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Matt&Savannah

What was the hardest time for you on your great VJ?

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Dear VJ friends,

 

I wanted to ask you all. And whilst I'm keen for all input, I am only really experienced in my K1-GC journey. 

 

What/When did you find the hardest?

 

Personally, the period between US entry - marriage - EAD/GC (now 7 months and still waiting) has been hardest for me. However, If you asked my loving wife, she would tell you the time apart (K1), was hardest for her. While this time was extremely difficult for me, for reasons I'm sure you all well understand. I was still in England, and working. I felt like I was building towards something, I had a purpose.

 

As I said, it's been 7 months now since entering the US for me and still no work permit.  I almost feel like this process has gone from an uphill walk to a climb. I have tried to fill my days with various activities but if I'm being honest, I tend to find 'filling' my time to be a bit of an insult. I am a healthy 30 year old. I have always worked and held down a job since the age of 16. As time goes on I can feel my frustrations becoming greater and greater.  I still don't feel like I have fully entered society, I'm 'sitting on the side lines' as it were. I'm sure a great many of you have felt this, to however degree. Perhaps I am just being dramatic?

 

Regardless, I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. At the very least it will kill 5 minutes 🤣.

 

X

 

 

Edited by Matt&Savannah

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No, you are not being dramatic at all. The scenario you are describing is the very reason you couldn't have paid me enough to do a K-1. And also the reason why a K-1 makes no sense at all for a working person from a VWP country. All it really is is an over-priced tourist visa that allows you to do touristy things (no work, no education, in some states even no driving) for several months and if you get married within a timeframe decided by the government in a country decided by the government you can pay even more money to sit around doing touristy things while you wait for them to grant you permission to do adult things like work. You could have got married on a visit, on anywhere else in the world - a place of yoir choosing and in a timeframe of your choosing - and then filed a CR-1 and been working from the day you arrived. I was a green card holder the minute I arrived and for me it was important to have status, to be a full and proper member of society from day one, not just a spectator. I really feel for those who feel out of place here like that for months on end. Immigrating is stressful enough without adding that to it. I was so pleased to have my job here as soon as I arrived. It really helped me settle and gave me structure and routine. I'm doing the same job as I did back in the U.K. so it was nice to have something familiar in my new life. 

 

One comment you made was very sad. "The time between POE and now was the worst". You're a newly-wed young man. These should be the happiest days of your lives. Let this be food for thought for those contemplating which visa route to follow. 


 

 

 

 

 

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In all of that, I didn't answer your question. There was no worst part for me. The worst part was before the journey started. We were together for 4 years before we started the process. That was the worst part plus my husband's denial fit a U.K. spouse visa. Once we started this process the end was in sight and each day was a day closer to being together forever. It was exciting. 


 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, JFH said:

No, you are not being dramatic at all. The scenario you are describing is the very reason you couldn't have paid me enough to do a K-1. And also the reason why a K-1 makes no sense at all for a working person from a VWP country. All it really is is an over-priced tourist visa that allows you to do touristy things (no work, no education, in some states even no driving) for several months and if you get married within a timeframe decided by the government in a country decided by the government you can pay even more money to sit around doing touristy things while you wait for them to grant you permission to do adult things like work. You could have got married on a visit, on anywhere else in the world - a place of yoir choosing and in a timeframe of your choosing - and then filed a CR-1 and been working from the day you arrived. I was a green card holder the minute I arrived and for me it was important to have status, to be a full and proper member of society from day one, not just a spectator. I really feel for those who feel out of place here like that for months on end. Immigrating is stressful enough without adding that to it. I was so pleased to have my job here as soon as I arrived. It really helped me settle and gave me structure and routine. I'm doing the same job as I did back in the U.K. so it was nice to have something familiar in my new life. 

 

One comment you made was very sad. "The time between POE and now was the worst". You're a newly-wed young man. These should be the happiest days of your lives. Let this be food for thought for those contemplating which visa route to follow. 

Appreciate the response. Sounds like you took a much better approach than myself. Honestly in hindsight, we would have done the CR1. At the time after research , it seemed like the K1 would be the shortest time apart. That was what was important to us then. We didn't want to go so long without seeing each other. Seems these days the CR1 time line is similar to the K1 in any case so its the better option. I have done everything I can to be ready for when my EAD/GC is granted. I passed my driving test after months of trying to get them to give me one without EAD. I then got a bank account using my license. I'm ready to go apart from the damn work permit.. Oh and basically trapped in this country without a advanced parole. I just find all this waiting to be totally unnecessary.

 

Not sure I'm comfortable with your final comment however. I think you have perhaps misunderstood my post. I am not saying I am regretting my decisions. I am not saying I don't love my wife. We have been together a lot longer than this process. I do however think regardless of how happy you are in love, you need to have your own life as well. Especially when you are used to working and socializing and you know, having a life.

 

I do agree with you essentially though, CR1 is a much better options these days.

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I was a K1 but my timeline approach was different than yours. You got on a plane quite soon (6 days) after your visa was delivered and didn't file for AOS until more than two months after entry.  I spent two additional months in the UK after getting my visa; working, then selling off cars, electronics,  and preparing to move, while my fiancé prepared all the AOS paperwork in advance. I was married and had AOS in the mail on about Day 8 in the US. I hit the start button quicker to get the show rolling. I got my own car and drove on my UK license until I got EAD. And we got lucky in that the bank let me on my wife's account te first week with no SSN or other immigration documentation.. No hassles there. 

 

My hardest part was feeling like a fish out of water because of not knowing the ropes at first. Where do I go to get various items to repair things? How does insurance work? Where can I find some decent cheese and bread? Why doesn't anybody at the drive-thru understand what I'm ordering?

 

And I had already put in 30 years of working so sleeping in and not putting on a tie every morning was fine with me.  Bring on tourism! I adapted to my new life quickly  and came to love it (except for drive-thru squawk boxes.)  I would do K1 again because it suited our needs better. We immigrants come in all shapes, sizes, and ages and  have to find our way. I just passed the 10 year mark and the early frustrations are a blur. I can understand how you feel like an outsider and hope it turns around for you soon. The times it is taking people these days to progress through the immigration system are insane. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Wuozopo said:

I was a K1 but my timeline approach was different than yours. You got on a plane quite soon (6 days) after your visa was delivered and didn't file for AOS until more than two months after entry.  I spent two additional months in the UK after getting my visa; working, then selling off cars, electronics,  and preparing to move, while my fiancé prepared all the AOS paperwork in advance. I was married and had AOS in the mail on about Day 8 in the US. I hit the start button quicker to get the show rolling. I got my own car and drove on my UK license until I got EAD. And we got lucky in that the bank let me on my wife's account te first week with no SSN or other immigration documentation.. No hassles there. 

 

My hardest part was feeling like a fish out of water because of not knowing the ropes at first. Where do I go to get various items to repair things? How does insurance work? Where can I find some decent cheese and bread? Why doesn't anybody at the drive-thru understand what I'm ordering?

 

And I had already put in 30 years of working so sleeping in and not putting on a tie every morning was fine with me.  Bring on tourism! I adapted to my new life quickly  and came to love it (except for drive-thru squawk boxes.)  I would do K1 again because it suited our needs better. We immigrants come in all shapes, sizes, and ages and  have to find our way. I just passed the 10 year mark and the early frustrations are a blur. I can understand how you feel like an outsider and hope it turns around for you soon. The times it is taking people these days to progress through the immigration system are insane. 

 

 

Great to hear I'm not the only one having a hard time at the drive through! As I said to JFH, hindsight is a wonderful thing. I wanted to stay home for another month or so before the wedding but the time apart was getting incredibly tough on my wife. I worked 60 hour weeks to save enough because I knew I couldn't work for the first few months. Honestly didnt expect it to take 5 months after marriage to get EAD

 

I know exactly what you mean about the cheese, I'd murder some cathedral city or davidstow right about now 🤣!

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Hi there for me it was right after my interview at the embassy because they wanted me to come up with a different co-sponsor although I had one already. We couldn't come up with someone else so my (now ex) husband wrote an email to the embassy asking for an officer to review it. I never got to read the email and I don't know exactly what he told them but after that they sent my passport back with my CR1 visa

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The hardest for me was the lack of good country-specific information in order to know what to expect other than embassy reviews. Because of that, I try to spend my time now shining a light for others going through the K1 process through Nicaragua.

 

The easiest (and most surprising) part was the total time it took from the time K1 was filed to having the green card in hand (see my signature).

 

I think my husband would say that the hardest part for him was winning the hearts and respect of my parents but because we took the time to do that our family get-togethers are not at all awkward. I had insisted that there won't be any proposing until he had their blessing, but my folks and I are close. He may also comment that he misses the food now he's landlocked and trapped in the upper mid-west with only our traditional white, bland german and norwegian foods; although I can make a mean-tortilla like any Nicaraguan grandma!


A Tale of Two Dakotaraguans

K1 Journey - 78 Days

 

Sent I-129F - 11/16/15 [Day 1]
NOA1 - 11/18 (Hard copy: 11/24) [Day 2, Day 8]
NOA2 - 12/18 (Hard copy: 12/26) [Day 32, Day 40]
NVC received file: 1/05/2016 [Day 50]
Obtained NVC invoice number, paid visa fee, filled out DS-160: 1/06 [Day 51]
Fiancé's medical: 1/12 9:00am [Day 57]
Interview: 1/22 9:30am, Approved! [67 days] (F)
Visa status = "AP": 1/25, "Issued":01/27, "In Transit: 2/02"
Visa packet in hand: 2/03 [Day 78]
POE: (Houston) 2/04, North Dakota arrival: 2/05

Married (civil): 2/05/16 (L)

AOS - 55 Days

 

I-485, AP, EAD sent : 3/03/2016 [Day 1]

Delivered: 3/04 [Day 2]

Electronic NOA1: 3/08 [Day 5]

NOA1 Hardcopy: 3/12 [Day 9]

Biometric Notification snail-mail: 3/26 [Day 23]

Biometrics Appt: 4/06 in Fargo, ND [Day 33]

Notification(s): "Your new card is being produced" (Green Card) 4/23 [Day 48]

"Your case was approved" (lol backwards) 4/26 [Day 51]

"Your card was mailed on 4/27" 4/28 [Day 53]

Green Card in Hand: 4/30 [Day 55]

D-day ("Dress day"/I do...again Day/wedding reception): 9/10/16

ROC

Spoiler

Window opens: 1/24/2018

Package sent: 1/26, Delivered: 1/29 at 11:17am to CSC - [Day 1]

Check cashed: 1/31 [Day 3]

NOA1: 1/29 [Day 1]

NOA snail-mail: 2/02 [Day 4]

Biometrics snail-mail: Sent 5/5, received 5/12 [Day 107]

Biometrics appt: Not required

Email: 5/25 "We are still reviewing your case and there are no updates. We last took action on 3/16" [Day 120]

Email 6/8, 6/22, 7/6, 7/20, 8/3 "Still reviewing your case blah blah" [Day 134, 148, 162, 176]

18 Month extension letter received, dated 8/18: 8/24/18

Citizenship

Spoiler

Window opens: 01/24/2019

 

 

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The hardest part for us, in my opinion anyway, was not realizing the options, other than K1, before starting. Since we knew it wouldn't help with immigration at the time, we didn't get married when same-sex marriages became possible at the state level. We figured that would just be something else for her to argue about with the customs officer she had a regular beef with when traveling from Bermuda (the man constantly accused her of working in the U.S. and she gets riled up easily when traveling...well, most times really). Had we done that, my wife would have gotten a 10-yr GC when she arrived, and we'd possibly be on the final path to her citizenship. 

 

We spent money we didn't need to on a lawyer; but no regrets there, as I hadn't yet found VJ and had no understanding of the process. Her K1 came faster than anticipated, so that wasn't an issue. Her EAD/AP took a little longer than it should have, but that was more inconvenience than anything. Really, until this point (the timeline of which sucks), we've had no valid complaints. <furiously knocking on wood>

Edited by tamcloud

K-1 Journey

 

08/09/2015: I-129F mailed
08/14/2015: NOA1 received by email; hardcopy received approximately 08/17/2015
09/14/2015: NOA2 received
09/30/2015: NVC received case
10/02/2015: CEAC status changed to "In Transit"
10/08/2015: CEAC status changed to "Ready"
10/09/2015: Consulate acknowledged receipt via phone; Hardcopy from US DoS with case number.
10/19/2015: Received information from Consulate.
10/28/2015: Medical Exam
11/17/2015: Interview...rescheduled due to computer problems. New date as yet unknown.
11/18/2015: Called in for interview and APPROVED!

11/24/2015: Picked up visa/passport and sealed packet from the Consulate! <happy dance>

02/14/2016: Arrived in the U.S. (POE was Bermuda)...CO was really nice!

02/18/2016: Married! :)

2

AOS Journey

 

03/02/2016: AOS/EAD/AP Package mailed
03/14/2016: I-485/765/131 NOAs received by mail. USCIS Received Date 03/04/2016; USCIS Notice Date 03/10/2016
03/25/2016: Received biometrics appointment letter for I-485 & I-765
04/04/2016: Biometrics appointment
04/26/2016: Received notification that the I-131 was approved and the name was updated on the I-765
05/23/2016: Received notice that card was being produced for I-765.
05/28/2016: Received EAD/AP card.
06/01/2016: Received electronic notice that AOS interview has been scheduled.
06/30/2016: I-485 interview at USCIS Baltimore Field Office.
09/01/2016: InfoPass appointment made for 09/07/2016.
09/06/2016: Received electronic notification that I-485 was approved on 09/02/2016.
09/09/2016: Received approval letter.
09/14/2016: Green Card delivered! :)

 

ROC...

 

06/13/2018: I-751 package mailed to Vermont Service Center
06/25/2018: NOA/extension letter received, dated 06/19/2018

07/14/2018: Received ASC notice for Biometrics Appointment

 
 
 

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Hardest part for us was the last 24 hours before he landed in the US:

 

1) His paperwork from the embassy had a front sheet that had his name spelled wrong but his visa itself was fine.  He couldn't get anyone at the Embassy to answer the phone or an email.  He got on the plane anyway and hoped for the best.   At least that's how he explained it to me.

 

2) My husband was so busy saying goodbye to his family at the airport that everyone lost track of time and he almost missed his flight (had to run for it).

 

3) Upon landing in Heathrow, gate attendants forced him to check his carry on, which carried his diabetes medication and his packet for immigration.  They gave him no time to take anything out.....they just took it from him without notice.  He was texting me in a panic from London and there wasn't a damn thing I could do.  

 

If he had missed the flight or unable to get through CBP, our refinance on our house would fall through as he needed to sign papers in person 10 hours after the flight was scheduled to land (last day of rate lock).  

 

It was incredibly stressful for the last day. 

Edited by mtempelaar

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