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My experience: I-130 for Spouce (wife) of US Citizen, takes forever! (2014,2015)

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Hello world!

I'm writing this post because I decided my experience should be entered into the public record. Everything I've read in terms of processing time, has been absolute nonsense; at least in our case. Even this website says 6-12 months processing time for an I-130 petition. WRONG! Or as previously stated, at least not in my case.

My experience may well be the exception and not the rule, or it may be indicative of how detrimental the process/system has become in 2014 and 2015.

I am a natural born US Citizen. My wife is Armenian. I moved to Yerevan, Armenia in 2012 to marry my wife in her native country so that her family could be in attendance for the wedding, and then we would apply for her spouse visa. Everything we read said that would take 6-9 months. So the plan was to live in Armenia for a year. A few months after the wedding my wife got pregnant with our twin boys, so we decided to postpone filing for her visa until after they were born. In January 2014 we retained a law that advised we file an I-130 petition for alien relative, so that's what we did. The lawyer instructed us on all the forms we need to fill, the documents we needed to provide, and the fees we needed to pay; and we did all of that promptly. We were anticipating leaving after our boy's first birthday in October 2014, 10-months after we filed. It seemed like a reasonable presumption, give or take a couple months. We were so naive!

The case was approved by USCIS in June of 2014, and seemed to be proceeding as expected. It was acknowledged by the NVC and given a case number two months later in August. Everything seemed to be going according to plan; and then suddenly it wasn't. The next response from the NVC wasn't until February 2015 acknowledging the receipt of our documents. Then in mid-March 2015 we received the following:

All documentation necessary to complete the National Visa Center's processing of your case has been received. As soon as an interview date has been scheduled, the applicant, petitioner and attorney (if applicable) will be notified.

After that notice we received no further communication from the NVC until June 2nd 2015 when they finally scheduled the interview, for two months later, on July 30th 2015.

My wife attended the interview and was approved. That should be cause for celebration, but the story doesn't end there. She was told by the Consular that her visa would be issued "within" a week, and they would call her when it was ready. Now it's almost 2-weeks later, and still no visa. They have since stopped responding to my emails, so my wife went to the Embassy last Friday to retrieve her passport they have been holding since the interview. They informed her that they still need to keep her passport in order to issue her visa. They told her that if she needs it for something specific they will relinquish it, but she'll need to bring it right back. Otherwise, they will call her when the visa is ready. So she let them keep it.

Just now, as I am concluding this post, I received a reply to my email from the IV Unit, US Embassy, Yerevan, Armenia, that states:

Your wife’s case is in the review process. As soon as the process is over, we’ll contact your wife and advise accordingly.

Apparently 1-year and 8-months of review/processing time + Consular approval wasn't enough... I'm not sure if "review process" equals "administrative processing", but I've read AP can take another 3-months. I sure hope not, but given our experience thus far, sadly it wouldn't be a surprise.

So that's my story in a nutshell. It should have been a really easy case, but it's dragged on for a year and eight months and counting. There is no logical reason for any of this. As stated I am a natural born US Citizen. I have never been convicted of any crimes aside from traffic violations. I am a self-employed computer programmer and I make very good money, well above the poverty line and national average. Our children are both natural born US Citizens with valid (unused) US Passports. My wife has never been convicted or even charged with a crime. She is former law enforcement officer. She has never been to the United States. So there is no prevailing reason or logic for why our case has suffered such extreme delays.

Let this be a warning to all of you in a similar situation. You may get lucky and wait only 6-months to a year, or like our case it may take double that amount of time. So consider yourself forewarned, and plan accordingly.

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It sounds like you had a pretty normal visa journey until you got to the embassy stage. The embassy stage has a lot to do with your wife, the foreign spouse. It could be that US immigrations required further background checks on your wife before they can issue the visa. That is done in the US.

I'm just brainstorming here, what about your twins, do they hold Armenian passports? I googled it and it says that if you are "an Armenian citizen by law of the Republic of Armenia, you are required to obtain an Armenian passport prior to departing Armenia. This law applies to children as well." (Source link below). Could it be that you're in AP because the US embassy is waiting for you to apply for Armenian passports for your two children?


Have you tried posting in the Armenian thread to see if your journey is a usual timeframe for that region? The process varies from region to region and especially from embassy to embassy.

I know how frustrating it is to just wait and wait and wait and not be able to get a straight answer when you try and find out what's going on with your case. :angry: It really sucks but I hope you hear some positive news soon.

Edited by mallafri76

Met online October 2010

Engaged December 31st 2011

heart.gifMarried May 14th 2013 heart.gif


September 8th 2014 - Filed I-130 with Nebraska Service Center

September 16th 2014 - NOA1 received

March 2nd 2015 - NOA2 received :dancing:

NVC Stage

March 28th 2015 - Choice of agent complete & AOS fee paid

April 17th 2015 - IV fee paid

May 1st 2015 - Sent in IV application

May 12th 2015 - Sent in AOS and IV documents

May 18th 2015 - Scan Date

June 18th 2015 - Checklist received

June 22nd 2015 - Checklist response sent to NVC

June 25th 2015 - Put for Supervisor Review

Sept 15th 2015 - Request help from Texas US Senator Cornyn and his team

Sept 23rd 2015 - Our case is moved from supervisor review to NVC's team for dealing with Senator requests

Nov 4th 2015 - CASE COMPLETE!!!! :dancing:

Embassy Stage

Dec 16th 2015 - Medical exam

Dec 21st 2015 - Interview

Dec 21st 2015 - 221(g) issued at interview for updated forms

Jan 13th 2016 - Mailed our reply to the 221(g) to the US Embassy, received and CEAC updated the next morning

Jan 20th 2016 - Embassy require more in-depth info on asset for i-864

Feb 1st 2016 - Sent more in-depth info on assets as requested. Received the next morning

Feb 16th 2016 - Visa has been issued :dancing: :dancing: :dancing: :dancing: :dancing:

In the US

April 5th 2016 - POE Newark. No questions asked.

April 14th 2016 - SSN received

May 10th 2016 - First day at my new job :dancing:

May 27th 2016 - Green Card received

June 7th 2016 - Got my Texas driver's license

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It sounds normal. The time estimates are just that, estimates. Your children aren't really a part of the immigration process. As you stated they have US citizenship. Background checks can take a long time, and the USCIS has its busy times of the year.

You are close to the end. Enjoy the future with your family.

I-864 Affidavit of Support FAQ -->> https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/immigrate/immigrant-process/documents/support/i-864-frequently-asked-questions.html

FOREIGN INCOME REPORTING & TAX FILING -->> https://www.irs.gov/publications/p54/ch01.html#en_US_2015_publink100047318


PLEASE READ THE GUIDES -->> Link to Visa Journey Guides

MULTI ENTRY SPOUSE VISA TO VN -->>Link to Visa Exemption for Vietnamese Residents Overseas & Their Spouses

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There is no logical reason for any of this. As stated I am a natural born US Citizen.

Your journey is pretty typical. I'm sorry your wife has been put in Administrative Processing but that often happens. You are a USC, but remember, this does not entitle you to bring your wife here. Immigration is a privilege.

Sometimes this happens. Why did I pass my naturalization interview in September of 2013 but I am still waiting for an oath ceremony? Who knows, but I continue to wait and hope for the best.

Good luck

August 12, 2008 - petition sent
August 16, 2008 - NOA-1
February 10, 2009 - NOA-2

February 13, 2009 - NVC case number assigned
March 12, 2009 - Case Complete

May 4, 2009

May, 26, 2009

POE - June 20, 2009 Toronto - Atlanta, GA

Removal of Conditions
Filed - April 14, 2011
Biometrics - June 2, 2011 (early)
Approval - November 9, 2011


April 29, 2013 - NOA1 for petition received

September 10, 2013 Interview - decision could not be made.

April 15, 2014 APPROVED. Wait for oath ceremony


September 29, 2015 - sent letter to senator.

October 16, 2015 - US Citizen

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I think the silver lining is that you and your wife and children are in the same country... going through this lengthy process and not being able to visit (as the visa recipient) and my husband not being able to take much time off his work, makes the wait torture.

Good luck!

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*** Thread moved from CR-1 Process forum to the CR-1 Case Progress 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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/'try waiting 6 years as my first application was in July 2009

it isn't easy

i wanted to write and say my dad and 4 uncles served in all branches of the US in World War II and Korean War

i was so frustrated i can understand how most americans now feel about our inept government agencies

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I understand your frustration, but unfortunately the journey is long for most of us. My hubby and I married in his country August 17, 2011 and he immigrated April 30, 2013. We were apart for all but about 2 months of that time.



See my Timeline for details of our visa journey
17-Aug-2011 Our Wedding Day in Kosovo heart9.gif
07-Nov-2011 Filed I-130
21-Nov-2011 NOA1
23-Aug-2012 NOA2 Approved 276 days
10-Jan-2013 Case complete via email

28-Feb-2013 Interview, result AP
11-Apr-2013 Embassy appointment - VISA APPROVED and issued in 4 hours
30-Apr-2013 POE Chicago O'Hare - He's home!

04-Sep-2014 Moved to northern California

12-Mar-2015 Filed ROC
16-Mar-2015 Documents delivered
18-Mar-2015 Check cashed
19-Mar-2015 NOA1 dated 03/16/2015 received in mail
13-Apr-2015 Biometrics completed
02-Feb-2016 Contacted USCIS about case, was told it's on hold because of security checks (email)
04-Mar-2016 Moved to Wisconsin
12-Aug-2016 New Biometrics appointment
14-Sep-2016 Contacted USCIS again about case (email said we should hear from them by Oct 6)
22-Sep-2016 Letter from USCIS dated 9/20 explaining the Service Request is currently being reviewed by an officer.
22-Sep-2016 Letter from USCIS dated 9/20 with Interview appointment for both of us for 28-Sep-2016
28-Sep-2016 Interview, both of us, separated, not hard, 10 min. each, result---said hubby will get GC in about 10 days
26-Oct-2016 *****STILL WAITING*****
02-Nov-2016 Card is being produced!!!
08-Nov-2016 Card is mailed
10-Nov-2016 Card is Delivered!!!! YAY

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Sorry, hopefully it will finish soon, did you have to prove domicile in the states that may be a factor in your delay, because if you living abroad you need to show income in the states and and residency or domicile . i hope it happens quickly for all of you. my best regards

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They have everything they could possibly want, and she's been approved, the visa just hasn't been issued. My suspicion is that tourists from both Armenia and Iran are getting the priority. This embassy manages both countries.

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Quick update. It's now been over a month since the interview. The embassy is still not responding to my emails. My congressman's office said they only deal with USCIS and NVC and not Embassies. My lawyer stopped taking my calls and responding to emails. The embassy still has my wife's passport and still has not issued her visa. Feeling kinda more frustrated and helpless now...

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File i30 for my husband i am a us citizen on Feb 16th priotiy date feb 23 2015 receive a noa on aug 20 that my case got transfer tor california service center then September 1 got another noa that it s been tranfer to my local office what is means can anybody give me an idea whats next

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Just pray and wait patiently.Trust me I know how you feel. I have been waiting for 2 years and 5 months...from may 2015 I am waiting for interview. .from what my lawyer told me yesterday the embassy in armenia is overloaded and a lot of. Cases. Are being on hold. Let God give you strength to hang in there..

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