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catdog514

bad AOS interview experience, need some advice

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Hi everyone,

 

I am seriously devastated right now. My husband and I had the AOS interview yesterday morning (I'm the USC). We were not worried at all, we had good evidence, very organized documents, etc.. We were so happy and excited to finally be at the interview, we were laughing and smiling in the waiting room. We were called in a few minutes early, and the woman was not friendly at all right off the bat. She led us back to her office and took a phone call before even saying anything to us. She ended the call by saying that she had an interview to take care of and then she'd call back after, and it sounded like she was annoyed that we were there. I started to feel uncomfortable at this point but tried to stay relaxed with a smile on my face. I am absolutely terrible at interviews and public speaking but I went into this interview without my usual dread and anxiety because I was sure that we had nothing to worry about. 

 

She asked us to stand and swear we were going to tell the truth, we did and sat down. Then she asked my husband to confirm some details like his parents names, etc., and what my birthday was. He had suddenly become very nervous and started to say our wedding date but corrected himself. I think he is absolutely adorable when he's nervous and it rarely happens so I was smiling/laughing softly and said something like, "you're so nervous babe." She then asked him all the yes/no questions from the application. She had told me to get ready any extra documents that we wanted to submit while she was talking to him, but at this point she turned to me and told me to stop what I was doing as she'd be talking to me now. She looked very intensely into my eyes as if to say, "I've got some doubts and I'm really scrutinizing you right now so you'd better have a good answer to what I'm about to say..." Then she asked me how I met my husband. I explained, but didn't go through the whole timeline of our relationship at this point because I thought I'd be able to expand on that later. I now regret that as there wasn't another opportunity. At this point I was still calm, but a little uncomfortable as she was not friendly and had basically scolded us when my husband tried to hold my hand as she started to question me. Then she started asking me about my previous marriages. I was married twice before, about 10 years and 8 years ago. Both marriages were short (less than 1 year), and I was 21 and 23 at the time. The first ended because it was abusive and the second ended because he waited until we were married to tell me that he expected me to get pregnant right away, follow him around all of our lives and then retire to one of those neighborhoods with a golf course in the backyard in Georgia where he is from, despite that being pretty much the opposite of what I had always told him I wanted out of life. Anyway, I tried to make it work but we just wanted different things. I tried to explain this to her but she kept interrupting me and was writing down a lot of notes. I got the timeline wrong as I didn't remember exactly when everything happened. I didn't remember the wedding dates from either of those marriages. I know that seems so weird but I didn't celebrate an anniversary for either, we never made it that far. Both were a difficult and negative experience that I tried to forget, and I have a terrible memory of the chronology of a lot of my life. I was not expecting to be grilled so harshly on something that happened so long ago, when I was pretty young. It's not like it was a crime or anything, I just had some failed relationships. She made me feel absolutely terrible. She told me I must have been dating the second guy I married while I was still married to the first. That was not true, and I told her that, that I couldn't remember the exact dates and that it was a long time ago and I admitted the relationships were very close together, but that I had really not tried to remember that point in my life. Why would I want to remember the anniversary of my failed relationships and bad memories? I was feeling so uncomfortable as I am a deeply private person and I hate crying in front of people I don't know, so I was having a difficult time knowing what to say. I ended up focusing on fighting back tears and trying to explain the timeline of those marriages and why they happened like they did. I was feeling very shocked, defensive, and I have since thought of a million things I should have said in that moment. I can't stop crying and feeling like I totally messed up. She said "Why should I give him a greencard when you don't even remember when you got married before?" She started putting our papers in a stack and talking really slowly like she was thinking at the same time, saying that she'd have to talk to her supervisor and they'd probably call my family to ask if they even knew if were married, and we might have to come back for another interview so they can find out "what's going on." We tried to show her the pictures we had brought but she wrinkled up her nose and waived her hand and said she didn't need to see them. I was in total shock, I didn't know what to say. When I have to do job interviews or public speaking I often get so anxious that I have a panic attack and it's like I black out, because afterward I can't remember what was said, only little bits and pieces. I was just trying to understand what she was saying, if we were being denied, what was going on. I felt frozen in the chair but she was inviting us to leave. I was just staring at the desk and trying to gather all the packets of documents and our binders, feeling like blurting out "Wait, what is happening? That's it? We didn't even talk about us, just some stuff from my past that is painful and you just judged me without knowing anything and acted like I did something wrong for having previous relationships close together in time that failed!" My husband and I were obviously sad, moving slowly, dropping things as were trying to put them in our bag, and she said, "Okay, let me see the photos." She told me to come stand next to her and explain them to her. I did so and she seemed to soften a little after that. It was like she dropped the aggressive attitude a little bit and told us that she was a senior employee there that doesn't normally do interviews anymore but that day 5 people had called in sick and so she was really busy and would look over our case in between the rest of her work. She said she might just approve it but she'd have to check with her supervisor, and we'd get a letter in the mail in a few weeks. We said thank you and left.

 

As soon as I left her office I hyperventilated. My husband knew it was coming and just hugged me tightly until I calmed down. I tried to pull it together enough to walk through the lobby without freaking out the people still waiting to go in. I spent the rest of the day and all of last night thinking about every detail I could remember, all the nervous mistakes I'd made, all the things I would say if I could do it over. I'd give anything to just go back in there and have 30 seconds to say my piece. I feel like I let her intimidate me into a corner. We didn't get to talk about our relationship at all, our wedding, our life for the last year being married, meeting my family, nothing. I am so angry but more so I am disappointed in myself and sad. I got so upset and now I don't know what to expect. I don't know how I am going to make it the next few weeks like this. Anyway, I'm sorry I'm not sure what I'm asking. I just want to hear from other people and see what you guys think, what should I do to prepare for the worst? My husband is trying to be optimistic and part of me thinks she has to approve it or it would be so cruel considering how it ended. But I don't know what to expect anymore. I feel so stupid, I was so excited to be in that interview and I wasn't worried at all. I thought we didn't need to be, we love each other.

 

One last thing, I spent hours last night scouring the internet for other stories like this and I must say, I do not want negative, condescending, judgmental replies. If after reading this you don't have something constructive to say to me, please do not reply. I'm sad enough. Thanks for reading.

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Sorry you had to go through this. I think you'll be fine, but just in case, look for a good attorney, as geowrain suggested.


ROC sent 7/20

ROC received at SCS 7/23

Check cashed 8/3

NOA1 8/1

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USCIS could also schedule a 2nd Interview -> Stokes Interview which you both should be very well-prepared for.

You could use the search feature on VJ here to find out more about other people experiences.

 

Keep your fingers crossed. Maybe you will just get an approval notice instead!


Done with K1, AOS and ROC

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Thank you geowrian. I appreciate your comments and am going to prepare to have to reply to a NOID. And thanks for pointing out the part about the open forum policy. I will rephrase to say, I hope folks who choose to respond will do so with kindness, empathy, and insight. I will definitely update this thread as soon as I hear what's next. Thanks again for your kind words.

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41 minutes ago, catdog514 said:

One last thing, I spent hours last night scouring the internet for other stories like this and I must say, I do not want negative, condescending, judgmental replies. If after reading this you don't have something constructive to say to me, please do not reply. I'm sad enough. Thanks for reading.

Hey.  I just want to say that I'm so sorry that you had to go through this and that I hope that everything turns out well for you.  No one should ever treat another like they treated you... best wishes and hopes for the best outcome...

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there is actually a good reason that they make the interview uncomfortable and try to throw you off balance, the truth comes out more. by throwing you off balance by acting or being disgruntled a lie is likely to break down for most people. by that same token having people wait in warm rooms with not so good ventilation makes people agitated which again makes the lies break down more easily.

 

I personally would think nothing of it and just check your case status online in a day or two.

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What a nightmare. I'm sorry that happened to you and wish for a speedy approval for you.

 

I get the same way with interviews, meetings, anything like that. I get naturally antsy and nervous, it's really difficult. The hardest part is the afterwords thoughts of what you could have said or done. Try to breath, prepare for either outcome and breath some more. Good luck and keep us posted please! 


8/6/17 - K-1 Sent

8/11/17 - NOA1 Received 

2/14/18 - NOA2 Received

5/16/18 - Medical

5/22/18 - Interview

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Thanks everyone for your replies. If we end up getting a NOID or stokes I am going to have to look into lawyers willing to work cheaply or do pro bono work as we can't afford thousands of dollars for a lawyer. I've read a lot so far about NOIDs and stokes interviews on here and am getting some idea of what that might look like. I hope the optimistic viewpoint is right and we will be approved, but I tend to try to prepare for the worst so that I can be pleasantly surprised if I'm wrong.

 

My husband is being really positive and I think partly it's to support me, and partly because he is not quite as worried as me. He was saying what some of you have said, which is that she was just doing her job and trying to test us. I understand that and just have to hope that I didn't fail as badly as I feel I did.

 

I really appreciate everyone's kindness, I think I already feel a little calmer after spending the last 24 hours beating myself up about it.

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Hi there. I'm sorry you had such a negative experience. Maybe it wasn't the officers day. I think once she presents your case to the supervisor they will approve it. I have my fingers crossed for you.


I know it's a done deal but weren't previous marriage and divorce dates in the application with your file? Maybe I'm mixing them up but I know some forms ask for them. 

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17 minutes ago, Andrina said:

Hi there. I'm sorry you had such a negative experience. Maybe it wasn't the officers day. I think once she presents your case to the supervisor they will approve it. I have my fingers crossed for you.


I know it's a done deal but weren't previous marriage and divorce dates in the application with your file? Maybe I'm mixing them up but I know some forms ask for them. 

Thanks Andrina, actually the 485 doesn't specifically ask for that information. I had included copies of my divorce decrees with our application but I don't think those state the dates of marriage. I didn't even think of checking that! WHY?! I gave her certified copies of the divorce decrees when she asked for those, so she has them. I'll check when I get home and see if they state the date of the wedding or not. The 129f did ask for divorce finalization dates on it, which I gave at the time we filed that application. She was asking me the wedding dates, which I didn't remember, and how long the marriages lasted, which I also did not remember exactly. I said approximately 1 year for each, but in retrospect each was less than that. Now that I am thinking about it, I truly cannot remember, even now under no pressure, the exact timeline of those relationships. I'd have to go back and look at my facebook, emails, photos, etc. to try to figure that out more accurately, but I have a feeling that I deleted a lot of that stuff long ago.. Thanks for your well wishes!

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5 hours ago, catdog514 said:

 If we end up getting a NOID or stokes I am going to have to look into lawyers willing to work cheaply or do pro bono work as we can't afford thousands of dollars for a lawyer.

Question: can you afford to have your spouse deported? Sure, but do you want that? I realize the last thing you want to do is spend money on a lawyer but hear me out: if that lawyer is able to keep your spouse in the US and your I-485 case going, isn't that worth all the money in the world? Immigration is neither cheap, easy, nor quick. In the end, I truly hope you can find a pro bono lawyer who can do the job for you but you should realize that it may take some money to improve your odds.


K1 visa journey: 107 days from NOA1 to visa in hand

Spoiler

01 Oct 2016    Mailed I-129F packet (27 pages)
12 Oct 2016    NOA1 SMS and e-mail               (11 days from sent date)
03 Nov 2016    NOA2 SMS                          (22 days from NOA1 date)
29 Nov 2016    NVC received I-129F petition      (26 days from NOA2 date)
13 Dec 2016    CEAC status shows "Ready"     (13 days from NVC sent date)

03 Jan 2017    Received Packet 4 e-mail (19 days from Packet 3 sent date)
24 Jan 2017    Interview                   (21 days from Packet 4 e-mail)
27 Jan 2017    Visa in hand                     (107 days from NOA1 date)
09 Feb 2017    POE Philadelphia, PA

 

AOS journey: 256 days from NOA1 to GC in hand

Spoiler

06 Apr 2017    Mailed I-485/I-131/I-765 packet (83 pages)

12 Apr 2017    I-485/I-131/I-765 packet delivered

28 Apr 2017    NOA1 SMS                   (22 days from send date)
01 May 2017    NOA1 letters received        (3 days from SMS date)
13 May 2017    Biometrics letter received (17 days from NOA1 date)
26 May 2017    Biometrics appointment     Success!

26 Jul 2017    SR for EAD over 75 days    (90 days from NOA1 date)

07 Aug 2017    SR reply: "case under review"    (12 days to reply)

09 Aug 2017    Infopass appointment      (104 days from NOA1 date)

16 Aug 2017    Contacted representative's office

25 Aug 2017    EAD/AP card approved      (120 days from NOA1 date)

01 Sep 2017    EAD/AP card received via USPS

21 Sep 2017    Contacted representative's office

03 Nov 2017    AOS interview letter received

07 Dec 2017    AOS interview

18 Dec 2017    Conditional (2 year) GC in hand!

 

08 Sep 2019    ROC window opens

 

Cumulative number of pages mailed to USCIS: 110

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I'm sorry you had such a rough interview. I know you think you gave all the wrong answers but some of the things I think are in your favor include how you and your husband interacted in the lobby, how your husband reached for your hand when you were nervous, and how he physically supported you at the end. If anyone was watching those interactions they would help support your case. You'll get through this! Remember they say that it's USCIS' responsibility to prove that your relationship isn't real. Be intentional these next few weeks to get to know your husband better, take time to review details of your past and your future plans. Stay positive. This too will work out.


K-1 from Haiti - NOA1: 5/27/2014; NOA2: 7/8 USCIS never updated to say that it was sent to the NVC (just in case you're as concerned about your status not updating as I was about mine)
NVC Case Number Received: 7/31; Left NVC: 8/1 - tracked via DHL website; CEAC Status - Ready: 8/7; Packet 3 Received: 9/5 - Beneficiary received packet / Medical Completed: 9/19;
DS-160 Submitted: 9/22 - (CEAC date updated); Packet 3 Submitted: 9/26; Packet 4 Received: 10/24; Interview Date: 11/6 @ 7 am Interview Result: Approved!
CEAC Status Issued: 11/10; USTraveldocs.com finally acknowledged Fiance's passport actually in their system: 11/20; Passport Received: 11/21;

POE: 11/23/2014; Wedding: 2/14/2015

AOS/EAD/AP Filed: 2/21/2015;

USCIS EAD & AP received: 2/25; USCIS AOS received: 2/27; Received NOA1s in mail: 3/5; Biometrics: 3/26; EAD/AP Card in Production: 5/11; EAD/AP Card Mailed: 5/1; EAD/AP Card Received 5/19; NPIW Letter dated: 6/11/15; Green card Approved: 10/1/15;

Green card Received: 10/7/15

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4 minutes ago, JR loves JR said:

Remember they say that it's USCIS' responsibility to prove that your relationship isn't real.

The burden is on the applicant to prove a bona fide marriage to be eligible for an immigration benefit based on that relationship, not for USCIS to prove a fraudulent one. As for what people say...that's a story for another day.

Edited by geowrian

Timelines:

Spoiler

AOS (I-485 + I-131 + I-765):

9/25/17: sent forms to Chicago

9/27/17: received by USCIS

10/4/17: NOA1 electronic notification received

10/10/17: NOA1 hard copy received. Social Security card being issued in married name (3rd attempt!)

10/14/17: Biometrics appointment notice received

10/25/17: Biometrics

1/2/18: EAD + AP approved (no website update)

1/5/18: EAD + AP mailed

1/8/18: EAD + AP approval notice hardcopies received

1/10/18: EAD + AP received

9/5/18: Interview scheduled notice

10/17/18: Interview

?/?/18: Approved (hopefully)

 

K-1:

Spoiler

I-129F

12/1/17: sent

12/14/17: NOA1 hard copy received

3/10/17: RFE (IMB verification)

3/22/17: RFE response received

3/24/17: Approved!

3/30/17: NOA2 hard copy received

 

NVC

4/6/2017: Received

4/12/2017: Sent to Riyadh embassy

4/16/2017: Case received at Riyadh embassy

4/21/2017: Request case transfer to Manila, approved 4/24/2017

 

K-1

5/1/2017: Case received by Manila (1 week embassy transfer??? Lucky~)

7/13/2017: Interview: APPROVED!!!

7/19/2017: Visa in hand

8/15/2017: POE

 

 

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