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doug & angel

Memoirs of a USC (Feb 7th interview and approval)

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Philippines
Timeline

First the good news, we are approved. This day holds other significance too as it was exactly a year ago (Feb 7th 2007) when I walked off the plane and into the arms of the women I met via a random yahoo event almost 4 years ago.

As the USC I will add a few comments to what others have said..

First, I would highly recommend that the USC go to this interview as its a unique experience that is something to be shared. Its far worse than your worst DVM experience and quite honestly if they tried to have americans do this kind of thing there'd be a serious mango-juice come tea party right outside the USEM in the harbor. Its not the process per say, though someone who has taken basic statistics can spot many ways to improve things. Its the complete lack of information and communications along the way which was mind-boggling

We arrived at 5am into a sea of people wondering around the embassy, there were the vendors outside selling everything from ball-point pens (50php) to Polaroid photos (250php) to plastic seats for places to sit down at (25php, 30php if you want them wiped off) The common thread of all of these folks was the inconsistent information we were given. The whackenhut guards, the vendors, and even random passers by could speak with convincing authority about where you were supposed to stand, or how the process works, but in the end they really have only a small piece of information. We were told by one guard to stand over in a line forming by an entrance blocked by another guard under a awning who was slowly checking papers. We stood there for a while and I noticed that about 70 people in front of us there was actual sign-age. I make my way up to read it and low and behold it says "Non-immigrant visa" so we've stood for 20 minutes in the wrong line .. It gets worse from there, at one point we even had two whackenhutters arguing with each other about where we were supposed to stand (they were lucky enough to give us conflicting information within earshot of each other) There is an announcement of sorts as there is someone on a PA system saying something periodically. I'm sure its important, and it probably has a lot to do with what we need to know. However, the announcer has apparently swallowed a entire bag of marbles prior to going "on-air" and you can't understand them. At least the guards can't as they are willing to argue amongst themselves about what was said. The key however is to get past the guard at the awning. You can do this several ways, I would highly recommend pole-vaulting as its easier though they would probably frown on it. At some point though he just starts waving a bunch of us in.

That brings us to guard #2 .. Guard #2 actually reads your paperwork (more or less) and decides when you can proceed to the security clearing area. This is the area where there are more guards and a x-ray machine and at least one USC who has a bunch of electronic ####### they aren't going to let him take in. Apparently its common for USCs to miss the memo on bringing their Cummins diesel engines along with them to the interview but I'm digressing .. Guard #2 reads your paperwork and randomly selects people to sit in the penalty box. This is a bench off to the side reserved apparently for people that had the wrong aura on. I first postulated that this selection had something to do with the time of the interview but apparently its more random than functional as we had people with 7:30 interviews in the box as well as 7am and some I think from the previous week still sitting there. Eventually he runs out of things to do and waves us in too (no longer reading any of the papers)

This brings us to guard #3 and the hut, maybe this is the infamous whackenhut? This is a small room just outside the embassy interior, it has a x-ray machine from 1943 and a metal detector which basically beeps whenever anyone walks through us. This gives the guards a reason to touch you inappropriately which they do with great vigor and gusto, you then retrieve your papers which are rolling through the x-ray/ microwave before they fall off the conveyer and onto the floor. They are warm to the touch which makes me wonder about the number of rads this thing is giving out. Once collected you then stand at the door which beeps. This is a door with some kind of electronic lock. It emits a loud beeping sound. Its also locked. There's a filipina ahead of us, arms wrapped around a metric tonne of slowly cooling papers and she's trying to figure out how to open it. Its stops beeping after she tugs on it a couple of times, but it still won't open. Noone is paying any attention to this except the crowd thats piling up behind this increasingly flustered girl. I reach past her and try my luck and sure enough its stuck firm, at that point the beeping starts again and someone else tries the door which opens like a congressman's wallet the day before election day. I'm not sure if the beeping has anything to do with the locking mechanism or it was just the mass of the accumulating crowd which endued the opener with Herculean strength.

Once inside the embassy proper we find to my surprise actual marking on the wall giving directions on where to go. We follow these breadcrumbs of knowledge into a largeish waiting area full of hard plastic chairs and nervous filipina. We were lucky enough to meet up with another VJ couple while in the penalty box (i'll let them own up to knowing us after reading this if they are not ) and we were directed into the back row of the middle section. I point this out only because there was a large gap between the back row and the front row of empty seats. This gap is slowly filled with people as they come in well past their appointment times (its now 8:30 and they haven't started yet) I bring this up only to point out to future generations that your pain and suffering will end quicker if you somehow manage to sit in the front row. When it gets right down to it, they send the rows to the ticket booth front to back, left to right. It really doesn't matter what time is stamped on your appointment card, nor what time you arrived, your going to the ticket booth in that order. This process is the most important one of the day as it basically controls how long you will sent in the chairs while waiting for your number to be called. Mind you, these chairs were bought at a surplus auction as they were long since banned by the Geneva convention as being cruel and unusual punishment. Since they are unfit for prisoners they wound up here. Anyway, retrieving a ticket early is important as even though there is a bit of strange randomness to the calling out of numbers, its basically going in order, and the sooner you get called, the sooner you can get out of there and start drinking.

A bit about the process, its relatively straight forward. There are several video monitors in the room which explain it more or less. They do this on a loop which includes an english explanation, a taglog explanation and between the explanations about 10 minutes of badly pixilated images pictures of "americans" mouthing the words "Welcome" or "Haha!" I'm not sure which. The progress of events goes in this order "ticket booth" "finger scanning" "pre-screening" "Interview" "clearing" "delbros" "standing outside for 30 minutes to flag down a taxi" "drinking heavily". As previously mentioned. The ticket booth controls your fate for the day. Its where you hand over some (but not all) of your paperwork and are given this tiny piece of paper which your number is printed with quick-fading thermal ink. I mention this because several people (including ourselves) noticed that it doesn't take long to rub the numbers right off the ticket. So be careful with it. Putting it inside of a folder seems to be the smart thing to do, holding it in your hand on the other hand, not so smart. Above all else memorize the number as its your destiny for the day. They also get really cranky if you don't pop out of your chair as your number shows up on the board (its announced visually not audibly unless they are looking for you) . I'm not sure what happens if you don't show but several times the board would have the same number up on it several times for the same window and the guards would all scurry about going "6711" "6711" trying to get someones attention. Eventually you'd hear the echos of them in the loo as they would open the doors and yell "6711" in hopes of finding the hapless soul who was lost in there. I did resist the urge to hang out in the CR and yell back "Number 2" "Number 2" when this event occurred again. Successfully resisted, I might add, though my legs did twitch a couple of times at the thoughts.

Once you have your ticket number, your fate is sealed (at least as far as this process is concerned) the next stop on the train is finger-print scanning, called biometrics. This is the point where you meet the first cranky person who works there "Press harder" she yells at a flustered girl "No pressy no visa" is another comment I overheard. I'm quite sure this is the first time most of these people have ever seen a biometrics scanner and despite the signs scattered all over the place telling you what to do (though none of the signs are actually anywhere near the scanning window itself) most people seemed to be somewhat scared of the little box. Perhaps its the lady behind the counter, or perhaps its the green glow coming from the box that makes it look like its full of some high-grade form of kyrptoniite . Most of them walk up to it and look at it with that same look the american gives the person offering them Balut just after they find out what it is.

After the biometrics, you return to your seat, and after several eons your called to the pre-screener. This person actually asks questions and accumulates more papers. In our case she asked my fiancee if she was who she was, asked her daughter if she was who she was and asked me if I was who I was .. at this point I almost said "No, I'm Ed McMahon and you might already be a winner!" But I resisted with even more leg twitching and a nervous tick. She collected the police clearances and some other papers not picked up at the beginning. Asked questions about my previous marriages "why did you leave your wife?" .. "I didn't" ... "why did you get a divorce?" ... " It was cheaper than the annulment" ... " why did you want an annulment?" "my ex-wife was already married to someone else, committed fraud by marrying me and oh is serving time in the state lockup for theft, larceny and extortion having nothing to do with me or our marriage. " Apparently, that was the right answer ( and oddly enough, the honest one) After staring at me for several seconds like I'd suddenly grown a third eye, she eventually looks down at the papers (which actually say these things, along with, get this .. "irreconcilable differences") reads them for a little while and then waves us back to the chairs without further comment.

We wait for a long while and suddenly its lunch time. We don't know its lunch time, there's not an actual announcement or anything, just the window shades are closed and the board showing which numbers go to which window goes dark. A bunch of people get up and start filing out. We ask the guard whats going on and he says its lunch time. be back at 1pm. I think I'm the first person to ever ask the question "How do we get back in?" Because he looks at me like like a scientist examining a new form of bacterium. "Just show the guards your paper" he says. "I can't do that, they've already taken our appointment documentation" There is that look again, like he's counting the clil along the edge of the cell structure ... "No, your number paper" Oh wait, he means our now-serving number. I show it to him "You mean this?" He replies in the affirmative and in such a way to make you believe he's decided that the microbe under examination is not in-fact infectious, we quickly retreat to the door.

Leaving the USEM for lunch you've got basically a couple of choices .. Chow King and Yellow Cab. For those of you americans in the audience, yellow cab is a pizza place, not in-fact a transportation company. Though honestly their namesake may make better pizza. For reasons of allowing the 7 year old step daughter to make the decision (after all, what are kids good for if not deciding which form of junk food you'll consume) we chose yellow cab. We had a Hawaiian pizza with extra grease. We tried to order more grease, but apparently therese a saturation limit on how much grease they are allowed to soak a pizza in before serving it to you. Its a good thing too as its likely it would no longer be considered a solid. As it is, the pizza ranks up there with the taste of ham, pineapple and 30 weight motor oil. At that moment though, it was the food of the gods, because quite frankly theres nothing else to eat while waiting through this process. Sure their is "The Pavilion" This is a adjunct area outside of the visa rooms and there's a counter there where you can buy snacks (of a sort) by 10am when I went to check this out, they were down to saltines to eat and diet-sprite to drink. Maybe its just me, but the idea of diet-sprite is nauseating on a good day. So we quickly thanked the gods for our pizza flavored grease patty and coke and ate the entire thing.

Returning to the Embassy we waved our little piece of paper at the guard who waved us through the gate we arrived at our seats promptly at 1pm as instructed. At 2pm the process started up again pretty much where it left off. By 2:30 we were called into the interview room. The CO we met with was this nice round-face girl who was all smiles and had a great attitude .. in fact, we had a great time. I can honestly say this was the best part of the entire process. She swore in my fiancee and then the comedy act begin. She asked her who she was, if the little girl with us was her daughter and who I was. After that formality kind of vanished in a puff of humor. If there were more questions they were lost in the interaction between myself and the CO. She said she was from Houston (which I graduated from high-school in) and we spent the next 20 minutes talking about how big the US was, how flat Houston is (The highest mountain range is called "an overpass" and how my fiance was really crazy thinking she wasn't going to have to learn how to drive once she got to our home. I even got a variation of my Ed McMahon crack out which busted her up. My fiancee just stared at us not-unlike I've stared at her many times while she's carried on with someone in tagalog. Even though my Fiancee has a pretty good grasp of english, I'm sure she had a hard time following the conversation and especially the wisecracks. Eventually she folded up the papers and said we were approved. I then asked for expedited processing (handing her the letter we prepared) and she pulled a purple slip, wrote a bunch of notes on it and told us we could probably pick the visa up in the next couple of days. There is one point (in all seriousness to make here) the interview is conducted in english. If your fiancee has trouble with english, now is not the time to learn it. Make sure they've practiced the questions and answers IN ENGLISH. One of the early questions which was asked of my fiancee "How many times has your fiance been married? Was answered with "Really soon now" This actually helped us as it got the comedy act rolling. However the poor girl in front of us was really struggling with the questions (you get to easedrop on the interview prior to yours as you sit outside the door)

After the CO interview we went to the window where they cleared our papers, made sure we'd paid uncle sam his fees and we were done ..

Now we are in the hotel in makati where I flew in the morning of our interview (landed at 1am, arrival at the embassy at 5am that day) if you need us, we will be in the bar, waiting for the phone to ring.

Take care all, and good luck


Our timeline..

06/27/2004 Met on the internet

[....] lots of things happen

02/10/2007 Met in person

[....]

04/11/2007 Sent NOA1

04/19/2007 Receipt Date

04/24/2007 Touch

[....]

06/26/2007 Met in person second time, this time with our kids

[....]

08/24/2007 Called CSC with Lawyer (We were told case was with an officer now)

08/26/2007 Touch

08/29/2007 Touch

08/30/2007 Touch

09/05/2007 Called CSC and was told we now have a RFE that was sent already .. they can't tell us what it is over the phone (#######?)

09/04/2007 RFE Date (sure enough there was one)

09/14/2007 RFE received (for information originally included in the packet)

09/14/2007 RFE response returned.. including letter to the effect the information was already in the package and another copy of same

09/26/2007 REF AGAIN for the same information, looks like a copy of the same letter as before

09/27/2007 RFE response returned via fedex, letter from the lawyer included

[...]

10/01/2007 electronic notification of receipt of RFE information & touch on the website.

10/02/2007 Touch

10/11/2007 Approval notice sent. "On October 9, 2007, we mailed you a notice...."

[...]

11/27/2007 Call to NVC and FINALLY a receipt number.

12/08/2007 Found ourselves on the IPV website and confirmed with a call

[...]

12/22/2007 Third in person meeting, christmas and new years

[...]

01/30/2008 St. Luke's PASSED!!!!

02/07/2008 Embassy APPROVED!!!!

02/11/2008 Pick up Visa

02/14/2008 Arrive @ home in the US

05/01/2009 Green Card Arrived.

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Philippines
Timeline

Very funny story, and brings back memories from last February. I'll never forget the girl who lost her numbered ticket and had a bunch of people in there trying to help her find it. We were lucky and didn't have to leave for lunch, and got out of there about 1:30PM.

It's good to hear everything went well at the interview, and your written request for VISA pick-up worked. BTW, my wife's cousin was there Feb 7 too, but we haven't heard yet how it went for her.

Edited by garya505

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:lol: This had me cracking up :lol: BUT very very informative indeed :thumbs:. Thanks a bunch for sharing and CONGRATS!

ROC

still waiting for GC replacement

N-400

04/23/2012...... N-400 packet sent to Lewisville, TX via USPS express mail

04/24/2012...... N-400 delivered signed for by J. Arthur; priority date according to NOA1

04/27/2012...... Check cashed

04/30/2012...... Received NOA 1 dated April 26, 2012

06/01/2012...... Received notice for biometrics dated May 29, 2012

06/20/2012...... Biometrics schedule (early bio June 05, 2012)

06/18/2012...... Email notification, N400 placed in line for interview

06/29/2012...... Email notification, N400 scheduled for interview

07/05/2012...... Interview Letter Received

08/07/2012...... Interview (PASSED)

Link to: Full timeline

God is in CONTROL. His time is always better than mine: never too early yet never late, always the perfect time.

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Congratulations!!!


Removing Conditions

11/29/09 - I-751 Sent

11/30/09 - I-751 Received

12/01/11 - NOA

08/24/12 - Approved, no interview, card ordered

AOS/EAD/AP

06/11/09 - AOS/EAD/AP Sent

12/29/09 - AOS Approved, no interview, card ordered

01/04/10 - LPR card received

-------

Please update your time-line, it benefits us all.

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I was in Laughlin playing golf and gambling when Claudeth did her interview :P


usa_fl_sm_nwm.gifphilippines_fl_md_clr.gif

United States & Republic of the Philippines

"Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid." John Wayne

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your account sure cracked me up. :jest::jest::jest: congratulations on your approval. :thumbs: may you have the visa in hand soon!


mikeandlani

our Visa Journey

09.01.06 - Filed I130 to VSC

05.21.07 - NOA2

06.19.07 - NVC receives Petition

11.23.07 - CASE COMPLETE

01.30.08 - USEM Interview

02.02.08 - CR1 Visa Received

03.03.08 - Entered US through Detroit International

03.27.08 - Received 2yr Conditional Resident Card

04.01.08 - Filed for my SSN at the local SSA office

04.05.08 - SSN received by mail

05.03.08 - Finally got my Driver's License

lifting conditions....

I-I-751

12.07.09 - Sent I-751 to VSC by express mail

12.08.09 - I-751 delivered to VSC per USPS tracking :-)

12.09.09 - NOA1 date (Checked cashed :-D)

12.14.09 - Received NOA1

12.18.09 - ASC Appointment Notice Date

12.26.09 - Received ASC Appointment Notice

12.31.09 - Early Biometrics

01.14.10 - Biometrics Schedule

02.26.10 - Email update --Card Production ordered

03.02.10 - Email update --Approval Notice sent

03.06.10 - Approval Notice Received

03.08.10 - Card Received

Naturalization

I-N400

09.09.11 - Sent N400 to USCIS Dallas Lockbox

09.23.11 - Received 1-797 by mail

11.17.11 - Biometrics Schedule

01.25.12 - Received Interview and Exam Notice by mail

02.28.12 - Interview schedule

03.28.12 - Oath Ceremony

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Congrats and thanks for sharing the well written humorous story.


Naturalization

3/23/14 - N400 package sent to Phoenix

3/27/14 - N400 package delivered

4/3/14 - NOA1 receipt date

4/4/14 - check cashed

04/29/14 - biometrics date

07/01/14 - interview date

xx/xx/xx - Oath Ceremony

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Philippines
Timeline

Nice writing Doug and very informative. I will be interested to know how long it takes before you can pick up your visa.


04/01/2007: Met online

08/24/2007: First trip to the Philippines. 09/11/2007: Left Philippines...sad day

09/13/2007: Gathering info for I-129F

09/22/2007: Mailed I-129F. 09/26/2007: Delivery confirmation of I-129F

09/27/2007: NOA1 Notice Date

10/01/2007: I-129F Check Cashed

10/02/2007: Touched

10/04/2007: NOA1 received in the mail

10/23/2007: Second visit to Philippines

01/11/2008: NOA2 Approved!

01/14/2008: Touched

01/15/2008: Petition arrived NVC. 01/17/2008: Petition left NVC

01/18/2008: Date on NVC letter

01/18/2008: NOA2 Received in Mail

01/22/2008: Petition arrived in Manila @ 10:53 a.m., Signed for by Grace

01/22/2008: NVC letter arrived in the mail

01/24/2008: Found medical and interview dates on embassy web site

02/04/2008: Packet 4 received

03/04/2008: Medical Exam @ 6:30 AM

03/08/2008: Third trip to Philippines

03/13/2008: Interview @ 6:30 AM...APPROVED!!!

03/13/2008: CFO Seminar in Manila

03/17/2008: Visa released to Delbros

03/18/2008: Visa delivered to our hotel in Manila by Delbros @ 8:30 AM

03/19/2008: We fly home! POE Guam

04/10/2008: Applied for Social Security card

04/14/2008: Applied for marriage license

04/15/2008: Received Marriage license

04/17/2008: Received Social Security card

04/21/2008: Married!

05/01/2008: Applied for name change on Social Security card

05/15/2008: Pregnant!

05/25/2008: Mailed AOS

01/08/2009: AOS Approved!

01/16/2009: Green card arrived

01/20/2009: Our baby is born!

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Filed: Timeline
First the good news, we are approved. This day holds other significance too as it was exactly a year ago (Feb 7th 2007) when I walked off the plane and into the arms of the women I met via a random yahoo event almost 4 years ago.

As the USC I will add a few comments to what others have said..

First, I would highly recommend that the USC go to this interview as its a unique experience that is something to be shared. Its far worse than your worst DVM experience and quite honestly if they tried to have americans do this kind of thing there'd be a serious mango-juice come tea party right outside the USEM in the harbor. Its not the process per say, though someone who has taken basic statistics can spot many ways to improve things. Its the complete lack of information and communications along the way which was mind-boggling

We arrived at 5am into a sea of people wondering around the embassy, there were the vendors outside selling everything from ball-point pens (50php) to Polaroid photos (250php) to plastic seats for places to sit down at (25php, 30php if you want them wiped off) The common thread of all of these folks was the inconsistent information we were given. The whackenhut guards, the vendors, and even random passers by could speak with convincing authority about where you were supposed to stand, or how the process works, but in the end they really have only a small piece of information. We were told by one guard to stand over in a line forming by an entrance blocked by another guard under a awning who was slowly checking papers. We stood there for a while and I noticed that about 70 people in front of us there was actual sign-age. I make my way up to read it and low and behold it says "Non-immigrant visa" so we've stood for 20 minutes in the wrong line .. It gets worse from there, at one point we even had two whackenhutters arguing with each other about where we were supposed to stand (they were lucky enough to give us conflicting information within earshot of each other) There is an announcement of sorts as there is someone on a PA system saying something periodically. I'm sure its important, and it probably has a lot to do with what we need to know. However, the announcer has apparently swallowed a entire bag of marbles prior to going "on-air" and you can't understand them. At least the guards can't as they are willing to argue amongst themselves about what was said. The key however is to get past the guard at the awning. You can do this several ways, I would highly recommend pole-vaulting as its easier though they would probably frown on it. At some point though he just starts waving a bunch of us in.

That brings us to guard #2 .. Guard #2 actually reads your paperwork (more or less) and decides when you can proceed to the security clearing area. This is the area where there are more guards and a x-ray machine and at least one USC who has a bunch of electronic ####### they aren't going to let him take in. Apparently its common for USCs to miss the memo on bringing their Cummins diesel engines along with them to the interview but I'm digressing .. Guard #2 reads your paperwork and randomly selects people to sit in the penalty box. This is a bench off to the side reserved apparently for people that had the wrong aura on. I first postulated that this selection had something to do with the time of the interview but apparently its more random than functional as we had people with 7:30 interviews in the box as well as 7am and some I think from the previous week still sitting there. Eventually he runs out of things to do and waves us in too (no longer reading any of the papers)

This brings us to guard #3 and the hut, maybe this is the infamous whackenhut? This is a small room just outside the embassy interior, it has a x-ray machine from 1943 and a metal detector which basically beeps whenever anyone walks through us. This gives the guards a reason to touch you inappropriately which they do with great vigor and gusto, you then retrieve your papers which are rolling through the x-ray/ microwave before they fall off the conveyer and onto the floor. They are warm to the touch which makes me wonder about the number of rads this thing is giving out. Once collected you then stand at the door which beeps. This is a door with some kind of electronic lock. It emits a loud beeping sound. Its also locked. There's a filipina ahead of us, arms wrapped around a metric tonne of slowly cooling papers and she's trying to figure out how to open it. Its stops beeping after she tugs on it a couple of times, but it still won't open. Noone is paying any attention to this except the crowd thats piling up behind this increasingly flustered girl. I reach past her and try my luck and sure enough its stuck firm, at that point the beeping starts again and someone else tries the door which opens like a congressman's wallet the day before election day. I'm not sure if the beeping has anything to do with the locking mechanism or it was just the mass of the accumulating crowd which endued the opener with Herculean strength.

Once inside the embassy proper we find to my surprise actual marking on the wall giving directions on where to go. We follow these breadcrumbs of knowledge into a largeish waiting area full of hard plastic chairs and nervous filipina. We were lucky enough to meet up with another VJ couple while in the penalty box (i'll let them own up to knowing us after reading this if they are not ) and we were directed into the back row of the middle section. I point this out only because there was a large gap between the back row and the front row of empty seats. This gap is slowly filled with people as they come in well past their appointment times (its now 8:30 and they haven't started yet) I bring this up only to point out to future generations that your pain and suffering will end quicker if you somehow manage to sit in the front row. When it gets right down to it, they send the rows to the ticket booth front to back, left to right. It really doesn't matter what time is stamped on your appointment card, nor what time you arrived, your going to the ticket booth in that order. This process is the most important one of the day as it basically controls how long you will sent in the chairs while waiting for your number to be called. Mind you, these chairs were bought at a surplus auction as they were long since banned by the Geneva convention as being cruel and unusual punishment. Since they are unfit for prisoners they wound up here. Anyway, retrieving a ticket early is important as even though there is a bit of strange randomness to the calling out of numbers, its basically going in order, and the sooner you get called, the sooner you can get out of there and start drinking.

A bit about the process, its relatively straight forward. There are several video monitors in the room which explain it more or less. They do this on a loop which includes an english explanation, a taglog explanation and between the explanations about 10 minutes of badly pixilated images pictures of "americans" mouthing the words "Welcome" or "Haha!" I'm not sure which. The progress of events goes in this order "ticket booth" "finger scanning" "pre-screening" "Interview" "clearing" "delbros" "standing outside for 30 minutes to flag down a taxi" "drinking heavily". As previously mentioned. The ticket booth controls your fate for the day. Its where you hand over some (but not all) of your paperwork and are given this tiny piece of paper which your number is printed with quick-fading thermal ink. I mention this because several people (including ourselves) noticed that it doesn't take long to rub the numbers right off the ticket. So be careful with it. Putting it inside of a folder seems to be the smart thing to do, holding it in your hand on the other hand, not so smart. Above all else memorize the number as its your destiny for the day. They also get really cranky if you don't pop out of your chair as your number shows up on the board (its announced visually not audibly unless they are looking for you) . I'm not sure what happens if you don't show but several times the board would have the same number up on it several times for the same window and the guards would all scurry about going "6711" "6711" trying to get someones attention. Eventually you'd hear the echos of them in the loo as they would open the doors and yell "6711" in hopes of finding the hapless soul who was lost in there. I did resist the urge to hang out in the CR and yell back "Number 2" "Number 2" when this event occurred again. Successfully resisted, I might add, though my legs did twitch a couple of times at the thoughts.

Once you have your ticket number, your fate is sealed (at least as far as this process is concerned) the next stop on the train is finger-print scanning, called biometrics. This is the point where you meet the first cranky person who works there "Press harder" she yells at a flustered girl "No pressy no visa" is another comment I overheard. I'm quite sure this is the first time most of these people have ever seen a biometrics scanner and despite the signs scattered all over the place telling you what to do (though none of the signs are actually anywhere near the scanning window itself) most people seemed to be somewhat scared of the little box. Perhaps its the lady behind the counter, or perhaps its the green glow coming from the box that makes it look like its full of some high-grade form of kyrptoniite . Most of them walk up to it and look at it with that same look the american gives the person offering them Balut just after they find out what it is.

After the biometrics, you return to your seat, and after several eons your called to the pre-screener. This person actually asks questions and accumulates more papers. In our case she asked my fiancee if she was who she was, asked her daughter if she was who she was and asked me if I was who I was .. at this point I almost said "No, I'm Ed McMahon and you might already be a winner!" But I resisted with even more leg twitching and a nervous tick. She collected the police clearances and some other papers not picked up at the beginning. Asked questions about my previous marriages "why did you leave your wife?" .. "I didn't" ... "why did you get a divorce?" ... " It was cheaper than the annulment" ... " why did you want an annulment?" "my ex-wife was already married to someone else, committed fraud by marrying me and oh is serving time in the state lockup for theft, larceny and extortion having nothing to do with me or our marriage. " Apparently, that was the right answer ( and oddly enough, the honest one) After staring at me for several seconds like I'd suddenly grown a third eye, she eventually looks down at the papers (which actually say these things, along with, get this .. "irreconcilable differences") reads them for a little while and then waves us back to the chairs without further comment.

We wait for a long while and suddenly its lunch time. We don't know its lunch time, there's not an actual announcement or anything, just the window shades are closed and the board showing which numbers go to which window goes dark. A bunch of people get up and start filing out. We ask the guard whats going on and he says its lunch time. be back at 1pm. I think I'm the first person to ever ask the question "How do we get back in?" Because he looks at me like like a scientist examining a new form of bacterium. "Just show the guards your paper" he says. "I can't do that, they've already taken our appointment documentation" There is that look again, like he's counting the clil along the edge of the cell structure ... "No, your number paper" Oh wait, he means our now-serving number. I show it to him "You mean this?" He replies in the affirmative and in such a way to make you believe he's decided that the microbe under examination is not in-fact infectious, we quickly retreat to the door.

Leaving the USEM for lunch you've got basically a couple of choices .. Chow King and Yellow Cab. For those of you americans in the audience, yellow cab is a pizza place, not in-fact a transportation company. Though honestly their namesake may make better pizza. For reasons of allowing the 7 year old step daughter to make the decision (after all, what are kids good for if not deciding which form of junk food you'll consume) we chose yellow cab. We had a Hawaiian pizza with extra grease. We tried to order more grease, but apparently therese a saturation limit on how much grease they are allowed to soak a pizza in before serving it to you. Its a good thing too as its likely it would no longer be considered a solid. As it is, the pizza ranks up there with the taste of ham, pineapple and 30 weight motor oil. At that moment though, it was the food of the gods, because quite frankly theres nothing else to eat while waiting through this process. Sure their is "The Pavilion" This is a adjunct area outside of the visa rooms and there's a counter there where you can buy snacks (of a sort) by 10am when I went to check this out, they were down to saltines to eat and diet-sprite to drink. Maybe its just me, but the idea of diet-sprite is nauseating on a good day. So we quickly thanked the gods for our pizza flavored grease patty and coke and ate the entire thing.

Returning to the Embassy we waved our little piece of paper at the guard who waved us through the gate we arrived at our seats promptly at 1pm as instructed. At 2pm the process started up again pretty much where it left off. By 2:30 we were called into the interview room. The CO we met with was this nice round-face girl who was all smiles and had a great attitude .. in fact, we had a great time. I can honestly say this was the best part of the entire process. She swore in my fiancee and then the comedy act begin. She asked her who she was, if the little girl with us was her daughter and who I was. After that formality kind of vanished in a puff of humor. If there were more questions they were lost in the interaction between myself and the CO. She said she was from Houston (which I graduated from high-school in) and we spent the next 20 minutes talking about how big the US was, how flat Houston is (The highest mountain range is called "an overpass" and how my fiance was really crazy thinking she wasn't going to have to learn how to drive once she got to our home. I even got a variation of my Ed McMahon crack out which busted her up. My fiancee just stared at us not-unlike I've stared at her many times while she's carried on with someone in tagalog. Even though my Fiancee has a pretty good grasp of english, I'm sure she had a hard time following the conversation and especially the wisecracks. Eventually she folded up the papers and said we were approved. I then asked for expedited processing (handing her the letter we prepared) and she pulled a purple slip, wrote a bunch of notes on it and told us we could probably pick the visa up in the next couple of days. There is one point (in all seriousness to make here) the interview is conducted in english. If your fiancee has trouble with english, now is not the time to learn it. Make sure they've practiced the questions and answers IN ENGLISH. One of the early questions which was asked of my fiancee "How many times has your fiance been married? Was answered with "Really soon now" This actually helped us as it got the comedy act rolling. However the poor girl in front of us was really struggling with the questions (you get to easedrop on the interview prior to yours as you sit outside the door)

After the CO interview we went to the window where they cleared our papers, made sure we'd paid uncle sam his fees and we were done ..

Now we are in the hotel in makati where I flew in the morning of our interview (landed at 1am, arrival at the embassy at 5am that day) if you need us, we will be in the bar, waiting for the phone to ring.

Take care all, and good luck

Doug,

Congratulations! What a detailed review of the Embassy. Have a safe return to the US.

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Philippines
Timeline

Doug... you sound like a real smart a... my kinda person....

If you're really in Dallas, we should bend an elbo at the Wild Turkey some time....

- Derrel

PS... what exactly did your 'request for expedited visa' say? I'm looking for words to convince without actually saying... "Hey, the air fares go up SIGNIFICANTLY after March 15, and we want to be on that Mar 15 flight we have booked!!!"


15 Apr 2007 - Arrived Manila for work

18 Apr 2007 - Life changed, met wonderful woman.

04 May 2007 - Work ended, return to US.

29 May 2007 - I-129F Received by CSC

06 Jun 2007 - NOA1

15 Jun 2007 - 10 day vacation to province

07 Sep 2007 - 8 day vacation to Manila

19 Nov 2007 - NOA2

14 Dec 2007 - NVC entered data MNL2007847XXX

17 Dec 2007 - per phone call, case left NVC for USEM

21 Dec 2007 - per phone call, electronic case arrived at USEM

15 Jan 2008 - per phone call 11:30pm CST (Jan 16 in Manila) interview date obtained

22-25 Jan 2008 - EARLY medical SLEC appointment

05 Mar 2008 - K-1 Interview USEM

29 Mar 2008 - Arrived DFW airport

17 May 2008 - Married, Dallas, TX

20 Jun 2008 - Filed AOS, EAD

CONFIRMED Baby due 18 Apr 2009 - Two years from meeting.

5 Nov 2008 - K-2 Visa for child @ USEM

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Funny funny story...you should write for the Philippine Star or Inquirer or something...you make more sense than the reporters do... :thumbs:

Congratulations... :thumbs:


2-0. In favor of the boys.

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Congratulations!!!! :thumbs:


I-130 PETITION

May-11-07 Mailed I-130 to CSC

Sept-14-07 I-130 APPROVED!!!!..after 100 days!

NVC Process

Sept-24-07 NVC rec'd case/assigned number

Jan-04-08 NVC CASE COMPLETE

USEM

Feb-14-2008 INTERVIEW IN USEManila APPROVED!!!

Feb-19-2008 Visa in HAND!! Wohoo!!!

IN TEXAS

Feb-28-2008 POE DFW

Mar-24-2008 Receive Green Card on Mail..

REMOVING CONDITIONS NOV..

Jan-11-2010 Mailed I-175 to VSC

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