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Before You hire an Attorney Consider This...


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Filed: Country: Philippines

Dear VJ Members:

My wife and I found Visa Journey about 2 years ago right before my wife and I got married in December of 2011. My wife is from the Philippines and like many of you we met online and began a whirlwind romance and now marriage.

We had heard many horror stories, and read a few here at VJ, how couples had filed paperwork incorrectly and how the immigration was delayed months and in some cases years. Our money situation was tight so we debated whether or not to hire an attorney or go it alone and file the paperwork ourselves. I could not stand the thought that my error might delay the process so we sought out the best attorney we could find… What I thought was a wise decision turned out to be a nightmare.

Despite the attorney being recognized as an expert in immigration law I found that I had to routinely review and correct the immigration documents and had we followed his advice in filing for a HK police clearance my wife may not be here today.

My advice is… Read everything you can about the immigration process then file your own paperwork and seek the advice of Visa Journey. We found the information on this site and the advice of the members to be spot on target.

If you do decide to hire an attorney do not assume his advice is correct or that the documents are filed correctly. Review every document before it is filed and ask a lot of questions of the attorney and his/her staff. Remember this--- the attorney does not care about your case(you are only $$$$ to him or her)… Only you care about your case and it’s up to you to stay on top of it.

Thanks Visa Journey we will forever be thankful for this site and for its members.


Mark and Ruth

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I filed through an attorney and have had nothing but good experience. Sorry about your experience.

Our 1-130, CR-1 Visa Journey

03/24/2013: Got Married


05/11/2013: Sent I-130 to the Phoenix Lockbox

05/15/2013: Notice of Action 1 (Case transferred to NBC)

05/20/2013: Check Cashed

11/15/2013: Submitted Expedite Request to USCIS

12/12/2013: Notice of Action 2 (Case transferred to NVC)

12/16/2013: Received hard copy of Notice of Action 2


01/10/2014: Received Manila Case Number

01/10/2014: Paid AOS and IV Fees

01/16/2014: Expedite Request Approved by NVC (Submitted by Senator)

01/25/2014: Sent AOS and IV Documents to NVC

01/30/2014: AOS and IV Documents Delivered to NVC

02/20/2014: Case Status changed to "Case Complete"

02/26/2014: Case Status changed to "In Transit"

02/28/2014: Case Status changed to "Ready"


02/18/2014: Medical Examination at St. Lukes Extension (PASSED! One day process!)

03/03/2014: Received interview appointment instructions from U.S. Embassy

03/13/2014: Interview at U.S. Embassy Manila (PASSED!)

03/13/2014: Case Status changed to "Issued"

03/17/2014: Visa In Transit

03/19/2014: Visa Delivered

03/25/2014: Point of Entry - Los Angeles International Airport




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I think it depends on how complicated your case is. If your non-USC spouse was deported or had a ton of visa refusals before, you may need a lawyer.

As for ours, I only had one US visa denial before and that was way before I even met my husband. It was also not for immigration, but for a work visa. Hence, ours was still not complicated. So, I did the legwork on my own.

Glad to say that 11 months and more than a thousand bucks later, we never got RFEs and I now have a visa!

So, definitely don't always go with a lawyer if you think your case doesn't need one.

“The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some
of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence.
And there are so many silences to be broken.”

Audre Lorde

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Filed: Lift. Cond. (apr) Country: China

Moved from IR-1/CR-1 Process & Procedures to General Immigration-Related Discussion; topic is applicable to more than one process.

Our journey:


September 2007: Met online via social networking site (MySpace); began exchanging messages.
March 26, 2009: We become a couple!
September 10, 2009: Arrived for first meeting in-person!
June 17, 2010: Arrived for second in-person meeting and start of travel together to other areas of China!
June 21, 2010: Engaged!!!
September 1, 2010: Switched course from K1 to CR-1
December 8, 2010: Wedding date set; it will be on February 18, 2011!
February 9, 2011: Depart for China
February 11, 2011: Registered for marriage in Wuhan, officially married!!!
February 18, 2011: Wedding ceremony in Shiyan!!!
April 22, 2011: Mailed I-130 to Chicago
April 28, 2011: Received NOA1 via text/email, file routed to CSC (priority date April 25th)
April 29, 2011: Updated
May 3, 2011: Received NOA1 hardcopy in mail
July 26, 2011: Received NOA2 via text/email!!!
July 30, 2011: Received NOA2 hardcopy in mail
August 8, 2011: NVC received file
September 1, 2011: NVC case number assigned
September 2, 2011: AOS invoice received, OPTIN email for EP sent
September 7, 2011: Paid AOS bill (payment portal showed PAID on September 9, 2011)
September 8, 2011: OPTIN email accepted, GZO number assigned
September 10, 2011: Emailed AOS package
September 12, 2011: IV bill invoiced
September 13, 2011: Paid IV bill (payment portal showed PAID on September 14, 2011)
September 14, 2011: Emailed IV package
October 3, 2011: Emailed checklist response (checklist generated due to typo on Form DS-230)
October 6, 2011: Case complete at NVC
November 10, 2011: Interview - APPROVED!!!
December 7, 2011: POE - Sea-Tac Airport

September 17, 2013: Mailed I-751 to CSC

September 23, 2013: Received NOA1 in mail (receipt date September 19th)

October 16, 2013: Biometrics Appointment

January 28, 2014: Production of new Green Card ordered

February 3, 2014: New Green Card received; done with USCIS until fall of 2023*

December 18, 2023:  Filed I-90 to renew Green Card

December 21, 2023:  Production of new Green Card ordered - will be seeing USCIS again every 10 years for renewal


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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Colombia

Also can't share with your bad experience, with extremely complex projects to work on, and looking over that extremely long list of forms, was too much to learn.

But I also have dealt with many different attorneys and the vast majority of them are crooks. Actually taught how to lie and cheat in the guise of defending a client.

What you have to do is search for a good one, and with immigration, not isolated to find one in your state that he/she is only licensed to practice in. The entire USA of open to you. And have to do a complete background check and agree to a contract with a flat fee. Also define your responsibilities. With the aid of the internet, this only took a few hours and was given very accurate descriptions exactly what had to be done. Including all the evidence my intended and I had to provide.

In my view as to what the USCIC charges for fees, they should call you in with a very professional interviewer to tell you what forms you need, ask questions, and fill out these forms for you. But it is not done this way, many make up their own rules as the game is played. With a powerful name on your G-28's, they don't do this. With a good attorney, they will correct any errors you made on the form, not the other way around. Check your state bar first.

DOS agent in town was wonderful for getting that US passport, check very carefully our form and required evidence before even taking a dime from us and no faster way to get a US passport. Tons of phoney people on the web for this same issue, should be tossed in prison for life. If only the USCIS operated this way. But they don't.

I was very pleased with my attorney, didn't pay him until my wife and stepdaughter received their green cards. And for the help he provided, was very happy to pay his bill. And he sure taught me a lot.

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