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Decision Cannot be made after interview

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I had posted the question under December 14 filers but thought I'd open a new topic to attract more answers, if that's ok.

Had my interview on the 23rd and it was very disappointing experience. The IO didn't appear to possess much knowledge about immigration law and I had to suffer and walk away with a "decision cannot be made". She started out by declaring I wasn't eligible because I traveled overseas for over two months right after fingerprinting which broke my "physical presence" test. I had to explain to her that one only needs to satisfy that test up until the filing date of N-400 and it was the continuous residency that needs to be maintained all they way thru oath. She looked dubious but let me take the English and civics test anyway. After that she requested my tax returns which I didn't bring because I was filing under the regular 5-year rule. Went home and got copies of the returns, brought them back to the IO, but she said she needed more time to "conduct research". I was devastated.

Question is what kind of communication should I expect from USCIS now and how long does it take? Would it be a separate land mail or part of the "oath scheduled" thing (if successful)? Should I preemptively engage an attorney?

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It's horrendous when you realise that you know more about immigration law and procedures than the USCIS employee in front of you.

As you say, tax returns aren't required when filing under the five year rule, only the three year rule.

In this case I suspect "conduct research" = "get advice from supervisor".

USCIS have 120 days to make a decision from the day of the interview. If they have not made a decision within 120 days you can then seek a judicial review of your N-400 application in federal district court.


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Day 0 (4/23/12) Petitions mailed (I-360, I-485, I-765)
2 (4/25/12) Petitions delivered to Chicago Lockbox
11 (5/3/12) Received 3 paper NOAs
13 (5/5/12) Received biometrics appointment for 5/23
15 (5/7/12) Did an unpleasant walk-in biometrics in Fort Worth, TX
45 (6/7/12) Received email & text notification of an interview on 7/10
67 (6/29/12) EAD production ordered
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78 (7/10/12) Interview
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I had posted the question under December 14 filers but thought I'd open a new topic to attract more answers, if that's ok.

Had my interview on the 23rd and it was very disappointing experience. The IO didn't appear to possess much knowledge about immigration law and I had to suffer and walk away with a "decision cannot be made". She started out by declaring I wasn't eligible because I traveled overseas for over two months right after fingerprinting which broke my "physical presence" test. I had to explain to her that one only needs to satisfy that test up until the filing date of N-400 and it was the continuous residency that needs to be maintained all they way thru oath. She looked dubious but let me take the English and civics test anyway. After that she requested my tax returns which I didn't bring because I was filing under the regular 5-year rule. Went home and got copies of the returns, brought them back to the IO, but she said she needed more time to "conduct research". I was devastated.

Question is what kind of communication should I expect from USCIS now and how long does it take? Would it be a separate land mail or part of the "oath scheduled" thing (if successful)? Should I preemptively engage an attorney?

Hi , I think at this point you just need to wait and see what next step do USCIS take . You may be issued an RFE or it may approved without any further action need from your part. This happened to my wife on March 05 a decision cannot be made and same day we got an email that an RFE will be mailed to us , We never received any RFE then we got another email that our RFE reply was received by USCIS . We started to freak out and I did what you did post my concerned here and all the experts here did advise me to wait for 2 more weeks . Luckily we did get another email on Thursday that her oath ceremony is scheduled . I wish for a speedy approval for yours also .

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I had posted the question under December 14 filers but thought I'd open a new topic to attract more answers, if that's ok.

Had my interview on the 23rd and it was very disappointing experience. The IO didn't appear to possess much knowledge about immigration law and I had to suffer and walk away with a "decision cannot be made". She started out by declaring I wasn't eligible because I traveled overseas for over two months right after fingerprinting which broke my "physical presence" test. I had to explain to her that one only needs to satisfy that test up until the filing date of N-400 and it was the continuous residency that needs to be maintained all they way thru oath. She looked dubious but let me take the English and civics test anyway. After that she requested my tax returns which I didn't bring because I was filing under the regular 5-year rule. Went home and got copies of the returns, brought them back to the IO, but she said she needed more time to "conduct research". I was devastated.

Question is what kind of communication should I expect from USCIS now and how long does it take? Would it be a separate land mail or part of the "oath scheduled" thing (if successful)? Should I preemptively engage an attorney?

Yeah...I'm not too impressed with many government employees.

Our experiences at SS and DMV offices have not been much better.

That said, for educating myself on my wife's future USC filing,

why did "overseas travel of two months" became an issue?

Were you traveling as a GC holder?

She started out by declaring I wasn't eligible because I traveled overseas for over two months right after fingerprinting which broke my "physical presence" test. I had to explain to her that one only needs to satisfy that test up until the filing date of N-400 and it was the continuous residency that needs to be maintained all they way thru oath.


10-04-2013 We met online
11-21-2013 We met in person in Shanghai for 2 weeks

12-13-2013 I-129F packet sent via express

12-19-2013 USCIS NOA #1 (text and email) received

12-24-2013 USCIS assigns Alien Registration Number
12-31-2013 USCIS NOA #1 hard copy received
06-02-2014 USCIS web site shows NOA #2 approval
06-06-2014 USCIS web site shows case sent to NVC

06-xx-2014 Fiancee acquired birth, marriage, and police certificates from local police station (wrong)

06-16-2014 NVC creates case with GUZ### number

06-19-2014 NVC sends case sent to Guangzhou, China
06-24-2014 Received packet 3 express mail from embassy
06-25-2014 Completed DS-160 and paid K1 visa fee

06-26-2014 Mailed packet 3 response back to Embassy

06-26-2014 Requested police certificate from Russian embassy

07-08-2014 Received packet 4 email from Embassy

07-17-2014 Picked up Russian police certificate

07-25-2014 Fiancee medical exam (received MMR & Varicella, but they missed required TD shot)

07-31-2014 Picked up medical exam reports

08-01-2014 Request (correct) birth, marriage, and police certificates from Notarial Service (GongZhengChu)

08-06-2014 Picked up birth, marriage, and police certificates from Notarial Service

08-14-2014 Passed Interview Guangzhou embassy

09-01-2014 Received passport, visa, & sealed envelope

09-13-2014 POE

09-17-2014 Went to CBP office to get (US entry) I-94 updated correctly

09-18-2014 Applied for Social Security Card
09-19-2014 Applied for Marriage License (via online)
09-25-2014 Received Social Security Card
09-30-2014 Picked up Marriage License
10-09-2014 Marriage by Justice of Peace
10-09-2014 Got Certified Marriage Certificate Copies
10-17-2014 Received a letter from SS office that they need the marriage license
10-09-2014 Applied to change the social security card name
10-24-2014 Went back to SS office to provide the marriage certificate documents again!!!
12-09-2014 Submitted AOS, EAD, and AP
12-16-2014 Received 16 emails and 16 text NOA messages
01-05-2015 Received Biometrics appointment letter for (01-12-2015)
01-12-2015 Had Biometrics (fingerprint & picture) - Required Marriage Certificate!!!
02-17-2015 EAD and AP is approved
02-23-2015 Received AP is approval letter
02-25-2015 Received EAD/AP combo card (expires 02/16/2016)
02-27-2015 Applied for SS card name change (they took her SS card)
02-27-2015 Driver's learner permit test was denied since the SS card was given to SS office for name change
03-17-2015 Received SS card with married name
03-17-2015 Started to change all her accounts to married name
03-23-2015 Received potential interview waiver letter
03-27-2015 DMV rejects learner's permit due to "legal status=pending" and vision test failure
04-05-2015 Vision test for learner's permit
04-06-2015 DPS sent us letter that DHS cleared my wife's status to acquire driver's license.
04-10-2015 Passed Driver Learner's Permit
04-22-2015 Received Driver Learner's Permit ID card (expires 02/16/2016)
08-27-2015 Green Card approved
08-31-2015 Received Green Card "Welcome Notice Was Mailed" letter
09-05-2015 Received Green card
10-26-2015 Passed Driver's License Road Test (on 3rd attempt)
11-03-2015 Received Driver's License (expires 02/16/2022)
11-06-2015 Applied to remove conditional work remark on SS card
11-23-2015 Received updated Social Security Card.
- - - - - - - - - - Pending Future Processing - - - - - - - - - -
05-27-2017 File 10 Year Green Card
08-27-2017 2 Year Green Card Expires
05-27-2018 File USC

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Yeah...I'm not too impressed with many government employees.

Our experiences at SS and DMV offices have not been much better.

That said, for educating myself on my wife's future USC filing,

why did "overseas travel of two months" became an issue?

Were you traveling as a GC holder?

She started out by declaring I wasn't eligible because I traveled overseas for over two months right after fingerprinting which broke my "physical presence" test. I had to explain to her that one only needs to satisfy that test up until the filing date of N-400 and it was the continuous residency that needs to be maintained all they way thru oath.

Yes I was travelling after I filed the N-400 for business. It shouldn't matter as long as the trip is not longer than 6 months, but in my case the IO mistakenly believed the physical presence test must be applied on a rolling basis all the way thru the oath.

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