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CoolHand2x2y2z

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Vietnam
Timeline

I'd hate to see others be in my shoes, so this is meant to help those about to start the process. It would be good if others could share their input.

For me, when I first thought about sponsorship and my wife, it was not a concern. My thinking at the time was, "We're legit, so everything will go smoothly." And I equated it to getting a driver's license or something like that. All our plans were about setting up other things for our lives and believing the visa process would take care of itself.

WRONG!

1) I would have tripled the effort I put in with the initial application and loaded everything up.

2) I would have made sure I had enough visits and had letters and phone records (forget Internet records).

3) I would have gotten help from IOM or a visa attorney before I applied. (Hindsight knowledge is no good in this process.)

The bottom line here is that I placed too much trust in the I-130 instructions. That's inadequate for the inquisition that takes place at HCMC.

Here's how I feel about the percentages:

If I were filing today and with everything I now know, I'd give the chance for a pink and a visa about 20%. That's doing everything perfectly and waiting a year to get to that interview window.

I don't mean to bum folks out but it's not a democratic process at all. People do get pink, but the numbers are very low.

Realize that when it comes to sponsoring a spouse/fiance from Vietnam, you are entering a gray zone in the American legal system -democracy dies and witch-hunting trials take over (as in there is no rhyme or reason as to how they may decide a case).

The question you need to ask yourself is this:

With only 20% for success, how do I want to structure my life for that whole time while I roll the dice with the HCMC Consulate?

Edited by CoolHand2x2y2z

Wedding in Vietnam: 12/25/2005 (graduate school, below poverty line, couldn't apply)
[b]August 27, 2007[/b]: 1st I-130 packet sent w/incorrect $190 instead of new $355 fee (Mesquite, Texas).
October 6, 2007: 2nd I-130 packet with $355 fee (Mesquite, Texas).
January 10, 2008: NOA1 March 31, 2008: NOA2 (approved & sent to NVC)
April 14, 2008: NVC sent AOS Fee Bill (Affidavit of Support) $70.00 & DS-3032 form
Received.
April 15, 2008: Faxed wife the DS-3032 agent form to be mailed from Vietnam.
May 5, 2008: NVC sent request for Affidavit of Support form. May 19. 2008: received NVC's request for Affidavit of Support form.
May 20, 2008: Sent off I-864, Affidavit of Support May 30, 2008: Received IV Fee bill for $400 --money order & sent by Priority Mail.
June 10, 2008: I-864 approved. June 11, 2008: IV fee entered in system. June 16, 2008: DS-230 barcode issued
June 30, 2008: DS-230 mailed by expressed mail July 3, 2008: DS-230 package arrived at NVC & under review
July 11, 2008: Case completed at NVC.
Sept. 5th, 2008: INTERVIEW DATE at HCMC: White paper with writing.
March 26, 2009: Resubmit.
[b]DENIED. June 2009: case sent back & received at USCIS[/b]
August 2009: filed new I-130. Approved after first I-130 case sent to VN, again.
February 2010: USCIS contacted & asked for more evidence
March 2010: USCIS re-approved original case.
April 14, 2010: Consulate sends DS-230
June 15, 2010: Interview Date (Blue issued)
July 13, 2010 Placed on AP -yippee!
Sept. 13, 2010 Consulate home visit
[b]Nov. 5, 2010 Approval letter sent.[/b]
[b]Nov. 19, 2010 Visa picked up. Arrival: Nov. 24, 2010[/b]

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Filed: Timeline

Blame it on all those VNese people committing fraud in the past, present, and near future. You decided to get involved with a country with lots of people who love to lie in regards to immigration purpose.

Your frustration is understandable but there's nothing you can do to change the system. I doubt the VNese (that purposely lied and cheated) care as well. Once they come here to the States, some of them decide to carry on with the cheating as well (working in hair/nail salons and earning cash and cheating the IRS). Sad story but.........

Edit to add: sometimes I feel ashamed to be a Vnese. How would I respond when someone says this to me "Oh, You mean you're from VN, that country with lots of fraudulent marriage?" Not an image I want to be associated with.

Edited by Dau Que

Just remember, life over there in VN is NOT real! Your money will be worth a LOT less once you get back over here. Back to reality, cowboy!

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Vietnam
Timeline

I had the advantage of finding this site when I was doing basic research before I started any of the process. In fact, it was before I had even met my wife face to face. The whole point of going to meet her was to see if there was any future in our relationship, and I knew that if the relationship developed then some sort of immigration process would eventually be involved. Being ####### about planning, it just seemed prudent to at least look into it.

The basic research was an eye opener, to say the least. :blink:

Anyway, having the benefit of foreknowledge, I was able to plan accordingly. That doesn't mean that I specifically laid out a plan for getting a visa, but I did make adjustments to my plans according to what I knew would probably be helpful at the interview. For example, I would have been perfectly happy to have an engagement ceremony on my second trip, but I also knew that a small engagement ceremony was frowned on at the consulate, so we postponed our plans until my third trip to give us a little more time to plan a bigger ceremony and party, and also save up a little more money to pay for it.

Phuong and her family were not bothered with whether any of my family could come to the engagement ceremony, but I knew that the consulate likes to see involvement of the petitioner's family. I'd been sending daily email reports to my family and friends while I was in Vietnam, along with photos selected from each day's activities. My sister and her husband like to travel abroad, and she was fascinated with the stories and pictures I was sending, so I invited her and her husband to come and participate in the ceremony and party. She was very interested in going, but couldn't afford the travel expenses, so I adjusted my savings plan so that I could set aside money to pay their expenses.

Of course, I included pictures of the ceremony and party in the petition package, but I was careful to include a couple of pictures that made it obvious there were other Anglo's there. I explained in my question 18 essay who those mysterious white people were, and also on the back of each photo.

My fourth trip was after I sent the petition package, but I figured we'd have some fun while simultaneously collecting more evidence for the interview. I rented a small bus and invited all of Phuong's family for a few days at the beach. We spent a night in Hoi An and a night in Da Nang. After that, we sent the bus and family back to Hue, and Phuong and I got on a plane in Da Nang to HCMC, and then a second flight to Da Lat, where we spent a couple more days. Besides collecting some great souvenirs and wonderful memories, I also collected hundreds of great pictures and a few hours of video. We never needed this stuff at the interview, but we'll be bringing the photo albums to the AOS interview in a couple of weeks.

I can't really say I'd do anything different because I think it worked out very well for us, but I can offer a little guidance for someone else just getting started. Take Your Time! Each trip you make to be with your fiancee or spouse is both an opportunity to strengthen your relationship, and also strengthen your case for the interview. You may be absolutely confident that your relationship is real, but the CO doesn't know who you or your SO are, and they're going to judge you from the small amount of evidence they see. Keep this in the back of your mind, and plan accordingly. If you study this site for a while then you'll find out what the common red flags are that results in denials or AP. Many of those red flags can be fixed or avoided altogether with a little advance planning. It will probably mean it will take a little longer before your petition package is ready, and before you'll get the interview, but I think it can greatly increase your chances of being approved at the interview.


12/15/2009 - K1 Visa Interview - APPROVED!

12/29/2009 - Married in Oakland, CA!

08/18/2010 - AOS Interview - APPROVED!

05/01/2013 - Removal of Conditions - APPROVED!

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Filed: Country: Vietnam
Timeline

Blame it on all those VNese people committing fraud in the past, present, and near future. You decided to get involved with a country with lots of people who love to lie in regards to immigration purpose.

Your frustration is understandable but there's nothing you can do to change the system. I doubt the VNese (that purposely lied and cheated) care as well. Once they come here to the States, some of them decide to carry on with the cheating as well (working in hair/nail salons and earning cash and cheating the IRS). Sad story but.........

Edit to add: sometimes I feel ashamed to be a Vnese. How would I respond when someone says this to me "Oh, You mean you're from VN, that country with lots of fraudulent marriage?" Not an image I want to be associated with.

:blink: ......... :crying: ...........

"citizen in a police state will cheat and lie at every chance they have so they can survice, those who dont will die,and may not be able to pass on that 'honesty' gene that made us into good peoples",most people in thirdworld countries will cheat and lie; vietnam is a police state , for generations we the vietnamese never really have a chance to live under a true democracy . the history book of vietnam are full of examples of dead heroes who die because they want to guide our country in a better direction.the us consulate in saigon get tough on the lier and cheater because this is kama . well kama is a ###### so i learn to live with it,am still waiting for that chance to bring my wife to the us but if it is kama that dictate us to have separate routes life then so be it , knowinglly that me and my wife gave it all we got to build a life together. and you there ... never feel ashame to be a vietnammese , just live your life straigh , dont lie and cheat , pay your tax , then you will show people not all of us are bad people at all.

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Looking back on our mistakes, it was clear that we should have taken more time to collect evidence and thus present a more convincing timeline. I would have waited until the 2nd trip to do the ring/proposal and then had the engagement ceremony on the 3rd trip before putting in the petition. As for the interview, our lawyer wasn't very helpful so perhaps we should have hired someone that specialized in interview preparation.

So basically, we had an overly optimistic one-year plan for Oanh to move here but realistically that should have been a 2-3 year strategy with more careful planning. Perhaps opting for the ir1/cr1 visa would have helped as well.

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Filed: Country: Vietnam
Timeline

We were denied, but we did everything we were supposed to do the way we were supposed to do it. Even with the denial we were 100% truthful so there is not a thing we would change, had we known we were going to get denied, I might have saved the money from the 2 extra trips and used it when I moved, but other than that nothing. Honesty even when the CO lied is still the only way to go, even if we had done something different there is no way to know if it would have helped or not, so to sit here and ask what would a person do differently is kinda a waste since we really do not know why some get denied, while others get approved in the first place. Jerome


小學教師 胡志明市,越南

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Vietnam
Timeline

I would have brought my parents to the wedding. I don't think anyone has ever done this (sorry if someone did this, I didn't remeber reading about it). While it'll cost a bit more and difficult logistically for your parents to attend, this would be a huge plus for your case. To compensate for the cost, instead of making 3 personal trips i would have taken only 2. I would have also scaled back the wedding a bit to help compensate for my parents tickets. Even if they flew over there, attended the wedding and flew back, their presence would make your case so much stronger.

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Vietnam
Timeline

I would have hired Marc Ellis from the onset and waited at least an additional 6 months to 1 year to file. our issue was all time related... I have been to VN on average every 3 months in the past year and a half alone, not counting how many times I was there before that, so the number of visits was no factor. I can't change the fact that we were both married before so nothing to do different, as I said just wait longer after the divorce. Aside from that I would have looked at Linda's image of a police cert to know what we had to submit at the interview since our doc was the wrong one then (but M.E. would have known we had the wrong one)...

One thing that we did right that others may miss is that every document that we had to get we got several official copies just in case... birth cert's, police cert, divorce decree, photo's, anything that could be lost along the way... It is said to have an extra copy of the 129f just in case but the other docs can be a real pain in the butt if they lose them as some can take a long time to get like the police cert...

Edited by ScottThuy

"Every one of us bears within himself the possibilty of all passions, all destinies of life in all its forms. Nothing human is foreign to us" - Edward G. Robinson.

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Vietnam
Timeline

I would have brought my parents to the wedding. I don't think anyone has ever done this (sorry if someone did this, I didn't remeber reading about it). While it'll cost a bit more and difficult logistically for your parents to attend, this would be a huge plus for your case. To compensate for the cost, instead of making 3 personal trips i would have taken only 2. I would have also scaled back the wedding a bit to help compensate for my parents tickets. Even if they flew over there, attended the wedding and flew back, their presence would make your case so much stronger.

The wedding, for the most part, would be covered by the money given by the guests...well, that's unless you're spending 5K on a wedding! :P:);)


CR1/IR1 Timeline:

GENERAL INFO

[*]12-xx-2007 - 1st Trip (6wks) & Met him halfway around the world

[*]03-xx-2008 - Got engaged - two people on opposite sides of the world

[*]05-xx-2008 - 2nd Trip (2wks) - Engagement/Marriage/Consummation

[*]06-12-2008 - Filed I-130 (CR-1) with Vermont Service Center

[*]12-xx-2008 - 3rd Trip (4wks)

[*]06-05-2009 - Interview at 9:00am at HCMC Consulate (result: blue)

[*]07-08-2009 - Submitted RFE: Beneficiary's Relatives & Evidence of Relationship

[*]08-xx-2009 - 4th Trip (4wks)

[*]10-07-2009 - AP 91 days - Result: APPROVED!!

[*]10-31-2009 - POE: Detroit, MI

[*]11-18-2009 - Social Security Card

[*]11-20-2009 - Green Card

[*]01-21-2010 - Driver's License

THE NEXT STEPS...

[*]02/07/2011 - Renew Vietnam Passport

[*]07/30/2011 - Process of Removing Conditions Begins

[*]09/25/2011 - Date of I-751

[*]09/28/2011 - NOA1

[*]10/19/2011 - Biometrics

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Country: Vietnam
Timeline

The wedding, for the most part, would be covered by the money given by the guests...well, that's unless you're spending 5K on a wedding! :P:);)

This is what I am being told about our wedding next month. Still seems to be costing me money between now and again.unsure.gif

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Vietnam
Timeline

This is what I am being told about our wedding next month. Still seems to be costing me money between now and again.unsure.gif

Wedding next month? Did I miss something?! :P

Yes, "It takes money to make money...that's why the rich only get richer!" ...haha!


CR1/IR1 Timeline:

GENERAL INFO

[*]12-xx-2007 - 1st Trip (6wks) & Met him halfway around the world

[*]03-xx-2008 - Got engaged - two people on opposite sides of the world

[*]05-xx-2008 - 2nd Trip (2wks) - Engagement/Marriage/Consummation

[*]06-12-2008 - Filed I-130 (CR-1) with Vermont Service Center

[*]12-xx-2008 - 3rd Trip (4wks)

[*]06-05-2009 - Interview at 9:00am at HCMC Consulate (result: blue)

[*]07-08-2009 - Submitted RFE: Beneficiary's Relatives & Evidence of Relationship

[*]08-xx-2009 - 4th Trip (4wks)

[*]10-07-2009 - AP 91 days - Result: APPROVED!!

[*]10-31-2009 - POE: Detroit, MI

[*]11-18-2009 - Social Security Card

[*]11-20-2009 - Green Card

[*]01-21-2010 - Driver's License

THE NEXT STEPS...

[*]02/07/2011 - Renew Vietnam Passport

[*]07/30/2011 - Process of Removing Conditions Begins

[*]09/25/2011 - Date of I-751

[*]09/28/2011 - NOA1

[*]10/19/2011 - Biometrics

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Country: Vietnam
Timeline

Wedding next month? Did I miss something?! :P

Yes, "It takes money to make money...that's why the rich only get richer!" ...haha!

Yes I am getting married next month on the 18th. This is the church wedding as we had the civil wedding in the Judges chambers lat year when my babe got here. It seems the Catholic church takes a long time sometime to allow a Catholic (my babe) to marry a heathen (me). The pastor at the Vietnamese church (St. Martyrs) seemed to not like it and we had to go to one near us for a certain amount of time of her being registered there and showing up before they would even talk to us. It also took forever to even find the church yet alone get my baptism record. Anyway to make it short they gave the OK finally about 6 weeks ago and the once small wedding is turning out to be a tad bigger than I thought.blink.gif

I am puzzled by many things but so far I am out of the loop on details. I was pretty much told to shut up and leave the planning to the experts. I was told also that I can't have another bachelor party but I am wearing her down on that point.good.gif Also not really sure why her family back home has to make or buy her VN dresses for it and bother people we know to bring it here to her as we can get that stuff here.(Not sure why she has to change from the wedding one to another for the party. When I asked she looked at me like I am an idiot)

I plan on getting pics and will post a few here. Guys if I get the OK for the bachelor I will take pics and send by email a few on request.whistling.gif

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Good thing to do is to buy things like laser printer, paper cutter to cut A4 to letter size, correct grain paper

and create a mini office at fiance's place early on. Makes it a whole lot easier to do paperwork and

keeps paperwork and copies more standard and organized. It's worth it to save time instead of riding all over

the place to get little things done here and there.

Anything that can be submitted in letter size should be.

Edited by vietazn

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