 07/25/2015 (50 days post NOA-2, 209 days total)
Pack 4 received: 07/30/2015 (55 days post NOA-2, 214 days total)
Medical: 09/17/2015 Interview: 09/23/2015 (108 days post NOA-2, 268 days total)
Interview Result: Approved Administrative Processing: 09/23/2015
CEAC Status Issued: 09/24/2015
Visa in hand: 09/28/2015
POE: 12/29/2015 Wedding: 01/11/2016


AOS Time Line

 

AOS package mailed: 01/13/2016
AOS package received: 01/20/2016 (day 1)
AOS NOA-1 text/email: 01/23/2016 (day 3), actual NOA-1 date 01/22/2016 (day 2)
AOS Fingerprint fee received: 01/22/2016 (day 2)
AOS check cashed: 01-25-2016 (day 5) Got 6 month NJ driver's license: 01-25-2016
3x NOA-1 hardcopies: 02/03/2016 (day 14)

Biometrics letter: 02/05/2016 (day 16) Biometrics appt (Elizabeth, NJ): 02/17/2016 (day 28)

EAD and AP approved email/txt: 03/29/2016 (day 67)

GC approval email/text: 04/04/2016 (day 74)

I-797 for I-765/I-131 in mail: 04/04/2016 (day 74)

EAD/AP delivered: 04/05/216 (day 75)

GC card being mailed status update: 04/07/16 (day 77)

GC received: 04/11/16 (day 84 post AOS NOA-1)

DONE WITH USCIS FOR 21 MONTHS!

ROC Window opens: 01/04/2018

 

ROC Time Line
ROC package mailed to Vermont 01/04/2018
ROC package received at Vermont 01/08/2018 (day 0)
Check cashed: 01/16/2018 (day 8 )
NOA-1 date: 01/09/2018 (day 1)
NOA-1 received: 01/16/2018 (day 8 )
Biometrics notice received: 02/09/2018 (day 32)
Biometrics appointment: 02/23/2018 (day 46)
Received 18-month extension letter: 08/13/2018 (day 209)

event.png
 

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Thanks for the link to the visiting thread! I'll check it out!

Sorry! One more question if maybe you know! I just read that you can apply to expedite your application. But I can't see the exact criteria for this for K1 applicants or what the process looks like. Do you know anything about this?

Expedite criteria > http://www.uscis.gov/forms/expedite-criteria


Link to K-1 instructions for Ciudad Juarez, Mexico > http://travel.state.gov/content/dam/visas/K1/CDJ%20-%20Ciudad%20Juarez.pdf

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You can give it a shot still...just do not get your hopes up. Call them up, request an expedite based on financial hardship.

Very slim chance, but you won't know until you try.

Edited by TabeaK

K1 time line

 


I-129F sent: 12/23/2014
NOA-1: 12/29/2014
NOA-2: 06/05/2015 (158 days)
NOA-2 hardcopy: 06/11/2015 (6 days post NOA-2, 164 days total)
Sent to NVC: 06/16/2015 (11 days post NOA-2, 169 days total)
NVC receive: 06/25/2015 (20 days post NOA-2, 178 days total)
NVC case no: 06/30/2015 (25 days post NOA-2, 183 days total)
NVC left: 07/02/2015 (27 days post NOA-2, 185 days total)
Case Ready: 07/07/2015 (32 days post NOA-2, 190 days total)
submitted DS-160, paid visa fee.: 07/21/2015 (46 days post NOA-2, 204 days total)
Packet 3 sent: 07/25/2015 (50 days post NOA-2, 209 days total)
Pack 4 received: 07/30/2015 (55 days post NOA-2, 214 days total)
Medical: 09/17/2015 Interview: 09/23/2015 (108 days post NOA-2, 268 days total)
Interview Result: Approved Administrative Processing: 09/23/2015
CEAC Status Issued: 09/24/2015
Visa in hand: 09/28/2015
POE: 12/29/2015 Wedding: 01/11/2016


AOS Time Line

 

AOS package mailed: 01/13/2016
AOS package received: 01/20/2016 (day 1)
AOS NOA-1 text/email: 01/23/2016 (day 3), actual NOA-1 date 01/22/2016 (day 2)
AOS Fingerprint fee received: 01/22/2016 (day 2)
AOS check cashed: 01-25-2016 (day 5) Got 6 month NJ driver's license: 01-25-2016
3x NOA-1 hardcopies: 02/03/2016 (day 14)

Biometrics letter: 02/05/2016 (day 16) Biometrics appt (Elizabeth, NJ): 02/17/2016 (day 28)

EAD and AP approved email/txt: 03/29/2016 (day 67)

GC approval email/text: 04/04/2016 (day 74)

I-797 for I-765/I-131 in mail: 04/04/2016 (day 74)

EAD/AP delivered: 04/05/216 (day 75)

GC card being mailed status update: 04/07/16 (day 77)

GC received: 04/11/16 (day 84 post AOS NOA-1)

DONE WITH USCIS FOR 21 MONTHS!

ROC Window opens: 01/04/2018

 

ROC Time Line
ROC package mailed to Vermont 01/04/2018
ROC package received at Vermont 01/08/2018 (day 0)
Check cashed: 01/16/2018 (day 8 )
NOA-1 date: 01/09/2018 (day 1)
NOA-1 received: 01/16/2018 (day 8 )
Biometrics notice received: 02/09/2018 (day 32)
Biometrics appointment: 02/23/2018 (day 46)
Received 18-month extension letter: 08/13/2018 (day 209)

event.png
 

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I have seen some weird approvals, problem I see is they state not to book anything before visa is in hand.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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Well it's kind of hard to book a wedding within the 90 day limit given with the visa, and i'm sure you can sympathize.
I guess our other argument is that we both can't work. We are basically both living with our parents right now, working temporary dead-end jobs that dont exactly benefit our careers. I know everyone else is going through this as well, so it's not a unique reason by any means.

Edited by strifescenario

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