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NOA1 Didn't Arrive to Colombia

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Hey guys,

I am new to this forum, it has been a great resource so far in getting my wife's visa package together. My case is a little convoluted, and I wouldn't have written if I could have found the information I am looking for, so bear with me! I think we all know how tense this process can be.

I am an American citizen living in Colombia. My wife and I decided that we want to raise our new daughter in the US, so we started the paperwork to get my wife a spousal visa. I received the email notification that our I-130 package was accepted on February 27th, and it said I would receive a physical receipt within a few days. But it never arrived. The USCIS website said that if it didn't arrive by the end of March, then I should call.

The call center worker at USCIS said that they never send mail abroad. Is this true? I don't recall any mention of this when I was filing the paperwork. If this is the case, then what should I do as far as receiving future documents in the visa process? I called several times, and each time I needed to be transferred to someone higher in the food chain at USCIS, but the only way I could be transferred to another person to resolve my issue was through a callback system that only works with US phone numbers. They couldn't even put me on hold. So I couldn't figure out what I should do regarding the paperwork I need to receive for the visa process. One person I talked to said I needed to send a physical letter to the California processing center that is handling our case, because if the previous mailing address doesn't have a US zip code, then it can't be changed to another in the USCIS system. A letter? I was incredulous.

So anyway, I don't know what I should do. I know it's going to take a while for the NOA2 to come anyway, but I am worried that I will miss something crucial that simply won't get mailed to me, and I have no way to fix it, since all the procedures for the visa seem to be designed for a petitioner that is currently residing in the US. I feel like I can't be the only person applying for a spousal visa from outside the US, but there seems to be no way to get an answer to my questions and concerns without actually being there already. Has anyone else gone through this? What should I do? Is there a thread here that deals with this, or explains how to make sure I don't miss any physical mailings from USCIS?

Thank you so much in advance. Looking forward to interacting with you all!

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Did you get the email notification? If so then you have your case number and can track your case online, or by calling. The "official" NOA1 isn't needed at this point, but it will take longer if they're trying to send it abroad (if it arrives at all.) Same goes with the NOA2. The only point of concern for you now is if you get an RFE and still can't get mail. At that point you can change you address to one in the USA to someone you trust who can forward the RFE to you.

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss


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I did get the email notification, so I have my receipt number.

The RFE scenario is definitely why I am so worried, though I did try to put all the necessary information in my I-130 package. If I change my mailing address to a US address, and I am not living in the US, does that make a difference? Will it look suspicious in some way?

I am also a little worried about changing the address because if the USCIS employees couldn't change the address because the previous one didn't have a US zip code, I am worried the same thing will happen to me in the USCIS online system. I guess it's one of those things where I don't want to pull a thread and watch everything unravel. Am I worrying too much?

Thanks for the prompt reply Proudly Canadian!

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Ugh. My husband and I also filed from outside the country and had lots of trouble getting USCIS to update our addresses once we moved. We lived in Australia when we filed, but then I moved back to the U.S. and my husband moved to Colombia before the petition was granted. I would recommend sending a hard copy letter to USCIS, make sure you include the full names of both petitioner and beneficiary along with birthdates. As far as the phone number, I think you can get a US phone number from Skype for a reasonable price, maybe $20 for three months or something. That might help with the phone situation.

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Changing the petitioner's address is fine and won't cause issues as long as it's going to the USA. They dont care. You don't need to and really you cant change the beneficiary's address until it gets to the NVC. You may be able to change the embassy location, but I have not had to try so I'm unsure.

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  - Dr. Seuss


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Im pretty certain you can file for VISA status while overseas. Though it is true that you need a USA address as the place where you intend to live in the USA.

I have had problems with Colombian mail before. As long as you have the receipt number, that is the important thing. You could try to call the local mail office, but you will likely get the "run around" like with most things there.

As for changing the beneficiaries address, I have to do this as well. According to 3 USCIS representatives ( I called back several times ); you must type a simple generic letter explaining the update in address while also referencing your RECEIPT#. Mine is currently at nebraska service center which means I had to find that super difficult to find address for it. It is not publicly posted and the National Service Center hotline representatives do not know the address either.... (not even the supervisor knows lol )

On a personal note: I found it super difficult to try and do the visa thing from Colombia. Me and my wife tried and I ended up having to move back to make $$. Such a pain in the butt dealing with documents and phone. But not ideal for everyone. As others have suggested. Use skype and register the number for USA usage.

Maybe next time I come to Colombia we can hang out? 420?

Edited by Karmalious


1/2/2015 - Petition sent to Phoenix Lockbox

1/6/2015 - NOA #1 Receipt

7/1/2015 - NOA #2 Approved

7/10/2015 - Email from Nebraska stating sent the case to NVC


7/16/15 - Case Received by NVC

7/30/15 - Case number assigned

8/3/15 - DS-261 Agent available

8/4/15 - DS-261 Agent completed

8/4/15 - AOS fee available & paid

8/6/15 - Check cleared the bank & bar-code cover sheet now available

8/13/15 - AOS Packet & IV Packet sent to NVC by priority mail

8/15/15 - IV fee available & paid same day

8/17/15 - NVC received package

8/19/15 - Check cleared the bank & DS-260 available & DS-260 completed!!! ALSO, we received email notification from NVC that they received package on 8/17

- Case completed at NVC

- Case sent to Embassy on this date


- Embassy received packet

- Wife received Packet 3/4 Instructions

- Medical appointment

- Interview

Point of Entry

- Enter Austin, Texas

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Would you believe that the NOA1 and NOA2 finally arrived to my residence address and not my mailing address? They stuck them under the door.

Still haven't received my NVC package yet though, but I took the advice on this forum and called to get my case and invoice numbers. On to the next nerve-wracking step...

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