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About WeekendPizzaiolo

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  • Member # 368987
  • Location San Francisco, CA, USA

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  • Gender
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  • Interests
    lgbt, software engineer, phd computer science, amateur cook, wine enthusiast, enjoy cycling, skiing, beaches, history, politics, philosophy, former academic

Immigration Info

  • Immigration Status
    Adjustment of Status (approved)
  • Place benefits filed at
    California Service Center
  • Local Office
    San Francisco CA
  • Country
  • Our Story
    I sponsored my Brazilian spouse (once fiancé) for a K-1 (Montreal Consulate) and AOS. Thanks to VisaJourney, I was able to DIY file with a successful outcome.

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  1. Do so at your own risk. The checklist clearly states "By doing this, you acknowledge that you have gathered the required documents for each applicant, and that you will bring the originals and photocopies for your interview." Make sure your police certificate is requested under the Privacy Act. You don't get to pick your date. If you reschedule, you may have to wait a while.h The Packet 4 email says "Your appointment has been scheduled as noted at the end of this letter. If you cannot keep this date please notify this office immediately by email at: Montreal-IV- DV@state.gov ... Please note that there are long wait times for rescheduling appointments."
  2. Good news! We finally received the green card in the mail today! Here was the timeline: 06/08/2022 Receipt date of I-485 02/17/2023 I-485 approved without interview 02/23/2023 Card was produced (via USCIS case status) 02/25/2023 Card was mailed (via USPS tracking history - no update on USCIS case status) 02/28/2023 Card was delivered (via USPS informed delivery - again, no update on USCIS case status) 🎊🥳
  3. Hi, The CEAC status can sometimes be confusing because the text is written for all consular posts and each consulate has a slight variation on procedures. In our case, USC Montreal did not let us select our own visa appointment, but scheduled it for us automatically in the Packet 4 e-mail that they sent to us. This may have changed, but this is how it was 14 months ago. For now, do not submit DS-160 - you need to wait until the embassy sends you a Packet 3 e-mail, which can takes weeks. Do not schedule your medical until instructed to do so in Packet 4. If I were you, I would get Packet 3 documents ready so that when you receive the Packet 3, you are ready to send it back checked and signed the same day. If you are curious, the Packet 3 e-mail looks something like this (copied from my own records - 12/2021): The list in Packet 3 includes a police certificate under the privacy act from RCMP, which is probably the most difficult document to obtain [see below - *]. You also need a police certificate for every country where you have resided for at least 6 months since the age of 16. See this State Department page for more details on required Canadian documents: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/Visa-Reciprocity-and-Civil-Documents-by-Country/Canada.html. In our case, we also needed to refer to the Brazilian documents page for birth certificates, military records, police reports. For example, if you studied abroad in France for 6 months, you will need to refer to the requirements for French documents. The Packet 4 e-mail for K-1s looks something like this: In our case, the website was not working properly so we were given an exception to pay the MRV fee in cash at the embassy -- it's probably been fixed since then, I hope! A PDF of the Packet 4 e-mail is needed to schedule the medical with the doctor via e-mail (see https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/Supplements/Supplements_by_Post/MTL-Montreal.html for a list of doctors). During your medical exam, make sure to ask for DS-3025 (vaccine worksheet), which you will need for your Adjustment of Status after you get married in the US on your K-1 visa. I hope this helps! -D [*] The standard police report, which is usually sufficient for Canadian purposes, is not sufficient for the US government because the report often omits details such as expungements, cleared arrests, and dismissed charges. If you visit a police station in your province, they will probably select "Reason: Immigration" in the fingerprinting computer, which will give you an incomplete police report that will be rejected by the consulate. Many officer are not familiar with the Privacy Act option, which gives you a full, unredacted report. We used Commissionaires (https://commissionaires.ca/en/) because their online system lets you select the Privacy Act option when booking an appointment (at least the Ontario division of Commissionaires does).
  4. Hi all, Some excellent news! We filed our Adjustment of Status (I-485) from a K-1 visa with a receipt date of 06/08/2022. Last Friday, 02/17/2023, our status for the I-485 was changed to Approved without interview. I don't know if our organization helped or we were just lucky. When assembling our package, we read every instruction, question, and answer about 5 times. We also put removable tabs on every sheet. We also paid for (and sent) certified marriage certificates since the seal is embossed and does not appear in the PDF scan. Or maybe it was our turn - our I-129F and K-1 forms took disproportionately long to approve. I-131 and I-765 are still in process - I presume they will be cancelled.
  5. My spouse had their I-485 approved on Friday without interview and no RFE. I just checked our application package. We submitted a DS-3025 with our I-485 package and referenced it in the cover letter.
  6. Congratulations! You waited too long. I am very happy for you both.
  7. I did the K-1 and wish I did the CR-1. It is double the work and your fiancé has an indefinite period when they can neither work nor (easily) drive upon entry until they receive their EAD card. They also cannot leave the US until they receive an AP card. There are much better alternatives that allow you to work, get a license, and open accounts upon arrival: CR-1 (conditional green card on arrival valid for 2 years, married < 2 years) or IR-1 (10 year green card on arrival, married >= 2 years). 1. I think you mean an I-129F. The immigration guides are here https://www.visajourney.com/guides/. It includes a checklist of documents you will need to submit with your I-129F. Yes, you will need to include divorce certificates for you and your fiancé. See #9 in the K-1 guide here: 2. Only if you can certify that you are fluent in both languages.
  8. In CT, we received our certified marriage certificate the next day. The lead time in CA depends on the county. My friend got his certificate within a few days earlier this year (Alameda County, California). Since you are in a hurry, please try to triple/quadruple check every item and every question in your AOS packet. I assume you are following the guide here: It is never too early to prepare everything now and then make minor edits before your final print, check, and submit.
  9. In 2020, we had K-1 quotes from 3 law firms in San Francisco (a more expensive city than Atlanta) which were $1.8K, $2K, and $2.5K. The lawyer ended up being more of a hassle. We did most of the work. They introduced transcription errors multiple times that we had to fix. They were unfamiliar with local rules, e.g. police certificates, vaccination, etc. They were very late to forward consular notices to us. This would have delayed us by 2 months if we did not proactively e-mail the consulate after our Packet 3. Given our experience, for our AOS, we filed ourselves without a lawyer using instructions on this site. Most people on VJ are DIY. If you are careful about reading instructions, you can do it yourself. We highlighted all instructions that did not apply to our case in a different color. If DIY seems daunting or you lack the time due to a busy schedule, you might consider SimpleCitizen, which has automated software for generating your filing package. See here: https://simplecitizen.com/pricing/ . It costs $249. They will generate the package based on the data you enter in a web form and ship it to you for signature and mailing.
  10. I have successfully done K-1 and I agree with you. It was frustrating and wrong for OP to reflexively ignore the advice of experienced members who succeeded with the K-1 process. That said, the original question struck me as valid because the CEAC status message for K-1 NOA2 includes hyperlinks to instructions for IR/CR, but it does not include hyperlinks to K-1 instructions. CEAC status messages should be improved across the board. OP being wrong and CEAC being user-unfriendly are not mutually exclusive. It seems some disagree.
  11. The first person to reply wrote "Perhaps if you had done proper research, you would discover that K1 applicants do not upload anything to NVC, nor does NVC send a ‘welcome letter’. There’s very little interaction with NVC for K1s." The "proper research" part of the response strikes me as unhelpful. What is the definition of "proper research" when incorrect or blatantly confusing information is provided in an automatically generated status message when one looks up their case? A more helpful response might be something along the lines of: Any reasonable person would expect when a government provides them with instructions, they should heed them. They may not realize the government is often not careful selecting the instructions they provide you. It is like a bank giving you instructions for a car loan when you've just applied for a boat loan. Or the DMV giving you a driver's manual for a motorcycle when you applied for a driver's license for a car. The seasoned posters are correct - ignore instructions that do not apply to you. It still makes the process frustrating. The OP will need to get used to this pattern of bureaucratic behavior in future steps of the process (DS-160, AOS, ROC, etc.) to avoid anxiety. I do not think another complaint will fix it. The State Department has limited IT competence and is not indoctrinated with the best practices for web software used in the private sector including the periodic review of all automated e-mails/status messages for every common type of user. This will not change any time soon. By the way, here an excerpt of the Second Step section of the State Department's instructions for K-1 visas: It does mention that the NVC will mail you a letter. This letter was e-mailed to us, not sent by mail as instructed. The instructions also do not mention an important caveat that the NVC only sends a case when the embassy or consulate has capacity, which can take 6 months-12 months after NOA2 due to COVID. In our case, our letter did not arrive by e-mail until 8 months after our NOA2. As I understand it, before COVID, the typical time frame to receive such a letter was what most would consider a normal bureaucratic delay for the US government (weeks to a month or two).
  12. Give the OP a break. I very much understand their confusion! The process is not user friendly in the slightest, especially to most people who are not familiar with immigration law. I think many of those who applied for a IR-1/CR-1 may never be carefully examined the USCIS case status given to an I-129F petitioner after receiving their I-129F NOA2 in the mail. I saved away my CEAC case status in my archives after my I129-F NOA2. It appears as follows. It seems State is repurposing software tools used for IR-1/CR-1 for K-1s. At different stages, the title of this status window changed between "IMMIGRANT VISA APPLICATION" and "NONIMMIGRANT VISA APPLICATION", and changed back -- why? If you click on the links provided in the NOA2 case status (http://nvc.state.gov), the website gives you instructions for IR-1/CR-1 visas for uploading documents to CEAC and paying your invoice, two things that do not apply to K-1s. This is not user friendly! It is reasonable for the cautious among us (e.g. those who pay our bills as soon as we receive them) to assume that the words for their case status have been carefully crafted for K-1s, but the words are not carefully chosen for K-1s. Some cautious individuals might try to find the invoice number (it is referenced in their case status after all) under the false belief that there is an outstanding payment that is due when there is no payment due for K-1s in CEAC. The invoice number for I-129F petitioners even exists, but once you receive it from the NVC call center, you cannot pay it using CEAC nor can a K-1 petitioner log into their CEAC. Again, State is using software designed for IR-1/CR-1 to keep track of K-1s but not using the invoice and document upload features. If State spent a few hours carefully crafting a status message for K-1s (including not mentioning the term invoice numbers nor providing links to instructions for IR-1/CR-1), this confusion among thousands of yearly K-1 applicants could be eliminated! The lack of user friendliness continues in later stages of the process including: contradictory e-mails from the consulate (you may pay your IRV fee in-person on interview day, you may not pay your IRV fee on interview day). We paid at the consulate on interview day. an e-mail from the NVC that your interview has been scheduled and then an e-mail from the embassy saying to disregard this e-mail from the NVC as no interview has been scheduled and then admonishing the applicant to wait for the consulate's scheduling e-mail contradictory in-person instructions at the embassy (The consular website charged us 3x for our courier service. The cashier told us to buy a postage paid MEDIUM envelope because our courier payment could not be found in the system, the CO called us to tell us to come back with a postage paid LARGE envelope because the MEDIUM envelope is too small, and then there was a security guard who refused to accept our LARGE envelope). consular variances in state department policy (For example, US consulate in Montreal requires vaccinations to be up-to-date to schedule an interview, but that information is not in the State Department instructions) e-mails with instructions to click here for my Loomis tracking number even though CanadaPost was used, and an immigrant visa control sticker on my financé's passport when we finally received the K-1 from the embassy. In terms of terrible user friendliness, I literally have never seen anything like it! The whole end-to-end K-1 process was as if someone disobeyed all the best practices for user friendliness over and over again. No one regularly reviews form e-mails and status messages for clarity. There are no surveys about how the process went and what was confusing. Even if human error on part of the applicant is to blame, a survey or user study may help identify common patterns of confusion to eliminate such human error. A more user friendly system would reduce costs as there would be fewer e-mails and phone calls asking for clarification. My advice to the OP would be to expect that confusing communications & status messages and do not expect anyone to care about improving the user experience of interactive websites. My rule of thumb is that interactive forms or automated e-mails can give dubious information but static published instructions are usually pretty accurate. Official PDF instructions (say I-129F or I-485 instructions) that are current (see expiration date at the bottom of the instructions) are accurate but laborious to read - please read them! If one highlights instructions that do not apply to them in a separate color (say pink), then it becomes easier to flip through the instructions. VisaJourney is an invaluable resource for helping understand the idiosyncrasies of how K-1s are processed at each consular post. Please follow posts for the consular post in which you are applying as the consular norms can and do change occasionally (https://www.visajourney.com/portals/index.php?auto=1). Best of luck to you!
  13. Some people had little choice due to covid-related border closures, some of which lasted over a year and other closures that continue to this day. I was ineligible for the exception Canada made for (non-married) significant others of Canadian citizens and PRs as my partner was in the country as a student. Canada was not allowing re-entry for students with a valid student visa if their program moved online as a result of COVID. In most cases, K-1 is not the way to go, but there are exceptions, especially during the peak of the COVID era.
  14. Indeed, K-1s are often not the preferable option, but you outline a good case. In our case, due to Canada's strict COVID measures, the K-1 was the only option. My partner was studying in Canada during COVID-19. He could not leave Canada without losing the ability to return due to academic programs temporarily operating 100% online. He could not sponsor me to visit as a significant other during COVID-19 emergency rules (only Canadian citizens and PRs) so there was no way for us to physically reunite for 18 months. If there was not a worldwide pandemic with harsh border closures, we would have gone the CR-1/IR-1 path. I am just surprised how many people have heard of the K-1 but do not evaluate other options available to them.
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