I am somewhere in Stage 7 and based on the timeline for the Embassy interviews, will be for 1 more month..................
Us westerners tend to go through several rather predictable stages in the K1 process. Please allow me to illustrate a few of the most common stages, using as an example a hypothetical fella named “Brad”: Brad is, for the purposes of this exercise, an American, recently engaged to a Filipina named “Hope”.
Stage 1: “Unfounded Optimism”. At this early stage, Brad presumes that bringing Hope to America requires little more than buying her a plane ticket. Well, he suspects there might be a form or two to fill out at the airport, but that shouldn’t result in a very significant delay. They should be together in a week, he thinks.
Stage 2: “Reality Sets In”. Brad learns that both the American and Philippine governments require some paperwork to be done before Hope can fly to the U.S. This disturbs Brad somewhat, because he really misses Hope (they’ve been apart for almost three days now), and he’s anxious to have her in his arms again. Hope is similarly impatient. Brad assures her, though, that he’ll get the paperwork done quickly, and that they’ll only be apart for a few weeks longer.
Stage 3: “Confusion”. Brad has submitted a dozen forms, three of which were returned to him (after several weeks) with boilerplate letters from the INS telling him he needs to clarify, add, delete, or reiterate something. To his surprise, the INS also wants to know when the last time he went moose hunting in Canada was, whether he bagged a moose, and why he chose to go moose hunting instead of duck hunting, since Canada has some really cool duck hunting spots, or so the INS has been led to believe by the folks next door. In the Philippines, Hope learns that she must make a twelve hour bus ride to Manila, at which point she will stand in line for another six hours to get into the U.S. Embassy, assuming the bus doesn’t drive off the side of a cliff, or get swallowed by lahar, or get incinerated by a volcanic explosion.
Stage 4: “Resentment”. Brad is getting bitter and Hope if falling into despair. Brad finds himself saying things like, “What business does the government have to tell me whom I can or cannot marry? What right does the government have to keep me and my fiancée apart? Isn’t this a free country?” Desperate and bitter, he tries to get creative. Maybe he can get her a tourist visa, or a work visa, or an education visa, he thinks. Sure, those would be fraudulent visas, but it serves the government right for keeping him and his fiancée apart! Hope, at this stage, has been standing in line for three weeks and has lost feeling in both legs. She can’t even remember what she’s in line for anymore, though she hopes it tastes good.
Stage 5: “Rebellion”. Brad has been told by cooler heads that he has no hope of bringing Hope to the U.S. via a fraudulent visa, and that even if he pulled it off, Hope would be beheaded by the INS if she were ever found out. Well, beheaded or deported, the cooler heads can’t exactly remember what the penalty is, but whatever it is, they’re sure it’s very bad. Brad decides to write his Senator a forceful letter protesting his treatment by the INS. The Senator has the letter date stamped and triple-notarized before folding it into a paper airplane and throwing it out his office window. In the off-chance that it catches a headwind and flies back through his window and lands on his desk, he may act on it, but he’d prefer that it fly quietly to the ground below and poke out the eye of a Senator from the other party.
Stage 6: “Despair”. Brad hasn’t heard from the INS in weeks and has no idea where his petition stands. He’s grown paranoid, and studies the photocopies of every form he submitted, riddled with anxiety. Do his O’s look like zeroes? Is that causing a problem, maybe? Should he have written “an” instead of “a” in that narrative about the moose hunt? Has the INS trashed his form and rejected his petition because he’s such a poor writer? Can they even do that? He calls INS and spends hours on hold only to be told that INS has his petition and is processing it. When he asks if there’s a problem, he’s certain that he can hear INS staffers laughing in the background and asking, “Is that the guy?!” Brad has taken out a second mortgage on his liver in order to pay for all of Hope’s expenses, plus those associated with the immigration paperwork itself. He’s comforted somewhat by the news that Hope will be off her crutches soon.
Stage 7: “Zombieland”. Brad is in a daze. At work he spends his time lazily surfing Filipino Internet sites. At home, he mopes. He begins to doubt himself and his plan to marry Hope. He begins to think Hope has found someone else during his long absence. He grows resentful of other married couples. Sometimes he thinks it would be better just to call the whole thing off, to tell Hope he loves her but fate won’t allow them to be together, but then he talks to her on the phone and falls in love again and cries himself to sleep.
Stage 8: “Victory”. Without warning, Brad learns from Hope or the INS or Santa Claus that his fiancée is free to catch the next plane or magical sleigh or flying carpet to the United States. Just like that. Gone today, here tomorrow. Brad spends an hour in absolute shock, then feints, then gets up and goes screaming into the streets like Jimmy Stewart at the conclusion of “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Because, at that point, it is, isn’t it?
The Odds. Never lose site of the fact that the odds are overwhelmingly in your favor...
05/05 - Met through co-worker. began exchanging emails, letters, phone calls, IM chats, the usual.
10/05 - Met in person in Phils
11/05 - Met again in Hong Kong Disneyland
01/06 Met again in Macau and Hong Kong
01/22/06 - We're pregnant!
02/03/06 mailed completed I-129f package to CSC
02/06/06 - NOA 1
02/26/06 Met in Phils again
03/03/06 Requested expedite from Congressman's caseworker - no help from them.
04/04/06 - Met in Phils again
04/10/06 - Requested expedite from Senator's case worker - Senator's no help from them either.
05/20/06 - NOA 2
05/23/06 - Met in Phils again
06/07/06 - Case Transferred to Manila and assigned a MNL case #.
06/14/06 - Paperwork Rcd by MNL Embassy.
08/09/06 Baby's Born!!! - Return to Phils get paperwork to file CRBA with embassy.
08/29/06 CRBA Filed.
09/12&13 St Lukes medical
September 28 2006 - Return to Phils for CRBA & Fiancee visa interview - both parents are expected to travel to US Embassy Manila for CRBA interview. Grueling for all three of us.
October 10 receive fiancee visa?
Ocitober 11 get CFO stamp?
October 15 2006 probable date for receipt of baby's US passport.?
October 20 Get Filipino govt stamp clearance thingy in childs passport?
October 21 2006 travel to USA with Fiancee and child? October 22 get married, change insurance, live happily ever after YehHey!! Thank you Uncle Sam for all your assistance.