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Skateman

Interview Scam in Lagos? Help!

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My fiancee' had all her paperwork in order when she showed up at the US embassy in Lagos, Nigeria this morning. However, they said that she applied for a B1 interview and not a K1. It did not matter to them that there was no way to select the K1 option when she made the reservation and that their website clearly stated that B1 and K1 would be treated the same for interview scheduling. They told her to reschedule. Two problems here - her account is locked out - she cannot cancel the appointment she just made this morning, nor will she be able to select K1 since that option was not available assuming she signs up again (and possibly is charged the $265 fee). Right now I can't afford an immigration lawyer. I tried most of the day calling the US state department, but the non-immigrant line refuses to help me, and the immigrant line will not take the call - they say call again later. I'm guessing that they are trying to get us to re-register and extort us for another $265. Anyone have any ideas on how to get her a K1 visa interview?

Edited by Skateman

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My fiancee' had all her paperwork in order when she showed up at the US embassy in Lagos, Nigeria this morning. However, they said that she applied for a B1 interview and not a K1. It did not matter to them that there was no way to select the K1 option when she made the reservation and that their website clearly stated that B1 and K1 would be treated the same for interview scheduling. They told her to reschedule. Two problems here - her account is locked out - she cannot cancel the appointment she just made this morning, nor will she be able to select K1 since that option was not available assuming she signs up again (and possibly is charged the $265 fee). Right now I can't afford an immigration lawyer. I tried most of the day calling the US state department, but the non-immigrant line refuses to help me, and the immigrant line will not take the call - they say call again later. I'm guessing that they are trying to get us to re-register and extort us for another $265. Anyone have any ideas on how to get her a K1 visa interview?

Did you check out the Nigerian Embassay information page available here: http://www.visajourney.com/consulates/index.php?ctry=Nigeria&cty=Lagos

On this website there are specific instructions which state Email LagosIV@state.gov for your interview date. (This applies only to K1 Visa seekers.) At this point, if you cannot reach the Lagos embassy by phone, I would be emailing them ASAP and explaining to them your specific situation, where they will be able to further advise you on what to do.

Also, there is a forum on Nairaland where a U.S. Visa officer answers questions. You can also try to post your question to see if the officer can better advise you based on your situation. The link below is to that forum:

http://www.nairaland.com/1792591/u.s-immigration-questions-ask-u.s/110

I hope this information helps.

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Did you check out the Nigerian Embassay information page available here: http://www.visajourney.com/consulates/index.php?ctry=Nigeria&cty=Lagos

On this website there are specific instructions which state Email LagosIV@state.gov for your interview date. (This applies only to K1 Visa seekers.) At this point, if you cannot reach the Lagos embassy by phone, I would be emailing them ASAP and explaining to them your specific situation, where they will be able to further advise you on what to do.

Also, there is a forum on Nairaland where a U.S. Visa officer answers questions. You can also try to post your question to see if the officer can better advise you based on your situation. The link below is to that forum:

http://www.nairaland.com/1792591/u.s-immigration-questions-ask-u.s/110

I hope this information helps.

In addition to the information above, this information may be helpful when it comes to the K-1 visa process.

http://nigeria.usembassy.gov/immigrant_visas.html

If you followed the instructions on the ustraveldocs website when you scheduled your previous appointment I would not consider your circumstances a scam. http://www.ustraveldocs.com/ng/ng-niv-appointmentschedule.asp#

Nevertheless, I would still be contacting the embassy to ensure you don't have to repay the visa application fee. Especially since it sounds like you have to reschedule your interview. If you don't have a receipt showing that you paid the fee, then I would definitely be concerned about this being a scam.

Either way you need to be in contact with Lagos embassy to get things resolved ASAP.

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That nairaland forum is awesome!


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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*** Country-specific thread moved from K-1 Process forum to the Africa/Sub-Saharan regional subforum. ***


06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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Well, I called the visa center in Lagos and they told me to write an email to the embassy, which I did and already got an automated form letter back from them. My fiancee' received a letter from them this morning stating that she must reapply and re-pay the $265 fee. And the soonest appointment is April 30th, which is more than a month after the priority date expires. I just can't believe this is happening to us. I will be filing a complaint with the local USCIS office when they open here in a few minutes. I KNEW they were trying to scam us. I know that there should be some accountability here, somewhere, but this is the US government we are dealing with. Will filing a complaint with the USCIS cause the US embassy in Lagos to stonewall us altogether (worse than they are doing now)?

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Well, I called the visa center in Lagos and they told me to write an email to the embassy, which I did and already got an automated form letter back from them. My fiancee' received a letter from them this morning stating that she must reapply and re-pay the $265 fee. And the soonest appointment is April 30th, which is more than a month after the priority date expires. I just can't believe this is happening to us. I will be filing a complaint with the local USCIS office when they open here in a few minutes. I KNEW they were trying to scam us. I know that there should be some accountability here, somewhere, but this is the US government we are dealing with. Will filing a complaint with the USCIS cause the US embassy in Lagos to stonewall us altogether (worse than they are doing now)?

That really sucks!

I know it feels like a scam, but its probably not.

It's probably due to not so intuitive web pages/instructions.

Yes, I would try to file a complain and get the money returned.


10-04-2013 We met online
11-21-2013 We met in person in Shanghai for 2 weeks

12-13-2013 I-129F packet sent via express

12-19-2013 USCIS NOA #1 (text and email) received

12-24-2013 USCIS assigns Alien Registration Number
12-31-2013 USCIS NOA #1 hard copy received
06-02-2014 USCIS web site shows NOA #2 approval
06-06-2014 USCIS web site shows case sent to NVC

06-xx-2014 Fiancee acquired birth, marriage, and police certificates from local police station (wrong)

06-16-2014 NVC creates case with GUZ### number

06-19-2014 NVC sends case sent to Guangzhou, China
06-24-2014 Received packet 3 express mail from embassy
06-25-2014 Completed DS-160 and paid K1 visa fee

06-26-2014 Mailed packet 3 response back to Embassy

06-26-2014 Requested police certificate from Russian embassy

07-08-2014 Received packet 4 email from Embassy

07-17-2014 Picked up Russian police certificate

07-25-2014 Fiancee medical exam (received MMR & Varicella, but they missed required TD shot)

07-31-2014 Picked up medical exam reports

08-01-2014 Request (correct) birth, marriage, and police certificates from Notarial Service (GongZhengChu)

08-06-2014 Picked up birth, marriage, and police certificates from Notarial Service

08-14-2014 Passed Interview Guangzhou embassy

09-01-2014 Received passport, visa, & sealed envelope

09-13-2014 POE

09-17-2014 Went to CBP office to get (US entry) I-94 updated correctly

09-18-2014 Applied for Social Security Card
09-19-2014 Applied for Marriage License (via online)
09-25-2014 Received Social Security Card
09-30-2014 Picked up Marriage License
10-09-2014 Marriage by Justice of Peace
10-09-2014 Got Certified Marriage Certificate Copies
10-17-2014 Received a letter from SS office that they need the marriage license
10-09-2014 Applied to change the social security card name
10-24-2014 Went back to SS office to provide the marriage certificate documents again!!!
12-09-2014 Submitted AOS, EAD, and AP
12-16-2014 Received 16 emails and 16 text NOA messages
01-05-2015 Received Biometrics appointment letter for (01-12-2015)
01-12-2015 Had Biometrics (fingerprint & picture) - Required Marriage Certificate!!!
02-17-2015 EAD and AP is approved
02-23-2015 Received AP is approval letter
02-25-2015 Received EAD/AP combo card (expires 02/16/2016)
02-27-2015 Applied for SS card name change (they took her SS card)
02-27-2015 Driver's learner permit test was denied since the SS card was given to SS office for name change
03-17-2015 Received SS card with married name
03-17-2015 Started to change all her accounts to married name
03-23-2015 Received potential interview waiver letter
03-27-2015 DMV rejects learner's permit due to "legal status=pending" and vision test failure
04-05-2015 Vision test for learner's permit
04-06-2015 DPS sent us letter that DHS cleared my wife's status to acquire driver's license.
04-10-2015 Passed Driver Learner's Permit
04-22-2015 Received Driver Learner's Permit ID card (expires 02/16/2016)
08-27-2015 Green Card approved
08-31-2015 Received Green Card "Welcome Notice Was Mailed" letter
09-05-2015 Received Green card
10-26-2015 Passed Driver's License Road Test (on 3rd attempt)
11-03-2015 Received Driver's License (expires 02/16/2022)
11-06-2015 Applied to remove conditional work remark on SS card
11-23-2015 Received updated Social Security Card.
- - - - - - - - - - Pending Future Processing - - - - - - - - - -
05-27-2017 File 10 Year Green Card
08-27-2017 2 Year Green Card Expires
05-27-2018 File USC

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Well, I called the visa center in Lagos and they told me to write an email to the embassy, which I did and already got an automated form letter back from them. My fiancee' received a letter from them this morning stating that she must reapply and re-pay the $265 fee. And the soonest appointment is April 30th, which is more than a month after the priority date expires. I just can't believe this is happening to us. I will be filing a complaint with the local USCIS office when they open here in a few minutes. I KNEW they were trying to scam us. I know that there should be some accountability here, somewhere, but this is the US government we are dealing with. Will filing a complaint with the USCIS cause the US embassy in Lagos to stonewall us altogether (worse than they are doing now)?

Sorry to hear that you have to pay again. Most of us here on VJ understand how much the gov. Fees suck co pared to the service you get. I absolutely agree about there being accountability, which it seems like immigration has zero accountability when you see how much heartache families go through. If you feel like filing a complaint I would certainly do so. You can try reaching out to your congressman to see if they can help resolve things since that's what they are paid to do (represent you).

http://www.usaimmigrationattorney.com/FilingAComplaintwithImmigration.html

The embassy cannot retaliate against you because you filed a complaint. Otherwise it could very well lead to lawsuits. I would certainly be in contact with my congressman if you have sufficient evidence to prove they are in the wrong. I would also call the embassy again to see if you can get a different official. Immmigration officials are known for giving out different and wrong information. I would ask more questions to see if you can avoid paying additional fees. Sorry for your troubles. I know how frustrating immigration can be. May you be blessed on the rest of your journey.

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The answers were very standard, what impressed me were the questions, makes VJ look very tame.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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Well, I asked the Lagos US Embassy for a refund for the bogus first interview, and this is what I got from them: "She cannot get a refund; even if she made a mistake by applying for the wrong visa category. She took a spot in the appointment schedule depriving someone else from making an appointment for that date. She was rendered the service by being interviewed by a Consular officer.

We suggest she make an appointment for her K-1 visa as soon as possible, because of the short validity period of K-1 petitions.

We regret that our response cannot be more positive."

What really worries me is that they are saying the K-1 has a short validity period. I got the confirmation letter from the USCIS on November 27th, so if they are figuring four months, then that is up on March 27th - and her interview isn't until April 30th!!!! I still can't believe this is happening. What are the odds that they are going to turn her away again, even if she is scheduled for the K1 this time?

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So, can the US Embassy in Lagos technically say the the interview is over a month past the priority date expiration and make us start all over? It isn't our fault they didn't have an appointment available.

I thought that there was no expiration on K1 Visas -it says right here, unless this is incorrect: http://www.us-immigration.com/blog/fiancee-visa-or-k1-visa-priority-date

Edited by abboberg

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Well, I called the visa center in Lagos and they told me to write an email to the embassy, which I did and already got an automated form letter back from them. My fiancee' received a letter from them this morning stating that she must reapply and re-pay the $265 fee. And the soonest appointment is April 30th, which is more than a month after the priority date expires. I just can't believe this is happening to us. I will be filing a complaint with the local USCIS office when they open here in a few minutes. I KNEW they were trying to scam us. I know that there should be some accountability here, somewhere, but this is the US government we are dealing with. Will filing a complaint with the USCIS cause the US embassy in Lagos to stonewall us altogether (worse than they are doing now)?

This really sucks bad! I hope everything works out for you.

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