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ItchyKneeSon

Do I need Passport style photos for Petitioning Sponsor at the Interview

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I'm getting ready to send my wife off to the embassy in Tokyo for her IR-1 visa interview and I'm recalling seeing something about bringing passport style photos of the petitioner (me).
Is this correct or has my brain begun to muddy itself?

Also, will I be able to accompany her into the embassy for her interview or will I have to wait outside?
The Tokyo embassy pre-interview pdf that I printed out says 'special needs visitors' who are elderly, disabled, or minors may bring someone to their interview.
I take this as I have to wait outside the front gate until she's finished.  I wouldn't expect to accompany her to the actual interview room, though.

It's all finally winding down.  We're hoping everything goes smoothly!


Kind Regards,

Itchy

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Passport photos at the interview and medical exam are only for the visa applicant, not the petitioner.


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On 1/25/2019 at 1:30 AM, ItchyKneeSon said:

Also, will I be able to accompany her into the embassy for her interview or will I have to wait outside?
The Tokyo embassy pre-interview pdf that I printed out says 'special needs visitors' who are elderly, disabled, or minors may bring someone to their interview.
I take this as I have to wait outside the front gate until she's finished.  I wouldn't expect to accompany her to the actual interview room, though.

The PDF says that, but I just walked in with my wife like I belonged there, showing my US passport on the way in, and nobody said anything. I didn't ask permission or look unsure if I should be there, so I got to wait in the waiting area with her (about 3.5 hours total). Just keep in mind that the official rule is that you can't go in, so don't make a fuss if they choose to enforce it. That doesn't help your wife.

 

Good thing I went too, since the lady accepting the documents gave my wife pushback on the AoS forms not being uploaded to CEAC (even though I had an emailed the embassy explaining that CEAC didn't even give me the option to do it, and I had a copy of their reply saying to just bring the docs), and also was demanding my W2 even though their own website says that in our situation, a tax transcript supersedes any W2. Sometimes they don't know their own rules, and I had to politely but firmly educate them.

 

Of note, we had the same misconception that you do. The Tokyo embassy doesn't really use "rooms" for the interview, it's a lot more like the teller windows at a bank counter. You can go up to the counter with her, but I recommend standing back behind her, as it is very important for her to be the one to be handling the interview. Only answer a question if she is unsure and asks you to help. Do *not* be jumping in to answer questions for her, as that will be a red flag to the immigration officer. If you have the type of personality that always interjects into conversations or answers questions that were asked of other people or likes to control a situation (not criticizing, just saying to be honest about it), then do your wife a favor and let her go up to the interview window alone.

Edited by Sile2001
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53 minutes ago, Sile2001 said:

The PDF says that, but I just walked in with my wife like I belonged there, showing my US passport on the way in, and nobody said anything. I didn't ask permission or look unsure if I should be there, so I got to wait in the waiting area with her (about 3.5 hours total). Just keep in mind that the official rule is that you can't go in, so don't make a fuss if they choose to enforce it. That doesn't help your wife.

 

Good thing I went too, since the lady accepting the documents gave my wife pushback on the AoS forms not being uploaded to CEAC (even though I had an emailed the embassy explaining that CEAC didn't even give me the option to do it, and I had a copy of their reply saying to just bring the docs), and also was demanding my W2 even though their own website says that in our situation, a tax transcript supersedes any W2. Sometimes they don't know their own rules, and I had to politely but firmly educate them.

 

Of note, we had the same misconception that you do. The Tokyo embassy doesn't really use "rooms" for the interview, it's a lot more like the teller windows at a bank counter. You can go up to the counter with her, but I recommend standing back behind her, as it is very important for her to be the one to be handling the interview. Only answer a question if she is unsure and asks you to help. Do *not* be jumping in to answer questions for her, as that will be a red flag to the immigration officer. If you have the type of personality that always interjects into conversations or answers questions that were asked of other people or likes to control a situation (not criticizing, just saying to be honest about it), then do your wife a favor and let her go up to the interview window alone.

Wow, thanks a lot for that!
I saw something about uploading the AOS forms needing to be uploaded, but it depended on the country/location/embassy.  And Japan didn't say anything about it.  Would it be possible to PM me and send their reply to you with that information somehow?

Regarding the transcripts/W-2s, from my understanding, you can send one or the other with the AOS.  And if you filed an extension (form 4868) for the most recent year, you have to bring the full completed tax return to the interview.  Which is what I'll be doing.  I suppose it'll be beneficial to have the i-130 and AOS instructions downloaded to my phone for easy searching in that case.

My wife's been reading a number of blogs about the whole process, but most of them are written by Japanese folks whose spouses are already Stateside.  So their situations are a bit different.  But they did say it 's basically in a room where everyone can hear what's going on, which seems a little odd...  At any rate, thanks again for your reply.  I hope to be able to accompany her to the window, but I'll certainly not interject.  They want to know that she knows her stuff and all about me.


Regards, 

Itchy

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24 minutes ago, ItchyKneeSon said:

I saw something about uploading the AOS forms needing to be uploaded, but it depended on the country/location/embassy.  And Japan didn't say anything about it.  Would it be possible to PM me and send their reply to you with that information somehow?

The AOS forms do need to be uploaded to CEAC (assuming your application was tagged for electronic processing, which it should have been), but my case was a bit strange because the AOS section of CEAC literally did not even work. I could upload my wife's IV stuff no problem, but nothing would happen when I would try to access the AOS section. It's possible that this was due to the expedite we got at the NVC stage messing with things. If you went through the normal NVC process, then you have probably already submitted all of the AOS stuff necessary. If something is missing, you'll likely get a nastygram from the Tokyo IV office complaining that you haven't provided some necessary documentation.

 

Quote

Regarding the transcripts/W-2s, from my understanding, you can send one or the other with the AOS.  And if you filed an extension (form 4868) for the most recent year, you have to bring the full completed tax return to the interview.  Which is what I'll be doing.  I suppose it'll be beneficial to have the i-130 and AOS instructions downloaded to my phone for easy searching in that case.

You need to submit a transcript, but if you filed your taxes jointly in the most recent tax year, then you also need to provide all W2s and other tax forms for the income that went into that joint file. If your wife had income that was included in the number reported to the IRS (and thus, on your transcript), documentation of that needs to be included as well.

 

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/the-immigrant-visa-process/collect-and-submit-forms-and-documents-to-the-nvc/step-4-collect-financial-documents.html

 

Quote

My wife's been reading a number of blogs about the whole process, but most of them are written by Japanese folks whose spouses are already Stateside.  So their situations are a bit different.  But they did say it 's basically in a room where everyone can hear what's going on, which seems a little odd...  At any rate, thanks again for your reply.  I hope to be able to accompany her to the window, but I'll certainly not interject.  They want to know that she knows her stuff and all about me.

Yep, it's one big room where theoretically everyone could hear everything, but the staff don't talk very loudly, so it's not like everyone will be eavesdropping. It's literally like the teller counter at a bank, just with glass walls in the way and a mic/speaker system. The interview experience itself is a bit luck-of-the-draw. There were three agents (Americans) doing the interviews, and I could tell that two of them were, if not energetic, at least normally communicative and seemed easy to work with. Of course my wife got the one girl who looked barely awake / possibly hung over, kept cracking off huge yawns mid-interview with no decorum whatsoever, such lazy pronunciation that even I had trouble understanding what she was saying, and then would get a bit snippy when my wife gave the "wrong" answer because neither of us could understand what the girl was saying. So hopefully your wife doesn't end up having to talk to that girl. Most couples were really happy and hugging each other and crying and such once they were told that the visa was approved. My wife and I had such an annoying experience there that we were both just thinking "let's get the eff" out of here and be done with this place".

 

22 minutes ago, ItchyKneeSon said:

When was your interview, by the way?
Apparently, they've been cracking down on these rowdy Japanese folks... :rolleyes:

Our I-130 was approved on August 23, NVC got it on September 10, and our expedite request through one of my state senators was approved on September 28. The embassy got the package on October 3 and initially scheduled the interview for October 22, but there was no way to get her police certificate and medical exam completed by that time, so we requested a reschedule and they set it for November 26. Her passport with visa arrived back to us on November 28, so they didn't waste any time.

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7 hours ago, Sile2001 said:

The AOS forms do need to be uploaded to CEAC (assuming your application was tagged for electronic processing, which it should have been), but my case was a bit strange because the AOS section of CEAC literally did not even work. I could upload my wife's IV stuff no problem, but nothing would happen when I would try to access the AOS section. It's possible that this was due to the expedite we got at the NVC stage messing with things. If you went through the normal NVC process, then you have probably already submitted all of the AOS stuff necessary. If something is missing, you'll likely get a nastygram from the Tokyo IV office complaining that you haven't provided some necessary documentation.

 

You need to submit a transcript, but if you filed your taxes jointly in the most recent tax year, then you also need to provide all W2s and other tax forms for the income that went into that joint file. If your wife had income that was included in the number reported to the IRS (and thus, on your transcript), documentation of that needs to be included as well.

 

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/the-immigrant-visa-process/collect-and-submit-forms-and-documents-to-the-nvc/step-4-collect-financial-documents.html

 

Yep, it's one big room where theoretically everyone could hear everything, but the staff don't talk very loudly, so it's not like everyone will be eavesdropping. It's literally like the teller counter at a bank, just with glass walls in the way and a mic/speaker system. The interview experience itself is a bit luck-of-the-draw. There were three agents (Americans) doing the interviews, and I could tell that two of them were, if not energetic, at least normally communicative and seemed easy to work with. Of course my wife got the one girl who looked barely awake / possibly hung over, kept cracking off huge yawns mid-interview with no decorum whatsoever, such lazy pronunciation that even I had trouble understanding what she was saying, and then would get a bit snippy when my wife gave the "wrong" answer because neither of us could understand what the girl was saying. So hopefully your wife doesn't end up having to talk to that girl. Most couples were really happy and hugging each other and crying and such once they were told that the visa was approved. My wife and I had such an annoying experience there that we were both just thinking "let's get the eff" out of here and be done with this place".

 

Our I-130 was approved on August 23, NVC got it on September 10, and our expedite request through one of my state senators was approved on September 28. The embassy got the package on October 3 and initially scheduled the interview for October 22, but there was no way to get her police certificate and medical exam completed by that time, so we requested a reschedule and they set it for November 26. Her passport with visa arrived back to us on November 28, so they didn't waste any time.


I just re-checked to make sure we weren't flagged for online processing here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/the-immigrant-visa-process/collect-and-submit-forms-and-documents-to-the-nvc/step-6-submit-documents-to-the-nvc.html

Did you file while both of you were living in Japan as in our case?

I looked into online filing (because it seems logical that online filing would be the cheapest and most efficient way of completing the process) during the initial scramble to pull all the documents together and found that because we both live in Japan, documents needed to be submitted physically.
Also, nowhere in the correspondence I received from the NVC did it say that the AOS would have to be submitted electronically.  There's an example of what that correspondence would look like at the link I provided above.  We didn't receive anything that said "You may begin online processing.".  The only things we did online with the CEAC website were choosing an agent and address, paying the fees for the AOS and IV application ($120 and $325, respectively), and filling out and submitting the IV application.  There were no options for online submission of the AOS.  So it appears that our cases differ slightly.

It sounds like you guys had quick processing overall relative to our case.  We're going on 15 months since initial filing of the i-130.  That's partially due to my lag in pulling together the paperwork and waiting on the tax transcripts.

Thanks again for your detailed replies.


Itchy

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14 hours ago, Sile2001 said:

 

 

You need to submit a transcript, but if you filed your taxes jointly in the most recent tax year, then you also need to provide all W2s and other tax forms for the income that went into that joint file. If your wife had income that was included in the number reported to the IRS (and thus, on your transcript), documentation of that needs to be included as well.

 

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/the-immigrant-visa-process/collect-and-submit-forms-and-documents-to-the-nvc/step-4-collect-financial-documents.html

 

 

Regardless of filing status, you need EITHER a tax return transcript OR a complete copy of the tax return, which would include the W2 forms and everything that would have gone in with the return, if filed by mail.  Whatever you read at that link that makes you think otherwise, you misinterpreted it.

 

 


Facts are cheap...knowing how to use them is precious...
Understanding the big picture is priceless. Anonymous

Google Who is Pushbrk?

A Warning to Green Card Holders About Voting

http://www.visajourney.com/forums/topic/606646-a-warning-to-green-card-holders-about-voting/

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I had done the same looking you did regarding online or Embassy filing of the I-130, but we were also in the same boat: both living in Japan, so it had to go to the Chicago lockbox.

 

There are definitely differences in how the cases are handled. Ours was vastly different because of the NVC expedite. Only the IV fee was paid in advance, and I don't think we had to pay an AOS fee since all of that was handled at the time of the interview. Unfortunately, it's very much a YMMV situation, and not even the Embassy even knows what's up all the time.

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6 minutes ago, pushbrk said:

Regardless of filing status, you need EITHER a tax return transcript OR a complete copy of the tax return, which would include the W2 forms and everything that would have gone in with the return, if filed by mail.  Whatever you read at that link that makes you think otherwise, you misinterpreted it.

 

 

Wow dude, take a deep breath. Instead of shooting off, maybe go read the link first so you'll be informed on what it contains. But for the sake of others, I'm including a screen capture of it. If you'd care to enlighten us on what I "misinterpreted", be my guest.

Capture.JPG

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Often, language on the government websites is misleading.  A tax return transcript, OR a complete tax return including W2's and all schedules is the policy.  Take it to the bank.  Have you actually seen a request for W2 forms in this situation?  No?  I didn't think so.  Neither have I, and I've been watching since 2005.


Facts are cheap...knowing how to use them is precious...
Understanding the big picture is priceless. Anonymous

Google Who is Pushbrk?

A Warning to Green Card Holders About Voting

http://www.visajourney.com/forums/topic/606646-a-warning-to-green-card-holders-about-voting/

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