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TL;DR Timeline for Los Angeles,CA at the bottom of the post. My husband (Nigerian) and I (female U.S. Citizen) met in mid-2019, and began dating in Los Angeles, while he was in the US for the 4th time on a Business Visitor Visa (B1). After a whirlwind romance, and basically being inseparable, we married at a Chapel (in a mall) in Las Vegas in late November 2019. We used https://simplecitizen.com/, instead of a lawyer, to file our initial Marriage-Based Adjustment of Status Petition (I-485), Petition For Alien Relative (I-130), Application for Travel Document (I-131), and Application for Employment Authorization (I-765) in Los Angeles, CA on February 3rd, 2020 (we filed on paper, not electronically, and sent it using UPS to receive tracking). Simple Citizen was an inexpensive and very thorough alternative to a traditional filing with a lawyer. They also easily included our information about using a joint sponsor. They had all of our documents quickly prepared and we experienced no requests for information or delays from USCIS. The Chicago lockbox received our petition on February 5th and we received our receipt numbers via text on February 13th (the physical receipt followed soon after). My husband went in for his biometrics on March 3rd, 2020; a few weeks before the COVID closures began (were also reused for a later biometrics notice that was canceled due to COVID from USCIS). The Case Tracker App updated to “Ready to be Scheduled for an Interview” sometime in April 2020. My husband was approved for his Employment Authorization Document (EAD I-765)/Advance Parole (AP I-131) Combo Card, 5 months after filing on June 29th and received it on July 22nd. We also moved to another apartment in LA during the petition process and promptly informed them of our new address by filling out form AR-11 online. USCIS confirmed our new address through email about a week later. Our interview was scheduled for February 3rd, 2021 (informed it was scheduled via Case Tracker on December 24, 2020 and notice received January 4th, 2021) at the USCIS Field Office in Los Angeles (300 N Los Angeles St rm 7631, Los Angeles, CA 90012). We woke up bright and early at 4:30 AM and left for the Field Office at 6:00 AM. A few days prior, we chose business casual attire to wear. My husband wore a plaid burgundy button-down shirt, black dress pants, his wedding band, and black dress shoes. I wore a pretty blue and gray floral sleeveless blouse, black dress pants, and black flats. I also wore short, dangly silver earrings, my wedding ring, a silver bracelet, and I brought a black blazer just in case I got cold. I didn’t wear any makeup because I never wear it anyway. We had a straightforward and enjoyable interview that was scheduled for 7:15 am (one of the first ones of the day). We received the interview notice about a month prior to the scheduled appointment, but I was notified that it was scheduled 42 days before the actual appointment through the case tracker app. I couldn’t see the actual interview date in the app or on the USCIS system. Case Tracker App: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/case-tracker-for-uscis/id921827126 We parked in the garage (221 N Los Angeles St, Los Angeles, CA 90012) across from the Field Office but it was early in the day, parking was not hard at all. When we left the interview and returned to our car the garage was almost completely full, so plan accordingly for parking. We arrived about 20 or 30 minutes late to the interview office due to the long line to enter USCIS Los Angeles in DTLA. We arrived at 6:40 am in the parking garage and had some trouble finding the correct building because we mistakenly went all around the courthouse looking for USCIS, so that delayed us some. This happened because we foolishly followed behind a different couple and lost track of where they walked. This caused us to go to the courthouse instead. Luckily, we still had our phones, which are allowed as long as they are turned off during the interview, and found our way using google maps. Once we found the Field Office the line to enter the building from the right was super long and slow-moving (this was the only line we could see at the time). Later, after already waiting in the slow line, we learned that there was another line on the left, if looking directly at the building, which was faster according to a man we thought was an Officer. I later learned that he was just a good samaritan who wanted to help people with early appointments get in on time (he was in the fast line and had been to this Field Office numerous times). We tested this theory by splitting up to see who would get near the front of the line first and periodically speaking on the phone to keep each other updated on our progress. I also called my mom to distract myself from the growing anxiety about being late (which could lead to a canceled interview/denied petition which then could lead to the deportation of my husband or restarting the whole tedious Petition process-as you could see I was getting frantic). Luckily I was able to stay calm. Soon, my husband called and said he was near the front and I came back to the slow line. As I walked back to join my husband in the other line an Officer in the front of the building also confirmed that the other line was faster (the Officer wanted to know why I was leaving the fast line). The slow line/fast line theory seemed true based on my experience but I went back to join my husband in the slow line because he mistakenly thought he was closer than me. Thankfully, we had absolutely no problems as a result of being late (we both were worried while waiting outside in the line. I was probably more worried though). As you can see the anxiety of being late is no fun. I would recommend you arrive really early to be on the safe side. While going through the metal detectors and having our belongings x-rayed; I asked the Officer what was the fastest way to the USCIS Field Office. He let us know the way and once we got to the office, on the 8th floor, we were called into the interview soon after being checked in. In the interview room, we were sworn in and then started the interview. The Officer (who was a very kind and chatty Latinx woman) wanted to see our passports and original birth certificates, our certified marriage certificate, my husband's EAD and DMV real ID application, my California driver’s license, and evidence of our relationship. Some of the questions she asked were: how we met, describe our first few dates, when we met each other’s parents, when we got married, questions about our siblings, what my husband does for work, what I do for work, when my husband entered the U.S. and on what visa, and when we moved in together. We were able to answer these questions together or she directed them to my husband. In all, she directed most of the questions at my husband and asked us our respective verification questions (SSN, mailing address, residential address, phone number, our parent’s names, and date of birth). I barely had to say anything the entire interview and all of the questions directed at us were easy as pie. We also brought a photo album and the Officer looked through it. I definitely over-prepared for the interview with all the documents and evidence (I started prepping as soon as we got the interview notice on January 4th, 2021). We also brought our joint sponsor’s tax returns and W-2’s from 2018 and 2019, employment letters from 2020 and 2021, and his last 2 month’s pay stubs. The Officer didn’t ask for any of those documents, which made up the bulk of all the things I printed (around 1200 pages). For some of the printing, Staples print services came in handy and I used CVS to print the pictures. The only thing the Officer asked us about our sponsor was how we knew him (he is a friend of my husband; they met through a previous contracting job). I also re-printed our entire Adjustment of Status application, but better to be too prepared than under right? The Officer looked at/kept roughly 100 pages of the stuff I brought. The Officer kept the evidence of our relationship (bank statements, health insurance, trips, our pandemic puppy’s AKC and ICA registration which showed both of our last names, leases for the 2 apartments we rented in our time together, SoCal Gas and LADWP utility bills for the past 3 months, renters insurance for both apartments, couples therapy bill and video call screenshots, and about 30 photos of us with descriptions and dates on the back of them. We also provided pictures of our 2 apartments. The Officer said she wanted to copy our passports, my husband’s EAD and DMV Real ID application, and my driver’s license. Then she came back with our approval letter! We are so happy and had a really simple Adjustment of status overall! The main issue was delays due to COVID closures but everyone has been dealing with that. Overall the waiting process has been, coincidentally, exactly a year (we sent in the petition on February 3rd, 2020 and we were approved Feb 3rd, 2021)! My husband sent in his medical exam (I-693) with our original petition in 2020 so that most likely allowed us to be approved during the interview. We are getting the conditional Green Card so we will apply for the 10-year green card (I-751 Petition) 3 months before the 2 year Green Card expires in November 2022. my thoughts to you is not to worry (easier said than done, I was worrying basically the entire process). As long as you are in a real, loving marriage everything will be fine. Just be sure to have all the documents, evidence, and original (non-expired) identification (follow the interview notice carefully). Don't be afraid to over-prepare (start preparing as soon as or before you get the interview notice so that you won’t get overwhelmed) and don't try to rehearse your answers, as that may send red flags. Also, take a ton of pictures of you and your spouse with family, friends, pets, in your home, on trips, and doing activities and print them (you can’t use any digital methods to show the pictures). Be sure to keep the pictures sorted so that you can use them in an album, with dates and descriptions. I got my album from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003WSUYOY/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apip_itW1xSYVBpCqo) Wait patiently for the slow process to progress and eventually the interview notice will appear (make sure you have a secure location to receive the notices, we have a PO Box at UPS). Using https://www.visajourney.com/ was an especially helpful and reliable way to see when you may have petition milestones as everyone updates their timelines depending on the type of petition they are filing. Be sure to update your timeline on visajourney too so that you can help others. The subreddits r/USCIS and r/immigration were also good resources to read about other people's experiences and keep up with the latest immigration news. In the interview, just act natural and look at it like a conversation/sharing the journey of your relationship/marriage with the Officer. I hope this post helped to ease some of your anxiety about this process and I wish you all the best! TL;DR Timeline for Los Angeles,CA: Married in Las Vegas: 11/22/19 Sent in Petition via UPS (I-485, I-130, I-131, I-765 and included Medical Exam I-693): 2/3/20 Petition Received at Chicago Lockbox (notified via Case Tracker App): 2/5/20 Receipt Numbers Texted to Us : 2/13/20 Receipt Numbers Received by Mail: 2/20/20 Biometrics Appointment Notice Received: 2/25/20 Biometrics (also reused for later biometrics notice that was canceled due to COVID): 3/3/20 Case Tracker App Updated to "Ready to be Scheduled for an Interview": Sometime in April 2020 EAD (I-765)/AP Combo Card (I-131) Approved, notified via Case tracker App: 6/29/20 EAD/AP Combo Card Received: 7/22/20 Case Tracker App Updated to Interview Scheduled: 12/24/20 Interview Date Notice Received in Mail: 1/4/21 Interview/Approval of I-485 (approved in interview, coincidentally, exactly a year later): 2/3/21 Conditional Green Card Received: I will update when it arrives
Hey VJ Fam, In August and October the US Consulate called to pick up a document requested with Form 221g. However everytime i get to the GSS office in Victoria Island they will me the embassy didnt send any document. This is the fouth time i have travelled to Lagos for the document and same result. Has anyone experience anything like this before and how did you resolve it. Thanks
A friend of mine is planning to get married to a US citizen, wedding is scheduled to hold in Nigeria afterwards, they'd begin visa petition process. She was told by someone that they need to make a newspaper announcement of their wedding prior to the day. That it's to be used alongside other documents and photos proving their wedding is legal, for her future interview. Is this requirement necessary or not? Quote
Guys please help me out, I am confused, I already have the Nigerian national population commission ATTESTATION OF BIRTH certificate. Which is the National population commission long form birth certificate? Are they not supposed to serve the same purpose? Thanks