|Local US CIS Office Review: Chicago IL
Review Topic: cis_topic
|Review Date :
||May 24, 2006
|Embassy Review :
Well, this morning Marina, Carina and I got up at the crack of dawn (about 5am) as they both had their AOS appts scheduled for downtown Chicago at 7:45am and 8:10am respectively.
We were on the road by 6am, and the traffic downtown wasn't too bad and we parked the car at about 6:40am. We stopped and had a cup of coffee and orange juice (well, I did...they said it was too early for anything and wanted to wait until we were done) and then took the short walk to the Federal Building and arrived about 7:15am. We tried to go upstairs to the 2nd floor as our letter stated, but security said we had to wait until 7:30am before we could go up. He then directed us to a small line of people waiting around the corner, and made sure we went to the back of the line.
About 7:30am security finally said we could go up, and we all got in line to get past the checkpoint. They don't ask for the letters there, it's much like going through airport or courhouse security except I didn't have to take my belt off!
We found the elevator up to the 2nd floor, and started down the hallway following the signs that said "INS Waiting Room". (some things never change!) I even saw an employee with an INS baseball hat
We walked into the waiting room and there were only a few people waiting, but the receptionist was not in the office either. The room started to fill up quickly, and by the time the receptionist came in the room was about 3/4 full of applicants. As the receptionist turned on the lights in her office I noticed a few people (an attorney was the first one) lining up to hand in their appointment letter. I should mention that by this time it was about 8am. Behind the attorney a few more people had lined with their letters, but most of us just stayed in their seats. When the attorney sat down again I went up and asked him if we were all supposed to hand in our letters and he said yes. So I told Marina and Carina to go ahead and do the same. Good thing I asked otherwise we might have been considered late!
A few minutes later a few officers came down and started calling peoples names. The waiting room is on the 2nd floor, but the USCIS offices are all on the 23rd floor, and this is where the interviews are conducted. Then the receptionist started calling about 5-6 names at a time, and directed them towards the elevator to get up to the 23rd floor. Marina was one of the names called, as I think she was calling the names based on the appointment times listed on the letter. I mentioned to the receptionist that there was another family member with an interview at 8:10am (Carina), and she was very nice and said to hold on and she would get her letter so we could go up together. About a minute later she came back with another group of letters (probably the 8:10's) and she found Carina's and sent us all up.
We arrived at the 23rd floor and followed the signs again to INS. It's a short hallway and not hard to find. We came to another window and saw another waiting room, and I figured we would be asked to wait again. I was wrong! An officer came and took Marina's and Carina's letters (the receptionist on the 2nd floor had given them back) and motioned towards the door to come into the office area. He opened the door and welcomed us and brought us down a short hallway to his office. He immediately asked us to raise our right hands to be sworn in, and then we sat down. Well, Marina and Carina sat and I started taking my coat off and finding a place to put our 2 bags full of documents and photos and letters! Then I sat down too
The officer did introduce himself, but we can't remember his name. He was very polite and professional during the entire interview. He asked for our ID's and passports, and asked Marina the familiar yes/no questions but only a few of them. (Had you ever been to the US on any other type visa?, etc) He briefly reviewed our history (how we met, how many times I had been to Moldova, when we were married, type of ceremony) and then asked if we brought any photos. I gladly brought out our albumns and he looked through them both. He asked about the condo that we lived in, and asked if I had already owned it before we were married. I said yes, but since we refinanced recently and both our names were on the mortgage I mentioned that too, and he asked if he could have a copy of the closing settlement, which I had. He also asked for the 2004 tax return (we filed jointly) and an updated employer letter from me. He also asked about Marina's employment, and took a copy of one of her paystubs from Triton College, where Marina works as a math teacher (just one of her many jobs!).
The officer then asked for Marina's EAD card and copies of her AP's (and her expired I-94) and told us that both Marina and Carina would be approved today. I said "alright!!" but not too loudly, and told them congratulations. I don't think he minded that at all. Marina then got the I-551 stamp in her passport and he went over the rules about lifting the conditions at the 2 year mark.
The only snag was with Carina's background (FBI) check, as she turned 14 during the application process and apparently it was never ordered. Carina had done the fingerprinting, which he checked to make sure were there, but he said the namecheck was never ordered. He said he would submit the fingerprints and request today, but said he couldn't give a timeframe on when she would have her approval since the FBI processing times vary so much. He did say he thought maybe it wouldn't take too long because of her age though. We'll see. He assured us again that she was approved and would not need another interview, but could not get her stamp until the namecheck was done. She would simply be sent an approval notice and green card once approved. Carina got her AP's back, and we were done! Oh yea, Marina and I did have to sign something, but for the life of me I don't know exactly what it was! Anybody know???
Well, that was our experience. Overall we were treated well and I think the whole interview lasted no longer than 15 minutes. Oh yea, we had sent in the vaccination worksheet copy they received overseas at the k1/k2 medical exam for both Marina and Carina with the AOS application, and we did not receive an RFE nor was anything mentioned about the supplement at the interview.
Hope this helps any and all going thru Chicago (or anywhere for that matter!)....you all have been great help for us and we couldn't have done it without you!
We're keeping our fingers crossed for a quick namecheck on Carina and her approval, and wishing luck to all of you and speedy processing!
Dave and Marina
3/4/2004 I-129F sent to Nebraksa express USPS
03/11/2004 NOA#1 received
07/01/04 Approval received via e-mail!! 116 days
07/09/04 NOA#2 hard copy recieved in mail....onto the NVC quickly I hope!
08/10/04 Medicals and pick-up packet 3 @ embassy
08/24/04 Interview day!! APPROVED!!
09/17/04 Flight to Chicago....finally!!!
11/20/04 WEDDING DAY!
12/18/04 Sent in AOS, EAD, AP (Marina) and AOS, AP (Carina)
12/26/04 Recd NOA's for all 5 applications on the same day! GO CHICAGO!!!
12/31/04 Biometrics completed for Marina and Carina
01/26/05 Both AP's approved and EAD approval for Marina
01/29/05 Marina and Carina receive AP's in mail
01/31/05 Marina's EAD arrives in the mail
07/16/05 Received AOS interview date for both Marina and Carina!!.....October 25, 2005!
07/23/05 Marina gets her first Driver's License!!
10/25/05 Marina's AOS approval!....Carina waiting on namecheck
11/02/05 Marina's CPR card arrives!
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