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oohpartiv's US Immigration Timeline

  Petitioner's Name: Liz
Beneficiary's Name: Diego
VJ Member: oohpartiv
Country: Ecuador

Last Updated: 2016-08-28
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Immigration Checklist for Liz & Diego:

USCIS I-130 Petition:      
Dept of State IR-1/CR-1 Visa:    
USCIS I-751 Petition:  
USCIS N-400 Petition:  

IR-1/CR-1 Visa
Event Date
Service Center : California Service Center
Transferred? No
Consulate : Guayaquil, Ecuador
Marriage (if applicable): 2011-05-04
I-130 Sent : 2012-06-30
I-130 NOA1 : 2012-07-03
I-130 RFE : 2012-12-05
I-130 RFE Sent : 2012-12-15
I-130 Approved : 2013-01-16
NVC Received : 2013-01-21
Received DS-261 / AOS Bill : 2013-02-07
Pay AOS Bill : 2013-02-07
Receive I-864 Package :
Send AOS Package : 2013-02-21
Submit DS-261 : 2013-02-04
Receive IV Bill : 2013-02-19
Pay IV Bill : 2013-02-19
Send IV Package :
Receive Instruction and Interview appointment letter : 2013-02-19
Case Completed at NVC : 2013-03-05
NVC Left : 2013-04-24
Consulate Received : 2013-04-29
Packet 3 Received :
Packet 3 Sent :
Packet 4 Received : 2013-04-24
Interview Date : 2013-05-29
Interview Result : Approved
Second Interview
(If Required):
Second Interview Result:
Visa Received : 2013-05-29
US Entry : 2013-06-11
Comments : I (the USC) lived abroad throughout the entire process, and put my foreign address on the I-130. We were sent an RFE on August 8th, 2012, but unfortunately Ecuador's faulty mail system sent it back to USCIS, and we didn't find out about it until November, which set our case back several months. We finally got the situation sorted out and sent the correct documents in response to the RFE in December.
Estimates/Stats :
Your I-130 was approved in 197 days from your NOA1 date.

Your interview took 330 days from your I-130 NOA1 date.

Port of Entry Review
Event Date
Port of Entry : Miami
POE Date : 2013-06-11
Got EAD Stamp :
Biometrics Taken : Yes
Harassment Level : 0
Comments : Flew from Guayaquil at 11:30 PM and got to Miami at 5 AM. Both of us got in the US citizen's line at customs. We gave the lady at the desk both our passports, our customs cards, and the IR-1 envelope. She took his fingerprints and made small talk about Ecuador. She stamped my passport and card, and gave them back to me, and took all of hubby's things and gave them to another man, who led us to a different room.

We sat down in a big (empty) room full of chairs. There was one other man in the room, but we still had to wait two hours to get called for some reason. The officer asked hubby some simple questions (Who's petitioning you? Who is she? How long have you been married? Where did you go on your honeymoon?), then told us to wait again. She came back after about fifteen minutes with hubby's passport and customs card. A different man stamped his passport, and we were free to go to our connecting flight.

Keep in mind that if you have a connecting domestic flight, you should give yourself a good amount of time in Miami to get through everything, because you'll have to pick up all your luggage, go through security again, drop it off, etc etc. After customs, it took us another 1.5 hours to get to the waiting area at the gate for our next flight. Luckily, we'd chosen a flight that gave us 4.5 hours in Miami, so we were okay, but others had flights at 7:30 AM and missed them. Give yourself lots of time!

Event Date
Service Center : Lewisville TX Lockbox
CIS Office : Washington DC
Date Filed : 2016-03-14
NOA Date : 2016-03-15
Bio. Appt. : 2016-04-13
Interview Date : 2016-07-11
Approved : Yes
Oath Ceremony : 2016-08-29
Comments : The interview at the Washington DC Field office (which is actually located in Fairfax, VA) was very straightforward. We arrived about thirty minutes beforehand, which was good because there were a lot of people and the security check in was backlogged. Once we got upstairs to the waiting room we waited for around twenty minutes before my husband's name was called. I waited while he was interviewed, and to my surprise he was done in around ten or fifteen minutes.

Hubby said they only asked him three civics questions, all of which he got correct, and then had him write down "who can vote" and the answer ("citizens") for the English portion of the test - a much simpler "exam" than we had anticipated. Then the officer asked him some general questions about whether or not he had affiliations with communist or terrorist organizations, if he'd ever missed a tax filing, etc, then told him he was being recommended for approval.

We will be out of the country during the time slot I am expecting our oath ceremony to be scheduled, so we wrote up a letter requesting an oath date for some time after our return. After finishing the interview, hubby gave the officer a copy of this signed letter with a copy of our flight itinerary to show what dates we would be gone. She was very appreciative and accepted the letter, and said she would make sure to put him in for a ceremony date after our return. She added the letter to his file and made a footnote of his request on his approval notice before giving it to him, and told him he would present that to the officers at the oath ceremony. Then she congratulated him and said he would receive an oath date via letter in the mail in about a week or so. Overall, a pleasant and easy experience.

Member Reviews:

Consulate Review: Guayaquil, Ecuador
Review Topic: IR-1/CR-1 Visa
Event Description
Review Date : May 30, 2013
Embassy Review : As I lived in Ecuador with my husband for years before the interview, I accompanied him that day. Since we live several hours away from Guayaquil, we went to stay with friends in Portoviejo the day before the interview, and got a bus at 2 AM on May 29th so we would get there on time. We arrived in the city at around 5 AM, and got to the consulate at around 5:45 AM. We were surprised to see around 20 people already waiting outside, and got in line behind them. At around 7 AM, a man came out and separated the crowd into two lines: one for non-immigrant visas, and another for immigrants. The NIV line went in first, and then the IV line. We all got visitor's tags (yellow for NIV and red for IV) after giving the man the copy of the P4 email and showing him our passport photos. We gave our cell phone to the security guard inside, who gave us a ticket to get it back afterwards, and went into the back room.

As instructed here on VJ, we sat in the very back of the room. The room itself has about thirty chairs in it, and four stalls labelled 1 - 4. Stall number one is where fingerprints are taken and the actual interview happens, while the other three are where you turn in your documents and evidence.

We got in and sat down at around 7:15. An American woman came in, made us all take an oath, and told us that as long as we had all the documents in order we would all be approved that day. She turned out to be the interviewer. We sat and eavesdropped on the other interviews until we got called up to stall 4 at around 9 AM. There was an older Ecuadorian woman there, who asked for our documents. She only spoke to us in Spanish, and only addressed my husband until he told her I spoke Spanish. We asked her if she wanted our evidence, too, and she said yes. She went through everything, gave us back a pile of papers (which turned our to be all the originals and documents we had ever sent in to USCIS and NVC) and asked us a few simple questions, like how/when we had met, why I had decided to come live in Ecuador, what we both did here, if we worked, who supported us, how many times I had come to visit him before I moved here, when we got engaged, when we got married, if my family was at the wedding, who we lived with. She was typing on the computer, and I got the impression that she was making a small summary of our relationship for the interviewer to read. Then she told us to take a seat again.

Again, we sat down and waited. By this time we were getting nervous because we could hear all the other interviews going on next to us at stall 1, and heard a lot of people get turned down until they could find another sponsor. At 10 AM, we got called to stall 1. The American woman told hubby (in Spanish) how to do his fingerprints on the little screen she provided, and then asked him a few basic questions: Had he ever been to the USA before? Had he ever had any problems with the law? Where was he going to live in the USA? What did he plan to do there? Did he speak English? Then she asked me how many times I had traveled between Ecuador and the USA, and if we planned to relocate immediately after his visa was approved. We said yes. She asked who our joint sponsor was, and I told her my mom. She flipped through our casefile (which she had in front of her), did a few clicks on the computer, and said "Your visa has been approved!" She gave my husband a green piece of paper that had information on domestic abuse, along with two half sheets of paper, one yellow and one blue, that had the information on how to get your visa through DHL.

I reminded her that we had recently celebrated our two year wedding anniversary, and to check that our case had been updated from CR-1 to IR-1 (it had). I also told her that I had emailed the consulate a few weeks earlier, and had been informed that I could request same day or next day visa pick-up there at the consulate instead of getting it through DHL. She said, "Oh, sure!" and asked for the two half sheets back. She gave us a small square of yellow paper that said "Guayaquil Consulate IV Unit" and wrote 3:00 PM on it, and told us to come back later. We were out of there by 10:15 AM.

When we came back, I showed the paper to the guards outside, and they let me in. I went into the small back room, and knocked on the door next to the stalls. A man came over, and I explained that my husband's visa had been approved earlier that day, and gave him the small yellow paper. He asked for my husband's name, and told me to wait a few moments. After about twenty minutes, he called me back over and gave me my husband's passport with the visa inside, a sheet of paper with information on how to pay the immigration fee, and the sealed envelope for immigration at the POE. And that was it!

A few tips:

1. Even though we had a very successful, even pleasant experience, I would still take heed to all the warnings here on VJ. Rather, I feel like we were so successful BECAUSE we listened to all of the advice. We went with a photocopy of every document we'd ever submitted, along with original copies of all of our civil documents (marriage certs, birth certs, police records, etc). We took extra passport photos, clips, manila envelopes, and a pen, too. Our over preparation calmed my nerves, and I think it helped that the consulate workers saw how prepared we were.

2. Get there early, if only so you can get a good seat in the IV room. A lot of people got there late and were sent upstairs, and couldn't hear their names when they were called to one of the stalls, so they were skipped and had to wait until later. Also, bring a sweater! It's super cold in there.

3. I feel that my presence there really made a difference. I was the only American there with their spouse that morning, and listening to the other spouses had their interviews alone, my husband definitely had a much easier time. Others had to answer many more questions, or were sent away for more evidence and told to come back another day. Also, when I went back at the end of the day to pick up the visa, there was a couple with a very noticeable age difference who was undergoing a "stoke's interview", probably due to their scarce evidence. Over prepare! Hubby and I included:

- 100+ photos (especially from our civil wedding, wedding party, and with family members)
- Statement from joint bank account
- 20 pages of facebook comments/messages
- Photocopies of all my passport stamps to/from Ecuador
- Photocopies of all my Ecuadorian visas
- Photocopy of my Ecuadorian cedula
- Flight itineraries from when my family came to visit
- Hotel reservations from trips to Quito
- Rent contracts from previous apartments
- Correspondence with universities in the USA

Read up on the process, go prepared, tell the truth, and you should be fine.
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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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