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About ZeeZeeZee

  • Rank
    Junior Member
  • Member # 333622
  • Location Santa Barbara, CA, USA

Immigration Info

  • Immigration Status
    Adjustment of Status (approved)
  • Place benefits filed at
    Chicago Lockbox
  • Country
    United Kingdom

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  1. Yessss! Congratulations! I wasn't sure how they'd handle the overstay thing, but apart from that I was certain you'd be fine. I'm so glad it went well for you! If you're obsessively checking your case status online (I certainly was!), don't read too much into the changing statuses: we also got approved on the spot but my I-130 online status was stuck on "your case is being reviewed" for several days, while my I-485 went from "your card is being produced" to "your case is approved" to "your card has been posted". As far as I can tell, once they've sent the order to produce your card, you're home safe It does feel like a lot of the advice I see online is still caught up in proving an idealised 1950s-style traditional heteronormative marriage: you must live together, you must have kids already or have a good reason why not, your finances must be 100% merged, etc. I don't think *anyone* could meet that standard today! Going through the interview last month, it really felt more like those were good things if you had them, but not disqualifying if not. "[Partner] had to move for work, and here's what we're doing in the meantime" was met with an understanding nod from our interviewer, so it's certainly not an uncommon thing.
  2. Oh, they absolutely asked about the living situation thing, because that's a big one. We told the unvarnished truth: my partner moved to the Bay Area for work, I'll be moving there when I get a job, but that hasn't happened yet because my EAD took forever. We didn't mention that we'll be living separately and the interviewer didn't follow up on it, even though I was expecting them to: after all, if we'd been planning on moving in together, it would have made a lot more sense for me to move at the same time as my partner, and it would certainly work out cheaper for both of us that way. We have good reasons for not living together (I want a cat and they don't, and I have what my partner delicately terms as "very particular personal space needs": I need a lot of alone time and I know from past experience that living with a partner is a relationship-killer for me) and we were ready to explain that if asked; we just didn't volunteer the information unasked, and I guess our initial answer rang true enough that it didn't trigger any followup. That's pretty much the point I'm trying to make: most people are bad at inventing explanations on the spot, so the interviewing officer will ask about stuff that stands out to them and watch to see if you're struggling to answer, or if what you're saying sounds rehearsed and generic. When you're explaining stuff that actually happened, it's always going to sound more legit because you'll naturally add all sorts of little details that wouldn't appear in an invented story; conversely, if you don't pass the smell test then no amount of paperwork is going to save you, especially not stuff that anyone could pull together two weeks before the interview!
  3. Update on this, in case it pops up in someone's search in future: we brought copies of my partner's W2 and tax return for 2017 (which were included with the initial I-864) and for 2018 (which were new), and it was 100% fine. So if you've already filed the I-864: just bring originals and copies of anything filed with that, and copies of anything new or relevant, and you should be good.
  4. I suspect it depends a lot on the interviewing officer, but my partner and I sailed through our interview last week with way less evidence than you have. (Also admittedly no overstay issues though, and being white, fluent English speaking, highly educated also helped) It's not just the paperwork, they're watching how you interact with each other. People are comfortable with their life partner in a way that they aren't with people they barely know, and it shows. My partner and I had a very small wedding, and we don't live together and don't plan to in future, which means we haven't combined most of our finances; we also filed our taxes separately last year, because it did actually work out cheaper for us that time. We pretty much just had a few photos, joint health insurance, and a joint credit card and a log of google pay transactions showing that we split the cost of paying it off each month. We had planned to have more evidence, but various things (super slow EAD, and suprisingly early interview) got in the way. Don't hide or lie about the stuff you're worried about in the interview, but don't bring it up either. You've got a lot of good stuff there: joint lease, joint car, joint insurances, etc, so talk about _those_, not what you don't have. They're not looking for you to have 100% merged your lives! Eg my partner and I own our cars separately, and they're insured separately; it literally never came up in the interview. If they do ask about one of the things you listed, just tell the story behind it, no apologies. Especially if you're both contributing parts of the story, correcting details, etc. We got asked how we chose our rings, so if you're planning on getting rings just for the interview, make sure you've agreed on a narrative that doesn't sound like "yeah, um, we thought we should have rings for the interview". The truth works well: "we didn't get rings immediately because we were super in debt at the time; now thankfully we're on top of that, and we actually only found time to go ring shopping a few weeks ago... we looked at X, Y, Z, and..." etc.
  5. Pleased to say I managed to find a really good doctor in LA; I had to get the full exam so I don't know if they do just vaccine transcription. Los Angeles, CA Dr Edwin Jacobson UCLA Medical Plaza, CA 90024 310-209-2033 Date: October 23rd 2019 Cost: full exam inc STD tests $190, + optionally $80 for the TB test, $150 for the MMR vaccination, $85 for tdap. Those are the cash prices, there are extra fees for credit card. I didn't ask about vaccine transcription, sorry! It adds up if you have to get everything, but if you already have the vaccines / can get your regular doctor to do them, then it's a pretty good deal. They're super transparent about how much they're charging for each component, they don't try to trick you into getting anything you don't need, and both Dr Jacobson and their assistant were lovely. They're also safe for trans and nonbinary people (feel free to message me if you want to ask more about that).
  6. Both of my inquiries are actually still unanswered, even though they finally issued the EAD last month. So in terms of responding, they're not great! But in terms of the timelines they gave: the first one (via the USCIS website) was a month, and the second (submitted by the Tier 2 person) was 2 weeks. I'd say it's definitely worth asking to be transferred to the Tier 2 officer first, but if not then you can at least start the clock ticking on an inquiry deadline. Good luck! Haha right?! I swear I've spent more time in the DMV in 3 years than most native Californians have in their lifetimes.
  7. I got my interview email notification on October 10th, and the interview date is November 19th. The actual interview letter was postmarked October 15th, so "one month after you receive the interview notice" seems to be pretty accurate there. The letter also says "If an emergency, such as your own illness or a close relative's hospitalization, prevents you from appearing, call the USCIS call center at 800-375-5283 as soon as possible. Please be advised that rescheduling will delay processing of application/petition, and may require some steps to be repeated. It may also affect your eligibility for other immigration benefits while this application is pending." So it's possible to reschedule at least; I'd *hope* they'd consider "we already booked nonrefundable plane tickets" as a valid reason but who knows. The guff about eligibility is just scaremongering: it's a one-size-fits-all letter and they're just covering all their bases.
  8. It's probably worth phoning up USCIS and asking them directly; 10 months has got to be well outside normal processing times for this, so the call centre person will either submit a case status inquiry for you or transfer you to a Tier 2 person who can actually answer your questions. If they submit an inquiry, make sure you ask what date you can expect an answer by, because once you have an overdue pending inquiry on your case they get a lot better about letting you speak to the Tier 2 officers. Before you phone, it's worth googling to look up the current route through their automated answering system, because it's suuuuper difficult to find the "talk to actual person" option otherwise. They also have a limit on how many people they can transfer to Tier 2 per day, so it helps to call early (~8-11 Eastern). You can also get your Senator/Congresscritter involved, but if you're not in an immediate hurry then that might not be worth the effort just yet. If you can get a solid answer from USCIS first about what's causing the delay, that'll make it easier to figure out your next move. Or if USCIS keep brushing you off, that's useful info to take to your representative's office as well! (I haven't been in this exact situation, but USCIS sat on my EAD application for 8 months so I have some recent experience with nagging them about delays. They eventually approved my EAD application and scheduled my GC interview within minutes of each other, less than two weeks after a Tier 2 officer submitted an inquiry on my behalf, so... who knows if that helped. Having a clear "you can expect an answer by this date; if not then call back" made the delays easier to cope with, at least.)
  9. Oh, good call on the updated tax return; we only submitted the 2017 returns with the original packet. I'll add 2018 tax return to my list. (I have a colour-coded list of everything to bring, because of course I do.) Good luck Sarah G! Let us know how it goes? Thanks all! I know I'm overthinking this a bit, but this entire process has been miserable and now I just want to get to the finish line without screwing up.
  10. Got my green card interview date! (after only 8 months! I'd be over the moon, if it hadn't also taken them 8 months to approve the EAD) In the list of what to bring, it says: "A completed Affidavit(s) of Support (Form I-864) with all required evidence, including the following, for each of your sponsors (unless already submitted): - Federal Income Tax returns and W-2's, or certified IRS printouts, for the most recent tax year; - Letters from each current employer, verifying current rate of pay and average weekly hours, and pay stubs for the past 2 months; - Evidence of your sponsor's and/or co-sponsor's United States Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Resident status." "all required evidence, including the following" makes no sense to me, because you don't have to submit letters from employers or pay stubs with the I-864 unless you need supplemental evidence to back up your W-2. We submitted the I-864 and my partner's W-2 and tax return as part of the initial filing; they earn well above the required minimum and have done for years, so we didn't need a co-sponsor or any supplemental evidence. So does the "unless already submitted" apply to the I-864 packet, in which case we're good because we already did that and so we can ignore the rest of the bullet point, or does it apply to all items on that list, meaning we now have to go sort out a letter from their employer and pay stubs even though we don't need them? I guess what I'm asking is, are there genuinely stricter evidence requirements at the interview or have they just worded their list poorly? Has anyone had to produce pay stubs for the interview despite having already filed their I-864?
  11. Isn't this fun. I'm especially enjoying that "I budgeted for a 3-5 month process and it's now at 7 months and counting" doesn't count as a severe-enough financial loss to warrant expediting the EAD. So anyway: EAD estimated wait time for most AoS peeps like us is currently at 3.5 to 5.5 months, so anyone still waiting on their EAD can file an "outside normal processing times" case inquiry on the USCIS website. When they inevitably don't respond to your inquiry within 30 days, you can phone them and they'll escalate your call to a Person Who Can Actually Tell You Stuff. They probably won't be able to tell you *much* or give you any sort of time estimate, but you'll get a person who'll look at your case specifically and tell you where it's at, rather than give you the usual vague non-answers, which is nice. Turns out my case was on hold for *several months* because I sent them my short-form birth certificate instead of the long-form one. I replied to the RFE within days of receiving it, it just took them months to *send out the RFE in the first place*. Ugh. Also: the call centre has a limit on how many calls they can escalate per day, so if you call them you'll want to do it in the first few hours after their phoneline opens for the day. They open at 8am Eastern and they dgaf if you're on Pacific time, but you can probably get away with calling at 7-8am Pacific time (I called at 6:30 Pacific and got my call back from the supervisor person at 10:30 Pacific). Also look up in advance how to get through their phone menu, they've made it really difficult to figure out how to get off the automated system and actually talk to a person.
  12. One thing to be aware of: you'll lose the right to work as soon as you leave your J1 job. You can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (just file form I-765 along with your I-485) but no-one knows what's up with the wait times right now: if you're lucky it'll be 2 months, if you're unlucky it'll be 6+. Even if you're not planning to work, without the EAD it's irritatingly difficult to prove your legal status. For example, you won't be able to get or renew a CA driving license: the CA DMV does not accept the I-485 NOA1 as proof of status, it has to be the EAD or green card. (Ask me how I know... grumble grumble.) If you have a SC driving license it'll remain valid until its expiry date but after that you're stuck. So you're *safe* to quit your job as soon as your I-485 receipt comes through, but if you can hold out until you get your EAD it'll make your life significantly easier.
  13. Any February filers seen new progress recently? I got the "case is ready to be scheduled for an interview" update on July 18th, nothing since then.
  14. Ugh, I suppose that's an effective if deeply unfair way to pull the average time down. Where did you hear that?
  15. Y'all, USCIS updated their EAD processing time tracker and it's gone down(!!!) for AOS: 2.5 to 5 months for applications "based on a pending I-485 adjustment application [(c)(9)]" at the NBC. Receipt date for case enquiry as of today is March 3rd 2019. https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/ Ofc, they'll take up to a month to process the case enquiry... just submitted mine and it says they'll get back to me by August 22nd. And it's really bad news for everyone who isn't AOS: it's now at 10 - 12.5 months, which is absolute madness.
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