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bcking

Visiting USA during NVC Pre-Processing/Processing

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I know this is a topic that is discussed a lot, but my wife and I had a recent personal experience and I want to know if this is typical.

Basic facts: I'm a US Citizen and have always lived in the USA. My wife is a UK citizen and has always lived in the UK. We married in the UK in the Spring. When we were engaged we travelled back and forth to visit each other (we've never lived together permanently).

Our I-130 was approved by USCIS and is currently in that limbo stage where we are waiting for the NVC to contact my wife saying they received the approved application. I was recently with her on vacation and was in the process of moving cities back in the US so when I planned my trip back to the US she decided to come with me to help me get settled in my new location. We had a brief stopover in the UK to visit her family and then were moving onto the US.

We had already heard that the answer to my question is "Yes you can travel to the US, but immigration can always refuse to let you in if they are suspicious" so we decided to fly through Dublin. We did that because my wife suffers from anxiety and I was very worried about flying all the way to Houston from London and then having to get on another very long flight with little preparation. She applied for a new ESTA (Since she had changed her passport since the last time she had come to the US, she changed her passport so it would have her new last name). Her ESTA was approved. During the ESTA "application" process there was at no point a question where she lied or attempted to be misleading. When we were at immigration in Dublin we didn't try to use the machines, we went straight to the counters.

The long story is she made it to the US, but our experience in Dublin was horrible and was essentially harassment. We were taken into separate rooms, and so I can only fully speak for myself but from what she told me she had it worse. The immigration officer essentially called us "stupid" and said we were "idiots" several times claiming we did "everything all wrong" by having her try to come visit me and told us we were trying to "cheat the system". Another line that sticks in my head was "I've seen your kind before a hundred times and all you want to do is take the easy way and you are just so stupid you can't do anything right". Considering we've been together for 4 years and the entire time we've been long distance it was rather hurtful to claim we are taking the "easy way". I tried to ask him what we should have done and he provided no concrete information. We had copies of mail at her current UK address, we had copies of her return ticket. He looked at the return ticket, literally laughed and said "Yes but can you prove to me that she will take that flight? She could just buy a ticket and never get on the flight. A return ticket doesn't prove anything. You need to prove to me that she will go back to the UK". (I wanted to point out to him that by his definition you wouldn't be able to prove anything until you've done it at which point his question is pointless but I knew that wouldn't help). The sad this is what actually worried us before getting to immigration is that she was recently made redundant at her job (unrelated to her immigration to the US) so she is currently unemployed. She is a masters-level scientist and so looking for a job for only 6 months max is pointless so she is currently remaining unemployed (she has savings). Her employment status didn't even come up in the conversation. He was pissed off at us even without that bit of information.

She is now back in the UK and my work schedule is not going to allow me to take off any time between now and Christmas at the earliest. While 3 months isn't the end of the world at this point, it would be really nice for her to be able to visit me again. From what we are reading about NVC processing we still have around 6 months for her to actually get her visa.

Was our experience unusual? Should she try again or is that a typical experience? Do people tend to be more harassed when the immigration is pre-screening like in Dublin, because they are more suspicious of you traveling through there? We just did it to avoid a long flight if she got turned away but I think if she did try again she would fly straight to Houston.

We are looking ahead and noticed on the DS-260 form that you fill out with the NVC it asks if you have ever been refused entry. If she tried to visit again and was refused, she would obviously have to put yes on the form. Would that "hurt" her application?

I know nobody can tell us "yes she will get in" or "no she will not". I guess at this point we are just wondering A. Will she be harassed again (it fit the definition) and B. Will it hurt her visa processing if she gets refused?

EDIT:

I think one of the things that really "pissed him off" (he also used that phrase) was that she had an ESTA. Nowhere in the ESTA process does it disqualify you from getting it if you also have a pending visa for immigration. The process asks if you are planning to use it to permanently immigrate which she was NOT. We also (naively, I guess) assumed that in today's world whatever processes an ESTA would be able to see that she had a pending visa application and if they didn't want her getting an ESTA she would have been denied the ESTA. I didn't really understand how it was our fault that her ESTA was approved off the same passport that the application was made with.

Edited by bcking

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I don't know the answer to your question, I just wanted to say that I'm sorry the two of you had to go through that experience.

It does sound like more of a personality/professionality problem than something normative of CBP procedures.

FWIW, my husband reported a hostile/unprofessional attitude from a CBP officer at the POE when he immigrated, which was pre-clearance as well (Aruba). I really don't know if that's typical.

Good luck!

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Wales
Timeline

Likely she has been flagged, how long ago did she visit and how long did she stay?


“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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Personally I wouldn't risk it again, especially if your wife has anxiety. Whilst I have only been taken into secondary once (many years ago), I have almost always been asked about my job, where I work, which company and what date I have to return. If she is asked this on her next entry she will have to be truthful and say she has no job. That will open a can of worms and is likely to get her on the next plane back to Heathrow. Being asked about work is pretty much a standard question at POE.

If you have not sent documents to the NVC yet at the moment they don't have her passport number in the system so there would be no way for the ESTA system to match her ESTA application with her CR-1 application.

Take a look at the timeline in my signature. I doubt she will have to wait 6 months to get her visa if you are at the NVC right now. Keep on top of it by calling regularly for your case number, having invoices unlocked and you can get to scan date in about a week from case number being issued. My documents were ready to go on August 15 but we were waiting for something from the joint sponsor that was held up in the mail. Currently it's taking about 30 days from scan date to case complete and then 6 weeks for the London interviews.

Good luck. I have also had a "less-than-friendly" CBP officer at Dublin. Could be the same one? He was smiling and friendly until I said "husband" and then you could actually see the expression change on his face. He suddenly got snappy with me. All I could think was "thanks to all those who have abused the VWP to immigrate I get this attitude from him".

Edited by JFH

 

 

 

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Also meant to reply to your comment that you are waiting for the NVC to contact your wife. Don't. If you wait for them she will be waiting for ever. Call NVC and find out if they have received your case. The NVC stage can be done very quickly but you have to be pro-active. You can wait for all the instructions to come but that will be a very slow route to her visa.


 

 

 

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Thank you everyone for responses.

She visited for 2 weeks, and left 2 weeks ago. Ideally we would like to see each other again in like late October/Early November. Most of our relationship has been every 6 weeks.

I do hope, for other people's sake, that the man's behavior was unusual. I do find it funny that her employment didn't even come up. I agree that should be a red flag, but they never even asked. The first guy (before being taken into the back room) didn't ask us ANY questions. I started to take out her return ticket and he just shook his head, sighed and said "Oh don't worry they'll deal with you". Maybe Dublin just has a lot of nasty people I don't know. That's ironic since the Irish are generally lovely.

Thank you for the information about NVC being faster. Our I-797 Notice Date was August 3rd, so I emailed them yesterday asking for status. I'll try calling today from work. When you look at the website it says things like "Allow 3 weeks to process the DS-261", which seems crazy since she will be identifying herself as her contact. How hard is that to process? But given what they say we were expecting 6 months. She has all of her supporting documents ready to go, my financial affidavit is in the mail to her so she'll have that soon. She has her vaccine records and police certificate is ready. We have always been as proactive as possible (we had everything ready to submit the day after our wedding), it's just the processing that we feel is out of our hands. I'll try to push them a little. Before Christmas would be wonderful but we just aren't expecting it.

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Thank you everyone for responses.

She visited for 2 weeks, and left 2 weeks ago. Ideally we would like to see each other again in like late October/Early November. Most of our relationship has been every 6 weeks.

I do hope, for other people's sake, that the man's behavior was unusual. I do find it funny that her employment didn't even come up. I agree that should be a red flag, but they never even asked. The first guy (before being taken into the back room) didn't ask us ANY questions. I started to take out her return ticket and he just shook his head, sighed and said "Oh don't worry they'll deal with you". Maybe Dublin just has a lot of nasty people I don't know. That's ironic since the Irish are generally lovely.

Thank you for the information about NVC being faster. Our I-797 Notice Date was August 3rd, so I emailed them yesterday asking for status. I'll try calling today from work. When you look at the website it says things like "Allow 3 weeks to process the DS-261", which seems crazy since she will be identifying herself as her contact. How hard is that to process? But given what they say we were expecting 6 months. She has all of her supporting documents ready to go, my financial affidavit is in the mail to her so she'll have that soon. She has her vaccine records and police certificate is ready. We have always been as proactive as possible (we had everything ready to submit the day after our wedding), it's just the processing that we feel is out of our hands. I'll try to push them a little. Before Christmas would be wonderful but we just aren't expecting it.

Sorry I'm not used to the lingo on the forums, so just in case it is confusing our "NOA2" was August 3rd, not the notice of receipt. That was back in May.

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Also meant to reply to your comment that you are waiting for the NVC to contact your wife. Don't. If you wait for them she will be waiting for ever. Call NVC and find out if they have received your case. The NVC stage can be done very quickly but you have to be pro-active. You can wait for all the instructions to come but that will be a very slow route to her visa.

Just noticed you are also from the UK. So based on your signature you are now waiting for your interview date? Any idea how long between "case complete" at NVC and an interview date in London? Has you/your spouse (whoever is in the UK) gone to the Medical yet in London? She is unsure if she should just do it now (we can get the information online without waiting for the NVC to send us info) or wait. She's used to huge wait times in the UK for doctor's appointments so doesn't want that to hold up her interview date.

Just called NVC. They received it August 30th, and says it takes up to 2 weeks. I'll check again next week. Thanks for the advice about calling :) 20 minutes of hold time, but well worth the wait.

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Sweden
Timeline

I visited four times during our visa process and never had any issues. There was one new CBP officer who sent me to secondary, spoke to a supervisor there and I was on my way two minutes later. I had a long track record of visiting the US for shorter times though and leaving on time, as I flew over to see my husband four times a year for five years. I was never once asked to show proof of ties to my home country although they did ask about where I lived, work etc.

I don't know about the pre-screening places outside the US but I would think that if she goes through the big international airports with lots of international travelers, such as New York or Washington, they would be more experienced in dealing foreign spouses coming to visit.

A denied entry will not impact your visa process, as long as she returns home voluntary.


Met online October 2010


Engaged December 31st 2011


heart.gifMarried May 14th 2013 heart.gif



USCIS Stage


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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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Nigeria
Timeline

Really sorry what you are going through. Those officers were having a real bad day, week, year. Don;t mind them.

They will be sending you the welcome letter since you are the petitioner. But here please read the NVC Process wiki. Start calling after 2 weeks from your approval.

http://www.visajourney.com/wiki/index.php/NVC_Process


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6/12/2018: NOA1 Date
3/5/2019: Biometrics Appt
12/28/2019: 18 month Extension has expired
1/9/2020: InfoPass Appt to get stamp in Passport
2/27/2020: Combo Interview (ROC and Citizenship)
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6/19/2020: Notice Oath Ceremony scheduled
7/8/2020: Oath Ceremony (Houston)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Just noticed you are also from the UK. So based on your signature you are now waiting for your interview date? Any idea how long between "case complete" at NVC and an interview date in London? Has you/your spouse (whoever is in the UK) gone to the Medical yet in London? She is unsure if she should just do it now (we can get the information online without waiting for the NVC to send us info) or wait. She's used to huge wait times in the UK for doctor's appointments so doesn't want that to hold up her interview date.

Just called NVC. They received it August 30th, and says it takes up to 2 weeks. I'll check again next week. Thanks for the advice about calling :) 20 minutes of hold time, but well worth the wait.

I'm in the UK and my husband is in Seattle. I'm waiting fir NVC to finish reviewing all my documents. It's supposed to take 30 days so it "should" be in the next three weeks. Once they do finish the review, the wait for interview appointments in London is about 6 weeks.

The medical can only be done by Knightsbridge Doctors. It's a private outfit in Knightsbridge (if you're not familiar with London, it's the most expensive part). She can't have it done on the NHS although the NHS have done my vaccinations. From what I'm seeing with Knightsbridge Doctors the availability is good (people have called on Monday and got an appointment for Thursday).

If they received your case on August 30, count 14 days exactly from then and call for your case number. That will get the ball rolling.

After submitting the DS-261, call and review it over the phone with someone. That will unlock the next invoice the following day. No need to wait for both fees to be paid to send the documents.

Looks like you're about a month behind me. I'm hoping for a November interview.


 

 

 

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In regards to the US Officers in Dublin airport - I was in Ireland this Christmas just gone visiting my family, I'd already gone through the whole K1 stage and I was on my conditional Green Card, it was myself and my US Citizen wife, this was the first time I'd ever travelled to the US through Dublin so it was my first time experiencing the US pre clearance, he asked me what I did for a living in the US, I told him I work as a Data Analyst, he then looked at my form and said "Midlothian Texas, where the hell is that?" and he literally sounded like I'd made up a fake city name, I'm wondering if THIS was the same person we're all talking about here? Nevertheless I got through fine..


-K-1 Timeline-                                                                                         -ROC Timeline-
Visited girlfriend first time - 07/20/13                                                    Sent - 12/16/16
I-129f Filed - 08/04/13                                                                              NOA 1 - 12/19/16
NOA1 - 08/20/13                                                                                       Biometrics - 01/27/17
Visited girlfriend second time - 09/10/13 - 09/30/13                       Card Production - 6/14/18
RFE - 08/28/13 (parental consent from courthouse)                        Card in hand - 6/21/18
NOA2 - 11/05/13
Visited girlfriend third time - 11/14/13                                           -Citizenship filed Dec 13th 2018-
Case Shipped to NVC - 12/16/13                                                       Biometrics - Jan 3rd, 2018
NVC Case number - 12/26/13                                                            Interview - September 27th 2019 (Approved!)
Sent to London Embassy - 12/27/13                                                Oath - October 31st 2019 (Journey finally OVER!!)
DS - 160 Sent - 05/01/14
Readiness Form Sent - 06/01/14
Medical - 01/09/14
DS Forms & Medical Received By Embassy - 01/14/14
Interview - 02/13/14 APPROVED!!
CEAC Issued - 02/19/14
Visa in hand - 02/24/14
POE: Newark - 02/25/14
Married - 03/22-14

-AOS Timeline-
Filed - 04/16/14
NOA1 Email - 04/24/14

NOA1 Letters - 04/28/14

Biometrics Appointment - 05/19/14

RFE - 04/16/14

EAD Card Production - 07/03/14

EAD In Hand - 07/11/14

Potential Interview Waiver Letter - 07/29/14

Approved! - 03/16/15 (Took Almost 11 months total)

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