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ajcooper

our visa journey

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A short background

First and foremost, I have never been to the USA, nor had I any interest in the USA until Amy.

I first “met” Amy in a chatroom around 11 years ago, and shortly after she was on my buddy list, I had just been convicted of a dui. I also changed my name after massive falling out with my parents. Amy said that was way over the top but I am stubborn and fiercely independent. We built a friendship online, flirted the usual stuff, but never thought too much of it after a few years we parted ways, I got my licence back and sought to rebuild my life over the next 6 years or so >>fast forward to around October 2013. I had 4 months earlier split up with my gf at the time… I decided to sign back in on my old buddy list to see if it still worked and yes it did… Amy wasn’t signed in and I didn’t message her, ( I thought she wouldn’t remember me and all that) I left it signed in and next morning I checked it, Amy had sent me a message asking how I was doing, well I was stunned to find out that she hadn’t been on for several years either and within a few days we were right back like we never had a break, only older and wiser, sharing our life stories and troubles once again, one particular time I was bored at home and we were flirting I jokingly asked her on date, she said yes but bring flowers, well I did, I had a big bunch of flowers delivered to her place of work, Nov 19th, just because well why not, a few weeks later we realised we wanted to “meet” in person and see if it developed or we would remain very good close friends, I found out I was ineligible for a vwp because of my dui, so I applied for the official tourist visa, which subsequently got denied Jan 2014, so when I told Amy this she said “ok ill come to you”, she did for 2 weeks around may time 2014 and we had an amazing time, we decided we wanted more we loved one another very much, and then had to decide who was going to leave, Amy decided she would come here, after some consideration and looking into it, with my job I would be working more or less constantly and it would be unfair on Amy to leave everything behind to “not see me” so I said “ill go to you then”.

I-130 STAGE

We looked at different visa types K1 or CR1, pros cons of each and costs of each plus how we were going to maintain our relationship during the whole process, we decided K1 was unsuitable because of my previous non immigrant denial, plus I also have a job, and would not want to not be able to work. So CR1 visa it is although it is a little longer the overall process is far cheaper and easier in terms of adjustment of statuses in the USA, i.e. permanent resident upon arrival and able to work as well, through research and discussions with a friend who had just got his tourist visa with a couple of drinking convictions, one a dui, I decided I was no longer going to drink until after the visa process was done with.

we got all our documents and planned our wedding in a foreign country, Denmark, for the same day I sent her the first bunch of flowers, this was to avoid applying for a visa to get married in my country, e.g. to get married here, which would cost thousands and take many months of processing and there is no guarantee that it would be approved just to get married, so we saved and we had a week in Denmark and a nice small wedding with my sister and her husband as witnesses, we then flew back to our respective countries, in the next weeks we discussed preparing for the CR1 visa, Amy suggested coming back for my birthday as well and that is more evidence for the petition, I agreed so she had two more weeks here for my birthday in march 2015, after she went home we then got all our evidence together to prove our bonafide relationship.

Evidence of how we met, valid relationship, marriage and ongoing relationship / marriage

  • Photos of us with friends and family, facebook screen-shots

  • Phone bills, email records, text message records

  • Pictures of gifts and cards complete with envelopes and postal markings

  • Paypal receipts for flowers,

  • Hotel receipts in country of our wedding

  • Boarding cards from her travel to and from my country and our wedding country

  • Affidavits from friends’ and family and ourselves, including passport copies and drivers licences

Finally it was done the I-130 stage was submitted, Amy worked hard for a good few months on it and put it all together.

NVC STAGE

>> late 2015 it was nearing our wedding anniversary, and it was also around the time the petition would be approved, rfe or denied, again this was uncertain and we hadn’t seen each other in 8 months, we argued about whether to save money for the upcoming petition decision or to celebrate our wedding anniversary, so we celebrated on another trip abroad, mini cruise , this time Amy was here for nearly 3 weeks, of course I had time off work as well and this trip made us, well broke lol, anyhow just before she went back we had our petition approved, another happy moment that was approaching xmas time 2015, we were both broke and had to start saving again.

We decided the next time we see each other would be the embassy interview date, we then received notice from the NVC that they had received the petition and more instructions to fill in online forms and get civil documents together, by February 2016 I had submitted the ds260, Amy had to get all her financial evidence together for the I-864 form, during this time I had my police check done and emailed her a copy of it to submit with the packet I also emailed my original name change document. Around June time the packet was submitted which took Amy a good few months to do as well.

INTERVIEW STAGE

>>August 2016 we got notification of our interview date the day we longed for, sept 12th 2016 at 12:30 I went on to the embassy website to book my wife in with me on my appointment, you have to do a search for this and use the contact form there is a specific contact form request for this, if your other half wants to attend with you make sure they are booked in or he/she will not be admitted in. The embassy will not reply to confirm he/she is booked even though the website says they will contact you shortly. The next stage was to book my medical, I got an appointment on Aug 24th about 2 weeks prior to the interview.

medical stage

medical documents required

1 Passport or UK Driving Licence (photo card not paper licence)

  1. 4 X Identical Passport sized photo UK or US size (we will accept UK or US sized photographs)

  1. ACRO Police certificate (or a copy) dated within 12 months for anyone 16 years of age & over

  1. Vaccination records- Please provide a vaccination record for the panel to look over on the day to advise if any further vaccines are needed.

  1. Completed medical questionnaire (from the US Embassy link above) must fill out FULL UK address. Please also bring along FULL US intended address

  1. A Letter/Email from the embassy/NVC to confirm your case number and visa category

  1. GP Reports covering any medical conditions, disabilities, and prior serious illnesses you have been treated for or anything ongoing.
    If you are generally fit and well and do not have any of the above then you would not require a full medical history from your GP.

The medical assessment was pretty standard, I was first called for the chest xray, and then to the nurse to check my vaccination record, I had an mmr a few years ago all was well with that and no further vaccinations needed. I was then asked to go back to the waiting room, after around an hour and a half I was called to the doctors office, he was already looking at my police check, he then asked me questions about the drink driving conviction how it happened, why I did it, etc. The doctor then asked how much alcohol I drank back when I got convicted and I had to fill out two identical forms one for 2005 and one for 2016 for alcohol consumption, I only drank really at the weekends then, now this is where the no drinking for nearly 3 years comes in, I couldn’t answer the questions to 2016 as I no longer drink he said “ok well just answer no to the questions” and wrote something on the medical form, now I know they do an alcohol test based on enzymes in the liver these enzymes take a significant amount of time to come back down to normal levels from stopping drinking, anyone who drinks normally will have raised levels but coupled with an alcohol conviction such as I had can render you inadmissible as an alcoholic on medical grounds. (my conclusion, if I was still drinking and had put down the same alcohol consumption on both sheets, the consular officer at the embassy would have denied the visa on medical grounds), after he was satisfied he then did the standard medical checks, eyes ears nose throat, he also asked questions about scars, on my body, looking for deliberate harm and suicidal evidence, he then drew blood from both my arms. After I got dressed he asked me about my doctors letter and pointed out that it doesn’t state my current mental health, and all that was needed was a note from my doctor confirming my current state, which I later got and emailed it to the doctors. After it was verified they confirmed they would forward my results to the embassy.

Interview day

We had our hotel booked and stayed for 2 nights in London, On the day of the interview

Documents I was required to submit

  • Original police certificate

  • Birth certificate

  • Name Change Document (was not asked for in the NVC letter but I took it anyway and it was required)

  • Marriage Certificate

  • Passport

  • Photocopies of all Documents ( in my case they did not ask for copies)

  • DS260 Confirmation Letter

  • NVC interview confirmation letter

  • Take anything else which may be of relevance to your particular case

  • Amy brought all her financial documents and current pay slips etc just in case

We arrived shortly after 12pm at the embassy, Amy was on the list and showed her passport and was admitted in with me, we were told to go and sit at the front right next to the big screen that calls the numbers, my number came up after about half an hour, we went to the first window where I handed over all my original documents, he also gave me a slip of paper about my passport I had not registered with the courier company and was told to do so or my passport and visa would not leave the building. Was also asked about how long we had been married for it wasn’t quite two years yet and asked when I planned on travelling to the USA, my response was by the time I had sold things and wrapped everything up it would be around Xmas new year time, he then gave me my chest x ray CD from my medical and a date I had to travel by FEB 24TH 2017, we were asked to sit down and wait again.

My number came up again and we went to the interview window, we were greeted by a lady who seemed friendly...but don’t let that fool you they are trained to trip you up and catch you out...and after my first experience with the tourist visa, I wasn’t taking any chances I had already asked Amy not to answer questions on my behalf, only if she was specifically asked herself.

Questions

C.O >> Amy “so who are you”

Amy >> C.O “I am his wife”

C.O “Ok great”

C.O >> John “so how did you guys meet”

John >> C.O “originally in a chatroom around 10-11 years ago”

C.O >> John “what kind of chatroom , what did you chat about”

John >> C.O “it wasn’t a specific subject chatroom, it was a general chatroom and we talked about anything and everything and built a friendship, some years later we reconnected, I Applied for a visa here to visit her which got refused, so Amy came here and we built a relationship and we got married”

C.O >> Amy “how many times have you been here”

Amy >> C.O “5 times”

C.O >> Amy “how can you take off that amount of time from work”

Amy >> C.O “work is flexible and all time off is unpaid”

C.O >> Amy “something about tax returns”

Amy >> C.O “ Amy answers quickly and immediately corrects the C.O”

C.O >> Amy “ how old is your son”

Amy >> C.O “Hes 22”

C.O >> Amy “its a good job you were here”

C.O >> John “have you ever been to the U.S before”

John >> C.O “No”

C.O >> John “what kind of work do you do”

John >> C.O “I drive a taxi at the moment, but I am also an electrician”

C.O >> john “ whats the market like in the US”

John >> C.O “I dont know, I haven’t been looking”

C.O “congratulations your approved”

Amy >> C.O smiling “were going for a beer now”

C.O Smiling “ I dont blame you”

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

Congratulations! :jest:


2008 : Met online & became friends

2013 : Started talking more

11/30/2013 : Became a couple

09/28/2014 : First meeting in the MN :idea:

10/14/2014 : I flew back to Malaysia :cry:

05/29/2015 : My second visit to MN :dancing:

07/02/2015 : I flew back to Malaysia again :crying:

12/28/2015 : He flew to Malaysia to visit me! :luv:

12/30/2015 : Village wedding ceremony! (L)

01/13/2016 : Marriage registration at Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur! (F)

01/17/2016 : He returned to the US :cry:

01/22/2016 : Began our CR1 journey!

01/26/2016 : Mailed i-130 Petition

01/28/2016 : NOA 1

05/27/2016 : i-130 Approved !!

06/20/2016 : NVC Received !!

06/20/2016 : Case Number Assigned

06/21//2016 : Received DS-261 / AOS Bill

06/21//2016 : Select Agent & Pay AOS Bill

07/01/2016 : Pay IV Bill

07/09/2016 : Submit DS-261

07/23/2016 : Send AOS & IV package

07/25/2016 : AOS & IV Package received

08/16/2016 : Case Complete!!

08/17/2016 : Interview Scheduled

08/18/2016 : Case left NVC

08/19/2016 : Consulate Received

08/24/2016 : Husband arrived for his 2nd visit !! (L)(L)(L)

08/30/2016 : Medical Exam :clock:

09/02/2016 : Long overdue honeymoon in Osaka, Japan :luv::luv:

09/06/2016 : Flew back to Kuala Lumpur

09/07/2016 : Picked up medical results

09/08/2016 : Interview - APPROVED !!! :goofy:

09/09/2016 : VISA IN HAND! Weeeeeeeeee!~ :wow:

10/13/2016 : POE @ Minneapolis St.Paul International (L)

11/29/2016 : GREEN CARD arrived in the mail! :dance:


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Filed: Lift. Cond. (apr) Country: China
Timeline

Moved from Process & Procedures to Progress Reports.


Our journey:

Spoiler

September 2007: Met online via social networking site (MySpace); began exchanging messages.
March 26, 2009: We become a couple!
September 10, 2009: Arrived for first meeting in-person!
June 17, 2010: Arrived for second in-person meeting and start of travel together to other areas of China!
June 21, 2010: Engaged!!!
September 1, 2010: Switched course from K1 to CR-1
December 8, 2010: Wedding date set; it will be on February 18, 2011!
February 9, 2011: Depart for China
February 11, 2011: Registered for marriage in Wuhan, officially married!!!
February 18, 2011: Wedding ceremony in Shiyan!!!
April 22, 2011: Mailed I-130 to Chicago
April 28, 2011: Received NOA1 via text/email, file routed to CSC (priority date April 25th)
April 29, 2011: Updated
May 3, 2011: Received NOA1 hardcopy in mail
July 26, 2011: Received NOA2 via text/email!!!
July 30, 2011: Received NOA2 hardcopy in mail
August 8, 2011: NVC received file
September 1, 2011: NVC case number assigned
September 2, 2011: AOS invoice received, OPTIN email for EP sent
September 7, 2011: Paid AOS bill (payment portal showed PAID on September 9, 2011)
September 8, 2011: OPTIN email accepted, GZO number assigned
September 10, 2011: Emailed AOS package
September 12, 2011: IV bill invoiced
September 13, 2011: Paid IV bill (payment portal showed PAID on September 14, 2011)
September 14, 2011: Emailed IV package
October 3, 2011: Emailed checklist response (checklist generated due to typo on Form DS-230)
October 6, 2011: Case complete at NVC
November 10, 2011: Interview - APPROVED!!!
December 7, 2011: POE - Sea-Tac Airport

September 17, 2013: Mailed I-751 to CSC

September 23, 2013: Received NOA1 in mail (receipt date September 19th)

October 16, 2013: Biometrics Appointment

January 28, 2014: Production of new Green Card ordered

February 3, 2014: New Green Card received; done with USCIS until fall of 2023*

 

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Filed: Citizen (pnd) Country: Russia
Timeline

Hey, thanks for this informative post! Helps me wrap my head around the whole CR-1 process a little better. Congrats, by the way! :goofy:


03639.png     

 🇷🇺  CR-1 via DCF in Moscow* (Dec 2016-Jun 2017) 🇺🇸 Info about my DCF experience here and here

Spoiler

26-Jul-2016: Married abroad in Russia (USC + Russian husband) 👩‍❤️‍👨
21-Dec-2016: I-130 filed at Moscow USCIS field office*
29-Dec-2016: I-130 approved! Yay! 🎊 

17-Jan-2017: Case number received

21-Mar-2017: Medical Exam completed

24-Mar-2017: Interview at Embassy - approved! 🎉

29-Mar-2017: CR-1 Visa received (via mail)

02-Apr-2017: USCIS Immigrant (GC) Fee paid

28-Jun-2017: Port of Entry @ PDX 🛩️

21-Jul-2017: No SSN after three weeks; applied in person at the SSA

22-Jul-2017: GC arrived in the mail 📬

31-Jul-2017: SSN arrived via mail, hurrah!

 

*NOTE: The USCIS Field Office in Moscow is now CLOSED.

 

I-90 GC Replacment (for Erroneous GC)

22-Jul-2017: GC arrives in the mail – error in middle name 😕

01-Aug-2017: Sent in I-90 online via website

05-Aug-2017: Biometrics scheduled

23-Aug-2017: Biometrics done @ USCIS office; told to keep GC!

16-Jul-2018: RFE for original card!! 🤬

31-Jul-2018: USCIS Appointment at local field office..

22-Aug-2018: Mailed GC back to USCIS in response to RFE

29-Aug-2018: GC received by USCIS

17-Sep-2018: Received CORRECTED GC in the mail! Finally!! 😂

 

📑 I-751 Removal of Conditions (Apr 2019-Oct 2019) 📝 Filed via mail, processed by MSC & passed interview

Spoiler

28-Jun-2019: Conditional GC expires

30-Mar-2019: Eligible to apply for ROC

01-Apr-2019: ROC in the mail to Phoenix AZ lockbox! 📫

03-Apr-2019: ROC packet delivered to lockbox

09-Apr-2019: USCIS cashed check

09-Apr-2019: Case number received via text - MSC 📲

12-Apr-2019: Extension letter arrives via mail

19-Apr-2019: Biometrics letter arrives via mail

30-Apr-2019: Biometrics appointment at local office

26-Jun-2019: Case ready to be scheduled for interview 

04-Sep-2019: Interview was scheduled - letter to arrive in mail

09-Sep-2019: Interview letter arrived in the mail! ✉️

17-Oct-2019: Interview scheduled @ local USCIS  

18-Oct-2019: Interview cancelled & notice ordered*

18-Oct-2019: Case was approved! 🎉

22-Oct-2019: Card was mailed to me 📨

23-Oct-2019: Card was picked by USPS 

25-Oct-2019: 10 year GC Card received in mail 📬

 

*I don't understand this status because we DID have an interview!

 

🇺🇸 N-400 Application for Naturalization (Mar 2020-????) 🛂 Online filers note: Use INTERNET EXPLORER! Other browsers may not work!

Spoiler

30-Mar-2020: N-400 early filing window opens!

01-Apr-2020: Filed N-400 online 💻 

02-Apr-2020: NOA 1 - Receipt No. received online 📃

07-Apr-2020: NOA 1 - Receipt No. received via mail

05-May-2020: Application transferred to another USCIS field office for review*

??-???-????: TBA... 

 

*NOTE: Moved to another state in May.

 

 

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Filed: Citizen (pnd) Country: Ukraine
Timeline

Thanks for sharing. Congrats.


N-400

12/30/2019  Filed N-400 online

12/30/2019  NOA1

01/09/2020  Walk in biometric set up by IO at Ft. Myers to be done at ASC Ft. Myers.  Biometric completed.  Original Biometric was scheduled for  01/23/2020.  Estimated       Case Completion time 10 months (November 2020).

 

 

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I love happy endings!! What a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing, and Congratulations!! Welcome to the US, and may you both live happily ever after. (L)


K-1
03/09/12 - NoA1
10/04/12 - NoA2 (210 days)

AoS

01/25/13 - NoA1
08/15/13 - NoA2 (199 days)
 

RoC
05/21/15 - NoA1

11/02/15 - NoA2 (164 days)
 

N-400

08/18/16 - NoA1
03/14/17 - Interview

03/16/17 - Oath Ceremony (217 days)

US citizen

Total time start to finish: 5 years, 12 days (1,838 days)

 

Need a Realtor in NC?

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