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Melrose Plant's US Immigration Timeline

  Petitioner's Name: James
Beneficiary's Name: Mai Anh
VJ Member: Melrose Plant
Country: Vietnam

Last Updated: 2009-02-14
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Immigration Checklist for James & Mai Anh:

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 : 2007-08-16
I-129F NOA1 : 2007-08-24
I-129F RFE(s) :
RFE Reply(s) :
I-129F NOA2 : 2008-01-25
NVC Received : 2008-02-04
Date Case #, IIN, and BIN assigned :
NVC Left : 2008-02-07
Consulate Received : 2008-02-18
Packet 3 Received : 2008-02-20
Packet 3 Sent : 2008-02-28
Packet 4 Received : 2008-04-28
Interview Date : 2008-05-09
Interview Result :
Second Interview
(If Required):
Second Interview Result:
Visa Received : 2008-05-16
US Entry : 2008-06-03
Marriage : 2008-06-24
Comments : I sure wish we had compiled all the documents and filed sooner.....but now it doesn't really matter because we are together at last!
Estimates/Stats :
Your I-129f was approved in 154 days from your NOA1 date.

Your interview took 259 days from your I-129F NOA1 date.

Port of Entry Review
Event Date
Port of Entry : Chicago
POE Date : 2008-06-03
Got EAD Stamp : No
Biometrics Taken : Yes
Harassment Level : 0
Comments : Our entry into the United States went a lot more smoothly and quickly than I anticipated. In fact, it went so smoothly that we wound up waiting over 4 hours in Chicago O'Hare for our connecting flight.

Adjustment of Status
Event Date
CIS Office : Des Moines IA
Date Filed : 2008-08-22
NOA Date : 2008-08-26
RFE(s) :
Bio. Appt. : 2008-09-19
AOS Transfer** : 2008-09-26
Interview Date :
Approval / Denial Date : 2009-02-04
Approved : Yes
Got I551 Stamp : No
Greencard Received: 2009-02-13
Comments : It took a while, but we never had any issues with the process. In fact, we were never contacted in any way except for the biometrics appointment.

Employment Authorization Document
Event Date
CIS Office : Chicago National Office
Filing Method : Mail
Filing Instance : First
Date Filed : 2008-08-22
NOA Date : 2008-08-26
RFE(s) :
Bio. Appt. : 2008-09-19
Approved Date : 2008-11-17
Date Card Received : 2008-11-29
Comments : Received Social Security Card in the mail today--12/11/08, a lot sooner than the guy at the SS office indicated it would take, due to name changes with our marriage. There are still conditions printed on the card, though.
Estimates/Stats :
Your EAD was approved in 87 days.

Member Reviews:

Consulate Review: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Review Topic: K1 Visa
Event Description
Review Date : August 23, 2008
Embassy Review : I would really like to be able to blast the system and give the HCMC consulate a bad rating, but from personal experience, I really can't do that. I do believe that the system is really flawed, but that is mainly because of understaffing and lack of time to give sufficient personal attention to each case.

Here is our experience: We arrived in Saigon on May 5th to prepare for a May 9th interview. We met with Marc Ellis to finish the preparation of our case. Twice. I hate Saigon. What a shithole. If I never return to Saigon, it will be too soon.

On the morning of our interview, we were running late. We were staying out in Sector 2 (as I like to refer to them). For some reason, Sector 2 is very far away from Sector 1 where the consulate is. Some idiot numbered these things evidently. Anyway, I had allowed about an hour of slop in our schedule, and despite the taxi driver's unwillingness to take the ferry (the shortest way), we arrived in plenty of time, which is to say that about 3/4 of the people were there before us. Which is ironic, since to any other function, Vietnamese are always an hour late.

I am writing this more than 3 months after the fact, so my memory is not 100% correct about everything, but this is my best present recollection: This was an extremely stressful time for both Mai and me, and I really wanted to pace up and down the entire time I was waiting. Even that plan was foiled by the security guard, who in a most friendly manner (really, I am not joking) suggested that I join the other people waiting across the street from the consulate. I found 3 white guys and figured one of them must be my VJ buddy Dave from Minnesota (he was). The other 2 guys were not on VJ. One of them was military, and the other was a jackass. Actually both of them were jackasses. The military jackass announced that we better have given our passports to our fiancees. The other 3 of us panicked, begged the security guard to let us in the cattle gate (which is really what it reminds me of), so we could give our fiancees our passports. We all breathed a sigh of relief and set in for the wait.

I am really glad I had Dave to wait with, because it was a long wait. Had it just been the two jackasses, I think I would have about gone crazy. The non-military jackass was the worst. He claimed he had hired an attorney who was good friends with the "Chief," and was therefore guaranteed a pink. Of the 4 of us, he was the only blue. As you can imagine, I didn't hear exactly what happened, I could just see from what was going on that he wasn't happy. The military jackass actually got called in by the CO to answer a few questions (I never heard of such a thing before), but in the end his fiancee got the pink.

So that left Dave and I waiting there. Across the street. The very busy street. I hate Saigon. Dave and I talked. And we were silent. And we talked a little bit more. And we were silent. We watched as others came out and were obviously very happy or very unhappy. Then at about 10:15, Mai came out and within seconds, I could see that she had gotten the pink. I ran across the street (at my peril) to meet her. She was so happy, she had forgotten her common sense and gave so much money to the girls selling books. They practically cried on our shoulders with us.

But poor Dave was still waiting. He had been through this before and had been rejected. Mai had made friends with em Thao inside the consulate because of the passport thing. It identified em Thao, and Mai and em Thao talked about Visa Journey, and their experiences while they were waiting. After Mai got her pink, she really comforted Dave, and all of us waited to see what would happen. It was a very long time. Noon got closer and closer. Dave became quite nervous. Hoestly, I hoped I would be strong enough to be there if em Thao got blue. What would I say? Fianlly, about 11:30, em Thao came out of the building, and after about 5 seconds, I could see she got pink. Dave collapsed on the sidewalk. I rushed across the street and took em Thao's arm and escorted her across the street. That was one of the most powerful moments of my life. The couple that had waited more than 2 years for this moment was finally going to be together forever.

In the end, I would say we got lucky. The CO only asked Mai 4 questions, and he spoke Vietnamese. We had to stay in that shithole called Saigon for another week to wait for the visa, but overall, I think our experience was easy. It could have been much worse. Why do we have to have family and friends in Saigon?

A post-script: Mai was treated very poorly by the Vietnamese staff before her actual interview. We were encouraged to file a complaint, but by the time we entered the U.S., the sting was gone, and we never did file a complaint. I suppose we are part of the problem then, by not saying anything.
Rating : 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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