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CR1 at Ciudad Juarez Christmas Plans 2010

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Providing some information. We did not have the simplest easiest process, some self-inflicted wounds others... I guess I can describe what we did and what to avoid at the bottom for the edification of the greater community as we have used this site a lot.

Short Questions:

1. My question is how long has it taken any other person to get an interview at in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico once the NVC has approved their I-130 / CR1 visa application?

2. Will I the “applicant” be allowed into the consultant in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico with my wife the beneficiary during the I-130 / CR1 interview?

Long Drawn Out explanation:

Any way my immediate question is this. I called the NVC yesterday and they told me “the NVC process is complete; we are scheduling your interview with the consulate in Ciudad Juarez, however it is only scheduled the first two weeks in the month for the following moth so it was not scheduled in October.”

I asked the next logical question “…will the interview be scheduled next month in the first two weeks in November?” And she then started to read off a form paper a lot of words that basically said “…we can’t tell you, it could be up to 12 months…”

I also asked her if I would be getting notified about the approval and the interview, and she said the interview will go out via email to my wife and I.

I’ve done a lot of research today on Visa Journey and found this http://www.visajourney.com/content/ir1cr1historical but to tell the truth I don’t understand it. I had to separately look up and find all of the acronyms they use on that page. However non of these graphs show me the answer, now that the NVC has approved the application when can we expect to have the interview in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. To put it simply we are trying to figure out if we will be in Mexico or the U.S. for Christmas. If the interview will be in December I am want to get plane tickets for all of us as early as possible to cut down on the cost.

Many people seem to indicate that they get their interview pretty quickly if they are a I-130 / CR1 immigrate visa. Others seem to suggest it cane be several months. If I understand it correctly the FASTEST we will could be here is in December, 2010 and that is if they schedule the interview in November for December. However it could be another 3 – 4 months I think is the average. Again my question is how long has it taken any other person to get an interview at in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico once the NVC has approved their I-130 / CR1 visa application?

Now to provide some information on what to do and what not to do.

Read the Wiki here. I sent in our I-130 package myself, mostly from the information on this and other sites. I had a great list of things to put in the package, and all I can say is the package was accepted. The only thing they asked for was that I used a notary in the US to make a copy of the Marriage Certificate and it was denied. You need to send in a copy certified by the Mexican government, which it clearly says on the Wiki. To get an “official” Mexican document notarized is a real pain. And then to put an Mexican Apostille on it would be even more difficult. Since we had two original copies of our marriage certificate one “long” with finger prints and the other short. I just sent in the original short one, to save time. We are now requesting another short original, but have the original “long one” to take to the interview if we need it.

Lesson learned; do not base copies on US notaries. Request multiple original documents from your foreign government and then send in one of the originals.

The NVC / Consulate site says “children under the age of 16 do not have to go to the consultant. Well that is great, but for Ciudad Juarez, Mexico only accepts medical exams from two locations located in … Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Thus the (step) children do have to come.

Lesson Learned: The entire pack will need to fly to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. I may be stuck in the hotel waiting.

My mother-in-law did not apply for a birth certificate until 15 months after my wife was born. The Mexican consultant rejected her application multiple times. At first they asked for her mother’s birth certificate, but her mother didn’t apply for own birth certificate for over 15 years after she was born. Then they asked for two original Mexican birth certificates of witnesses when she was born, her two older brothers. Problem was one of the brother’s birth certificate only showed her mothers name as “Carmen” while her full legal name is Maria del Carmen. All told, we had a LOT of problems getting her a Mexican Passport and eventually had to call a lawyer to help us, get it.

Lesson Learned: Passports in Mexico are not as simple as they are in the U.S.

The NVC center is easy to work with at least for me. One thing is that I listed my wife’s name as Fist Name Married Name. Well in Mexico they will NOT re-issue any documentation (driver’s license, voting ID card or passport) in her married name. It is whatever is on her birth certificate and nothing else. So I had an I-130 in her “married name” and no documentation to back it up. Well I obviously had filled in the I-130 with her “maiden name.” I wrote the NVC and asked that the name on the file be changed from married name to maiden name and they did. Nice. Also one of the kids had a letter wrong. One letter. I asked again for the NVC to correct it, and they did and didn’t “make me re-apply or any thing.” Again nice, we were really worried.

Lesson learned: NVC is ok to work with.

We hope the rest is fairly organized. We have requested an additional two copies of all original documents (marriage, birth certificates). We think we have plenty of evidence of “bona fide” marriage (lease, taxes, baby together, etc), but we are putting a photo album together just in case. Photo album will be a nice project, pretty interesting how fast we moved. The rest is how fast we get the NVC interview and if we can spend Christmas up here, man that would be the greatest Christmas gift.

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I have updated my time line with the answer to my own question. Once the NVC approved our visas we received an email with our interview date the next month, it took less than 15 days.

Well we made it to Ciudad, Juarez Mexico. I drove from San Diego, CA, my wife and stepchildren flew from Tijuana, Mexico. Driving was fun it took me 12 hours another guy drove from San Diego straight through it took 9. I was stopped by one ICE checkpoint in California and three in Arizona. He was stopped by the same but they interviewed him, he is a American of Mexican descent. You have to be careful in Arizona because his wife is actually in the US illegally and if the ICE wanted to press it, he would have had a very bad time. Arizona is serious about cracking down, three check points! The AeroMexcio flight for my wife was late after one of the planes broke down. On Volaris which does not fly to Ciudad Juarez we have never had that problem. We are staying at the Quality Inn by Choice Hotels "Close to the Consulate." It is very close, we can walk to the American consulate from here and the medical service centers. Something I was unaware of is that both medical service centers are right next to the consulate.

One issue is that we got here much too earlier. The paperwork says that we must be here four business days before our appointment for the children. However in reality we had their medical packages (handed in black plastic envelopes) the very next business day. We did our exams on Friday, and they said they could come back to look at the PPD test they gave the children on Monday. What was strange is that the children received two other vaccinations on Monday, even though they were there on Friday and received one. The PPD test came back negative why did they received too more on Monday? My wife also received three vaccinations on Friday one in the rear-end that she says hurts like hell.

The other thing I have not seen on Visa Journey is the knowledge that they supposedly do a piss test for recreational drugs including marijuana as part of the screening process. The little Mexican "mental health" screening person told my wife "...you better admit to all of the recretional drugs you have done as we will test for them and report it to the embassy..." We will see about that. Any way, be warned that is what we were told.

Other than then that the medical screenings were pretty light weight. Go there in 0530 dark, I really don't know why because they were not that busy. And then sit and wait and they just process you. They check your wife for breast cancer and all types of stuff. We brought our Mexican vaccination records for the kids with us and they appeared to count and use them. We had every vaccination on them and had gone to the doctor four weeks before to ensure they had all of their records and still they received three shots. I don't have the paperwork right now.

After that it is a waiting game. Here at the Quality Inn you can order out for every thing including American pizza and Wendy's, so we just sit in the hotel room watch TV and play on the computer and let the kids run around. And get fat.

I sit down stairs in their open eating room every day so I see people come and go. Most people seem to have a good experience, they people at the consulate seem to ask the silliest questions. "When did you know she was the one.." Huh? Never, still don't!

Also a new note, you know how they say "...only the person who is going attends the interview...?" Well a guy I am drinking with took his wife over to the first place which is the "waiting area" where you sit in the glass office next to the consulate and wait for your turn. He then returned to the hotel.

When his wife goes in for his interview they ask "...where is your husband..." She said, "...here in Juarez in the hotel..." They didn't believe her. They told her to go and get him. He was sleeping from a brutal hangover (he was a young sailor, I am an old sailor) and his wife is beating on the door saying "you have to come over." He comes over and they drill him. When did you meet her, why did you only go to the county court house, when did you know she was the one." He was like wow.

Any way, they appear to be approved because they were told to pay DHL and are now waiting. They said the DHL paperwork says "two to four days." That would suck a lot to come here and then need to wait for another four days to complete the paperwork.

So that is my update. El Paso Texas is a pretty poor dirty city, and so is Juarez. The Quality Inn is on the same street, the same side of the street as the consultant and is pretty clean. It has none of the "normal" extra's of an American hotel like adjoining family rooms, a refrigerator, a gym or any thing. They charge $5.50 for breakfast and $7.50 for dinner per person. That gets old real quick, so I recommend taking a taxi to the China Mart (Wal-Mart) which is a $5 dollar taxi ride, buying what you want, and buying a disposable ice chest. They have unlimited free ice on the first floor so you can stock up on water and such instead of their $2 per bottle water. We spent $70 and feed the four person family for 3 or 4 days.

Bring every toy you have because if you have to be here for 7 days like us you will go crazy. They do have an amazingly stable DSL Internet connection. I was VPN into my home office all day without one drop. Most American hotels are not that stable. We have our interview in two days. Wish us luck.

As I was feeling bad about being in one of the most violent cities in the world, locked in a hotel a friend reminded me of something he read. If you wake up and eat a frog in the morning every thing else that day will taste great. Here is to keeping a positive approach.

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And the answer is…we are good. Interview took 5 minutes asked her very basic questions

1. Where did you meet your husband?

2. Where did he propose?

3. Do you have photos? She asked the next questions while looking through the photo's.

4. Are these photo’s of the wedding in church?

5. Are these photo’s of his (and your) family and friends at the wedding?

6. Is baby in the photo your husband’s “by blood”?

7. Have you ever tried to enter the US?

8. Have you ever lived in the US?

9. Have you ever had any problems with the Mexican police?

10. Where is your husband now?

Her interview was no more than 5 minutes. We got to the consulate only about 1 hour and 10 minutes before I appointment. We were running late. They stamped our papers when we arrived with some invisible ink stamp. I think it was the date and time. We sat down and 5 minutes later they marched us all (about 50 people) over to the consulate a block away. I could not go in, so I returned to the hotel. They didn’t ask the kids anything. The person doing the interview never made eye contact, she only asked for one additional document, my birth certificate, I had provided a certified copy of my passport.

My wife never sat down, she went from line to line, three lines in total, were she was digitally finger printed, they checked her letter, passport and took her medical report and then finally asked 5 minutes worth of questions. The person behind the desk said “your application is approved” and then sent her to a DHL Mexico desk to receive the passport. DHL Mexico charged us 101.68 paseo for each. They told us it will be 2 – 4 days, but we are praying it will come tomorrow because DHL nor the consulate are open on Saturday or Sunday as far as I know. That was it.

She said a lot of people seem very nervous. A lot of women mostly because of nerves were getting their children birthdays wrong. Two other American Navy guys (one Marine, one Sailor) I hung out with for a few hours, and one other guy from Philly all were processed. The Marine’s wife was in the US illegally they got married and he asked for a hardship wavier and it was approve on their first try. DHL Mexico processed his Visa and he received it the day after his interview (please Lord let that be us). The guy from Philly’s wife is in the country illiberally (she did NOT come to Juarez because she would not be able to return) but she is getting her daughter, his step-daughter into the country the right way so he (step-father) is down here. She answered a bunch of questions that took about 10 minutes and that was that.

Now we are in the 2 -4 day wait. I hope we don’t have to spend another weekend locked in a hotel.

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Mexico

sooooooo.. what happened? how long did it take?

I hope all turned out well. I am awaiting my interview date as we speak!!!! i still dont understand how long it took you to get your interview date. i just sent my DS 260 this week for my wife and two stepchildren... so how long is it from now until i get my date? or are you no longer checking this website? youre probably so happy with your family together. i envy you.


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sooooooo.. what happened? how long did it take?

I hope all turned out well. I am awaiting my interview date as we speak!!!! i still dont understand how long it took you to get your interview date. i just sent my DS 260 this week for my wife and two stepchildren... so how long is it from now until i get my date? or are you no longer checking this website? youre probably so happy with your family together. i envy you.


marido06 did u still have to file ds 230 or just 260?

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