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jac_chappin's US Immigration Timeline

blank avatar   Petitioner's Name: Jac
Beneficiary's Name: Hanh
VJ Member: jac_chappin
Country: Vietnam

Last Updated: 2017-01-07
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Immigration Checklist for Jac & Hanh:

USCIS I-129F Petition:      
Dept of State K1 Visa:    
USCIS I-485 Petition:  
USCIS I-765 Petition:      
USCIS I-131 Petition:      
USCIS I-751 Petition:  
USCIS N-400 Petition:  

K1 Visa
Event Date
Service Center : California Service Center
Transferred? No
Consulate : Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
I-129F Sent : 2011-01-03
I-129F NOA1 : 2011-01-05
I-129F RFE(s) :
RFE Reply(s) :
I-129F NOA2 : 2011-04-25
NVC Received : 2011-04-29
Date Case #, IIN, and BIN assigned :
NVC Left : 2011-05-02
Consulate Received : 2011-05-05
Packet 3 Received :
Packet 3 Sent : 2011-05-25
Packet 4 Received : 2011-06-30
Interview Date : 2011-07-14
Interview Result : Approved
Second Interview
(If Required):
Second Interview Result:
Visa Received : 2011-07-22
US Entry : 2011-09-02
Marriage : 2011-10-20
Comments : Packet 3 was sent out on 5/9 but as of 6/29, fiancee hasn't received it so we downloaded forms and took them to consulate. Called DOS 3 times a week and finally got an interview date of 7/14. Fiance picked up letter/package 4 the next day for vaccines and medical. Packet 4 was picked up on 6/27/11 and my fiancee received a copy on 6/30/11. Wow! I'm amazed and how interview went. Will post what happened.
Estimates/Stats :
Your I-129f was approved in 110 days from your NOA1 date.

Your interview took 190 days from your I-129F NOA1 date.

Port of Entry Review
Event Date
Port of Entry : San Francisco
POE Date : 2011-09-02
Got EAD Stamp : No
Biometrics Taken : Yes
Harassment Level : 0
Comments : Very smooth!

Adjustment of Status
Event Date
CIS Office : San Francisco CA
Date Filed : 2011-11-28
NOA Date : 2011-11-30
RFE(s) :
Bio. Appt. : 2011-12-23
AOS Transfer** :
Interview Date : 2012-02-08
Approval / Denial Date : 2012-02-09
Approved : Yes
Got I551 Stamp :
Greencard Received: 2012-02-17
Comments : Posted review in AOS forum!

Employment Authorization Document
Event Date
CIS Office : Chicago IL
Filing Method : Mail
Filing Instance : First
Date Filed : 2011-11-28
NOA Date : 2011-11-30
RFE(s) :
Bio. Appt. : 2011-12-23
Approved Date : 2012-01-27
Date Card Received : 2012-02-01
Comments : Received combo card
Estimates/Stats :
Your EAD was approved in 60 days.

Advance Parole
Event Date
CIS Office : Chicago IL
Filing Method :  
Filing Instance : First
Date Filed : 2011-11-28
NOA Date : 2011-11-30
RFE(s) :
Date Received : 2012-02-01
Comments : Receivec combo card
Estimates/Stats :
Your AP was approved in 60 days.

Lifting Conditions
Event Date
CIS Office : California Service Center
Date Filed : 2013-12-26
NOA Date : 2014-01-02
RFE(s) :
Bio. Appt. : 2014-01-27
Interview Date :
Approval / Denial Date : 2014-04-08
Approved : Yes
Got I551 Stamp :
Green Card Received : 2014-04-17
Comments : We got e-mail and text on 4/8 that ROC was approved. On 4/11 I received the official letter and now just waiting for green card. ROC took a little more than three months.

Event Date
Service Center : Phoenix AZ Lockbox
CIS Office : San Francisco CA
Date Filed : 2016-09-09
NOA Date : 2016-09-14
Bio. Appt. : 2016-10-14
Interview Date : 2016-12-14
Approved : Yes
Oath Ceremony : 2017-01-05
Comments : My wife had interview today 12/14/16 and it went pretty smooth. Very quick! It took about 3 months and five days to have interview. We have an NBC* case number. It took about 4 months for my wife to get citizenship after applying.

Member Reviews:

Consulate Review: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Review Topic: K1 Visa
Event Description
Review Date : July 20, 2011
Embassy Review : My approach for the visa interview was to prepare for the toughest interview possible which entailed weeks of work on my part as well as my fiancee's. In addition, once we had the appointment letter, I booked a flight to Vietnam because I wanted to be there for my fiancee for support and also incase something came up that I could handle more easily.

I was really worried because the name on the appointment letter was out of sequence and then realized that on ALL of the forms submitted (I-129f, G-325a, DS-230, DS-2001) , I had swapped my fiancee's middle names (she has 2) but this didn't present a problem.

I did however talk to two different people at the consulate the day before interview about my concern and they both assured me that the middle name swapping was not a problem. Apparently this is a common problem in Vietnam. They also stated that name corrections are done the day of the interview based on the beneficiaries birth certificate.

Then I posed the question about the background checks going against the wrong name since middle was swapped and was told that they run the background check before visa is issued. Very interesting! They said it's actually conducted the day of the interview and I suspect the fingerprints taken are used for such check.

So we got to the consulate around 7:30 AM for the 9:30 AM appointment. We entered the consulate through a side door only to come out again then enter the main consulate entrance. I guess they don't want a big line in front of consulate.

We waited for about 15 minutes once we entered the side entrance then 5 minutes to enter main entrance. We went through security check and I got scanned then proceeded to get in line for our number. The lady at the window was very rude by the way. She asked me for my passport and asked my fiancee the name on it then gave it back.

We waited for about 30 minutes and got called up for paperwork. We had two piles of documents required. One pile contained originals (birth certificates (mine was translated in the US from Spanish to English by a certified translator, ID card,
justice record check, family registration book) and the other copies (guys was very nice and I was joking with him). We also had 2 big binders containing evidence of our bona fide relationship separated by before/after Dam Hoi. Evidence consisted of the following:
1. Pictures (pictures with fiancee's family in one ziplog bag and pictures of only us in another for easy access).
2. Att cell logs, PIngo logs, Skype logs
3. Receipts for expenses for Dam Hoi (ring, restaurant, cake, photographer, Ao Dai)
4. Receipts for visits to Vietnam
5. Notarized timeline
6. Notarized proof of domicile for the last 10 years with supporting evidence ( utility bills, lease contracts, insurance bills)
7. Itinerary and boarding passes for all of my trips to Vietnam
8. Notarized letters from my family stating that they fully support our relationship
9. Signed letters from her parents as well. As I understand it they don't notarize documents in Vietnam like they do in the US. My fiancée checked at two notary publics in HCMC and was told the same thing.
10. Financial support (wire transfer receipts)

Each binder had a listing of evidence and I added our best picture (before and after Dam Hoi) to cover sheet in order to catch the CO's attention.

Below are the specifics of our case:

1. Met fiancée when I visited Vietnam in April 2010
2. I'm Hispanic and 40 years old. Fiancée is 22 (possible red flag)
3. Got engaged in December 2010 over the phone
4. Had Dam Hoi/engament party in March 2011
5. Visited my fiancée 4 times (including my current visit for interview)

So my fiancée’s number got called for actual interview and I walked up with her to window carrying evidence (about 10 pounds worth) (the waiting area felt very tense and you could see the stress on people's face).
I did this on purpose so CO could see that I was there with her. Once I placed evidence on window, I smiled at CO & translator and said good morning then walked away.
As I was walking away, CO called me back and asked me if I'd like to stay for interview and I said "YES" so we got sworn in. (I was stunned because I've never heard of a case where the fiancé gets invited by the CO to stay for interview).

I noticed the pink slip sitting at counter and knew the pink slip was ours thus reducing my stress level (note: pink slip is actual checklist of documents that got checked in earlier).

The CO asked us to slide our evidence through window and started asking the following questions:

1. How did we meet?
2. Where I work? What I do?
3. If we had Dam Hoi? How many people attended? When was it?
4. Did anyone from US go and I said no because it’s very expensive to go to Vietnam especially for my Mom since she is retired. CO said he understood.
5. Our marriage plans?

6. If we were married (trick question because he knew it was a K-1 visa)? This was asked by guy checking in paperwork also.

CO sifted through the evidence quickly and said, “wow, you have everything in here.”
I replied, “ yup, it’s my job to make your job easier and he said he appreciated that.”

Then he said, "I approve your visa and asked when I was going back to US?" I said on “7/17/11” and he said “That’s too bad because if I wait she can go with you.”

He also asked me how my fiancée’s parents felt about her moving to the US and I said “it was bittersweet because they’ll miss her but happy.” He said “maybe they can visit her.” I said “for sure.”

He signed pink slip and told us to pick up visa in a week. I gave him a sincere “thank you” from the bottome of my heart and he laughed. I hugged and kissed my fiancée and we walked away extremely happy. The other folks waiting were just looking at us in a crazy way. The CO’s decision was validated even more based on our reaction after he gave us the pink slip. He was probably thinking, “ yup, they are in love alright.”

Parting thoughts:

1. If your relationship is real visa will eventually come so please have faith.
2. Have thorough documentation of bona fide relationship
3. Try to be with your fiancée for interview if you can because it helps with her confidence but more importantly it shows CO your dedication to relationship. Heck, CO might even invite you to stay for interview ☺. This made my fiancée more comfortable. We were even joking with CO about prime rib.
4. The CO was a young Caucasian male in his mid 20s.
5. Other interviews were taking 15-20 minutes and beneficiaries were getting grilled
6. They had the complete K-1 package I submitted in January.
7. I asked my fiancée to dress as if she was going to a job interview.
8. Based on hundreds of post, I compiled a list of 100 questions or so and wrote answers to them so my fiancée could study them. She studied them for over a month
9. I visited Vietnam a month prior to interview (didn’t think interview was going to be scheduled in July) and made a point to visit consulate and speak to a CO about my case. I wanted to make sure they noted I was there in person and they did (this showed another visit to see my fiancée). Reason I know is because when I called DOS my request to get e-mail of when interview was scheduled was in the system. I never got e-mail but it’s ok. They knew I was there and that’s all that matters.
10. Get the justice checks as soon as packet 3 is sent. It takes a month to get but having them before packet 4 is sent reduces the stress level.

11. As soon as you find out from DOS that packet 3 is sent download forms contained in packet 3 and take them to Consulate. My fiancée never received packet 3. We waited 3 weeks and finally just downloaded forms from Consulate web site.

I sincerely hope that my VJ experience summary helps other VJ members through their own journey. I’ll post 100 interview questions so other members can benefit as well.

Best wishes to all!
Rating : Very Good

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*Notice about estimates: The estimates are based off averages of other members recent experiences
(documented in their timelines) for the same benefit/petition/application at the same filing location.
Individual results may vary as every case is not always 'average'. Past performance does not necessarily
predict future results. The 'as early as date' may change over time based on current reported processing
times from members. There have historically been cases where a benefit/petition/application processing
briefly slows down or stops and this can not be predicted. Use these dates as reference only and do not
rely on them for planning. As always you should check the USCIS processing times to see if your application
is past due.

** Not all cases are transfered

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