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Beyond Frustrated with NVC re: Divorce Decree

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Filed: Timeline

Hi All,

I need some advice regarding my FIL's pending I-130/DS-260 application. My husband and I have run into some extremely frustrating complications with NVC and now it's to the point where we feel like we've exhausted all of our options.

My FIL lives in Jamaica and would like to join us and the rest of the family here in the US (beneficiary). My husband (sponsor) filed for him last year. Everything went smooth with the I-130 and then the case was transferred to NVC for further processing and then suddenly we began having having issues with my MIL and FIL's divorce decree. When we initially filed the DS-260 and sent in the supporting documents, we accidentally sent in a copy of their divorce decree (they were married in Jamaica; however, my MIL filed for divorce here in NYS - bear this in mind).

We received notice from NVC that the paperwork wasn't the original document, so we followed up and submitted the original document that we had requested from the county court.

For three months now we've been going back and forth with NVC about whether this document is the original and valid or not. They won't tell us what is wrong; just that the document isn't original. Every so now and then we get an email from NVC stating that they have reviewed the document and it's not the original:

______6 - MARRIAGE TERMINATION:____________________________________
The document you submitted is not an original or certified copy of an original issued by the appropriate government authority. The document must be an original, or a certified copy of the original, bearing the original seal or stamp from the issuing authority.

Every time we request a review and call back, we never hear from them (3x now). We just receive the above email without any explanation. We constantly ask if they have both the copy and original and they wouldn't answer the question and refer us to the review process.

  1. If we send in another original divorce decree, how can we ensure that we don't end up getting the run around from them again?
  2. How do we ensure that it arrives and gets into the right hands?
  3. Is there an ombudsman we can involve?
  4. Should we get a letter from the county court stating that this is the original divorce decree?
  5. Can we drop off the document somewhere in person?
  6. Is the reason why they are giving us problems because MIL/FIL were married in Jamaica and the divorce was initiated in NYS? Are they expecting a divorce decree from Jamaica?

Sorry for all the questions but we're trying to attack this from every angle. We're at our wit's end and don't know how to push this application forward. And advice is appreciated!

Thanks!

Christina

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Hi All,

I need some advice regarding my FIL's pending I-130/DS-260 application. My husband and I have run into some extremely frustrating complications with NVC and now it's to the point where we feel like we've exhausted all of our options.

My FIL lives in Jamaica and would like to join us and the rest of the family here in the US (beneficiary). My husband (sponsor) filed for him last year. Everything went smooth with the I-130 and then the case was transferred to NVC for further processing and then suddenly we began having having issues with my MIL and FIL's divorce decree. When we initially filed the DS-260 and sent in the supporting documents, we accidentally sent in a copy of their divorce decree (they were married in Jamaica; however, my MIL filed for divorce here in NYS - bear this in mind).

We received notice from NVC that the paperwork wasn't the original document, so we followed up and submitted the original document that we had requested from the county court.

For three months now we've been going back and forth with NVC about whether this document is the original and valid or not. They won't tell us what is wrong; just that the document isn't original. Every so now and then we get an email from NVC stating that they have reviewed the document and it's not the original:

______6 - MARRIAGE TERMINATION:____________________________________
The document you submitted is not an original or certified copy of an original issued by the appropriate government authority. The document must be an original, or a certified copy of the original, bearing the original seal or stamp from the issuing authority.

Every time we request a review and call back, we never hear from them (3x now). We just receive the above email without any explanation. We constantly ask if they have both the copy and original and they wouldn't answer the question and refer us to the review process.

  1. If we send in another original divorce decree, how can we ensure that we don't end up getting the run around from them again?
  2. How do we ensure that it arrives and gets into the right hands?
  3. Is there an ombudsman we can involve?
  4. Should we get a letter from the county court stating that this is the original divorce decree?
  5. Can we drop off the document somewhere in person?
  6. Is the reason why they are giving us problems because MIL/FIL were married in Jamaica and the divorce was initiated in NYS? Are they expecting a divorce decree from Jamaica?

Sorry for all the questions but we're trying to attack this from every angle. We're at our wit's end and don't know how to push this application forward. And advice is appreciated!

Thanks!

Christina

You need to go to the court house where the divorce took place and collect a "True Certified Copy" and send to them. Do not send original since it's hard to determine where it is.

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Did the "original" copy you send in to NVC have a stamped or raised seal on it by the county courthouse, and/or was it verified a certified copy by the county recorder (ie signed and dated as certified) ?


K-1
NOA1: 04/08/2014; NOA2: 04/21/2014; Visa interview, approved: 07/15/2014; POE: 07/25/2014; Marriage: 09/05/2014

 

AOS

NOA1:  09/12/2014;  Biometrics:  10/06/2014;  EAD/AP Received:  11/26/2014;  Interview Waiver Letter:  01/02/2015;  

RFE:  07/09/2015;  Permanent Residency Granted:  07/27/2015;  Green card Received:  08/22/2015

 

ROC

NOA1:  05/24/2017;  Biometrics:  06/13/2017;  Approved without interview:  09/05/2018;  10 Yr Green card Received:  09/13/2018

 

Naturalization

08/09/2020 -- Filed N-400 online

08/09/2020 -- NOA1 date

08/11/2020 -- NOA1 received in the mail

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Filed: Timeline

Did the "original" copy you send in to NVC have a stamped or raised seal on it by the county courthouse, and/or was it verified a certified copy by the county recorder (ie signed and dated as certified) ?

Hi Zedayn,

It had a raised seal and had stamp with a signature certifying it (from the court). This is what is so confusing. Is there a different type of document we are supposed to request? Isn't a divorce decree a divorce decree (or certificate of marriage dissolution, whatever you want to call it) if it comes with a seal and stamp?

The unfortunate thing is that we don't even know if they have seen the original. They won't help by verifying that they have two documents (copy and original).

Thanks,

Christina

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Filed: Timeline

You need to go to the court house where the divorce took place and collect a "True Certified Copy" and send to them. Do not send original since it's hard to determine where it is.

Hi amysummer13,

What do you mean by "Do not send original since it's hard to determine where it is"?

Isn't the "True Certified Copy" the one with the seal and stamp (which is what we submitted)?

Thanks,

Christina

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Filed: IR-5 Timeline

I feel sorry for the issues that you are having with NVC. My wife and I kept going back and forth with them this prior summer regarding the military document for her dad, they said they didn't have, they did. To make a long story short, we had to get one of our Senator's involved. Took almost two months for NVC to acknowledge they had it, but they never admitted error. Have you had any luck getting through to a supervisor? When we had our situation my wife spoke was finally able to speak with a supervisor after going back and forth for 3 weeks. The supervisor actually pulled the file, found the lost document and sent it to document review. However, document review can not be expedited. Another avenue you might want to consider is contacting the US Embassy where the interview would be held and submit a expedite request directly to them. If the Embassy approves the request then the file will be transferred to the Embassy as is and the Embassy will take on the responsibility for collecting all future documents and scheduling the appointment.

You say the divorce was in New York State? I see you can get a Divorce Certificate from NYS Department of Health. You might want to contact NVC and ask if a Divorce Certificate is acceptable. https://www.health.ny.gov/vital_records/divorce.htm


Here is the information regarding the cases for my in-laws (wife, their daughter, is the petitioner under the IR-5 category, Parents of a USC):

Submit I-130 (2 petitions) to USCIS on May 30, 2013

USCIS approved the cases on March 10, 2014.

Received notice online from USCIS the cases were sent to NVC on March 17, 2014.

NVC received the cases on March 28, 2014

The case numbers were created on Monday, April 28.

We received the numbers by phone on Friday, May 2.

DS-261 became available on both cases late in the evening on Friday, May 2. Both DS-261 filed on Saturday, May 3.

Received emails to my wife regarding AOS at around 8am on Wednesday, May 7. At the same time received emails that were cc of letters sent to my in-laws. However, the date of all of the letters was Monday, May 5.

Received emails regarding the Immigrant Visa Fee at around 11:15am on Wednesday, May 7. IV fees became available online at around 1pm on Wednesday, May 7. Date of invoice was Tuesday, May 8.

Paid all the fees on Wednesday, May 7 at around 1:15pm.

All fees marked as paid and DS-260 become available sometime late on Friday, May 9.

Dropped off IV and AOS packages (in two different envelopes - 1 for AOS and 1 for IV documents) at the local post office at around 2pm on Saturday, May 10.

Submitted DS-260 (for both cases) around 10am on Sunday, May 11.

Both document packages received by NVC on Monday, May 12 (according to Post Office Tracking - one around 1pm and the other around 4pm. Don't know why they got separated.)

Received checklist email for both cases at 4pm on Thursday, June 12 regarding the IV civil documents

Wife called NVC in the afternoon of Friday, June 13 to inquire about the checklist. Told by a representative they are normal and automatic and not to worry. AOS under review. Call back after Tuesday, June 24.
Received a checklist for my father-in-law on Monday, June 16. NVC reviewed his AOS paperwork, but waiting for the documents the requested the week before.

Wife called NVC in the morning of Tuesday, June 17. Told by the agent they don't have the document requested for dad, and they don't have the AOS package for her mom.

Put in a request with our Senator to get more information. Response was mother-in-law is documentary complete and father-in-law was in document review for the military document.

Wife called NVC on the morning of Tuesday, July 1 and spoke with a supervisor regarding her dad's military document. Supervisor said she would look into it.

Supervisor called us and left a voicemail on the morning of Wednesday, July 9 and stated they have located my father-in-law's military documents. Case sent back to document review.

Per conversation with an agent, the expedited request originally requested by email on July 7, was sent to the Embassy on Thursday, July 10.

Received by postal mail on Thursday, August 21 from our Senator regarding the response of another inquiry. Still the same.

Early in the morning on Friday, August 22:

Wife calls the Embassy and was told the IV section doesn't accept calls, and was given a number in the states that turned out to be scheduling assistance for NIV interviews.

Called NVC as soon as they opened and was told the Embassy denied the expedite request, but the case was completed by NVC on Monday, August 18. Wife inquired about interview scheduling, and was given some good information.

At 5 PM on Thursday, September 11, received the interview letters. Interview is scheduled for the morning of October 9.

Mother-in-law approved. Father-in-law placed in Administrative Processing due to follow-up TB test.

CEAC stated ISSUED for my mother-in-law on October 15. DHL had the package for pick up on October 17 but called the wrong number. Package picked up on October 27.

On December 11 mother-in-law received a phone call from the Embassy that the medical is back for my father-in-law and to DHL his passport to them. Passport sent on December 12.

On December 18 CEAC updated to ISSUED for my father-in-law. My wife is happy!!!! Embassy said they gave it to DHL on December 19

Due to a DHL delay the package did not become available for pick up until December 24. USCIS Immigrant Fee paid the same day.

POE: JFK Terminal 1 - December 26, 2014 - They are finally here!!!

Took them to a local SSA office to get SSN on January 6, 2015. Cards received on January 10, 2015.

Green Cards received by priority mail on January 23, 2015 (four weeks after arrival).

Both went to motor vehicles and got state issued ID cards on April 11, 2015.

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Filed: Timeline

I feel sorry for the issues that you are having with NVC. My wife and I kept going back and forth with them this prior summer regarding the military document for her dad, they said they didn't have, they did. To make a long story short, we had to get one of our Senator's involved. Took almost two months for NVC to acknowledge they had it, but they never admitted error. Have you had any luck getting through to a supervisor? When we had our situation my wife spoke was finally able to speak with a supervisor after going back and forth for 3 weeks. The supervisor actually pulled the file, found the lost document and sent it to document review. However, document review can not be expedited. Another avenue you might want to consider is contacting the US Embassy where the interview would be held and submit a expedite request directly to them. If the Embassy approves the request then the file will be transferred to the Embassy as is and the Embassy will take on the responsibility for collecting all future documents and scheduling the appointment.

You say the divorce was in New York State? I see you can get a Divorce Certificate from NYS Department of Health. You might want to contact NVC and ask if a Divorce Certificate is acceptable. https://www.health.ny.gov/vital_records/divorce.htm

dhlunar,

Thank you so much for sharing your story and for the link.

It states that there are two different divorce documents:

First, there is the divorce decree. This is the document prepared by the court, setting forth the terms and conditions of the divorce. It is signed by the judge and filed with the County Clerk of the County where the decree was issued. This is usually the County where the plaintiff resided. For information about obtaining a copy of a divorce decree, contact the appropriate County Clerk. Please note that if the divorce was granted before January 1, 1963, the divorce decree is the only type of document available.

Second, there is a divorce certificate filed with the New York State Department of Health for divorces granted on or after January 1, 1963. The divorce certificate contains basic information about the spouses, and the date and place the marriage ended. For information about obtaining a divorce certificate copy from the New York State Department of Health, please continue.

That helps a lot. We definitely submitted the divorce decree with stamp and seal and it says in the DS-260 instructions that they want the divorce decree. I'm starting to wonder if they lost the document which is even scarier because how do we know that they'll get it the next time we send it. My husband sent it via FedEx. Should we try certified?

How can we prove that the document was sent, that they received it, and the document contained in the envelope is the divorce decree? This has been boggling our minds for days now. We want to nail them to the wall. Not literally of course.

Thanks, again!

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Filed: IR-5 Timeline

dhlunar,

Thank you so much for sharing your story and for the link.

It states that there are two different divorce documents:

First, there is the divorce decree. This is the document prepared by the court, setting forth the terms and conditions of the divorce. It is signed by the judge and filed with the County Clerk of the County where the decree was issued. This is usually the County where the plaintiff resided. For information about obtaining a copy of a divorce decree, contact the appropriate County Clerk. Please note that if the divorce was granted before January 1, 1963, the divorce decree is the only type of document available.

Second, there is a divorce certificate filed with the New York State Department of Health for divorces granted on or after January 1, 1963. The divorce certificate contains basic information about the spouses, and the date and place the marriage ended. For information about obtaining a divorce certificate copy from the New York State Department of Health, please continue.

That helps a lot. We definitely submitted the divorce decree with stamp and seal and it says in the DS-260 instructions that they want the divorce decree. I'm starting to wonder if they lost the document which is even scarier because how do we know that they'll get it the next time we send it. My husband sent it via FedEx. Should we try certified?

How can we prove that the document was sent, that they received it, and the document contained in the envelope is the divorce decree? This has been boggling our minds for days now. We want to nail them to the wall. Not literally of course.

Thanks, again!

FedEx should be able to tell you when the package was delivered and who signed for it. It should take NVC about another day or two to log into their system a package was received, that is if you use the correct bar code sheet; however, the customer service agents are only able to see a package was received, and have no clue what was in it. You have to wait till the documents are reviewed by Document Review and either a new checklist is sent or the document is marked as received and acceptable.

What gets me is all of the trouble that NVC made us go through before they are satisfied and release it to the Embassy, and then still the file is not complete. When my wife submitted the Affidavit of Support documents for her parents she included a letter that stated, I was NOT going to file a I-864A because her income alone is enough to meet the financial requirement. Well, NVC never said anything and after the file was sent to the Embassy the Embassy reviewed the file for missing documents before the interview and sent an email of what documents needed to be brought to the Embassy at the time of the interview, and guess what an I-864A for the sponsor's spouse. So my wife emailed the Embassy asked if an I-864A is required and the response she got was a repeat of the list we received two days earlier.

Edited by dhlunar

Here is the information regarding the cases for my in-laws (wife, their daughter, is the petitioner under the IR-5 category, Parents of a USC):

Submit I-130 (2 petitions) to USCIS on May 30, 2013

USCIS approved the cases on March 10, 2014.

Received notice online from USCIS the cases were sent to NVC on March 17, 2014.

NVC received the cases on March 28, 2014

The case numbers were created on Monday, April 28.

We received the numbers by phone on Friday, May 2.

DS-261 became available on both cases late in the evening on Friday, May 2. Both DS-261 filed on Saturday, May 3.

Received emails to my wife regarding AOS at around 8am on Wednesday, May 7. At the same time received emails that were cc of letters sent to my in-laws. However, the date of all of the letters was Monday, May 5.

Received emails regarding the Immigrant Visa Fee at around 11:15am on Wednesday, May 7. IV fees became available online at around 1pm on Wednesday, May 7. Date of invoice was Tuesday, May 8.

Paid all the fees on Wednesday, May 7 at around 1:15pm.

All fees marked as paid and DS-260 become available sometime late on Friday, May 9.

Dropped off IV and AOS packages (in two different envelopes - 1 for AOS and 1 for IV documents) at the local post office at around 2pm on Saturday, May 10.

Submitted DS-260 (for both cases) around 10am on Sunday, May 11.

Both document packages received by NVC on Monday, May 12 (according to Post Office Tracking - one around 1pm and the other around 4pm. Don't know why they got separated.)

Received checklist email for both cases at 4pm on Thursday, June 12 regarding the IV civil documents

Wife called NVC in the afternoon of Friday, June 13 to inquire about the checklist. Told by a representative they are normal and automatic and not to worry. AOS under review. Call back after Tuesday, June 24.
Received a checklist for my father-in-law on Monday, June 16. NVC reviewed his AOS paperwork, but waiting for the documents the requested the week before.

Wife called NVC in the morning of Tuesday, June 17. Told by the agent they don't have the document requested for dad, and they don't have the AOS package for her mom.

Put in a request with our Senator to get more information. Response was mother-in-law is documentary complete and father-in-law was in document review for the military document.

Wife called NVC on the morning of Tuesday, July 1 and spoke with a supervisor regarding her dad's military document. Supervisor said she would look into it.

Supervisor called us and left a voicemail on the morning of Wednesday, July 9 and stated they have located my father-in-law's military documents. Case sent back to document review.

Per conversation with an agent, the expedited request originally requested by email on July 7, was sent to the Embassy on Thursday, July 10.

Received by postal mail on Thursday, August 21 from our Senator regarding the response of another inquiry. Still the same.

Early in the morning on Friday, August 22:

Wife calls the Embassy and was told the IV section doesn't accept calls, and was given a number in the states that turned out to be scheduling assistance for NIV interviews.

Called NVC as soon as they opened and was told the Embassy denied the expedite request, but the case was completed by NVC on Monday, August 18. Wife inquired about interview scheduling, and was given some good information.

At 5 PM on Thursday, September 11, received the interview letters. Interview is scheduled for the morning of October 9.

Mother-in-law approved. Father-in-law placed in Administrative Processing due to follow-up TB test.

CEAC stated ISSUED for my mother-in-law on October 15. DHL had the package for pick up on October 17 but called the wrong number. Package picked up on October 27.

On December 11 mother-in-law received a phone call from the Embassy that the medical is back for my father-in-law and to DHL his passport to them. Passport sent on December 12.

On December 18 CEAC updated to ISSUED for my father-in-law. My wife is happy!!!! Embassy said they gave it to DHL on December 19

Due to a DHL delay the package did not become available for pick up until December 24. USCIS Immigrant Fee paid the same day.

POE: JFK Terminal 1 - December 26, 2014 - They are finally here!!!

Took them to a local SSA office to get SSN on January 6, 2015. Cards received on January 10, 2015.

Green Cards received by priority mail on January 23, 2015 (four weeks after arrival).

Both went to motor vehicles and got state issued ID cards on April 11, 2015.

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