Petitioner's First Name: Jacques Beneficiary's First Name: Lisa VJ Member robin mateje:Profile - Homepage
Timeline Updated: 2010-11-22
Immigration Checklist for Jacques & Lisa:
USCIS I-130 Petition:
Dept of State IR-1/CR-1 Visa:
USCIS I-751 Petition:
USCIS N-400 Petition:
Service Center :
California Service Center
Marriage (if applicable):
I-130 Sent :
I-130 NOA1 :
I-130 RFE :
I-130 RFE Sent :
I-130 Approved :
NVC Received :
Received DS-3032 / I-864 Bill :
Pay I-864 Bill
Receive I-864 Package :
Return Completed I-864 :
Return Completed DS-3032 :
Receive IV Bill :
Pay IV Bill :
Receive Instruction Package :
Case Completed at NVC :
NVC Left :
Consulate Received :
Packet 3 Received :
Packet 3 Sent :
Packet 4 Received :
Interview Date :
Interview Result :
Second Interview (If Required):
Second Interview Result:
Visa Received :
US Entry :
Processing Estimates/Stats :
Your I-130 was approved in 104 days from your NOA1 date.
Your interview took 259 days from your I-130 NOA1 date.
Consulate Review: Chennai, India Review Topic: IR-1/CR-1 Visa
Review Date :
November 23, 2010
Embassy Review :
My wife and I went to Chennai the day before the interview. I had some issues with my application because I previously went to the United States on a student visa and had worked using my Social Security. I left the US voluntarily (no deportation/removal...). My lawyer had advised me on answering questions to the tee - and given the fact that my wife (petitioner, sponsor and US Citizen) was with me, I was more confident. I grabbed all the evidence of our marriage - photographs, photographs and more photographs, bank statements, lease, etc. We have been living together in India for the past one year - so we had enough documentation to prove that we were together.
We stayed at the Maris hotel - it is not far from the consulate in Chennai. The morning of the interview, it rained heavily, I had a cup of coffee and we grabbed an auto and got to the consulate. There was a super long line outside the consulate - since I was on a CR1/IR1 Immigrant Visa Appointment, I went to the interview 40 minutes prior to my show up time and gave the clerk in the window my interview letter and passport. He gave me a token number.
THE INTERVIEW TIME DOES NOT MEAN ANYTHING. IF YOU GET A CHANCE, GET TO THE CONSULATE EARLY. THE TOKEN NUMBER DETERMINES YOUR TIME FOR THE INTERVIEW.
The guards at the gate thoroughly check you and all the documentation I had was made into a mess. All the envelopes were opened and contents examined - they were all then stamped as being Security Verified. I was angry with the guards, they were pretty ruthless - I had my stuff in order and they totally messed it up.
I then waited in a small lounge, and was told that for Immigrant visas, I would have to run over to the next building.
In the next building (its nice, AC, toilets...) I was waiting with a bunch of children, families, and old people. There were 3 windows designated for Immigrant visas and a bunch more for non-immigrant visas.
Patience is the key here, grab a seat, go through your documentation and watch the monitor for your number. I waited over 1 hour before my number was called. I rushed to the counter. There was an Indian lady who looked at all my documents, opened my Medical report and put all my documents in a folder and asked me to wait. She said that a US visa officer will call me for an interview.
I then sat back at my seat for almost one more hour - time was going by really slow and I was getting impatient and wanted to get done. I then went to the bathroom and as the odds would strike, my number was called then! I ran to the window and it was not the interview.. it was another Indian lady who wanted my fingerprints! I gave her all ten and then she asked me to wait at my seat till my number was called again.
I waited for about 45 minutes. Like I said earlier, there were 3 windows for Immigrant visas - 2 of them manned by male officers and one female. The male officers' interviews were much longer than the female. The female had a bunch of children and families being interview and everyone was giggly and laughing. I prayed that I would get the female officer during the interview.
Suddenly, my number was called! I had the female officer. She was young (early 30's at the most). She said good morning and asked me if the interview could be conducted in English - I was ok with that. Here is what happened -
Jacques: Ma'am, my wife, Lisa is waiting outside. They did not allow her inside the consulate, if you have any questions, just so you know, she's out there.
Officer: oh ok, sorry that they did not let her in. We have limited space here. (the office looked pretty empty by that point).
Jacques: No worries.
Officer: Raise your right arm and take the oath (she held my papers face front).
Officer: How did you and Lisa meet?
Jacques: In a class on Inter cultural Communication
Officer: Has Lisa been living with you?
Jacques: Yes, Ma'am, she's been here with me for a year.
Officer: Did her family come to the wedding?
Jacques: Yes Ma'am, the core of her family came over, but her grandfather could not.
Officer: oh ok - can i see some pictures
I showed her all the photos - our wedding album would not fit through the window, so I showed her about 150 loose pictures of me, my wife and our families.
Officer: good - do you have any pictures of the marriage being consummated?
Jacques: Yes Ma'am (I showed her a couple)
Officer: Congrats! Your visa is approved.
Jacques: Awesome! Thank you. I don't know what to do now :-)
Officer: Well, first celebrate and then you're going to America!
I thanked her and ran out of there like the wind. Then I paid my VFS Fees and got my visa by courier in 3 days!
Lessons learnt -
1. Get to the consulate early
2. All envelopes are examined, it would be easier if you had all the envelopes in one folder and all the contents in another. Once they are examined, you can put them back in.
3. Eat a breakfast - you will be waiting (I ate some Idli and coffee). The prices for snacks in the consulate are pretty exorbitant - although you will not feel like eating.
4. PLENTY OF DOCUMENTATION - Carry almost everything you have - no shame - I printed out all our email conversations, chats, photos, itineraries, hotel receipts and more.
5. Wear formals - wear something formal - I wore a blazer and my lucky blue shirt :-)
6. AT THE INTERVIEW - SMILE, DON'T LOOK NERVOUS. LOOK JOVIAL AND CONFIDENT (no matter how messed up your case is) and it will work in your favor. Look the officer in the eye, have a smile on your face and then answer the question.
Remember - the officers are working to help you succeed - you want to make their job easier, so smile and look pleasant and be confident in your answers.
7. Celebrate when you get the visa! Go get a beer and decompress after you are done.
I had a fantastic visa interview experience (although I never want to go through it again )
*Notice about estimates: The estimates are based off averages of other members recent experiences
(documented in their timelines) for the same benefit/petition/application at the same filing location.
Individual results may vary as every case is not always 'average'. Past performance does not necessarily
predict future results. The 'as early as date' may change over time based on current reported processing
times from members. There have historically been cases where a benefit/petition/application processing
briefly slows down or stops and this can not be predicted. Use these dates as reference only and do not
rely on them for planning. As always you should check the USCIS processing times to see if your application
is past due.