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CarlaDave

Advice For Those Just Starting Their Journey

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I had mentioned it before in another post and again to another member that the one (actually two) thing I wish I knew when my husband and I started this crazy journey is:

Save receipts for everything

Save cards & envelopes

What is that one thing you wish you knew then that you know now?

Edited by Carla & Dave

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That I didn't have to stress so much about our full list of "red flags." The whole thing was easy and painless. :)

We didn't have receipts or envelopes or anything. We had a lease, bank account, car insurance, affidavits, and pictures.


07/19/12 - Married

Adjustment of Status from F-1 Student Visa: Day 00 - 07/20/12 - Sent I-130, I-485, I-765, I-131

Day 03 - 07/23/12 - Confirmation from USPS that package was received in Chicago - signed for by D Colonna

Day 11 - 08/03/12 - Acceptance confirmation texts and emails

Day 14 - 08/06/12 - Checks cleared

Day 18 - 08/10/12 - Received biometrics appointment notice (dated 08/06/12 for appointment on 08/30/12)

Day 22 - 08/14/12 - Completed biometrics via successful walk-in at Columbus, OH office (We were the only ones there!)

Day 25 - 08/17/12 - Received NOAs

Day 36 - 08/28/12 - Notice via text of interview on 10/02/12

Day 38 - 08/30/12 - Received interview notice hard copy

Day 65 - 09/24/12 - Notice via text of I-131 approval

Day 71 - 10/02/12 - Interview

Day 71 - 10/02/12 - Text messages of APPROVAL of I-130 and I-485 - Card in Production

Day 78 - 10/09/12 - Received Welcome Notice

Day 80 - 10/11/12 - Received Conditional Green Card

Removal of Conditions: Day 00 - 07/07/14 - Sent I-751

Day 03 - 07/10/14 - Confirmation from USPS that package was received in California

Day 07 - 07/14/14 - Check cleared

Day 07 - 07/14/14 - Received NOA (dated 07/10/14)

Day 14 - 07/21/14 - Received biometrics appointment notice (dated 07/17/14 for appointment on 08/01/14)

Day 18 - 07/25/14 - Completed biometrics via successful walk-in at Columbus, OH office (We were the only ones there...again!)

Day 38 - 08/14/14 - Text message of APPROVAL of 1-751 - Card in Production

Day 43 - 08/19/14 - Notice via text indicating card has been mailed

Day 44 - 08/20/14 - Notice via text with USPS tracking number

Day 46 - 08/22/14 - Received Permanent Green Card

Naturalization: Day 00 - 08/21/15 - Sent N-400

Day 03 - 08/24/15 - Confirmation from USPS that package was received in Arizona

Day 07 - 08/28/15 - Check cleared

Day 10 - 08/31/15 - Acceptance confirmation text and email

Day 14 - 09/04/15 - Received NOA (dated 08/28/15)

Day 24 - 09/14/15 - Received biometrics appointment notice (dated 09/05/15 for appointment on 09/21/15)

Day 28 - 09/18/15 - Completed biometrics via successful walk-in at Columbus, OH office

Day 32 - 09/22/15 - Notice via text and email indicating in line for testing and interview

Day 35 - 09/25/15 - Notice via text and email indicating interview is scheduled

Day 41 - 10/01/15 - Received interview appointment notice (dated 09/28/15 for appointment on 11/03/15)
Day 73 - 11/03/15 - Interview

Day 74 - 11/04/15 - Text message of APPROVAL of N-400 - Oath Ceremony Scheduled

Day 75 - 11/05/15 - Received Oath Ceremony appointment notice (dated 11/04/15 for appointment on 11/17/15)

Day 87 - 11/17/15 - Oath Ceremony - US CITIZEN

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Same here...no receipts, no envelopes or cards kept whatsoever. And luckily (so far- knock on wood) had no problem whatsoever, and the whole process was a breeze. I have no regrets (yet). We also had joint bank account, car insurance, rental lease, photos. And got no questions asked from the IO besides the usual 10 questions from the form. She just shoed us out approving us on the spot. :)

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You will remove conditions in another two years. You are expected to cover the entire period of your marriage (or at least the two years since the greencard) with evidence of co-mingling your lives and finances. With that in mind, get a shoebox or folder and start filling it with things that have both your names on it. Don't get to 2015 and wish you hadn't thrown out your 2013 joint auto insurance card, or bank statements, or driver licenses with the old address that showed you both lived at the same address in 2013, or the lease with both names on it.

Get joint names on whatever you can like the car title. If you sell the car, photocopy the title before you turn it over. Then you have an old date on a joint asset. And you will have a newer date on the new car title.

Save boarding passes if you travel together.

Take photos with family showing you spend holidays together. Take photos in your home just doing normal things together like painting the bathroom or cooking dinner. It paints a picture over time, especially if you have different hair-dos. It doesn't look like you met up to pose for some pictures before the removing conditions application was due.

Take turns writing checks out of the joint checking account. If your bank doesn't provide thumbnails in the statement, then use carbon checks. We use few checks but I had bank thumbnails showing he wrote the water bill or paid the lawn guy some months, and I did others, over two years time. Any fraudster can open a joint bank account with a small amount of money. USCIS will want to see that you use that joint account with changing balances, deposits from each of you or direct deposits from both employers, or both writing checks out of it. I tend to write all the checks, but made the conscious effort to say "write this check out so we will have some proof for USCIS."

Plan for proving your co-mingled finances by creating a place to save things that look like good evidence. Then when the time comes, you already have a collection to sift through and organize into evidence to submit. It doesn't have to be everything, but a sampling covering dates for two years.


England.gifENGLAND ---

K-1 Timeline 4 months, 19 days 03-10-08 VSC to 7-29-08 Interview London

10-05-08 Married

AOS Timeline 5 months, 14 days 10-9-08 to 3-23-09 No interview

Removing Conditions Timeline 5 months, 20 days12-27-10 to 06-10-11 No interview

Citizenship Timeline 3 months, 26 days 12-31-11 Dallas to 4-26-12 Interview Houston

05-16-12 Oath ceremony

The journey from Fiancé to US citizenship:

4 years, 2 months, 6 days

243 pages of forms/documents submitted

No RFEs

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I had a space in a desk drawer where I would just chuck everything. Even the most insignificant piece of mail.

By the time removal of conditions came, we had plenty of evidence to choose from.

For something specific, I suggest getting wills made up. That's really good evidence of "commitment".


Our journey together on this earth has come to an end.

I will see you one day again, my love.

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How important really is the joint bank account? We've chosen so far not to have one. It's really easy for us to do that though because through our bank we can just email each other money. I pay most the bills and then he will email my checking account money for rent, and on my bank receipt it has his name, the amount of money and he'd type in "rent" for what the money is for. We have other things, such as car insurance, car loan, credit cards in both our names, leases, etc that have our names in it together.

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For AOS, a joint bank account is not that crucial. But for ROC, it is. There is no reason not to have a joint account. You can still do what you like with your money, but giving access to use the account (even if the person doesn't use it) is important. It also good in case of emergency.

There is no single piece of evidence that you are required to have for ROC or AOS, but if you don't have a joint account you'll have a harder time at it. RFE, possible interview.


AOS for my husband
8/17/10: INTERVIEW DAY (day 123) APPROVED!!

ROC:
5/23/12: Sent out package
2/06/13: APPROVED!

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In my opinion a joint bank account is a biggie with USCIS. Might as well play the immigration game.

Here is some current discussion in the ROC FORUM. Read it and plan ahead so you aren't that person when your time comes.

http://www.visajourney.com/forums/topic/427744-rfe-commingling-of-finances-not-enough-bank-statements/

http://www.visajourney.com/forums/topic/427550-i-751-additional-evidence-required/

It is extremely rare to have an interview so you load up the application.


England.gifENGLAND ---

K-1 Timeline 4 months, 19 days 03-10-08 VSC to 7-29-08 Interview London

10-05-08 Married

AOS Timeline 5 months, 14 days 10-9-08 to 3-23-09 No interview

Removing Conditions Timeline 5 months, 20 days12-27-10 to 06-10-11 No interview

Citizenship Timeline 3 months, 26 days 12-31-11 Dallas to 4-26-12 Interview Houston

05-16-12 Oath ceremony

The journey from Fiancé to US citizenship:

4 years, 2 months, 6 days

243 pages of forms/documents submitted

No RFEs

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Ok, thanks for that info! I think we will definitely become joint account holders for one of our accounts! Do you think that they will think it's suspicious that we didn't have one during the first year of our marriage? I thought what we were doing checking account wise was ok.

We haven't even been approved for his AOS yet, and that's been a year in the waiting too as of tomorrow!

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I added Ahmed to my medical and dental insurance as soon as we got married. Another good thing I can think of is, my 401K and life insurance on myslef, that is company paid, has Ahmed as my benificarry. At this point we don't have life insurance on Ahmed, but will be doing so in the near future and I will be the benificarry.

Right now Ahmed is not on the lease, due to the fact that he is not a pernament resident, but we have a letter stating he has lived at this address since we both moved in right after we got married. He is also on some credit cards, bank accounts(checking and two savings) and our cable/phone/internet bill(all one account). We don't pay any electric, heat or water bills in our apartment, as this is all part of the rent, so no other utlitiy bills at this point. If we move, for sure Ahmed and I will be joint on those bills.

I also save everything, just like i did for the K-1. If it has both our names on it, it goes into a box.

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I personally didn't need a SSN to be added to the water and gas - the electric company required it! I think it's down to the company...


AOS JOURNEY FROM VISA WAIVER PROGRAM
EAD (I-765) APPROVED IN 30 DAYS
I-485 APPROVED IN 96 DAYS
• I-130 APPROVED IN 96 DAYS

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Full timeline (click show)

Day 1 - April 10th, 2013 - I-485, I-130, I-765 Mailed

Day 2 - April 11th, 2013 - Delivery confirmation, Chicago

Day 9 - April 19th, 2013 - Text NOAs for all three - NBC

Day 12 - April 22nd, 2013 - NOAs in mail for all three - NBC

Day 15 - April 25th, 2013 - Biometric walk-in at Fort Worth

Day 28 - May 8th, 2013 - RFE received (I-485) - immediately responded by fax

Day 30 - May 10th, 2013 - EAD approved, card sent to production

Day 35 - May 15th, 2013 - RFE processed for I-485

Day 38 - May 18th, 2013 - EAD card arrives in mail!

Day 41 - May 21st, 2013 - I-485 updated to "Testing and Interview"

Day 51 - May 31st, 2013 - Interview scheduled for July 16th, Dallas

Day 62 - June 11th, 2013 - Started work as a Systems Engineer (IT)!

Day 96 - July 16th, 2013 - Approved at interview in Dallas, Texas! (I-485)

Day 96 - July 16th, 2013 - I-485 updated to "Card/Document production", I-485 updated to "Approved, mailed welcome letter", I-130 updated to "Approved"

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Day 104 - July 24th, 2013 - Green Card arrives in mail

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I personally didn't need a SSN to be added to the water and gas - the electric company required it! I think it's down to the company...

Thanks, ImmemorialIN.

I'll have to start making calls tomorrow on my lunch hour. I haven't even changed my name on my utilities yet. Guess that's what happens when life gets in the way, aye?


315oax2.jpg

Click "SHOW" for detailed VWP to AOS timeline

ny9pq0.png

rr8i2o.png

vevwp4.png

sljo7d.png

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