|Local US CIS Office Review: Washington DC
Review Topic: cis_topic
|Review Date :
||May 8, 2008
|Embassy Review :
||Today, we had our interview for Adjustment of Status at the Fairfax, VA district office. Our appointment was for 1:30, and we arrived around 1:00. We had to wait in line to go through security, which was a bit hectic (a lot of people in line and several people asking if they could cut in line b/c they just wanted to ask security guard for forms or something), but eventually got through it and upstairs to the interview waiting room by 1:15.
Our lawyer met us there, and we sat waiting and chatting for a while. Around maybe 1:50, our name got called by a young man at the door – and I think my husband’s heart almost stopped. His hands were totally clammy; he was very nervous. But the man who greeted us and took us back to his office seemed very calm and laid-back – a young, clean-cut black man (looked to be about 30 years old). His laid-back attitude about it put us at ease as he took us into his office.
He introduced himself as Officer Burton, and said he would be working with us today. He first had us raise our right hands as we stood in front of his desk, and asked if we swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. He said “I do”, and I said “Yes, I do” – felt like we were marrying all over again with the “I do’s”. Heh heh!
We then sat down in front of his desk in two chairs, and our lawyer sat behind us. He had our file open on his desk, and thumbed through it very quickly. He had made his own device out of a plastic thumb cover (made for leafing through pages) stuck onto a highlighter. He used this device very nimbly to flip through all the pages of our file very rapidly.
He first addressed my husband, and went over the information from the I-485 – asked him for his Name, Address, Birthday, Parents’ names. He then asked him a few other questions: What is your wife’s birthday? What city and state was your wife born in? Then he went into the YES/NO questions which he answered all NOs to. He also asked my husband when the last time he entered the U.S. was, and confirmed that he’d never left the U.S. since then. He asked if he had ever applied for permanent residency before (answer was no).
Then he turned to me. He asked how we met, if we were friends first, and how we went from being friends to dating to getting married. I answered this question a little awkwardly, since I wasn’t sure how to explain *how* we went from being friends to dating… but it was fine! He asked the date of our marriage, and place of marriage. Since we got married in NY, but then moved soon afterwards to DC, he asked why we moved to this area (for my job). He asked me what my husband’s birthday was, and his city and country of birth.
After these questions, he did a bunch of work on his own, thumbing back and forth very rapidly through our file papers, and entering things into the computer – and he didn’t say a word. It felt a bit strange since he was so quiet, and no one was saying a word. I know my husband was feeling nervous during this time, because we didn’t really know what was going on, what he was doing. But he had been very nice throughout, so it wasn’t too bad.
Then he asked what we had brought for him as proof. We gave him first (per our lawyer’s recommendation) the crucial stuff – our most recent joint tax returns (2007), my updated employment letter and recent pay stubs, and updated joint health insurance info. He filed these away and asked what else we had. We showed him our photos (I had put together pages of about 100 photos starting from when we first started dating in 2002 to present), and he saw our binder and said “Are those bills?” So we took out the joint phone bills we have, as well as previous energy bills from when we lived in NY and gave him those copies. We also gave him a copy of a joint credit card we have. Since he was just taking everything we gave him, I also mentioned we had copies of correspondence we’d sent each other during our whole relationship – and he said sure he’d take whatever we gave him. We also gave him copies of cards/letters that friends & family had sent to us (were addressed to both of us). He took everything! We were a bit surprised, because our lawyer said that they usually just will want 1-2 pages for their files, but won’t take everything. He kept it all!! Including all of our photos… so our file when we were all done was quite thick. At least four fold bigger than when we had arrived!
At some point during all of this (I think it was earlier when he was doing his own work quietly with our file and the computer and not talking), I heard his printer going, that he had printed something out. I noticed it at the time, because I wondered – could it be something good?? But then we had just continued with the interview, and I didn’t think of it again. After he had taken all of our evidence which I just mentioned, he pulled out a piece of paper and put it in front of my husband and said “I’d like you to read this.”
My husband started reading it and got through the first sentence, which read “… you have been granted conditional permanent residence in the United States…” when his heart just went into shock with excitement and he looked up at the Officer to confirm – “Does this mean I’ve been granted permanent residence?” He smiled and said yes, saying that he couldn’t do everything at once (I think he was referring to that he was still filling out our forms and so he had given him the paper instead of reading it to him?). !!!!!!!!!!! WE WERE SO HAPPY!!!! We hugged each other, and then I reminded my husband that he was supposed to read this paper, so we both read through it (it just explained that it is a *conditional* permanent residence).
My husband thanked the officer profusely, and he said there was no need to thank him, that we had made it easy for him. He apologized for the wait (which we thought there was no need for! The wait was not so bad). And he led us out back to the waiting room. WE WERE ECSTATIC!!
My husband had been very nervous about this whole thing, mainly because he had had an overstay of about 5 years. Though we know that marriage to a USC allows successful AOS after an overstay and all of that, still… he was very nervous about the whole thing because he just has a very guilty conscience (perhaps it’s the Catholic upbringing!), and thought maybe there would be something they might think of or find that we hadn’t thought of, or known about.
But it was super easy!!! He keeps saying he can’t believe it. You don’t know how joyful it is now, after so many years being out of status and being so very very nervous and aware of that, to finally be free and clear and able to truly re-start our lives. It has been 9 years since he has been home to the Philippines, and I can’t wait to go with him!!
|Harassment Level :