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Filling I-751 - To use an attorney or not?

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Hi all! It's almost time for me to file my I-751. Contemplating to hire an attorney for some assistance in filing just to save some headaches. Have been researching a lot on VJ Forum on Youtube regarding the How-to to file I-751. I wanted to save some money if it's possible to DIY but just wondering if i'm risking it by doing so since I have been hearing that I-751 is getting longer to approved now and an interview is required, the whole process is a little more complex in general. I mainly worried about not having enough proof for our bona fide marriage. We don't own any properties, no kids (have a furry kid though, dog :D) , didn't have a wedding yet, so no wedding pictures, and my biggest worry is filling things the wrong way and get a RFE or denied. Just wanna know if there's any recent filers did DIY or went the attorney route, just want to know what are you guys' experiences like with different approach.

 

Thank you!!!  

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Did you do the prior steps on your own? If so, I would suspect ROC is well within your capabilities. Those are much more complicated than ROC. ROC just takes longer as it's not a priority and there are minimal impacts to those while it is pending (relative to prior steps).

 

How long it takes for approval has little impact on what you submit. Not every case is getting an interview right now...most are still getting a waiver. Many tend to get an RFE for more evidence either way.

The overwhelming majority of ROC cases are approved.


Timelines:

Spoiler

AOS (I-485 + I-131 + I-765):

9/25/17: sent forms to Chicago

9/27/17: received by USCIS

10/4/17: NOA1 electronic notification received

10/10/17: NOA1 hard copy received. Social Security card being issued in married name (3rd attempt!)

10/14/17: Biometrics appointment notice received

10/25/17: Biometrics

1/2/18: EAD + AP approved (no website update)

1/5/18: EAD + AP mailed

1/8/18: EAD + AP approval notice hardcopies received

1/10/18: EAD + AP received

9/5/18: Interview scheduled notice

10/17/18: Interview

10/24/18: Green card produced notice

10/25/18: Formal approval

10/31/18: Green card received

 

K-1:

Spoiler

I-129F

12/1/17: sent

12/14/17: NOA1 hard copy received

3/10/17: RFE (IMB verification)

3/22/17: RFE response received

3/24/17: Approved!

3/30/17: NOA2 hard copy received

 

NVC

4/6/2017: Received

4/12/2017: Sent to Riyadh embassy

4/16/2017: Case received at Riyadh embassy

4/21/2017: Request case transfer to Manila, approved 4/24/2017

 

K-1

5/1/2017: Case received by Manila (1 week embassy transfer??? Lucky~)

7/13/2017: Interview: APPROVED!!!

7/19/2017: Visa in hand

8/15/2017: POE

 

 

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@geowrian Thank you for your response!! No, we did not DIY for AOS filling, we used an attorney. I was going through all the requirements and needed documents for ROC , they all seems pretty straight forward but I guess I'm just worried that not putting the petition together the right way and also uncertain what and how much is sufficient to prove our bona fide marriage.

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Just now, CTRL said:

@geowrian Thank you for your response!! No, we did not DIY for AOS filling, we used an attorney. I was going through all the requirements and needed documents for ROC , they all seems pretty straight forward but I guess I'm just worried that not putting the petition together the right way and also uncertain what and how much is sufficient to prove our bona fide marriage.

Gotcha. I'd highly suggest reviewing the form, instructions, and experiences of other members (and hopefully some chime in). It's really not bad at all...some basic documents and then anything that helps show a bona fide marriage (trips together, joint accounts, anything that normal married couples do, etc.). It's mostly a test of patience than anything.


Timelines:

Spoiler

AOS (I-485 + I-131 + I-765):

9/25/17: sent forms to Chicago

9/27/17: received by USCIS

10/4/17: NOA1 electronic notification received

10/10/17: NOA1 hard copy received. Social Security card being issued in married name (3rd attempt!)

10/14/17: Biometrics appointment notice received

10/25/17: Biometrics

1/2/18: EAD + AP approved (no website update)

1/5/18: EAD + AP mailed

1/8/18: EAD + AP approval notice hardcopies received

1/10/18: EAD + AP received

9/5/18: Interview scheduled notice

10/17/18: Interview

10/24/18: Green card produced notice

10/25/18: Formal approval

10/31/18: Green card received

 

K-1:

Spoiler

I-129F

12/1/17: sent

12/14/17: NOA1 hard copy received

3/10/17: RFE (IMB verification)

3/22/17: RFE response received

3/24/17: Approved!

3/30/17: NOA2 hard copy received

 

NVC

4/6/2017: Received

4/12/2017: Sent to Riyadh embassy

4/16/2017: Case received at Riyadh embassy

4/21/2017: Request case transfer to Manila, approved 4/24/2017

 

K-1

5/1/2017: Case received by Manila (1 week embassy transfer??? Lucky~)

7/13/2017: Interview: APPROVED!!!

7/19/2017: Visa in hand

8/15/2017: POE

 

 

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1 minute ago, geowrian said:

Gotcha. I'd highly suggest reviewing the form, instructions, and experiences of other members (and hopefully some chime in). It's really not bad at all...some basic documents and then anything that helps show a bona fide marriage (trips together, joint accounts, anything that normal married couples do, etc.). It's mostly a test of patience than anything.

Thank you so much! I'm definitely going to do more research and look into more examples of DIY.

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CTRL, here are some questions you should ask yourself re: using an attorney...

 

1.  Are you an organized person?  Have you saved the kind of data over the past 2 years that will paint a robust picture of your relationship?  If so, file yourself.

 

2.  Do you and your spouse co-mingle your finances and have the paperwork to prove it?  If so, file yourself.

 

3.  Do you and your spouse have any red flags (are you missing proof of living together, have you not kept good records)?  You MIGHT benefit from an attorney - but only because they might direct you to find certain documents, and/or prepare you for interviews.

 

If you use an attorney, you are still going to have to do ALL the prep work, all the paper gathering, and answer all the questions on the form.  AND, you are going to have to pay them for it.  Read the WHOLE help document pinned to the top of the ROC forum.  There are several good checklists and helpful posts.

 

We on VJ tend to be do-it-yourselfers - but there are times when an attorney is a better idea. 

 

We used an attorney for our original I-130/CR-1 filing, and I found I knew more about what to send than the attorney did - all because I had read the correct answers on VJ.  So we saved a BUNCH of money on ROC and Citizenship!!!

 

Best of luck to you!

 

Sukie in NY


Spoiler

 

Spoiler

Our Prior Journey

N-400 Naturalization

18-Feb-2018 - submitted N-400 online, credit card charged

18-Feb-2018 - NOA1

12-Mar-2018 - Biometrics 

18-June-2018 - Notice of interview received

26-July-2018 - Interview  - APPROVED!!!

26-July-2018 - Oath Ceremony Scheduled

17-Aug-2018 - Oath Ceremony

 

 

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33 minutes ago, Sukie said:

If you use an attorney, you are still going to have to do ALL the prep work, all the paper gathering, and answer all the questions on the form.  AND, you are going to have to pay them for it. 

That's really the rub.  90% of the work for ROC is finding and organizing your own paperwork.  The attorney isn't going to help with that part.

 

The other thing I'd say is that I've had a few friends use attorneys, and the attorneys actually made mistakes that slowed them down that I knew to avoid from VJ.  For example, for one of my friends filing AOS, her lawyer didn't file for AP, and she couldn't leave the country until it was approved.


I-130

May 14, 2016: Sent I-130 Package to Chicago Lockbox

May 18, 2016: Chicago Lockbox received package.

May 20, 2016: NOA1 Notice Date with priority date of May 18. Sent to Nebraska Service Center

May 23, 2016: NOA1 E-mail

Oct 21, 2016: NOA2 Notice by App

Nov 2, 2016: USCIS sent to NVC

 

NVC

Nov 8, 2016: NVC Received

Nov 16, 2016: Case Number Assigned

Nov 18, 2016: DS-261 submitted and AOS fee paid

Nov 23, 2016: IV Fee Invoiced and paid

Nov 30, 2016: IV and AOS Packages Sent (EP)

Dec 4, 2016: DS-260 Submitted

Dec 5, 2016: NVC Scan Date

Dec 6, 2016: NVC 3 N/A and Case Complete on Phone [1 day later!]

Dec 13, 2016: NVC CC e-mail

Dec 15, 2016: Found out interview date by phone

Jan 23, 2017: Interview...Approved!

 

Jan 30, 2017: POE Toronto Pearson Airport

 

Removing Conditions

Nov 2, 2018: Sent I-751 to Arizona Lockbox

Nov 7, 2018: Apparent receipt date (SMS notification on 11/9)

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I received an RFE a year after I filed our I751 because my wife and I didn’t have tons of information. I decided to hire an attorney to respond to my RFE because the last thing we wanted was an a denial. It was the best money we spent. 

 

Sure i I could have don’t the work myself but it was just easier handing the paperwork over to my lawyer and letting her craft our packet. 

 

The reality was my wife and I didn’t have a lot of the “bonafide marriage” specifics USCIS looks for so I very happy I had my lawyer to fill in the gaps. 

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The most annoying part of ROC is gathering the evidence, and a lawyer won't save you time on that.  The best thing we did was make a shared Google doc of a wish list of evidence and then gradually worked our way through it for gathering, printing, photocopying.  We then turned that initial list into the table of contents in our cover letter. 

 

If you're worried about filling out the form incorrectly, have both you and your spouse review it separately, reading every word of every question and checking everything as you go (is the SSN right? The A#? Did you both sign in the correct places? Does the order of the evidence match the order of the table of contents, and is it a logical order? Is the check written for the right amount for the filing fee and the biometrics fee?  It's stupid things like not signing or one wrong digit that you probably want to worry about.) If you're still worried, ask a TRUSTED friend or relative to review it. 


 

K1 Process:

 

Spoiler

8/20/2016: I-129F packet mailed

8/24/2016: NOA1
10/20/2016: NOA2

1/20/2017: Interview (approved!) 

1/27/2017: Visa received 

2/20/2017: POE Philadelphia

3/18/2017: Wedding!

 

 

Adjustment of Status:

 

Spoiler

 

5/11/2017:  I-485, I-131, and I-765 packets mailed to Chicago lockbox

5/18/2017:  Three text/email NOA1's received

5/22/2017:  Three hard copy NOA1's received with a priority date of 5/15/2017

5/26/2017:  Biometrics appointment letter received

5/30/2017:  Biometrics completed (walk-in, East Hartford, CT ASC) 

6/15/2017: I-485 case status changed to "ready to be scheduled for interview." 

8/9/2017:  Service request for I-765 submitted online

8/28/2017: Second service request submitted online

8/28/2017: Submitted case request to Congresswoman. 

9/7/2017: Third service request for I-765 submitted online

10/7/2017:  EAD/AP combo card received (146 days from PD)

11/9/2017: Text/e-mail notification of interview date (179 days from PD)

11/14/2017: Hard copy I-797C received

12/14/2017: Interview! (214 days from PD)

12/18/2017 Approval notice received with a notice date of 12/14/2017

12/30/2017: GC received (230 days from PD)

 

 

Removal of Conditions:

9/15/2019: ROC window opens

9/16/2019: Packet mailed to Dallas lockbox

9/18/2019: Packet delivered to Dallas lockbox

9/24/2019: Check cashed by USCIS

9/25/2019: Text receipt notice received

9/27/2019: Hard copy NOA received with a notice date of 9/23/2019

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