Chinook's Medical & Interview Experience
My medical experience
February 16, 2009 -- Monday at 10:30 a.m. -- The first day of the medical -- I arrived at St. Lukes and there was no line outside the building. I showed the guard my interview appointment letter, my nursing ID, and the NVC letter containing our MNL case number. The guard gave me some forms to fill out.
After filling out the forms, I submitted them, together with my passport, to the receptionist. Then they took my photo and instructed me to go to the fifth floor to pay the cashier. The cashier was closed so I proceeded to have my height and weight taken. Then I waited for 30 minutes for the cashier to open.
After paying the cashier, I went to the laboratory for a urine pregnancy test and an HIV test. After that, they took a chest x-ray. I was impressed by their hi-tech x-ray machine. Then, I was instructed to go to the second floor for my immunization interview. I showed the doctor my immunization record and she told me what shots I would be given.
Then I proceeded to the fifth floor where I was given an eye exam and had my vital signs taken. After that, they told me to take a break and come back after 30 minutes for the physical exam.
My physical exam and my interview took about five minutes. First, the doctor interviewed me. She wanted to know about any tattoos and ear piercings. She also asked me some questions about my fiancé. We chatted a little bit about him.
Then she instructed me to go behind the curtain and read the instruction posted on the wall. The instruction tells you to disrobe completely. Then the doctor checked my throat, palpated my breasts and my stomach, checked for any scars on my wrists, and asked me to turn on my side and bend my knees to visually check my privates. And that’s it.
After my exam, I submitted my form to the fifth floor receptionist and they gave me a receipt, my passport, and instructed me to come back at 1:30 p.m. the following day.
Out of St. Lukes by 3.30 p.m.
February 17, 2009 -- Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. -- The second day of the medical – When I arrived at St. Lukes, the guard inside the building checked for my name in their system and instructed me to go to the second floor.
The second floor is the immunization floor. While I was waiting for my turn, the nurse asked me some questions about allergies, etc. I asked her which shots I would be given and she said that I would be given three shots. I asked her whether the doctor accepted my Td shot. She asked to see my immunization record and told me that I would be given a Tdap. I asked her to explain the difference, and she did. She gave me three shots.
Then I was instructed to wait on the ground floor for releasing. After about thirty minutes, they gave me back my vaccination form.
Out of St. Lukes by 3:30 p.m.
My interview experience
February 23, 2009 – Monday at 5:45 a.m. -- I arrived at the Embassy and waited for my turn to fall in line. While I was waiting, I saw some Filipino World War II veterans in front of the Embassy registering for their long-overdue benefits. Some of them were proudly dressed in their old military uniforms. The guard finally told everyone to fall in the correct line.
The K1 beneficiaries and the K3 beneficiaries were in the same immigrant visa line. The guard checked my appointment letter and my ID.
Inside the Embassy, there was an usherette to assist you in checking the DS forms. After I finished checking my forms, I then proceeded to get my number. Pay attention to the monitor because the numbers are flashed randomly.
After they took my fingerprints, the Filipino pre-screener interviewed me. She just asked me some basic questions:
- My name and my fiancé’s name.
- Whether I had traveled before. If so, where, when, and for how long.
- Our age difference. (She said the wrong number for our age difference and I corrected her).
- When was my fiance’s last visit and for how long.
- She asked for my birth certificate, NBI and CENOMAR.
- She asked for the I-134 and its supporting documents. I gave her the 2008 income tax return, the 2008 income tax transcript, the 2008 W-2 form, five months of current paycheck stubs, and the employer's letter.
- She also asked for photos, emails, and remittances.
The pre-screener jotted down all of my answers.
The consul officer asked me several questions and I answered all of them well. She asked me the following:
- My name and my fiance’s name.
- My age and his age.
- My work and his work.
- Whether I had traveled before. If so, where, when and for how long.
- How long my fiancé stayed in the Philippines and how many times he visited me.
She also leafed through our documents at the same time. I saw her looking closely at our financial documents and the photos I submitted.
Then she told me that everything looked great, but there was one question on our I-129F form that my fiancé didn't answer. She told me that my fiancé needed to answer that question and he could fax another I-129 to the Embassy. But she also told me that the lady at the releasing window would explain it to me further. She was a very nice consular officer. She made it sound like it wasn't a major issue.
I went to the releasing window and the lady gave me the third page of our I-129F. She also gave me two other forms. One form was a 221g which included information about which document they needed me to submit. The other form contained the consular officer's signature. She explained everything to me very fast, so I decided to sit down and carefully read both of the forms. Then I went back to her and clarified some confusing instructions.
February 26, 2009 -- Thursday at 12:20 p.m. -- I received via Fed Ex from my fiancé the corrected third page of the I-129F.
At 1:00 p.m., I went to the Embassy and I submitted the third page of the I-129F together with the 221g form. The lady who received my documents asked me why I hadn't had it notarized. I told her that they didn’t specifically instruct me to have it notarized and she said ok.
February 27, 2009 -- Friday at 8:30 a.m. -- I was awakened by a call from Embassy caseworker #1 asking me for another copy of our I-134 Affidavit of Support and its supporting documents. According to the caseworker, they had not "lost" our documents, they had simply "misplaced" them. The caseworker wanted us to submit another original I-134 and also the income tax return, the W-2, the paycheck stubs, and the employer's letter.
When I called my fiancé and told him what happened, he called the Embassy and talked with Grace and with caseworker #2, the caseworker who was actually handling our case. At first, caseworker #2 told my fiancé that we could simply submit a copy of the I-134 rather than an original, and we could submit copies of everything else. By the end of the conversation, the caseworker told my fiancé that we did not have to submit anything at all.
February 27, 2009 -- Friday at 9:30 a.m. – I received a phone call from caseworker #2. I explained to him that I had submitted all of our financial documents already at my interview. He changed his story again. Now he said that I could submit whatever copies of documents I had. They didn't have to be originals. Then he said, "Why did you call your fiancé? Why couldn't you keep this between us Filipinos?" Hmmm...
February 27, 2009 -- Friday at 1:00 p.m. – I decided to play it safe and submit copies of everything that had been "misplaced." Thank goodness I had copies of everything. I also decided that I would submit the documents in person since I was still nearby at the CityState Tower Hotel.
So, I went to the Embassy and told the guard that I needed to submit some documents that the caseworker asked for. The guard told me that they don’t accept submission of documents on Fridays. One lady who was in line gave me an insulting laugh as if to tell me that I was foolish to try doing this on a Friday. I ignored the lady and firmly told the guard that I needed to go inside to submit my documents and told him the complete names of the persons who I talked to on the phone that morning. He let me in and told me to proceed to the Information counter.
The information officer told me the same thing: that Window 17 is closed on Friday. I explained to him the same thing I had told the guard, and I told him that I will submit the documents at Window X. He asked to see my documents and looked at my ID. Then he told me I could go inside.
The receiving lady also told me that submission of documents is only from Monday through Thursday. I was getting tired of explaining my situation to each one of them, but I just had to be assertive. So, I explained the situation to her. She accepted my documents and stamped them. Then I just went back to the hotel and called my fiancé.
It was a challenging and difficult week for both of us but we found strength in each other. I'm proud of how we handled those challenges.
March 4, 2009 -- in the morning -- I received a text from Air21 that my visa was going to be delivered. Since they don't deliver to my area until late in the afternoon, I immediately called their local office and asked them to hold my visa at their office. Then I jumped in a taxi and went there to pick it up. When I picked up my visa, the workers at the office serenaded me with the song about Filipinos going abroad and returning some day..."babalik ka rin." lol
Best of luck to those who are still on their visa journey. Just stay focused on your love with your partner and you will be able to overcome whatever challenges you face.
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Loving my ((( Tahoma ))) more and more each day.. - Chinook
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