Gary and Alla's US Immigration Timeline

  Petitioner's Name: Gary
Beneficiary's Name: Alla
VJ Member: Gary and Alla
Country: Ukraine

Last Updated: 2012-02-01
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Immigration Checklist for Gary & Alla:

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 : Vermont Service Center
Transferred? No
Consulate : Ukraine
I-129F Sent : 2008-03-15
I-129F NOA1 : 2008-03-18
I-129F RFE(s) :
RFE Reply(s) :
I-129F NOA2 : 2008-05-15
NVC Received : 2008-05-21
Date Case #, IIN, and BIN assigned :
NVC Left : 2008-05-28
Consulate Received : 2008-06-03
Packet 3 Received :
Packet 3 Sent : 2008-06-04
Packet 4 Received :
Interview Date : 2008-08-07
Interview Result : Approved
Second Interview
(If Required):
Second Interview Result:
Visa Received : 2008-08-11
US Entry : 2008-09-11
Marriage : 2008-09-19
Comments : Medical exam scheduled for July 7, 2008

Wedding date set for 9-19-08 One year exactly after meeting
Processing
Estimates/Stats :
Your I-129f was approved in 58 days from your NOA1 date.

Your interview took 142 days from your I-129F NOA1 date.


Port of Entry Review
Event Date
Port of Entry : JFK
POE Date : 2008-09-11
Got EAD Stamp : Yes,Passport Stamp
Biometrics Taken : No
Harassment Level : 5
Comments :


Adjustment of Status
Event Date
CIS Office : Saint Albans VT
Date Filed : 2008-11-08
NOA Date : 2008-11-18
RFE(s) : None
Bio. Appt. : 2008-12-08
AOS Transfer** :
Interview Date : 2009-01-15
Approval / Denial Date : 2009-01-15
Approved : Yes
Got I551 Stamp : No
Greencard Received: 2009-01-29
Comments : We had our AOS interview today and Alla and Pasha will receive thier green cards in 2-3 weeks!

We arrived at the St. Albans Vermont office at 10:45 for our 11am appointment (Alla was 11am, Pasha was 11:30) At 10:56 Alla was called in by the officer and asked to bring her "evidence", even though our appointment letter said only to bring her passport and I-94. I suspected as much and brought copies of anything and everything we ever gave to USCIS.
She was brought into the office and sworn in. Then they asked all the questions on the I-485..."are you a terrorist, drug dealer, prostitute, etc." Then they went through her G-325 and asked her the name of her parents, where she was born, etc. (Pasha and I were in the waiting room at this point) Then they asked to see her "evidence" and she gave them the stack and they glanced through it, no questions asked. They asked no questions about me, my work or anything else. At 11:05 the officer came out and asked Pasha and I to go into his office. He informed us the green cards would be approved and sent within 3 weeks. He explained the process for lifting conditions, when to file, which forms to file, etc. Then asked if we had any questions. I asked if she would receive a passport stamp so we could go to Montreal this weekend. We live less than an hour from Montreal and Alla has been dying to go. He asked if it was an "emergency" and we said it was not, we just wanted to go. He said unless it is an emergency to wait for the green cards. That was it! We signed out of the place at 11:15. Now we will just check the mail. The only humorous part was he asked Alla "How does Gary treat you and your sons?" She said "Very good...so far" She said that made him "make a strange face" and he said "It is OK, you can be honest with me" She said "I AM being honest, so far Gary has been wonderful, but who knows if he will go crazy tomorrow, start drinking, beat me, or kill all around including me. I can not say what will be in the future" YIKES!!! Alla WILL tell it to you straight. Oh well, it didn't affect the outcome and NO, I will not go crazy tomorrow. :)

Oh, it was nearly 2 months to the day from filing the I-485 until green card approved. And almost 1 year to the day from when she agreed to marry me. So, our year-long "journey" is over for now, but I will stay around this great site and hope our experience can help others because ALL of you sure have been great in helping us. Best of luck.


Employment Authorization Document
Event Date
CIS Office : Chicago IL
Filing Method : Mail
Filing Instance : First
Date Filed : 2008-12-01
NOA Date : 2008-12-16
RFE(s) :
Bio. Appt. :
Approved Date : 2009-01-12
Date Card Received : 2009-01-17
Comments : filed on outdated form. First filing rejected. Re-filed on correct form 12-1-2008

Received after approval of green card
Processing
Estimates/Stats :
Your EAD was approved in 42 days.


Advance Parole
Event Date
CIS Office : Chicago IL
Filing Method :  
Filing Instance : First
Date Filed : 2008-11-08
NOA Date : 2008-11-18
RFE(s) :
Date Received : 2009-01-17
Comments : received AFTER approval of green card
Processing
Estimates/Stats :
Your AP was approved in 65 days.


Lifting Conditions
Event Date
CIS Office : Vermont Service Center
Date Filed : 2010-10-01
NOA Date : 2010-10-06
RFE(s) :
Bio. Appt. : 2010-11-19
Interview Date :
Approval / Denial Date : 2011-03-22
Approved : Yes
Got I551 Stamp :
Green Card Received : 2011-03-28
Comments : No RFEs, No interview.


Citizenship
Event Date
Service Center : Dallas/Lewisville TX Lockbox
CIS Office : Saint Albans VT
Date Filed : 2011-11-25
NOA Date : 2011-11-28
Bio. Appt. :
Interview Date : 2012-02-01
Approved : Yes
Oath Ceremony : 2012-04-09
Comments : Filed n-400 within 15 months of I-751 (Removal of Conditions) no biometrics needed Alla had her citizenship interview today, 2/1/2012 We arrived 10 minutes early. Alla was asked to give a fingerprint and asked if she had passport photos with her, she did. After 10 mintues waiting they called her in, she gave an oath to tell the truth. They went over the N-400 making her asnwer basically every question verbally. No problems. They then gave the test, orally, and said they would give her questions until she got 60% right. They asked her 7 questions. She missed one about Selective Service because she did not know the maximum age for SSS (26) only that men had to register at age 18. That's it. They looked at all her evidence of marriage (basically the same things we sent for the removal of conditions but updated) and kept the copies we provided. They gave her a letter stating she was approved and to attend an oath cermony April 9, 2012. They did not allow me in the interview room. I was in the waiting room. The entire process took less than 30 minutes. I will add that Alla is well known at the local office as she does interpretation for them and she is greeted as a "known person" by most people there. However the interviewing officer was someone she did not know and had never met. She is either new or maybe some sort of supervisor, but it was clear that they did not have anyone that knew her personally do the interview.

Member Reviews:

Consulate Review: Ukraine
Review Topic: K1 Visa
Event Description
Review Date : August 12, 2008
Embassy Review : We had our interview August 7.

First I will say, the people inside the consulate were wonderful in every way. I went to the interview with Alla. For the benefit of others I will give the details.

We first went to Pro-credit bank, the one nearest the consulate listed in their directions. It is about a 5 minute walk from the consulate. This branch opens at 7 am for the benefit of the US consulate. There was quite a line but we got there at 7:15 and our appointment was for 9:30. Allow for 1/2 hour or more at this bank branch. When it came time to pay for the visas I handed the money through the window and the woman gave it back to Alla and said "she" had to pay, not me. So then Alla handed the money to her. Oh well.

Then we walked to the consulate. There are lines for interview times and we got in the 9:15-9:30 line. Our appointment was for 9:30 There were LOTS of people there but only a few for K-1 visas. They do not let you take much inside. Only documents and wallets, no purses, bags or even the case I had the documents in. We went to a little office in the alley next to the consulate and gave them our things and paid about $1 for them to keep them. Bring as little as possible with you.

While in line is where we had our ONLY difficulty. One of the young men that is there as "crowd control" ,basically, asked us to look at our documents. He said our DS-156 did not have a bar code. Of course not, we never received packet 3 and I downloaded it as the consulate says and showed him the instruction sheet which says you can do this. He called another person over and asked them and that person said to let us in anyway. We were allowed in exactly at 9:30. First you go into a small building which looks like a trailer and this is security. It is your basic airport type security check, empty pockets, metal detector, etc. They took our coins, cigarette lighter, keys, etc. and put them in a small box and gave Alla a red number tag for them. They let you keep your wallet and about nothing else.

We went into the consulate and followed the signs to the K-1/K-3 section. It is a nice waiting room by Ukrainian standards and they even have a bottled water cooler! Sorry, no joke, you can never find water to drink in Ukraine and it was a welcome sight! There is a TV and it plays a loop of scenes from the USA, a nice little travelogue. There were 6 people for the K-1 interviews and 3 American men. Myself and one man from Michigan and one from Utah. Right away we were called to a "window" like a bank teller window. A nice young Ukrainian man was there to take our documents. He asked Alla if she preferred Russian, Ukrainian or English language. He spoke perfect English. She asked for Russian. He went down the list and asked for each document in order, exactly the list you receive in packet 3. We gave each document (original, copy and translation) as he asked for it and he put it in his own file in a certain order (so much for all my work organizing everything) he stapled photos to the DS-156 (never said anything about the missing bar code) and repeated everything he said in English for me. Very efficient and polite and even made some small talk and jokes with Alla. When we got to the I-134 he looked at it and then supporting documents for about 15 seconds, basically "flipped through it" and gave me back everything except the affadavit. I told him I also had one for each of Alla's children and he asked if it was the same. I said "yes" and he said it was enough to have one for all. (I had been told I needed one for each by the consulate, so best to have it I suppose)

When he asked about evidence of relationship, I had LOTS. He looked at it through the window and seemed not impressed with stacks of phone bills, letters and emails. He asked if I had photos or travel documents. I showed him copies of my boarding passes for 5 visits and photos for each visit through the window. He asked for one photo of us together from each visit and took those and nothing else. Only two of the photos were from identifiable Ukrainian locations. It is more important the photos show you together, it is not so important if it is in Ukraine or not. And of course I was with her at the interview so obviously we have been together in person.

Then he said to have a seat and wait to be called for "an interview by a consulate officer". We sat and talked to the other couples and all told about where they would live and what they would do in the USA. They all wanted swimming, skiing, hiking (Ukarinians seem to love outdoor activity) and Alla bragged that my brother will let her fly his "cessna". One by one the women were called for interviews which took place at another window. There is a small "privacy screen" by this window but it is not "private" and is not a separate room. The interviews before us seemed to take only seconds and the women came out with their "pink card" and all smiles. Before our "interview" Alla was called to window to cirrect one error on one of her sons DS-156 forms (she put the wrong birthdate) she was allowed to correct it and initial it. Then she was called to a window to give her "fingerprints" electronically. One woman was called up and asked to clarify something in her fiance's I-134 about his tax returns. He was not there and she did not have the answer but the person asking found the answer looking through the papers. Her fiance was self employed. I guess I would say if you are not going to be there make sure your fiancee understands these things. I know Alla cannot make heads or tails of a US tax return, (at least not yet) and fortunately we had no questions about this. The others were called up for fingerprints also. Then we were called for the "interview" and I went with Alla. The man at the window was American. He gave Alla her original documents and a pink card and told us everything was OK with our visa, and to go to the FedEx window to pay for the visa delivery and we would have the visa in 7 days or less. Then asked me if I had any questions about the process! What questions??? I asked about the young man outside and he said not to worry anout that and not to allow them to deter you, it is not their job to look at documents other than your passport to verify you are on the appointment list. He had NO questions for us...none. The interview amounted to giving back her originals and instructions how to have the visa sent...that was IT!!!! We shook hands all around with the other applicants and wished everyone well and went to the FedEx window outside. Alla listed herself and her mother as an alternate to receive the visa. Alla received the visa at her home in Donetsk on Monday 8-11



So, at least for Kiev, bring all the documents they say, more is better but probably not needed, don't worry how you have them ordered or arranged, just be ready to give them as asked for. And don't listen to people outside, they are not officials, you have an appointment, if there are any problems they will tell you inside. I have heard of people trying to get people in line to pay them for "corrections" in their documents and there are signs outside telling you not to believe this so DON'T!!!! The people inside were great! Friendly, professional and prompt. (the people outside were nice also, except this one young man) We were let in at 9:30 and we were out before 11am. That is lightning fast by Ukrainian standards!

Alla's comment was "That's all there is? I worried and didn't eat and lost 3 kgs weight for this????" Oh well she looks good and now her wedding dress fits better! Our experience was very good!

Good luck to all

Gary
Rating : Very Good


Local US CIS Office Review: Saint Albans VT
Review Topic: cis_topic
Event Description
Review Date : January 15, 2009
Embassy Review : We had our AOS interview today and Alla and the boys will receive thier green cards in 2-3 weeks!!!! I look forward to two years of USCIS free life!!!!!!

We arrived at the St. Albans Vermont office at 10:45 for our 11am appointment (Alla was 11am, Pasha was 11:30) At 10:56 Alla was called in by the officer and asked to bring her "evidence", even though our appointment letter said only to bring her passport and I-94. I suspected as much and brought copies of anything and everything we ever gave to USCIS.
She was brought into the office and sworn in. Then they asked all the questions on the I-485..."are you a terrorist, drug dealer, prostitute, etc." Then they went through her G-325 and asked her the name of her parents, where she was born, etc. (Pasha and I were in the waiting room at this point) Then they asked to see her "evidence" and she gave them the stack and they glanced through it, no questions asked. They asked no questions about me, my work or anything else. At 11:05 the officer came out and asked Pasha and I to go into his office. He informed us the green cards would be approved and sent within 3 weeks. He explained the process for lifting conditions, when to file, which forms to file, etc. Then asked if we had any questions. I asked if she would receive a passport stamp so we could go to Montreal this weekend. We live less than an hour from Montreal and Alla has been dying to go. He asked if it was an "emergency" and we said it was not, we just wanted to go. He said unless it is an emergency to wait for the green cards. That was it! We signed out of the place at 11:15. Now we will just check the mail. The only humorous part was he asked Alla "How does Gary treat you and your sons?" She said "Very good...so far" She said that made him "make a strange face" and he said "It is OK, you can be honest with me" She said "I AM being honest, so far Gary has been wonderful, but who knows if he will go crazy tomorrow, start drinking, beat me, or kill all around including me. I can not say what will be in the future" YIKES!!! Alla WILL tell it to you straight. Oh well, it didn't affect the outcome and NO, I will not go crazy tomorrow.

Oh, it was nearly 2 months to the day from filing the I-485 until green card approved. And almost 1 year to the day from when she agreed to marry me. So, our year-long "journey" is over for now, but I will stay around this great site and hope our experience can help others because ALL of you sure have been great in helping us. Best of luck.
Harassment Level : 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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