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About HalfWayMark

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    Junior Member
  • Member # 313468

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  • Immigration Status
    IR-1/CR-1 Visa
  • Place benefits filed at
    Chicago Lockbox
  • Local Office
    Portland OR
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  1. Others with better knowledge advise the OP on where/how to have the baby. I have experience with getting health insurance for a recent immigrant. The ACA is not the same as "subsidized insurance". Any "minimum essential coverage" as defined by the ACA will allow pre-existing conditions, and it can be purchased from private insurers (or on the exchange with or without subsidies). As I understand it, an immigrant getting a subsidized policy on the exchange will not be allowed entry -- but as of yesterday, this whole immigration policy is on hold anyway, being fought out in the courts. But getting ACA "minimal essential coverage" within 4-6 weeks of entry to the US is problematic. My experience is in the state of Washington. Other states may have different rules. Under the ACA, entering the US as an immigrant is a "qualifying event" for coverage. But you cannot (at least in Washington) register for coverage until AFTER the event, and there is at least a 4-6 week waiting period until coverage begins. This is true both on the exchange, and with private insurance companies. The only alternatives are 1) to go without coverage during that period (and self-insure); 2) purchase a STM (Short Term Medical) policy -- which are notoriously insufficient. Or 3), if you're employed, see if your employer will add your spouse to your policy, effective on date of immigration. All the STM policies that I looked at do not cover a person who is pregnant. Please see my earlier post for more details: https://www.visajourney.com/forums/topic/722205-health-insurance-public-charge-rule/?tab=comments#comment-9913580
  2. That's probably not true in all states (unless you're referring to putting a spouse on employer's insurance, which isn't the case for the OP). It's certainly not true in Washington state. My wife immigrated about 2 months ago in early September. We moved here from the Philippines. I don't have employer-provided health insurance, so I knew I'd have to enroll her on my own -- either through the ACA or with private insurance. This was just for our own peace of mind, not because there was a "mandatory coverage" policy in effect for immigrants at the time. I spent 3 months before the arrival trying to line up US health insurance for her. I'm referring to "essential minimum coverage" as defined under the ACA. The alternative is a short-term health plan, which if you read the fine print or reviews on any of the products, are rated as one notch above worthless. But hopefully, it's better than nothing. In Washington state, it's impossible to register for "essential minimum coverage" a prospective resident who isn't yet physically in the state. This was true both for my wife (yet without a SSN) and for our child (who was a US citizen with a SSN). I had several email chains to ACA Navigators, private health insurers, and the Washington State Insurance Commissioner's office: it is impossible to register a person under a "qualifying event" (such as immigrating) before the actual event. In addition, once you arrive and receive a SSN, if you sign up for insurance (either through the ACA exchange or with a private insurer), the effective date is the first of the month of the following month -- IF you sign up before the 15th. Otherwise you have to wait up to 6 weeks until the first of the next month. Our only solution was to purchase a short-term medical (STM) insurance policy to cover until October 1st (the first day I knew I could have their coverage in effect). Luckily, no health problems came up in the month of September and we didn't use the insurance. It was basically catastrophic coverage; in Washington state, there is only one STM company authorized to operate in the state, so we were at their mercy. To clarify: this is in Washington state. Other states have their own rules for STM, for "essential minimum coverage" availability, as well as for ACA or Medicaid. Also, I found out that a minor child in Washington state is automatically enrolled in Apple Health (Medicaid) -- as long as you apply -- without regard to "qualifying event" cutoff dates. That's good to know -- the state doesn't want kids to be without health care during the 4- to 6-week waiting period. Adults are on their own. In the end, in early September I applied for health insurance for both my wife and child, and they're now enrolled as of Oct 1. That being said, I don't think much of this applies to the OP. As I understand the new policy, you either have to show insurance coverage, or the ability to pay for it. It would make sense that the coverage under question is ACA "essential minimum coverage', but that's just my guess. In other words, you would simply have proof that you have enough funds to purchase a qualifying insurance policy. If you were employed, you could probably simply add you wife to your policy even before she arrives -- it depends on the employer's signup rules.
  3. OP here... Thanks, Lil bear and Boiler. Good suggestions, I've written to both an ACA Navigator and brokers in my area. I hope I'm starting early enough to get this resolved.
  4. Need some help here.... Trying to get medical insurance lined up for my family when we arrive in the US. We're currently in the Philippines. My wife's IR-1 was approved, and we (including our 2-year-old USC) are flying to the US on August 31. I timed it so I could enroll them in a health insurance plan to begin on September 1. I'm thorough when it comes to this stuff -- not gonna take any chances on astronomical medical bills. I started this search early so I'd have it lined up for September, but hit a brick wall. Our home is (will be) in Washington state; each state has different regulations so I hope someone in our boat can help. I'm retired, on Medicare -- so I don't have the option of adding them on employer-based health insurance. I've looked into the state ACA exchange (simply for signing up for insurance, I don't expect subsidies because of our income). But the exchange has lengthy and complicated rules regarding LPRs, which would take months to meet (such as mailing in copies of the PR, providing SSN, etc.) None of these will be in-hand until my wife enters the country on August 31. Entering the US after having lived in a foreign country is one of the qualifying "life events" for "special enrollment" in ACA or private insurance (at least for "minimal essential coverage" to meet ACA requirements; I don't want a useless stop-gap policy). However, I'm told that both my wife and child cannot enroll in insurance until the "event" (entering the US) happens, and for 60 days afterward. If you apply after the 15th of the month, coverage starts 2 months later; thus, no way I can start them until October 1. Going without insurance is downright scary. I've called and chatted with a primary insurance company (Kaiser Permanente), hoping to purchase a family plan for wife and kid. But they say they follow the above "60 days after the event" rule. I'm floored....... That means returning US citizens and immigrants simply can't get health insurance (real insurance, "minimal essential coverage") for 4-6 weeks after entry to the US. I'll keep needling Kaiser, and hopefully I can engage Washington's ACA exchange with this problem. But I've dealt with both before and it takes months to get useful resolutions on health care. So -- has anyone been in this situation? Or know a good short-term health insurance option for Washington state? I've googled everywhere, and most websites say "not available in your area". The only thing I can find is "accident insurance" (also "travel insurance", same thing in this case). That would be my last resort, as they don't cover illnesses or checkups or lab tests, etc. They also don't cover pre-existing conditions, which I know lets them off the hook for everything. Any experience with trustworthy short-term health insurance (with policies available in Washington state) would be appreciated. Thanks, Mark
  5. I wonder if anyone else has had this problem recently.... I've uploaded an additional document requested by the embassy, in the "Affidavit of Support" section (the document status shows "Uploaded"). I've been trying to "submit" the document for days. But the "Submit Documents" button is dead -- it doesn't do anything. I've tried many workarounds -- different browsers, deleting the uploaded document and re-uploading, ... But to no effect. I've been logging in for several days to try all my workarounds again and again, but the button is definitely broken. I notice that the same "Submit Documents" button in the "Applicant Information" section DOES work, since I uploaded and submitted an additional document there. When logging in to CEAC, there's a message that the site will be down on Monday April 29, so possibly they'll fix this issue. I hope.... In the meantime, we'll just have to bring the additional AOS supporting document to the embassy interview in two weeks. Not enough time to email CEAC or call from overseas about this website problem. I'm referring to the "Submit Documents" button, in the AOS section of our CEAC account:
  6. I'll get it done by phone. The reps on the Visa Service Center line are pleasant and helpful, although they make it clear that they have no more prior information on calendar slots than I do ("none") -- it's up to the embassy. Thanks for the responses, guys. Hank, you are truly a valuable resource for those of us on this visa journey...
  7. Hank -- Thanks for the CEAC link. It shows READY. I thought I knew all the steps to go through, but I didn't know about CEACStatTracker. So they have the package at the embassy. I'll call the Visa Service Center again and try to cancel the April 5 interview, and see what happens from there. I really didn't expect NVC to finish and get the interview date this fast. No problem, I thought it would be easy to reschedule if necessary. We've planned all along that we would both go in for the interview. We have everything in order -- but I have the critical paperwork (originals) that I'll be bringing back to Philippines in a month. We live on Leyte, we have a one-year-old, my wife can't make that trip to Manila alone anyway. So April 5th won't work. None of this would be a problem, as long as we can reschedule. So I'll work with the Visa Service Center -- hopefully I'll see available slots on their calendar. Oh, and yeah, going through several links, I find NONimmigrant interview appointments, but not immigrant interviews. Even the embassy's FAQ ( http://www.ustraveldocs.com/ph/ph-gen-faq.asp#qlistiv5 ) has a question about "rescheduling an immigrant interview", but the answer doesn't address the question. It shouldn't be so complicated....
  8. OP here.... samuelam and Hank -- thanks for the replies. Those are the links I'm talking about, as stated in our NVC interview email. They don't lead to any page where I can schedule/reschedule an interview for an immigrant visa. (Although eventually they lead to the cgifederal site, I registered an account, I can see a calendar but it's blank all the way through 2022 and beyond.) Hank, how do I determine if the embassy has her file? I've read those instructions before, but they only hint at calling the Visa Service Center. My wife and I both called those numbers, they took information and didn't say anything about "file not arrived". They said the calendar they see (the same one I saw) doesn't have any open slots for months and months (hard to believe, I suspect the embassy just hasn't filled them in yet). In the meantime, as time is getting short, I'll try to cancel the April 5 interview through the Visa Service Center. If we can't, what happens if she doesn't show up for the interview on that date? It's tough to find the right email address in the embassy so my email doesn't bounce around to different sections. Does this look right, to ask about reschedule: support-philippines@ustraveldocs.com Thanks, Mark
  9. My wife is up for an IR-1 visa. I always thought that "rescheduling the interview" would be simple, since the embassy has lots of links to the website for doing this. However, I never clicked on those links since we had no interview to reschedule. We just got notice of my wife's embassy interview date -- in Manila, April 5. She's in Philippines, I'm in the US and won't return there until after April 5. We plan to go to the interview together -- and I have the critical paperwork, anyway. We want to reschedule for a later date. I've been to all the "reschedule" links. None of them work. (The traveldocs site gives a "404 Page Not Found" error; the cgifederal site shows a blank calendar with no slots -- to 2022 and beyond; the embassy's own FAQ hints at rescheduling but gives no instructions or links.) There are links for scheduling a NONimmigrant visa interview, but empty links for scheduling an immigrant visa interview. My wife called some of the numbers we've found. She talked to the Visa Services Center, but they see the same calendar I see -- no slots open for years (can't be true, but they couldn't give any information on when slots will show up). I called the Center from the US, with the same results. They can't reschedule since they don't see any empty slots, and they can't tell us when to expect them. We want to cancel the April 5 interview. How do we do that? How to contact the embassy directly for interview scheduling or canceling? Can we just not show up, and not be penalized for that? Then, how do we reschedule for a later date? Does their calendar get populated every now and then with open slots? The Visa Service Center doesn't have clear answers. Thanks for any insights. -- Mark
  10. It turns out it's not such an unusual problem...... I'm having the same issue: the barcode is missing from the NVC Cover Sheets when I download them from the ceac.state.gov website. The "broken image" icon (an "X" in a small box) appears instead. This happens whether I select "Print" or "Email" the cover sheet. I have several browsers on my computer (Chrome, IE, Firefox), and they all meet the requirements for the ceac website -- so, along with your post, I'm sure it's not an issue with my setup. I originally downloaded the Cover Sheets more than a month ago, but this week I realized they lack barcodes as I'm assembling the package to submit. I've tried downloading/emailing again, but still the same problem. I don't have any Cover Letter/Welcome Letter/Cover Sheet from NVC with a barcode. I received the original "Notice of Immigrant Visa Case Creation" email from NVC, but there were no attachments, no Welcome Letter, no barcodes included. I'm pretty sure a lack of barcode will slow down processing, but what to do...??? I just wrote to NVC asking if they can email me a proper Cover Sheet. This, too, will cause a delay, since they take a week or two to respond. Any suggestions? All my documents and (self-written) cover letters show our NVC Case#, so I guess it would eventually be processed correctly. How do I get a barcode?
  11. Not from personal experience, but these are the instructions I've read for this situation: When entering the US after your 2nd year anniversary with a CR-1, make sure you have your marriage certificate (showing date of marriage) to present to the immigration officer. This, and your passport with CR-1 visa, should be all you need to change it to an IR-1, and the immigration officer will issue a 10-year Permanent Residence on the spot.
  12. Hank_ said: [...] That would be a tough delivery for 2GO with no physical address. May want to look serious at pickup at a 2GO location. -------- I can't help with most of your questions..... But I had a similar experience with delivering my daughter's CRBA and US passport. They were, of course, sent from the embassy with courier 2GO. We live in a small town on Leyte, with absolutely no street address -- just the barangay/town/province. (No doubt, anybody in town could find us, that goes with the "foreigner" notoriety...) The courier package eventually ended up at our house (!!) after "disappearing" from 2Go's system for about 4 weeks. The courier called first, and showed up on a motorcycle 2 hours later. We were ecstatic. As long as 2Go has your phone number, you're probably OK with delivery to your house. I assume 2Go has a lot of experience with this. BUT -- I'm not gonna chance it again with embassy documents. The 4-week delay was maddening, especially since 2Go couldn't give us any status. As Hank suggests, I'll have documents delivered to a 2Go office in Ormoc (the closest "big city"), and pick 'em up there. Just make sure 2Go has your phone number.
  13. Thanks for the reply, and the links. We do have all the listed documents ready, assuming our interview gets scheduled within the next 4 months. Yep, our daughter got her Philippines passport at 5 months of age. She's already an international traveler Just waiting on NVC now...... Thanks!
  14. My Filipina wife is up for an IR-1 visa, the application is currently in NVC and we don't have the embassy interview scheduled yet. But I like -- no, I REALLY REALLY LIKE -- to be prepared. So, if anyone can help: 1) We don't live in Manila, so we'll need to fly (or 2GO ferry) into Manila for this. How long, typically, does the whole thing take: medical exam and interview? This is so, when the time comes, I can make a (semi-accurate) hotel booking. 2) From what I can find on St. Luke's website, the medical exam takes at least 2 days, maybe 3 to get results sent. Should we schedule her medical exam 3 days before the embassy interview? Or longer? 3) I read several users' comments that the USC spouse is allowed in the embassy for the interview. Of course, I'd like to be there. Will I be allowed to accompany her to the interview desk? Or am I restricted to sitting in the "waiting room"? 4) We have a 1-year-old daughter (she's a USC, with CRBA and US passport). Obviously, her presence could be a positive influence on the interview outcome (she's cute ) Will we be allowed to bring her in to the interview? Can we bring a small bag with baby essentials in with her? Might the embassy staff give us a bit of priority so we don't exceed her attention span? 5) We were married more than 2 years ago in the Philippines. Do I, the USC, need a CEMAR? (My wife has one in her name.) I've heard conflicting opinions on this. I appreciate any insights....
  15. I'm applying for CR-1 for my wife of 2+ years, so far the process is going smoothly but -- of course -- slowly. Just got notice of Case Creation from NVC, and I'll start the Affidavit of Support as soon as they correct the spelling of my wife's name (!!!!!!!). (I'm reluctant to proceed, even by paying fees, until this is corrected; the spelling error is NVC's error, as it was forwarded correctly by USCIS to them. I don't want to take the chance of a misspelling invalidating the visa.) I assume the online Affidavit of Support is the same as an I-864 -- I have that blank form to prepare for submission. My question: Part 5, Question 6 of I-864 asks: If you have sponsored any other persons on Form I-864 who are now lawful permanent residents, enter the number here. I sponsored a different immigrant (my ex-wife) more than 20 years ago. She earned more than 40 SSA credits during our marriage -- which I know is one of the conditions for "terminating" the sponsorship obligation. I assume I should answer that question (Part 5, Q 6) affirmatively (enter "1"), then add comments in Part 11 (Additional Comments) explaining the situation that my obligation has ended? Or should I enter "0" and explain in Additional Comments? Or something else....?? Should I include any proof or documents? Maybe her SSN? (I realize that divorce doesn't end the support obligation, but it does end if the immigrant earns more than 40 SSA credits and remains a permanent resident. My ex-wife never received any public assistance, that isn't in question. She earned more than 40 credits long before we were divorced, and -- as far as I know -- remains in the US as a lawful permanent resident. I have some basic records of those years, such as her SSN, but I didn't save copies of the immigration forms. <<<-- Lesson learned!) I appreciate your insights. I'm new in VisaJourney, in only one day I've discovered it's a wealth of information. Thanks! -- Mark
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