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IrinasMan

K1 with Russian beneficiary

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I'd like to thank everyone in this forum, and the VisaJourney site staff for running it. This site has been invaluable, and I have often come here to search for answers. The comparative timelines that are posted helped us both to overcome our uncertainty many times.

 

My original question here was about filing a CR1. In August of last year, we decided that we were compatible, and that we wanted to get married. However, after all of the political setbacks we have undergone with Russia over the past couple of years, we found that the CR1 visa would take much, MUCH longer than the K1. So, we decided to go ahead and file for a K1. We did this in January, and her final interview at the embassy will be on October 9th. We have already purchased the plane tickets for her to come here on the 27th, and we will be getting married soon after that.

 

This has been a long process, and many times we were left wondering when things will happen and how long they should normally take. Waiting for the NOA2, the process of NVC getting our paperwork to the embassy in Moscow, and finally getting an interview date were all filled with times when we just didn't know the status of our case. The workers at USCIS and the embassy can't answer questions about the timeline because they just don't know. I think that last step was the worst for us because, unlike any reasonable person would expect, they don't set interview dates in the order in which cases arrive at the embassy. The beneficiaries have to keep watching the embassy website to see if any interview dates have been opened, and then they have to try to claim an open slot before they are all gone. And to make matters worse, they only allow the beneficiary to check the site 5 times per day, or they get locked out. It's like going to the park to feed the fish: you drop in a piece of food, and any fish that are watching get a piece of it, and any others have to wait for the next piece of food to drop. Irina actually missed one opening because she was asleep during the time when more interview dates became available. There are WhatsApp groups with many beneficiaries who check the website about every 10 minutes and let everyone else in the group know when new interview dates get posted. You should join one. There's strength in numbers.

 

So, this post isn't posing any new questions, but it's more of an encouragement to the ones who are still waiting or just starting. You will need a lot of patience, and there will be a lot of times when you're not sure if everything in your paperwork is ok, or if something is wrong, or if you included enough evidence. Be sure that you are honest and complete in your filings.  Send in your tax forms, your photos, your affidavit of support, your chat and video chat logs, your proof of eligibility to marry and your intent to do so. Be prepared to spend a lot of money because you will have filing fees, medical exam fees, visa fees, travel costs, and much more. Make sure you have all your ducks in a row, so to speak. Don't just double-check your forms; triple-check them. One example of this is that, being an American, I didn't know that different family members in Russia can have their surnames spelled differently, depend on the gender.

 

Anyway, I just wanted to send some words of encouragement to the ones who are going through this process right now. If you do everything that you need to do, there is an end to it.

 

Thanks

- Paul

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Yes. Thank you. You're right, and I wouldn't recommend it for the faint of heart. Lol. It was a calculated risk. But the prices go up daily, and she wanted to spend Halloween here. Postponing the purchase for even a few days can costs hundreds of dollars.

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I second the notion buying tickets in advance is a risk. I spent an extra 200 dollars waiting until Visa was in hand when buying tickets. Could have got the flight for 500 dollars, ended up spending 700 dollars, but spending 200 more was better than losing the whole 500. I can see buying tickets after the interview and you know you are approved, but even then it is a risk. My fiancee should have had her visa a week after approval at the interview, and for some reason it sat in AP for an extra 3 weeks before she received the actual visa. Hopefully no problems arise, and I wish you the best of luck.

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1 hour ago, IrinasMan said:

My original question here was about filing a CR1. In August of last year, we decided that we were compatible, and that we wanted to get married. However, after all of the political setbacks we have undergone with Russia over the past couple of years, we found that the CR1 visa would take much, MUCH longer than the K1. So, we decided to go ahead and file for a K1.

We're only a few months behind you (engaged in Feb, filed in May after I met her family in Russia), so I'm curious what was the biggest reason for that? Complications involved in legally marrying in Russia (that's why we ended up going with a K-1; marrying legally in Russia seemed like it takes a lot of time in-country or multiple visits over a relatively short period, and marrying in a third country would have taken some time to set up), or is Moscow even slower for CR-1 interviews than K-1 interviews?

 

At least right now, one-way flights from SVO to LAX (almost certainly how Anastasia will end up covering most of the distance from her hometown to San Diego) seem relatively inexpensive (under $500) from the end of October to June, so I'm hoping that's still true after Anastasia's interview.


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is Moscow even slower for CR-1 interviews than K-1 interviews?

Yes. I believe it is. From what we heard and read, the interview for K1 takes about 50 days, whereas the CR1 takes about 300 days. It was actually a little longer than 50 days. We got our NOA2 in July, and didn't get an interview date until October. I think it was about 75 days between the two. As you know, there's only one American embassy open now in all of Russia, and they just can't handle the volume. Also, they tend to move slower for CR1, and I read somewhere that there's a longer waiting period before you can apply for it. In speaking with my friends that have been through it, and her speaking to her friends that are going through the two different processes, the K1 seemed like the faster way.

 

Just as an aside, you have the option of moving your interview to a different country if you feel like you're waiting too long. Not every country will allow Russians to transfer their visa applications to them, but we have heard that Ukraine will allow  it. Of course, this means paying your visas application fee again, which was nearly $800 (Irina, plus her two children).

 

Quote

 I spent an extra 200 dollars waiting until Visa was in hand when buying tickets. Could have got the flight for 500 dollars, ended up spending 700 dollars, but spending 200 more was better than losing the whole 500. I can see buying tickets after the interview and you know you are approved, but even then it is a risk

This would have been safer, to be sure. but there were 3 tickets, and even a few days made about $500 difference in the price. So we decided to risk it.

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7 hours ago, IrinasMan said:

Yes. Thank you. You're right, and I wouldn't recommend it for the faint of heart. Lol. It was a calculated risk. But the prices go up daily, and she wanted to spend Halloween here. Postponing the purchase for even a few days can costs hundreds of dollars.

What if it goes into AP for weeks or months afterwards?  Is it the kind of ticket you can change without a fee?  If not, it might end up costing more than if you had waited to book with the visa in hand.

 

My fiancee is from a low/no fraud country, had his interview last week, and we haven't even booked his flight yet....

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13 hours ago, IrinasMan said:

Yes. I believe it is. From what we heard and read, the interview for K1 takes about 50 days, whereas the CR1 takes about 300 days. It was actually a little longer than 50 days. We got our NOA2 in July, and didn't get an interview date until October. I think it was about 75 days between the two. As you know, there's only one American embassy open now in all of Russia, and they just can't handle the volume. Also, they tend to move slower for CR1, and I read somewhere that there's a longer waiting period before you can apply for it. In speaking with my friends that have been through it, and her speaking to her friends that are going through the two different processes, the K1 seemed like the faster way.

 

Just as an aside, you have the option of moving your interview to a different country if you feel like you're waiting too long. Not every country will allow Russians to transfer their visa applications to them, but we have heard that Ukraine will allow  it. Of course, this means paying your visas application fee again, which was nearly $800 (Irina, plus her two children).

 

This would have been safer, to be sure. but there were 3 tickets, and even a few days made about $500 difference in the price. So we decided to risk it.

I disagree. All the cases are different, of course, but from the stories I know and our own case, CR1 takes a bit longer, not much longer. Your case is a lucky one, you should be happy. K1 is not always that fast and is more nervous, because of all of this chaos with interview dates. It was 70 days between the moment we scheduled an interview and actually had it for us and for some even more. But while we waited many wifes and husbands received a date which was even before ours. As for being married to a USC the easiest and fastest path will be to go through the USCIS Moscow Field Office, in case the USC is living and working in Russia. 

 

I do agree about moving the interview to another country. Stability is something this process lacks, so if you can have a bit of it, take your chance!

 

I have to say it again, but you may be lucky till the end and then you'll ignore my advice. Don't expect the process to suddenly speed up after the approval at the inteview. It may take a while to finally receive the passport and the packet.

 

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Posted (edited)

Thank you very much for the encouragement. 

 

I, too, filed for my Russian fiancee on March 20, 2018, so we are two months behind you. And unfortunately, I received an RFE today instead of of the NOA2 we expected, so I  have to wait for their letter to even see what they need from us. This is going to delay us another month and she probably won't make it here for Christmas like we had hoped.

 

At least this could give me another excuse to go to Moscow for New Years again, and enjoy the negative 40 degree weather, LOL. I may even be able to join her for the interview now, over New Years break.

 

I was also wondering, is it best for both people to be at the interview? I was under the assumption she would go, and I wouldn't need to. It would save me $1200-$2000 on flights. This is getting ridiculous.

 

Also, we intend to transfer our case to Kiev, because of the interview slot process in Moscow is awful. Kiev is happy to take our case once we have our NVC number. I think my hair is falling out today.

 

 

Edited by nekotakacho

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Posted (edited)
On 9/30/2018 at 1:56 PM, DaveAndAnastasia said:

We're only a few months behind you (engaged in Feb, filed in May after I met her family in Russia), so I'm curious what was the biggest reason for that? Complications involved in legally marrying in Russia (that's why we ended up going with a K-1; marrying legally in Russia seemed like it takes a lot of time in-country or multiple visits over a relatively short period, and marrying in a third country would have taken some time to set up), or is Moscow even slower for CR-1 interviews than K-1 interviews?

 

At least right now, one-way flights from SVO to LAX (almost certainly how Anastasia will end up covering most of the distance from her hometown to San Diego) seem relatively inexpensive (under $500) from the end of October to June, so I'm hoping that's still true after Anastasia's interview.

 

We filed in May as well. Got engaged in January, in Ananuri church in Georgia. We are close behind you, but got an RFE instead of NOA2 today, so we are slipping further behind. I have no idea what our RFE is for and am very curious. I did not submit a mound of evidence, as suggested by people on here, because I felt our evidence was solid.

 

We too decided to go the K1 route instead of other visas. This was her choice, but it seems to be insanely slow. We will most likely transfer our case to Kiev. I think yall are doing that too?

Edited by nekotakacho

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It makes me wonder if RFE's get handed out randomly, kind of like tax audits. I think evidence is only required when they have serious doubts about the relationship for some reason, and I really have no idea what the problem could be in your case. It also could be that they just rubber-stamp the ones that are coming up on an even 180 days. Is it possible that they issue an RFE if one of the forms isn't filled out correctly?

 

I feel bad for you. I know that every day that Irina and I are apart, I feel like a big part of my life is missing.

 

For evidence I submitted:

  • copies of airline tickets
  • photos covering the two months that she stayed with me here in Missouri and our road trip from New York (where I picked her up) back to Missouri via Florida and Texas. I icluded shots of her with my mother and kids. I just wrote the date the photo was taken,  and the names and relationships of the people in the photos, on the backs of each one with an ultra-fine Sharpie.
  • screenshots of our video chat logs for the past 9 months from WhatsApp and Skype (we lost our first 3 weeks of chats when Viber freaked out on my phone one day)
  • and receipts from gifts I had sent her during this time.

I think there were a few other things that I submitted as evidence, but I (maybe foolishly) didn't keep a copy of everything. I'm not sure if it could be considered evidence, but I submitted the letters of intent to marry with our application. I used advice from every source I could find, but this site was definitely the most helpful. There are many checklists floating around the internet, and we read every one of them to get ideas of what the USCIS officers would be looking for.

 

If the process had taken much longer, I think we would have transferred our case to Kiev. We had decided on a date for it, if she couldn't find an interview date by then, but fortunately she was looking at the site at just the right time. This was really only a few days before our agreed-upon transfer date arrived.

 

I wish you good luck.

 

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