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redg.awid

Booking a flight before the interview date

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IMO you should wait until you have the visa to book the flight. You don't know how long it will take to get the visa after a successful interview. Some quickly , some not quickly. CFO is one day if you already have the visa, if you go to CFO before you have the visa you have to go back to get a sticker after you have the visa.

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don't plan anything until you have your visa on hand.. you never know what will happen, and if you are approve for the visa, there's no guarantee when will the visa be delivered. Good luck.


AOS Journey

1/31/16 - Got married

2/24/16 - AOS, EAD, AP packet sent

2/29/16 - Received Date

3/03/16 - Received text and email notification

3/04/16 - Check cashed

3/07/16 - I-797 hardcopy received

3/19/16 - Biometric scheduled received by mail

4/06/16 - I-485 online status changed to Ready to be Scheduled for Interview

4/15/16 - I-485 online status changed to INTERVIEW SCHEDULED

4/17/16 - Interview Notice hardcopy received

4/28/16 - AP & EAD approval date

5/02/16 - AP approval letter received

5/05/16 - EAD card received

5/17/16 - AOS interview

5/23/16 - Online status changed to CASE APPROVE dated 5/18/16

5/23/16 - Received AOS approval letter in the mail

5/23/16 - Online status changed to CARD WAS MAILED TO ME

5/24/16 - Card was picked-up by USPS (online status)

5/26/16 - Green Card on Hand!!! :goofy:

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Hi, my interview sched is Aug26. My fiance wants to book a flight already for sept 7 or 8. You think its safe to do that? Is K1 sure ball? When can i attend the cfo? Is it just 1 day seminar? Thanks!

I don't think it's a good idea. Quoting from their link "Do not finalize arrangements for travel to the United States, dispose of properties, or resign from your job until a visa has been issued and delivered to you. Generally, a one-entry fiancé(e) (K1) nonimmigrant visa is valid for six months from the date of issuance, unless its validity is limited by medical or other restrictions. "

Here's our timeline, our interview was July 20th, visa on hand August 3rd, cfo seminar august 6th.

Not all timelines are the same. Some get it fast and some take a few weeks to months.

It would be advisable to attend the CFO seminar when the visa is on hand so it'll be just a 1 day trip. You can already attend the seminar without the visa but they won't give you the sticker so you'll have to come back for it which could be inconvenient.(both sticker and certificate are needed).

:)

Edited by CaliforniaBae

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Wish I had a dollar for every time someone booked their flight before they had the visa in hand and then had to cancel that flight.

Golden Rule: never book anything ahead of time!

Edited by LionessDeon

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Hi, my interview sched is Aug26. My fiance wants to book a flight already for sept 7 or 8. You think its safe to do that? Is K1 sure ball? When can i attend the cfo? Is it just 1 day seminar? Thanks!

It's not advisable!! Unless you have money to burn to replace or to reschedule with the airlines and pay their fees. Up to you, but not smart idea. Go by what the Embassy says which has been quoted by CaliforniaBae in their post earlier.


Spoiler

Adjustment of Status

AOS March 5, 2014 Submitted AOS with EAD/AP package to Chicago USICS

Delivered March 8, 2014 AOS packaged delivered to USCIS drop box

Accepted March 19, 2014 Text message with receipt numbers

Biometrics April 16, 2014 Biometrics completed

EAD May 23, 2014 Employment Authorization Document approved and went to card production

TD May 23, 2014 Travel Document approved and went for card production

Receipt EAD/AP May 30, 2014 Received combo card EAD/AP

Green Card Approved July 11, 2014 Approved, no interview. Went to card production.

Green Card received July 17, 2014 GC received without interview

Removal of Conditions

Mailed I-751 Dec 16, 2015 Submitted ROC (removal of conditions)

Received Dec 18, 2015 USPS notification of successful delivery

Check Cashed Dec 21, 2015 Check was cashed

NOA-1 Issued Dec 21, 2015 NOA-1 for ROC issued

NOA-1 Issued Dec 26, 2015 NOA-1 Received

Biometrics Appt. Jan 29, 2016 Biometrics Appointment Scheduled [Completed]

 

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Can I presume you have already passed the SLEC hurdle? If not then there could be several additional obstacles to getting your visa besides just the USEM interview, visa transit, and cfo meeting.


IR-1/CR-1 Visa
Service Center : Vermont Service Center
Consulate : Manila, Philippines
Marriage (if applicable): 2014-05-17
I-130 Sent : 2014-06-23
I-130 NOA1 : 2014-06-25
I-130 RFE : 2014-08-11 (Wanted NSO Marriage Certificate, not LCR)
I-130 RFE Sent : 2014-08-14
I-130 Approved : 2014-08-27
NVC Received : 2014-09-15
Received DS-261 / AOS Bill : 2014-09-17
Pay AOS Bill : 2014-09-17
Submit DS-261 : 2014-09-17
Send AOS Package : 2014-09-19
Receive IV Bill : 2014-10-03
Pay IV Bill : 2014-10-03
Received Interview Letter by E-mail: 2015-03-20 (May 5, 2015)
SLEC completed: 2015-04-22
Visa Approved: 2015-05-05
Visa Issued: 2015-05-15 (221g for no CENOMAR!)

Visa Received: 2015-05-21

POE: Chicago 2015-09-14

GC Received: 2015-11-17

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With the current extremely high visa and passport processing going on in the Philippines, do not book until passport is in hand AFTER interview. They may say 10 working days, but many reports are much longer for the return of passport. Plus the unfortunate RFE or possible denial in interview. Additionally you can be too late to a CFO line up and be turned away to come at a later time. There are many chances for a delay, especially right now.

Edited by Liza and Chris

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Definitely wait. Best case scenario, you would get your visa in hand before your flight. But it could take longer. Even if you get it a day after your flight was scheduled, you'd have to cancel the flight.


K1 until Green Card

01/13/15 - I-129F package sent

01/15/15 - Arrived at Texas Service Center (sigh...)

01/27/15 - NOA1 in hand

07/16/15 - Case was approved!

07/21/15 - NOA2 in hand

07/24/15 - Case sent to NVC

08/03/15 - NVC Case # Assigned / Case sent to embassy (estimate)

08/05/15 - Arrived at embassy

08/12/15 - Packet 3 received

08/17/15 - Packet 3 sent

08/28/15 - Packet 4 received

09/28/15 - Medical

09/30/15 - Interview - approved

10/07/15 - K1 Visa in hand

10/22/15 - POE

11/06/15 - Married!

12/15/15 - I-485 package sent
02/29/16 - I-485 approved (interview waived)

03/08/16 - Green Card in hand

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The standard response always seems to be "never book until the visa is in hand", but I don't think the answer is that simple. Last minute tickets can be VERY expensive, and some tickets allow changes for a fee. For my fiancée and I, we followed similar timelines to ours very closely to get a good idea how long the process would take. We also researched airline ticket prices. Tickets booked a couple of months in advance could be as cheap as $2,000 for both of us (me flying round trip from Denver to Bangkok and her flying one way from Bangkok to Denver). Last minute tickets were priced around $6,000! The change fee was $300 per ticket.

Once the U.S. Embassy had our documents in June of 2015, we book our tickets for 2 moths later in August. Maybe we just got lucky, but my fiancee's visa was issued with a couple of weeks to spare. Worst case, we would have been out $600 in change fees, much better than being out $2,000 to $4,000 by waiting until after the visa was issued.

My recommendation is to do the math and evaluate your specific situation. Sometimes buying the tickets early makes good sense.


CSC

4/14/2015 Sent I-129F via UPS

4/16/2015 Received NOA1

6/1/2015 Received NOA2

NVC

6/8/2015 NVC Received Petition

6/10/2015 NVC sent to US Embassy Bangkok (NVC Confirmed)

US Embassy Bangkok

6/13/2015 US Embassy Bangkok Received (tracked with DHL)

6/15/2015 "Case Creation Date"

6/26/2015 Status "Ready" CEAC case tracker

7/2/2015 Received Packet 3

7/7/2015 Received Thai Police Certificate via mail

7/10/2015 Mailed Packet 3 documents to US Embassy

7/13/2015 Received Packet 4 email/Interview Scheduled for 8/4/2015

8/4//2015 Interview (Approved!)

US

8/19/2015 I (USC) flew to Thailand

8/26/2017 We flew back together to Colorado, USA (LA California port of entry)

Marriage SSN

8/28/2015 Applied for SSN

8/28/2015 Obtained Marriage License

9/4/2015 Received social security card (SSN) with unmarried name via US mail

9/7/2015 Married in Colorado

AOS, AP, EAD

9/9/2015 Recorded Marriage License, Changed name SSN, Applied for AOS, AP, EAD

9/14/2015 Received social security card (SSN) with married name

9/16/2015 Received text and email NOA1s for AOS, AP, EAD

9/21/2015 Received paper NOA1s for AOS, AP, EAD via US mail

9/25​/2015 Received letter vis US mail scheduling biometrics for 10/5/2015

10/2/2015 Received RFE for not submitting 2014 tax documents

10/5/2015 Biometrics in Denver

10/9/2015 Responded to RFE by sending 2014 tax copies

11/18/2015 Received RFE stating EAD form was not an original signature?

11/19/2015 Signed the form in BLUE ink and returned via 2nd day UPS

12/10/2015 AP and EAD Approved

12/17/2015 Received Combo AP and EAD Card via US mail

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Hi, my interview sched is Aug26. My fiance wants to book a flight already for sept 7 or 8. You think its safe to do that? Is K1 sure ball? When can i attend the cfo? Is it just 1 day seminar? Thanks!

You need to understand the risks and be willing to accept the risk. I thoroughly understood the risk but still booked my flight at the time we got the MNL#. We got the MNL# May 2 and interview was June 3. I booked my outbound flight to the Philippines for June 1 the return trip to US for both me and my fiancée June 18th (wanted to allow enough time after the interview to get the visa. A week after the MNL, May 9th or so (a date that still makes me tremble...) we found out we were put in AP and would not get the interview until we got out of AP. Of course you are given no reason why you're in AP or when you will get out of AP (in my case I have a very good feeling I know why, possibly something to do with having K1 petitions for the same fiancée at both CSC and VSC...but that's another story). Anyway we got out of AP on May 24th. Went to the interview on June 3. We got a 221G because the embassy never received my fiancée medical. Once again they couldn't tell us when we would get the visa. We did end up getting the visa on June 13th. We departed the Philippines June 18th as originally scheduled. There is a line from a Clint Eastwood movie it goes something like this....."I know what you're thinking, did he fire 5 shots or 6 (gun was a revolver). But there's one thing you need to ask yourself....DO I FEEL LUCKY..."


Our K1 Timeline

August 31, 2012 ...........NOA1
April 19, 2013................NOA2

May 2, 2013...................MNL # Available

June 3, 2013..................Interview

June 18, 2013................POE Dallas

AOS Timeline

July 26, 2013.................NOA I-485

August 27, 2013............Biometrics

September 5, 2013.......Notice of Interview date (October 15)

September 30, 2013.....EAD/AP Combo card in hand.

October 15, 2013..........AOS Interview

October 22, 2013..........AOS Approved & Green Card Production Ordered

November 1, 2013........Green Card in hand!

ROC Timeline

August 12, 2015............NOA

August 31, 2015............Biometrics

March 7, 2016...............Card Production Ordered

March 11, 2016.............I55 Stamp

March 12, 2016.............Green Card in hand!

Citizenship Timeline

March 6, 2017...............NOA

March 27, 2017.............Biometrics

June 20, 2018...…………..Interview

July 13,  2018...…………..Oath Ceremony

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A flight will go up in cost a lot if you want to fly right away. Patience is a virtue that should be learned in this long process, and once that visa is in hand, another month or so of waiting to fly isn't going to kill anyone in my opinion. Ticket prices will shoot up AFTER the end of October, so hope that you can fly before the end of it. In fact, one way tickets right now with 2 to 3 weeks advance schedule cost me about 800 to fly from MSY to MNL, or MNL to MSY either way. If I wanted to fly tomorrow, of course they'd cost like 2000 usd. Additionally as I stated in another post, it's best to fly on GREEN DAYS where travel to the specific country is expected. So on those days you may find a lower price even still.

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Maybe I just have a way out in left or right field way of looking at this, but if a visa applicant has been waiting 6-18 months for processing, what REAL difference does another 2-3 months make? I understand the logic of a $600 change fee vs $6000 late ticket purchase cost but I'm (we're)frugal and $0 is even better than $600. I can assure you that those final days of waiting will fly (no pun intended) by when you know that all the bureaucracy ####### is behind you. You've got a lifetime of togetherness to look forward to and 3 months on that clock face will be only a blip.

My wife has found that even that time has not been enough to visit all the extended relatives, classmates, and friends; decide what to take, what to leave, what to give away; get copies of all the original docs that she used up during the process and obtain those that she didn't need during the process. As well as a myriad of other things that she has found either necessary or desirous to do.

Just my $0.02 way of looking at it. Everyone's personal case is different. But this is what we found worked best for us.


IR-1/CR-1 Visa
Service Center : Vermont Service Center
Consulate : Manila, Philippines
Marriage (if applicable): 2014-05-17
I-130 Sent : 2014-06-23
I-130 NOA1 : 2014-06-25
I-130 RFE : 2014-08-11 (Wanted NSO Marriage Certificate, not LCR)
I-130 RFE Sent : 2014-08-14
I-130 Approved : 2014-08-27
NVC Received : 2014-09-15
Received DS-261 / AOS Bill : 2014-09-17
Pay AOS Bill : 2014-09-17
Submit DS-261 : 2014-09-17
Send AOS Package : 2014-09-19
Receive IV Bill : 2014-10-03
Pay IV Bill : 2014-10-03
Received Interview Letter by E-mail: 2015-03-20 (May 5, 2015)
SLEC completed: 2015-04-22
Visa Approved: 2015-05-05
Visa Issued: 2015-05-15 (221g for no CENOMAR!)

Visa Received: 2015-05-21

POE: Chicago 2015-09-14

GC Received: 2015-11-17

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The standard response always seems to be "never book until the visa is in hand", but I don't think the answer is that simple. Last minute tickets can be VERY expensive, and some tickets allow changes for a fee. For my fiancée and I, we followed similar timelines to ours very closely to get a good idea how long the process would take. We also researched airline ticket prices. Tickets booked a couple of months in advance could be as cheap as $2,000 for both of us (me flying round trip from Denver to Bangkok and her flying one way from Bangkok to Denver). Last minute tickets were priced around $6,000! The change fee was $300 per ticket.

Once the U.S. Embassy had our documents in June of 2015, we book our tickets for 2 moths later in August. Maybe we just got lucky, but my fiancee's visa was issued with a couple of weeks to spare. Worst case, we would have been out $600 in change fees, much better than being out $2,000 to $4,000 by waiting until after the visa was issued.

My recommendation is to do the math and evaluate your specific situation. Sometimes buying the tickets early makes good sense.

You took a gamble and you had success.

Look through this site for the numerous times that someone came here exasperated because they had plane tickets and no visas.

Why go against the US Embassy's advice? It's not there for nothing. Maybe they have some experience on this matter.

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